American Airlines cancellations reach into June because of 737 Max grounding

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 sits grounded at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa

MULUGETA AYENE APAn Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 sits grounded at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa

Boeing announced Friday the production cut will accommodate the halt in 737 MAX model deliveries following the March 10 crash in Ethiopia - the second in five months.

Boeing faces its most significant reputational crisis in decades, stemming from two crashes of its 737 Max 8 jets, which killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing's shares tumbled more than four percent on Monday after Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) downgraded the stock.

On Sunday, American Airlines said it is extending its cancellations of about 90 daily flights as the troubled 737 Max plane remains grounded by regulators.

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, has one of the largest exposures to 737 MAX jets, and according to Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth, service resumption may now take until the peak summer travel period.

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Boeing is under huge pressure to update software in its airplanes.

Among major USA air carriers (IYT), Southwest Airlines (LUV) is the largest buyer and has ordered 280 737 Max jets.

Spirit Aerosystems produces parts of the aircraft for Boeing, including 70% of the fuselage, produced in Wichita, Kansas, and wing components produced in Oklahoma locations.

Last month, Canaccord had predicted the grounding would end in early to mid-May.

Investigators said this week that pilots on the Ethiopian Airlines flight attempted to follow procedures to disable the flight-control system that Boeing had laid out after the Lion Air crash.

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Morningstar also said the announcement likely meant a longer grounding period, estimating that earnings would decline $1.11 per share.

It has also been decided that the manufacturer will temporarily lower its production rate of 52 airplanes per month to 42 starting middle of April to prioritise additional resources aimed at software certification and returning the grounded fleet to flight.

"Once again corporate greed has prioritized profits over safety with tragic consequences for the public", attorney Nomaan Husain said. Although that order was worth $4.9 billion, it's a fraction of the backlog of 5,000 737 Max orders that Boeing has on its books.

S&P Global Ratings said its rating was unaffected, writing that the company "has sufficient liquidity and cushion in the rating to weather the MAX grounding". Before all this, Boeing had planned to ramp up production of the Max to 57 a month, an aggressive goal that suppliers had been preparing for by hiring more employees and expanding capacity.

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