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Boeing shares fall as 737 MAX grounding drags on

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FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Boeing shares fell early Monday after major US airlines announced more flight cancellations because they expect the 737 MAX aircraft to be grounded for much longer after two deadly crashes.

Shares in the aerospace giant fell 1.4 percent to $360.23 at mid-morning in the first session since American Airlines announced Sunday that it was pushing back its target date to resume MAX flights by two months.

“American is extending cancellations for the MAX through Nov. 2,” the company said Sunday.

“By doing so, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be cancelled through Nov. 2.”

Boeing’s global fleet of 737 MAX planes has been grounded since mid-March following the second of two catastrophic accidents that killed 346 people.

The company has been working closely with US regulators in the Federal Aviation Administration and other civil authorities on upgrading the planes to enable them to return to service.

The FAA late last month identified a fresh problem during simulator testing, further clouding the outlook for the plane’s return to service.

After initially expecting the planes to return to service within weeks, the airline announcements now suggest the planes won’t be back in the skies until late this year at the earliest.

United Continental on Friday extended its 737 MAX cancellations to November 3, saying it will “continue to take extraordinary steps to protect our customers’ travel plans” as they cancel thousands of flights over the four-month stretch.

Southwest Airlines, which had 34 MAX aircraft in operation and another 41 deliveries set for this year, announced late last month that it was pushing flight cancellations through to October 1.

The MAX troubles will dent profits for American, United and Southwest Airlines, during peak travel season.


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