Southwest Airlines announced on Thursday that its fleet of Boeing 737 Max airliners will be grounded until at least August.
“All Boeing MAX 8 aircraft have been removed from our schedule through August 5, 2019. Our adjusted schedule is already in effect on Southwest.com,” the Dallas-based airline said in a statement. “Thanks for your patience and understanding during this time.”
As a low-cost airline, Southwest does not have interline agreements in place with other carriers. Which means passengers whose flights have been canceled by Southwest cannot be placed on another airliner.
Southwest’s announcement comes after American Airlines announced last week that flights using its fleet of 24 737 Maxes have been canceled until the beginning of June. That amounts to roughly 90 canceled flights per day for American passengers.
Southwest grounded its 737 Max fleet on March 13 in compliance with a US Federal Aviation Administration emergency order to withdraw the plane from service. All 737 Max airliners worldwide have been grounded after the crash of Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.
The two nearly new 737 Max airliners crashed within a five-month period under eerily similar circumstances.
Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest operator of the 737 Max with 34 in its fleet. The airline is also the single largest operator of all versions of the Boeing 737 with more than 750 of the planes in its inventory.
The FAA expects to receive Boeing’s proposed fix for the plane’s control problems in a matter of weeks. It’s unclear how much time the certification process for the update will require.
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