During a visit to Phoenix on Thursday, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker answered questions about the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max 8 airplane and foreshadowed more cancellations to come.
Parker was recognized as executive of the year by Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.
Parker told the audience at the event that American had been flying 24 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes but it has more on order and had been scheduled to have 40 in the air by the end of 2019.
That's now in question.
"So long as they're grounded, we're taking thousands of seats out of the system every day, which means customers we can't provide services to. So, we're continuing to work through it," Parker said.
The discussion came just hours after Ethiopian investigators revealed their preliminary investigation showed that a faulty angle of attack sensor had triggered the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, pointing the nose of the aircraft down. The crew had performed procedures recommended by Boeing but was unable to regain control of the aircraft.
In a video posted online, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg took responsibility for the error.
As Boeing works on a software update to correct the problem, it will be up to the FAA to approve that fix. That could take time and meanwhile the Max 8 will stay grounded.
"What that means is that probably before too long we’re going to have to cancel flights even further out into the future. That’s the impact," Parker told The Arizona Republic in an interview after the event.
He said the airline is working to make those calls early so cancellations affect the fewest number of passengers and cause the least amount of inconvenience.
"What’s most important is that Boeing and the FAA get comfortable that the airplane is safe for all carriers. And when they do, we’ll be ready. In the meantime, it’ll have an impact on us and we’ll do our best to minimize the impact on our customers," said Parker.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: American Airlines CEO talks about Boeing 737 Max 8, possible cancellations