Southwest, World’s Largest Operator of 737 Max, Delays Return of Aircraft to Early June

By Paul Riegler on 19 January 2020
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Southwest Airlines, one of three U.S. airlines that had to ground its Boeing 737 Max fleet, announced that it has delayed its plans to restart flights of the aircraft until early June, as the worldwide grounding of the beleaguered aircraft approaches the 11-month mark.

Regulators grounded the jet in the aftermath of two fatal hull losses, an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March and last year’s Lion Air crash.

Southwest, the world’s largest operator of the type, said it would be forced to cancel approximately 330 flights from its typical weekday schedule of 4,000 flights per day.

The three U.S. airlines that operate the 737 Max – the other two are American Airlines and United Airlines – have cancelled tens of thousands of flights – many during the busy and profitable summer travel season – since the grounding went into effect.

The beleaguered aircraft is now slated to return to the airline’s schedule on June 6, 2020.  Previously, that date was April 13.

Meanwhile, American Airlines and United Airlines have also removed the 737 Max jets from its schedule through early June.

Boeing, the maker of the 737 Max, has developed a software fix for the planes, which involves the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, a flight control system that repeatedly pushed down the noses of the two jets that crashed.  Since then, other potential issues with the aircraft have emerged and the multiple senior Boeing officials including the CEO have been forced to resign as a result of their handling of the issue.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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