American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX-caused cancelations to June 5

American Airlines said Sunday it is extending the cancelations through June 5 from the earlier timeframe of April 24. (AP)
Updated 08 April 2019

American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX-caused cancelations to June 5

  • The airline acknowledged in a statement that the prolonged cancelations could bring disruption for some travelers
  • The Boeing-made MAX jets have been grounded in the US and elsewhere since mid-March, following two deadly crashes

WASHINGTON: American Airlines is extending by over a month its cancelations of about 90 daily flights as the troubled 737 MAX plane remains grounded by regulators.
American said Sunday it is extending the cancelations through June 5 from the earlier timeframe of April 24. The airline acknowledged in a statement that the prolonged cancelations could bring disruption for some travelers.
The Boeing-made MAX jets have been grounded in the US and elsewhere since mid-March, following two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Airlines that own them have been scrambling other planes to fill some MAX flights while canceling others.
American Airlines Group Inc., the largest US airline by revenue, has 24 MAX jets in its fleet. The Ft. Worth, Texas-based airline said it is awaiting information from US regulators, and will contact customers affected by the cancelations with available re-bookings.
Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration said last week the company needs more time to finish changes in a flight-control system suspected of playing a role in the two crashes. That means airlines could be forced to park their MAX jets longer than they expected.
American said Sunday that by canceling the flights in advance, “we are able to provide better service to our customers with availability and re-booking options,” and to avoid last-minute flight disruptions.
American’s reservations staff will contact affected customers directly by email or phone, the airline said. “We know these cancelations and changes may affect some of our customers, and we are working to limit the impact to the smallest number of customers,” the statement said.
Boeing said Friday that it will cut production of the MAX jet, its best-selling plane, underscoring the mounting financial risk it faces the longer the airliner remains grounded.
Starting in mid-April, Boeing said, it will cut production of the plane to 42 from 52 planes per month so it can focus on fixing the flight-control software that has been implicated in the two crashes.
Preliminary investigations into the deadly accidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia found that faulty sensor readings erroneously triggered an anti-stall system that pushed down the plane’s nose. Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system.
In all, 346 people died in the crashes. Boeing faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by families of the victims.
The announcement to cut production came after Boeing acknowledged that a second software issue has emerged that needs fixing on the MAX — a discovery that explained why the aircraft maker had pushed back its ambitious schedule for getting the planes back in the air.


Oil falls below $57 on virus impact and OPEC+ delay

Updated 19 February 2020

Oil falls below $57 on virus impact and OPEC+ delay

  • Contagion ‘is spooking market players,’ analysts say after Asian shares fall and Apple issues warning

LONDON: Oil fell below $57 a barrel on Tuesday, pressured by concerns over the impact on crude demand from the coronavirus outbreak in China and a lack of further action by OPEC and its allies to support the market.

Forecasters including the International Energy Agency (IEA) have cut 2020 oil demand estimates because of the virus. Though new cases in mainland China have dipped, global experts say it is too early to judge if the outbreak is being contained.

Brent crude was down 82 cents at $56.85 a barrel in mid-afternoon trade after rallying in the previous five sessions. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 70 cents to $51.35.

“Risk aversion has returned to the markets,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

“OPEC+ has shown no sign yet of reacting to the virus-related slump in demand by making additional production cuts.”

The virus is having a wider impact on companies and financial markets. Asian shares fell and Wall Street was poised to retreat on Tuesday after Apple said it would miss quarterly revenue guidance owing to weakened demand in China.

“This has spooked market players and triggered a sharp pullback in risk assets,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

The IEA last week said that first-quarter oil demand is likely to fall by 435,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the same period last year in the first quarterly decline since the financial crisis in 2009.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, have been considering further production cuts to tighten supply and support prices.

The group, known as OPEC+, has a pact to cut oil output by 1.7 million bpd until the end of March.

The next OPEC+ meeting next month is set to consider an advisory panel’s recommendation to cut supply by a further 600,000 bpd. Talks on holding an earlier meeting in February appear to have made no progress, OPEC sources said.

As well as OPEC+ voluntary curbs, support for prices has come from involuntary losses in Libya, where output has collapsed since Jan. 18 because of a blockade of ports and oilfields.