Southwest Airlines Removes Boeing 737 MAX From Schedule Through June 6, 2020
With continued uncertainty about the return to service timeframe for the Boeing 737 MAX, Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that they will remove the aircraft from their schedule Through June 6, 2020.
Southwest Airlines announced today that amid uncertainty related to the return to service (RTS) date for the Boeing 737 MAX, they have removed the aircraft from their schedule through June 6, 2020. The airline had previously projected a return date of April 14, 2020. In Thursday’s announcement, the airline stated they are proactively making the schedule change in order to offer reliability in their operation and stability for their customers. Southwest continues to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the 737 MAX software enhancements and for guidance on the new training requirements.
It has become clear that despite early optimism from Boeing, the 737 MAX is unlikely to RTS before the second quarter of 2020. The FAA will ultimately issue an airworthiness directive (AD) to certify the aircraft, once they are confident all the necessary changes to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software has been exhaustively vetted. The FAA has signaled that they will not be subject to time pressure and the RTS will occur when the aircraft is ready. For airlines, this will likely also require new training guidelines (including simulator training) not to mention the maintenance work required to bring stored aircraft back into service. Today’s announcement will remove around 330 flights from Southwest’s over 4,000 daily departures and affected customers will be notified of their re-accommodations. The airline reiterated that the purpose of their proactive decision to remove the MAX from their schedule is to reduce last-minute flight cancellations which could disrupt their customer’s travel plans.
Source: Southwest Airlines