Airlines look toward another peak season without the MAX

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Nov. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airlines are beginning to make plans for another peak summer season either without the Boeing 737 MAX in their fleets, or a reduced number.

With the recertification of the MAX continually sliding, like an airline’s creeping delay at the airport, this is stating the obvious. Airlines keep shifting the true return to service (RTS) (not recertification) from 2019 into 1Q2020.

Source: Boeing.

American and Southwest airlines, the two carriers with more MAXes grounded than any other airline, now target RTS March 5 next year—just a week short of the global grounding of the airplane.

Boeing’s chairman, David Calhoun, acknowledged in an interview with CNBC Nov. 5 RTS will now fall into 2021.

This was two days before the Federal Aviation Administration and EASA rejected Boeing’s documentation that is required before recertification is granted. According to media reports, this could add an inconsequential number of days to the process or a significant number of weeks.

Concerns are beginning to emerge that recertification may not come until after the first of the year.

All this increases the uncertainty for the airlines.

  • Creating Plan B—no MAX in the peak season.
  • Stored MAXes may face a “calendar” deadline, requiring C Checks before RTS.
  • Lessors offering new, year-long leases on A320s and 737 NGs.

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