American Airlines cancels 737 Max flights through August

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane being built for Spain-based Air Europa rolls toward takeoff before a test flight Wednesday

The US and other countries, including Australia, grounded Boeing's 737 MAX planes in mid-March after deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

American Airlines is extending the cancellation of its Boeing 737 Max 8 flights from June until mid-August.

In a letter to employees and customers on Sunday, American Airlines' top executives said they believed the MAX would be recertified "soon" but wanted to provide their customers reliability and confidence during "the busiest travel period of the year". "Once the Max is recertified, we anticipate bringing our Max aircraft back on line as spares to supplement our operation as needed during the summer".

"Based upon our ongoing work with the FAA and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be re-certified prior to this time", they said in a statement posted on the company's website.

According to CNBC, the cancellations amount to about 115 flights per day, roughly 1.5 percent of the United States' total flying per day in the summer.

United Airlines, with 14 MAX jets, has largely avoided cancellations by servicing MAX routes with larger 777 or 787 aircraft, but the airline president, Scott Kirby, warned last week that the strategy was costing it money and could not go on forever.

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"We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the Max, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon", American said.

They added that the airline has been in close contact with the FAA, the Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board and worldwide regulators and are "pleased with the progress so far". The airline had originally canceled flights with MAX aircraft through April 20th.

Investigators are looking at whether a software program in the passenger jet that controls the plane's nose was a factor in the two crashes.

CNBC reported Boeing said Thursday it has completed 96 flights with the new Max software fix.

The grounding of the 737 MAX has caused Southwest to cancel thousands of flights in their first quarter.

Initial reports in the wake of the FAA's decision to ground the Boeing 737 MAX pointed towards a quick software fix that could have allowed the aircraft to return to service in a matter of weeks.

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