United Airlines Grounds An Estimated 8,000 Flights Through October Due To Grounded 737 Max Jets

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United Airlines plans to cancel more than 8,000 flights through the fall due to unusable Boeing 737 Max planes. The planes — which have suffered from technological glitches suspected to have been the cause of two major crashes — have been grounded, according to Yahoo,

United said in a statement late Friday that 14 jets total have been grounded until November 3, a full month longer than initially scheduled. Currently, the grounded 737 Max jets have resulted in 40 to 45 cancellations every day in July. However, come October, the cancellation rate surges to 95 daily.

The faulty planes have been blamed for two crashes that killed a combined 346 people. The first was Indonesian-based Lion Air flight 610, which crashed on October 2018, killing all 189 on board. The second crash, Ethiopian Airlines’ flight 302, occurred in March 2019, claiming 149 lives.

Many believe the cause of the crash was due to a software system created to help the plane avoid stalling. The program seemed to malfunction shortly after take-off, pushing the front of the plane downwards and causing the aircraft to enter a nosedive, according to The New York Times,

The software, known as MCAS, was a recent update to the 737 Max, one of Boeing’s main aircrafts that has been flying for decades. Boeing recently changed the 737 Max so that the plane is equipped with larger engines and can fly further distances. However, these updates changed the aerodynamics of the aircraft, making the plane more likely to stall and thus prompting the need for an anti-stall safeguard.

Grounded Boeing 737 Max Airplanes
Grounded Boeing 737 Max AirplanesFeatured image credit: Stephen BrashearGetty Images

However, the aviation company may have sought to cut corners by outsourcing the software design to engineers who earned as little as $9 per hour. Boeing also allegedly fired senior engineers, believing the software was developed enough, reported The Inquisitr,

“Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here. All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective,” said Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing flight control engineer who had been fired in 2017.

However, a representative for Boeing insisted that although the company contracted Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd for several programs, HCL did not work on the MCAS system.

United is not the only airline to have suffered due to grounded jets. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have also cancelled thousands of flights. The problem has even reached a global level, with airlines in China, Norway and India all reportedly asking Boeing for compensation.