United Airlines and two other major US carriers said Thursday that they would fix more than 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft early last month due to a power problem that could interfere with some critical systems.
Boeing sent all affected carrier service bulletins late on Wednesday, addressing a production issue that affected 109 aircraft worldwide. The service bulletin was signed by the Federal Aviation Administration, Reuters first reported late Wednesday night.
The action was a relief for the American carrier, who had eagerly awaited the green light to regain the planes traditionally before the start of the May summer travel season. The US demand for air travel has increased as the COVID-19 epidemic subsided in the United States.
Flights were halted by about a quarter of the Max fleet after two fatal accidents halted the aircraft for 20 months. The FAA lifted that grounding order in November after Boeing made several software and training upgrades.
The FAA said that there was no fault of service due to the electrical problem being repaired.
Joint spokeswoman Leslie Scott said Thursday that the airline expects the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to return to service in the coming days to complete our inspection process and ensure that the aircraft meet our stringent safety standards.
American Airlines said it would begin making the necessary changes and anticipate that “all affected aircraft would be safely returned to service in the coming days.”
Southwest Airlines, which has 32 affected aircraft, said it is estimated that the work will take two to three days per aircraft. The airline said it expected work to begin within the next several days, and estimated the work would take about three weeks to complete.
Shares in Airlines and Boeing ranged from 1.8 percent to 2.9 percent in late morning trading.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told US lawmakers on Wednesday that the power issues, which were about a quarter of the Max fleet, would require “a very direct determination”.
The aircraft, built since early 2017, connected a backup power control unit in the cockpit after Boeing warned of an electrical problem.
The problem was found at two other locations on the flight deck: the storage rack where the control unit is placed and the instrument panels facing the pilots.
The FAA said in a statement last month that other carriers affected by the power issue were Cayman Airways, Copa Airlines, GOL Linhas Ares, Iceland Air, Minsheng Leasing, Neos Air, Shedding Airlines, SilkAir, Spice Jet, Sunwing Airlines, TUI, Turkish Airlines . , Valla Jets Limited, WestJet Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.