FAA meets with U.S. airlines, pilot unions on Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing Field in Seattle. Flight test and other non-passenger-bearing flights of the plane continue in the Seattle area where

FAA meets with US airlines, pilot unions on Boeing 737 MAX

American Airlines Group Inc, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines Co officials attended the meeting, where FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said he wanted to know operators' and pilots' thoughts before the agency decides to return the 737 MAX to service. On April 1, Boeing said it delayed submitting the proposed revisions to the FAA for approval.

The three-hour meeting centered around the preliminary findings of the investigation into the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, updated pilot training, and software updates to MCAS, the flight control system that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says may have been to blame for the crashes.

"As a pilot myself, as a longtime member of a commercial airline pilot union, I understand the dynamic, I understand how important it is to the rank and file pilot to understand what the FAA is doing", Elwell said. Additional training for pilots will be required, and work developing it is in the initial stages, he said.

The longer the Max planes sit on the ground, the more money airlines lose.

Nealon said the airline is informing customers affected by its schedule changes so that it can "reaccommodate their flight plans well in advance of their travel date". That's a small percentage of Southwest's 4,000 daily flights during summer. However, unless the airline finds replacement planes quickly - and that may be a complex process - Southwest will refuse about 10,000 flights that could have carried nearly 1.8 million people between now and early August.

Southwest Airlines has dropped the 737 Max aircraft from its schedule through the first week of August, signaling it expects the jets to be grounded for most of the busy summer travel season.

That, in turn, ratchets up pressure on Boeing to fix its best-selling plane so it can return to flying soon.

WestJet said it would be able to rebook 86 per cent of passengers that were scheduled to fly on their 13 MAX 8s, and that the airline was able to cover 75 per cent of flights that were supposed to use the jet.

Without those planes, travelers are going to have fewer flights to select from, and also airplanes to carry passengers whose flights have been canceled for other reasons like poor weather.

Harteveldt said he expects airlines that don't have Max jets - a list that includes Delta, JetBlue, Alaska and Spirit - will court travelers with price-cutting.

Both airlines have also suspended its 2019 financial guidance, citing uncertainty related to the Boeing 737 MAX jets.

Poponak, the Goldman Sachs analyst, said however there is a risk that Boeing orders could suffer for the next few years.

The company took no orders for the 737 Max at March - perhaps not before the March 10 crash of one in Ethiopia - and only 10 of the calendar year in the first three months down from 112 in precisely the identical period.

Airlines in China and Norway have said they want compensation for their grounded planes. While other airlines have kept quiet, analysts anticipate Boeing will make concessions that may total hundreds of millions of bucks. Fewer than 400 have been delivered, but about 4,600 are on order. Company leaders are expected to do so when they report first-quarter earnings later this month. The decrease may be explained by the simple fact that had already set orders.

Deliveries of the plane ceased shortly after it had been grounded, and it declared that it was cutting generation of 737s by 52 to 42 a month.

The Chicago-based company also faces a growing number of lawsuits by families of the crash victims. The agency and Boeing are now working to restore confidence in the 737 Max's safety with the public and regulators around the world, which halted flights before the United States.

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