Airlines have sold tens-of-thousands of flights aboard Boeing’s 737 Max for the last few months of 2019, despite the fact the jet is still banned from the skies after two crashes killed 346 people.
Tui, Norwegian and United Airlines have booked people on to more than 32,000 flights on the 737 Max 8 and 9 models in November and December.
However, regulators are yet to lift a flight ban on the jet, which is Boeing’s best-selling plane ever, until they are satisfied it is safe. Crashes involving planes operated by Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air killed everyone on board, and have been blamed on a faulty anti-stall system fitted on the plane.
Boeing has committed to pay billions in compensation to both the families of passengers killed and airlines, whose summer schedules have been severely hit by the loss of 40m airlines seats across the globe after the plane was pulled from their operations.
According to aviation data firm OAG, Norwegian, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Icelandair account for most of the bookings in November and December, but British carrier Tui also has hundreds of flights scheduled on the aircraft.
The news was first reported by the Sunday Times.
A Tui spokesperson said: “All our 737 MAX aircraft are grounded and we are waiting for the certification process and approval by the authorities.
“Once we have the certification and approval we will be able to plan our flying programme. Until then we will make planning assumptions, which will constantly change.”
City A.M. has approached Norwegian for comment.
Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg has said he hopes the plane will take to the skies again in October. Muilenburg has come under heavy criticism for not grounding the jet late last year, when the first of the two crashes happened.
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