American Airlines extends cancellations of 737 Max flights

American Airlines Max 8

American Airlines Max 8

American Airlines announced Wednesday that it is removing the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedule until mid-January, an acknowledgment that the aviation industry does not expect the plane to carry passengers during the busy holiday travel season.

Boeing's sales numbers on Tuesday also showed that by the end of September it had delivered only half the number of aircraft it did in the same period of 2018.

The FAA has signaled the return of the plane could occur in stages by country in light of a lack of consensus among regulators.

Boeing said in a statement it was aware of the lawsuit and would vigorously defend against it. "The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so".

The airline said Wednesday that it expects to slowly bring the plane back into its schedule starting January 16.

An ongoing regulatory safety review means a key 737 MAX certification test flight is unlikely before November, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The top-selling Boeing plane has been grounded since mid-March following crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes that killed 346 people. Boeing is working on changes to flight-control software and computers.

Among other US airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co has canceled flights through January 5 and United Airlines Holdings Inc until December 19.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Dallas in Texas Monday alleging Boeing deliberately misled the airline and its pilots about the 737 MAX.

The announcement comes as Southwest Airlines are suing Boeing for loss of wages totaling $US100 million as a result of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding. Its European Union counterpart said it was in "continuous contact" with both the FAA and Boeing.

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