Despite assurances from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg that fixes to the Max aircraft will make the planes “even safer,” on April 15, 2019, United Airlines announced that it will be grounding its Max 8 fleet through mid July.
Boeing’s top executive apologized last week for two recent crashes of the Max 8 aircraft and admitted that a software update would prevent further disasters, according to ABC Network News.
The announcement by United Airlines comes on the heels of American Airlines grounding its 24 Max 8s through mid August and Southwest Airlines that initially announced the grounding of its 34 Max 8 planes through most of the summer as well. American Airlines executives reportedly said that upon the Max 8 return, they initially will be used as spare planes when needed.
The impact for travelers means at least 115 daily summer flight cancellations through Aug. 19. American said affected passengers will be notified of flight changes and rebookings in advance. The airline has more than 7,000 daily flights in the summer.
These voluntary groundings of the Max 8 comes after two of these jets crashed within a five-month period. In October a Max 8 crashed into the Java Sea after taking off from Indonesia, and less than five months later on March 10 another crashed on a trip from Ethiopia to Kenya. A total of 346 people were killed in the two crashes.
Among the lawsuits filed against Boeing and other defendants include that filed by Clifford Law Offices on behalf of the Stumo family who lost their 24-year-old daughter, grand niece of Ralph Nader.
Some airlines, such as Indonesia’s national airline, reportedly has told Boeing that it wants to cancel an order of future 737 Max 8 jets.
It has not yet been announced when the Max 8 will be deemed airworthy by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).