The ongoing issues with Boeing’s embattled 737 Max aircraft have forced airlines to cancel flights using that particular plane, switching to other equipment since the Max was grounded in March.
Now the problems have forced one airline to scrap an entire route.
American Airlines announced Thursday it will suspend its direct flights between Oakland and its Dallas/Fort Worth hub starting on Saturday, July 6 and ending – the airline hopes – on September 4.
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The Boeing 737 Max was grounded in March after separate crashes just three months apart on Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines killed 346 people. Preliminary reports showed that a new stabilization system forced both planes into a nosedive from which the pilots could not recover. Boeing has been working on a software fix for the apparent problem.
But last month, the Federal Aviation Administration discovered yet another problem with the embattled aircraft, an issue that could again delay the plane’s return to the skies through October.
Ironically, American’s Oakland-Dallas/Fort Worth flight is operated by a 737-800 aircraft – a Boeing product but one not affected by grounding. But American utilizes a total of 24 737 Max planes and is having a hard time adjusting its schedule on the fly, so to speak.
“A flight that was not scheduled as a MAX flight might be canceled to enable our team to cover a MAX route with a different aircraft,” an American spokesperson said. “Our goal is to minimize the impact to the smallest number of customers.”
American, United, Southwest and Delta have canceled more than 100 flights per day on routes using the 737 Max.
American Airlines customers trying to get from Oakland to Dallas will have to connect in Phoenix or drive for a bit to take a direct flight from nearby San Francisco or San Jose, California.