Grounded 737 Max Planes Could Mean Flight Cancellations for Weeks, Airlines Say

March 25, 2019, 11:17 PM UTC

Nearly two weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes, some airlines are warning that the hundreds of flight cancellations that have resulted from the move could last for several more weeks—if not months.

American Airlines, which owns 24 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, is cancelling about 90 flights a day and is extending the cancellations through April 24, CBS News said. American says it’s notifying passengers of cancellations ahead of time and that they can request refunds if they don’t want to rebook.

Southwest Airlines, which has 34 737 Max planes as part of its 750-large fleet of 737 aircraft, has been cancelling an average of 130 of its 4,000 daily flights for now. The Dallas-based airline is only making cancellations five days in advance. Southwest, which has no “definitive timetable” for returning the 737 Max planes into service, says affected passengers can rebook with no extra fees or fare differential.

United Airlines, meanwhile, isn’t expecting any future cancellations because of the grounded planes.

At least one airline is warning that the cancellations could last into the summer travel season. Air Canada said the 24 737 Max planes it’s grounded make up 12% of its 191-plane fleet and that those planes may be grounded until July. One business professor in Canada cautioned that such cancellations in the face of summer demand for air travel could push up airfares this summer.

Boeing is expected to face a short-term hit to its financials with at least one carrier—Garuda, Indonesia’s national carrier—cancelling an order of 50 Max 8 jets. Nonetheless, Wall Street remains somewhat bullish on Boeing’s stock. A Cowen & Co. analyst said Monday that the effect of the 737 Max crisis won’t be a financial “showstopper” for Boeing or much of a long-term “depressant” for its stock price.

Boeing’s stock rose 2.2% to $340.46 a share Monday, while American’s stock fell 1.2% to $30.21 a share and Southwest’s stock fell 1.3% to $48.69 a share. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Air Canada’s stock fell 2.1% to 30.96 Canadian dollars a share.