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United Airlines to keep Boeing 737 MAX on ground until August

Christian Fernsby |
United Airlines said it is extending by one month its cancellations of Boeing737 MAX flights, through August 3.

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United Airlines, which operates 14 737 MAX jets, said the decision would lead to about 40 or 45 daily canceled flights.

United Airlines joins rivals Southwest Airlines and American Airlines Group which had already suspended 737 MAX flights into August as global carriers await regulatory approval for the aircraft to fly again.

The worldwide grounding in March of Boeing’s fast-selling aircraft followed a crash in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia that killed a combined 346 people.

Since the grounding, U.S. airlines have had to readjust schedules and come up with solutions in order to meet demand during the busy summer travel season.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration expects to approve the 737 MAX jet to return to service as soon as late June, according to people familiar with the matter.

Even so, FAA acting administrator Dan Elwell told reporters on Thursday after a meeting with international air regulators in Texas that he would not assign a specific date for the U.S. approval.

Once regulators approve the 737 MAX jets for flight, each aircraft will likely require between 100 and 150 hours of preparation before flying, in addition to pilot training, Reuters also reported on Thursday.

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