The United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport on March 13, 2019 in Burlingame, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
United Airlines declared on Friday that it had no plans to fly with the Boeing 737 Max until December 19, more than a month after the scheduled time, as the world jet grounding is approaching the six-month mark and the cancellations of the flights accumulate during the Christmas holidays.
Federal regulators grounded aircraft around the world in mid-March after two fatal accidents – one in Indonesia in October and another in Ethiopia in March – that killed all 346 people who were on flights.
United and its US competitors who have the Max in their fleets, American and Southwest, have canceled thousands of flights during the summer travel season while the grounding of the planes runs out. They have also repeatedly extended cancellations from the maximum. Regulators have not yet said when they will allow airplanes to return to service, creating headaches for flight and crew planning.
Southwest last month withdrew the aircraft from its schedules until the beginning of January, the last of US carriers.
United, which has 14 Boeing 737 Max 9s in its fleet, had previously waited for the planes to return on November 3rd. The new exchange, which means that United will not have airplanes in time for the hectic Thanksgiving holiday, will mean flight cancellations per day in November and 96 per day in December, or around 1,700 that month.
United's targeted return date of December 19 will bring the planes back just before the Christmas trip. But that return depends on Boeing and aviation regulators.
Boeing developed a software correction for the aircraft, after investigators implicated a flight control program that repeatedly pushed the nose of the two crashed Max jets down. He said he plans to deliver the correction in September.