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American Airlines CEO says expects 737 MAX approval in near future

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - American Airlines Group AAL.O expects U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval of Boeing Co's BA.N grounded 737 MAX jets in the near future, Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Wednesday.

Like other U.S. 737 MAX airlines, American is scheduling without the aircraft until the FAA approves new software and training updates by Boeing after two fatal crashes. Boeing has said it is targeting FAA approval this year.

“We feel a lot better about the fact that indeed the aircraft is going to get certified sometime in the near future. When it does, we will be ready,” Parker said at the Baird Industrial Conference.

U.S. airlines have removed their 737 MAX jets from their flying schedules until early next year, with American selling tickets for five of its 24 737 MAX jets starting on Jan. 15.

“That is certainly a best case scenario that would require the aircraft to be certified kind of in the earlier part of December as opposed to the later part of December,” Parker said of the Jan. 15 date.

Airlines have said they will need a month or two after regulatory approval to train their pilots and prepare their 737 MAX jets for flight after a grounding that is now in its ninth month.

American has estimated that the grounding of its MAX fleet has impacted 2019 earnings by $540 million (£419 million), a cost Parker reiterated on Wednesday he believes should be borne by Boeing’s shareholders rather than American’s shareholders.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and Sanjana Shivdas; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy