For the past few months neither 737 MAX operators, nor the aviation authorities could provide a clear answer to the question of when the grounded aircraft will return. While Boeing has previously indicated that the troubled narrow-body will return to service in Q4 of 2019, leaving them two months to see their hopes come to fruition, airlines are a lot more skeptical while planning their schedules ahead of time.

In the latest turn of events, American Airlines joins a never-ending list of carriers, including Air Canada and Southwest, which are not as hopeful as the manufacturer of the MAX. Nevertheless, the biggest airline in the United States has provided an update that it “anticipates” that the “software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX” will be certified by the FAA in 2019, which would lead to “resumption of commercial service” on January 16, 2020.

All American Airlines flights through January 6, 2020, will be operated on the 737NG, which ironically is having structural issues with its pickle forks. For customers booked between January 6 and January 15, 2020, American Airlines will operate flights with the 737NG or the Airbus A320 family aircraft – if any flights are canceled, the airline will contact customers directly.

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After a recently issued FAA Airworthiness Directive, the first 737 NG aircraft are grounded after the initial inspection:
 

Lastly, the carrier is planning to slowly introduce the Boeing 737 MAX into commercial service starting January 16, 2020. As time moves on, American Airlines will operate more and more MAX flights through the months of January and February 2020.

As of September 30, 2019, Boeing has delivered 24 737 MAX aircraft to American, the manufacturer’s order and delivery information shows. In addition, American Airlines is waiting for ten deliveries of the grounded jet, according to planespotters.net data.

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The alleged money saving strategies used by Boeing have backfired massively. Not only the manufacturer lost, and continue losing, a lot of money, but airlines are counting the losses from the crisis as well: