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United Airlines trims growth plan for 2019

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 17 April 2019
DALLAS (AP) — The grounding of its Boeing 737 Max jets is causing United Airlines to trim growth plans for this year, and the carrier expects to discuss potential compensation with Boeing.

United claims to be managing the grounding relatively well by pressing spare jets into duty and delaying discretionary maintenance work on other planes.

That approach, however, comes with extra costs — sometimes the airline uses bigger and less fuel-efficient two-aisle jets to replace the missing single-aisle Max on domestic routes.

United has 14 Max planes in its fleet, and airline executives said Wednesday they don't expect those jets back before July. They said some of the 16 additional Max jets they expected to get this year might be delayed.

"Obviously there are some costs that we have been incurring and continue to incur," Chief Financial Officer Gerry Laderman said on a call with analysts and reporters. "We'll have a conversation with Boeing and I expect, like we always do, to resolve whatever that conversation is in a way that works for both of us."

United declined to give a figure for its extra costs.

The Boeing jetliner has been grounded around the world since mid-March after two crashes killed 346 people. Investigators are focusing on anti-stall software that pushed the planes' noses down based on erroneous sensor readings.

Boeing is working on a software update and training program for pilots that will highlight differences between the Max and previous versions of the 737, the best-selling airliner in history.

The company reported Wednesday that its first quarter profit doubled to $292 million on more passenger traffic and strong cost controls. Shares climbed $4.07, or 4.8 percent, to close at $89.24.

United said it expects to cancel 130 flights in April because of...
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