Boeing 737 Max is grounded in Kahului

United flights between Maui and LA canceled today

A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max sits on the tarmac at Kahului Airport on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max sat on the tarmac at Kahului Airport on Wednesday after arriving from Los Angeles and its return flight was canceled in the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration’s order to ground the jetliners.

The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max jetliner that killed 157 passengers on Sunday led countries around the world to ground the aircraft. The FAA followed suit Wednesday, citing links between the Ethiopian jet’s movements and those of an Indonesian Lion Air flight that plunged into the Java Sea in October and killed 189 people, The Associated Press reported.

United Flight 417 arrived at Kahului Airport at 11:18 a.m. and was grounded until further notice, said state Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara on Wednesday. The return flight to Los Angeles, Flight 706 set to leave at 12:49 p.m., was canceled.

The United website said that Flights 417 and 706 were canceled today.

“Status: We’re sorry to let you know that your flight (UA417) on Mar. 14 has been canceled because of a recent order by the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all 737 MAX aircraft,” the website said. “We’re working to get you on another flight and will be in touch shortly.”

The note suggested flyers go to the United app or united.com to view and change reservations.

Another 737 Max was grounded at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, Sakahara said. He said that there were multiple flights that were bound for Hawaii that are still in whatever cities from which they originated.

The airlines are switching aircraft or making other accommodations for their passengers, he said.

Rachael L. Rivas, spokeswoman for United, said Wednesday night that the airline was working to secure alternate aircraft to serve 737 Max routes.

In its statement, United said it has 14 737 Max aircraft that account for about 40 flights a day. The airline said it will comply with the FAA order and “will remain in close touch with authorities as their investigation continues.”

Since Sunday’s crash, United said it has been “working diligently on contingency plans to prepare our fleet to minimize the impact to customers.”

Through rebooking passengers and utilizing spare aircraft, the airline said it does “not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order.”

“We will continue to work with our customers to help minimize any disruption to their travel,” United said.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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