American Airlines reports that it expects the grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft to return to service on January 16, 2020. The 737 Max had been barred from flying while Boeing and aviation safety regulators worked on fixes to software issues that are believed to have led to a pair of deadly crashes on Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air.
American said that it expects that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 Max will lead to the recertification of the aircraft later this year and the resumption of commercial service in January 2020. “We are in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT),” the airline said.
For travelers concerned about flying on the aircraft once it takes to the skies again, American said that it will release policies and procedures “in the coming weeks.”
As for customers who had been booked on a 737 Max flight through January 6, 2020, they will be automatically accommodated on the same flights operated by a 737-800 with the same seat configuration, American said. No additional rebooking will be required.
American said that the majority of customers booked on a Max flight from January 7 through 15, 2020, will be accommodated on the same flight operated by a different aircraft type, which may include a 737-800 or an Airbus aircraft. Starting October 13, the airline’s reservations and sales team will contact affected customers who are impacted by any potential flight cancellations.
In all cases, if a flight was canceled and a customer chooses not to rebook, they can request a full refund by visiting aa.com/refunds.
Starting January 16, 2020, American said it expects to “slowly phase in” the Max for commercial service. The airline said it will increase flying on the aircraft throughout the month and into February.