Southwest delays return of its Boeing 737 MAX jets to February

Southwest delays return of its Boeing 737 MAX jets to February
Southwest delays return of its Boeing 737 MAX jets to February  

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co said on Thursday it was postponing the return of Boeing Co's 737 MAX jets to its flight schedule until Feb. 8, the latest delay for the plane involved in two fatal crashes over five months.

The airline had previously planned to keep the jet off its flight schedule through Jan. 5. United Airlines and American Airlines have canceled flights involving the 737 MAX until January.

"With the timing of the MAX's return-to-service still uncertain, we are extending the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments through Feb. 8, 2020," Southwest said in an update on its website "The revision will proactively remove roughly 175 weekday flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights."

Earlier this week, Southwest's pilots union forecast that the grounded Boeing 737 MAX airplane would return to the skies around February, weeks later than Boeing and airlines have projected.

Southwest is the largest operator of the MAX with 34 jetliners in its fleet. The aircraft was grounded worldwide following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 that together killed 346 people.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), the union for the airline's pilots, said flights would likely resume in "probably a February time frame."

Boeing said Monday it was "working towards return to service in the fourth quarter." A key step towards that effort - a certification test flight by Boeing - is not expected until at least early November.

Last week, SWAPA sued Boeing, alleging the planemaker "deliberately misled" the airline and pilots about the 737 MAX aircraft. The grounding of the 737 MAX in March forced more than 30,000 Southwest Airlines flight cancellations and caused over $100 million in lost wages for pilots, the union said.

Boeing said last week it believes the lawsuit "is meritless and will vigorously defend against it."

The union noted that following the certification test flight, the European Joint Aviation Authorities Joint Operational Evaluation Board has to submit recommendations to the FAA's Flight Standards Board.

Airlines will then submit proposed changes to the FAA Certificate Management Office and pilots must complete training.

Boeing is under pressure to deliver updated software and training to regulators for the aircraft to fly again, and the company has been negotiating compensation with customers like Southwest over the financial hit from the grounding.

Southwest, with around 10,000 pilots represented by SWAPA, had 41 more MAX jets on order for this year alone.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)


More Related News

Boeing 737 MAX safety upgrades are
Boeing 737 MAX safety upgrades are 'positive progress' - NTSB

The U.S. air accident investigator said on Thursday that proposed safety upgrades in the Boeing Co 737 MAX jet were "positive progress" toward meeting cockpit and systems recommendations it made after faulting Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration last year for development flaws following fatal crashes. The comments from National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt were submitted during a 45-day public comment period for proposed 737 MAX design and operating changes laid out by the U.S. FAA last month. The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide 18-months ago after crashes killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia and raised questions about FAA certification of the...

The 737 MAX Debacle Won
The 737 MAX Debacle Won't Be the End of Boeing

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Is Boeing Co. capable of making commercial aircraft at all?It's worth asking after an excoriating report by a U.S. congressional committee on the circumstances leading up to the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX planes. The accidents were "the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing's engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing's management and grossly insufficient oversight" by regulators, according to the report. Pending legislation may tighten that oversight, adding to future costs.The plane hasn't flown in more than 18 months. Though European safety officials have finally completed testing that could help return it to...

Southwest temporarily grounds 130 Boeing 737-800 airplanes over weight data
Southwest temporarily grounds 130 Boeing 737-800 airplanes over weight data

Southwest Airlines Co said late Wednesday it temporarily grounded 130 Boeing 737-800 aircraft after it discovered discrepancies in aircraft weight data. In January, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was seeking to fine Southwest $3.92 million for alleged weight infractions on 21,505 flights on 44 aircraft between May 1, 2018 and Aug. 9, 2018. The FAA alleged that Southwest operated the flights with incorrect operational empty weights, and center of gravity or moment data, which is used to determine how many passengers and how much fuel can be safely carried and where cargo should be located.

Boeing MAX crashes
Boeing MAX crashes 'horrific' result of lapses by company, regulator

Congressional investigators blamed two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes on "repeated and serious failures" by Boeing and air safety regulators, according to a report released Wednesday that adds scrutiny to the still-grounded jet.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Economy