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Chances are you won’t be riding on a Boeing 737 Max during your summer vacation travels.
American Airlines announced it will cancel 737 Max flights through Aug. 19, while Southwest Airlines is cancelling 737 Max flights until Aug. 5. United is cancelling them through early July. The delays come after suspicions that Boeing 737 Max’s anti-stall software was involved in the deadly Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
“We feel great confidence that the airplane will be recertified. However, we don’t have certainty on when that date is. And so we think with our customers in mind first,” Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ vice president of network and schedule planning, told Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal in an interview.
According to data from Flightradar24, the top 5 busiest 737 Max routes for the first week of March (the last full week of normal operations) were:
American Airlines has concentrated its 737 Max flights along east coast routes, accounting for the high number of flights between New York City and Miami, according to Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for Flightradar24. Petchenik also explained that Chinese airlines, along with the Canadian airlines Air Canada and WestJet, are leading customers of the Max.
In the U.S., Southwest is the largest carrier of the 737 Max, followed by American and United, according to Airline Data Inc. However, American and United are more likely to have multiple Max flights that follow the same route, per day, compared to airlines like Southwest, according to a spokesman from Airline Data Inc.
“Southwest is less likely to have multiple flights per day in the same city-pair because of how it spreads its aircraft throughout its network of flights in a spider-web fashion,” said an Airline Data Inc. spokesman. “Carriers like American and United typically have their planes go out and back from their hubs to a ‘spoke’ on their network, hence the name ‘hub-and-spoke’ when referring to the large network carriers.”
Here’s a breakdown of the frequency of some typical routes where these U.S. airlines will use the Max on a sample day in August, according to Airline Data:
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