Southwest extends 737 Max flight cancellations through November 2
DALLAS — Southwest Airlines is the latest carrier to extend flight cancellations into November because of the Boeing 737 Max grounding.
The Dallas-based airline announced Thursday it has removed flights that use the grounded aircraft through November 2. Southwest has 34 of the 737 Max planes in its fleet, the most of any US airline.
The latest revision will remove 180 daily flights from Southwest’s schedule. Southwest said it operates 4,000 daily flights during its peak-day schedule.
The plane was grounded worldwide in March following the crash of a 737 Max in Ethiopia that killed everyone on board. It was the second deadly crash involving that type of plane in months.
It’s not clear when the 737 Max, which is Boeing’s top-selling plane, will be cleared by US and foreign regulators to fly again. Boeing has pledged to deliver a software fix to address issues with its automatic safety features that were linked to both crashes. Experts had expected the jets to be back in the air in August — but those efforts were delayed after another potential issue with the 737 Max was discovered during testing.
It is possible the 737 Max will be grounded into late 2019 or early 2020.
Southwest said Thursday that it remains “confident” that once certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration, “the enhancements will support the safe operation of the Max.”
Southwest joins other US carriers American Airlines and United Airlines in removing flights and extending cancellations because of the 737 Max’s troubles.
On Sunday, American extended cancellations until November 2, amounting to roughly 115 flight cancellations per day. United executives recently told analysts on an earnings call that they expected the jets to return to flight “no earlier than November 3.”