United Airlines Holdings Inc
The new timeline strongly suggests that none of the 737 MAX jets will be flying for a second US summer, an issue that hit US MAX operators' profits during last year's peak travel season. The delays could also mean more potential compensation from Boeing Co
Boeing's 737 MAX was grounded worldwide last March after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people within five months.
The U.S. planemaker has spent months updating software believed to have played a role in both crashes, but fresh issues have surfaced, complicating regulators' efforts to re-approve the plane.
A certification flight as early as this month, after repeated delays, could now take even longer as Boeing tries to resolve the new problems, the sources said.
US airlines that operate the 737 MAX were planning to put the planes back in the air in early June if regulators had approved the plane in the first quarter, but that now looks increasingly unlikely.
Southwest Airlines Co
United is now scheduling flights for after Sept. 4.
One key issue yet to be resolved is whether Boeing must separate two wiring bundles that may be too close together, which could lead to a short circuit and crash if pilots do not respond appropriately. Boeing said Friday it is still in discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration about the issue.
Meanwhile, carriers like Delta Air Lines
Boeing spent $1.4 billion on compensation for 737 MAX customers last year and Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said this week the company expects "a good portion" of additional settlements to take place this year.