Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

NewsBreak: Southwest Air Doesn't See 737 Max Flying Before March

Southwest 737 MAX Southwest will need time to return the type to service
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2019, 23:43

Southwest Airlines has extended cancellations of flights on Boeing's 737 Max through March 2020, in the latest setback for the troubled plane since two crashes that killed 346 people.

Boeing officials revealed they are unsure if software changes requested by government regulators for the grounded 737 MAX fleet will further delay the return of the planes.

The domestic-focused USA carrier, which had previously set February 8 as a return date for the MAX, said "proactively" removing the aircraft from service reduced the likelihood of last-minute cancellations and disruption.

Southwest, the world's largest 737 Max operator and which has bet its entire growth strategy on Boeing's newest single-aisle aircraft, had previously cancelled all its 737 Max flights until February 8.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. has pulled the Max from its schedule until January 6. It cited "continued uncertainty around the timing of MAX returns to service" by the FAA, CNN reported.

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Regulators began reviewing Boeing's technical documentation within the last week, and the audit has not been completed.

American had last stated that it planned ot begin reintroducing the jet to service on January 16, assuming that Boeing would meet its expected timeline of winning United States approval during the fourth quarter of this year. The FAA said it would take 30 days after the certification flight before it would unground the plane. according to Reuters.

The revision will remove an estimated 175 weekday flights from its schedule out of roughly 4,000 daily flights.

The Boeing (NYSE:BA) loss was the largest contributor to the Dow's small decline on Friday. It had 34 Maxes in its fleet with another 200 on order at the time of the grounding in March. Rising cost American has estimated that the 737 MAX grounding has cut 2019 earnings by $540 million, while Southwest estimated the total hit to its earnings between January and September at $435 million.

Southwest also said it would not be able to make operational revenue forecasts in the first quarter of 2020 due to the issue.

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