Oct. 11 (UPI) — United Airlines has removed the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedule through Jan. 6, meaning the grounded aircraft will not be part of the fleet for the busy holiday travel season.
United had been more optimistic that the aircraft could return to service in December while rivals American and Southwest airlines removed it from their schedules earlier. On Friday, United joined the other airlines in removing the Boeing 737 from the schedule, which cancels about 75 flights a day in December.
Passengers will be rebooked on alternate flights and will be notified if their flights are affected. Passengers who don’t want to take the alternate flight have the option of getting a refund, even if the ticket is nonrefundable.
The Boeing 737 Max was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes killed more than 300 people in less than six months. Boeing has been working on a solution and expects to gain federal regulatory approval in the fourth quarter.
After the aircraft is cleared to fly it will take a month or so to train pilots on the new systems.
The longer it goes on, the more money airlines and Boeing stand to lose.
United flew its fleet of Boeing 737 Max aircraft to the Arizona desert to ride out the grounding.