More Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft Are Flying Than Before It Was Grounded

With over 370 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft now flying, there are now in service than when grounded in…

More Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft Are Flying Than Before It Was Grounded

With over 370 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft now flying, there are now in service than when grounded in March 2019, according to a report by Ascend by Cirium. This is despite delivery delays in recent months and about one-third of aircraft remaining grounded, primarily because of China and regulators delaying approval to resume use.

North America has pushed ahead in using MAX aircraft versus when the type was grounded in March 2019, while other regions – especially Asia-Pacific and Asia – remain down. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

What’s happening?

According to the Ascend by Cirium report published on September 23rd, the number of active B737 MAX aircraft on March 10th, 2019, totaled 368. This was the date of the Ethiopian Airlines accident which resulted in a worldwide grounding of the type until December 2020.

And now, in September 2021, there are more operational aircraft – over 370 – than at the time of the grounding. This has been helped by approximately 180 deliveries since December 2020, the report shows, when the MAX was used commercially again.

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American Airlines was the first airline in the United States to restart 737 MAX flights following the Federal Aviation Administration’s recertification of the aircraft. American flight 718 departed from Miami to New York LaGuardia on December 29th, 2020.

B737 MAX use
While total MAX aircraft almost reach 600, over 200 remain grounded. Source: Ascend by Cirium’s September 23rd report.

Where are MAX aircraft now mainly used?

North America has more operational B737 MAX aircraft than any other area, just as it did at the time of the grounding. While this region has pushed ahead, as shown in the figure below, progress is much slower than it would otherwise be because China has not one active example. MAX. However, as the report’s author, Max Kingsley-Jones, said:

China accounts for the second largest MAX fleet globally, at 97 aircraft. There have been indications recently that Chinese approval is imminent, but nothing has yet been confirmed officially.

B737 MAX use September 2021
China had the second-highest number of operational MAX aircraft in March 2019, but none in September 2021. Approval to unground the type is crucial. Source: Ascend by Cirium’s September 23rd report.

The MAX in North America

In September 2021, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American, Flair, Southwest, Sunwing, United Airlines, and WestJet all using the MAX And in recent news, WestJet will deploy its 174-seat 737 MAX 8 from Toronto to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, new routes for the carrier, in summer 2022.

Air Canada B737 MAX
North American carriers have about 21,000 MAX flights scheduled in September. Across both the US and Canada, Toronto-Vancouver has more movements by the type than any other airport pair, with Air Canada, Flair, and WestJet deploying it. Photo: Ace via Flickr.

The MAX 8 is inevitably the most popular variant, just like the middle-of-the-road next-generation B737-800. However, Alaska only uses larger MAX 9s while United uses both MAX 8s and 9s. Southwest has a considerable number of smaller MAX 7s on order to replace its B737-700s, while WestJet and United will have all three variants once all aircraft are delivered.

Have you flown the MAX this year? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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“One Of The Best Decisions We Made”: American On Widebody Redeployment

American Airlines took the decision not to return to a number of seasonal summer destinations in Europe this…

“One Of The Best Decisions We Made”: American On Widebody Redeployment

American Airlines took the decision not to return to a number of seasonal summer destinations in Europe this year. Instead, it focused on deploying its widebodies into the domestic market. Speaking with Simple Flying, American Airlines’ Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja explained why this was such a great decision.

American Airlines’ widebodies have been busy in the domestic market this year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Redeploying the widebodies

The widebodies that American Airlines would usually have been flying to Europe and other long-haul destinations had a very different mission this summer. While the airline maintained its connections to some major points in the international market, many of its widebody aircraft were instead deployed onto domestic routes, giving the airline higher gauge while international travel remained tricky.

This strategy saw American not making a return to several seasonal summer destinations – Croatia, Hungary, Poland, for example – while many of its competitors did. Nevertheless, Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ Chief Revenue Officer, believes it was a good choice. He told Simple Flying,

“For this summer, we didn’t do things like Croatia or any number of things. And we debated it a lot. But major credit to our network planning team who stood by the decision that they made, which was to go and take those widebodies and deploy them into short haul. And as we look back at it, that was probably one of the best decisions that we have made.”

American B787
Raja believes that deploying the widebodies domestically was a great decision. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

For American, moving its widebodies onto domestic services saw its profitability soar. In the second quarter of the year, it was operating almost as many domestic widebody flights as its competitors were operating internationally. The validation came when the airline compared its revenue per available seat mile (RASM) with its competitors,

“As we looked at everybody’s Q2 results … the RASM we were generating was 200 to 300% of what they were generating on their long-haul services. We were filling those airplanes with customers. Those just turned out to be really great decisions. There is a world where, in our system, having bigger gauge airplanes is absolutely of a paramount importance for us.”

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Has international changed forever?

American Airlines has historically allowed a proportion of its long-haul operations to be fairly experimental. The airline would take aircraft like the Boeing 767 or the 757 and fly it into smaller markets in Europe for the peak summer season. During the winter, they could point them to the Caribbean or bolster domestic services – it was a model that worked well for those old, inexpensive aircraft.

But the pandemic saw American wave goodbye to these cheap aircraft. The 767, 757 and older A330s are all either out or well on their way out, and that could change the way American plans its international operations in the future.

AA 767-300
American Airlines retired its Boeing 767-300ERs in 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

“The way we really envision our international system coming back is we want to have widebodies that can go work hard throughout the year … we want to get much better utilization on the new airframes that we have and deploy them really wisely.”

American is thinking hard about its passenger experience too. With the inconsistencies of the cabin products on those older airframes now gone, it has an opportunity to really consider if the configuration is right for the market it wants to serve. International will rebuild around this, and around deploying into those markets where AA can create a unique network product with its partners like British Airways and Qatar.

Raja noted that, with the range of airframes it will have at its disposal in the coming years, it will have even more chances to get this balance right. Peak season Europe might be served by a widebody, but when the demand drops off, aircraft like the A321XLR can pick up the slack, letting the widebody to be redeployed into stronger markets like South America.

Overall, although the pandemic has reshaped American Airlines forever, it has also given it a chance to hit reset on the way it was doing things. Many of the aircraft that have seen retirement as a result of the downturn were not AA’s choice of planes, having been acquired through mergers with other airlines. Now, it has the opportunity to thoughtfully and deliberately rebuild its international network in a way that will be better for the airline and its customers for the future.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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