Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline's facilities in Calgary on May 7.
It says it is confident the aircraft software updates and new training elements will lead to the recertification of the aircraft, but canceling scheduled trips early will help customers reliably plan their travel. Executives and other staff will join American pilots on flights as soon as regulators certify that the Max is cleared for travel, and before September 4, which is the earliest date commercial trips will resume, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said at the carrier's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.
"No one should take that as some indication that we don't think the aircraft will be ready by Aug 19", Parker said during the company's annual shareholders meeting.
It's not possible to give an exact date as work progresses on safety fixes to the aircraft, Ali Bahrami, the Federal Aviation Administration's associate administrator for aviation safety, said in an interview Wednesday at a conference in Cologne, Germany.
Still, Parker said he understood there was "an absolute fix" for the 737 MAX, while acknowledging there was no certain timetable and that rebuilding public confidence may take time.
The crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX in Indonesia in October 2018 and of an Ethiopian Airlines jet of the same model in March brought to light malfunctions in the plane's MCAS anti-stall system. Airline executives, managers, flight attendants and other employees could be among those aboard, he said.
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the agency has "no timetable" for allowing the 737 Max to resume flying and will act "only when it is safe to return to service". American shares, which have lost about 4% this year, were up 1.2% on Wednesday.
Shares in Delta, which does not operate the MAX, have outperformed those of USA rivals with the jets.