Southwest Airlines cancels Boeing 737 Max flights till June 6

In December, Southwest Airlines, which has 37 Boeing 737 Max aircrafts in its fleet, had cancelled its flights till April 13

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Southwest Airlines on Thursday said that it isn't hopeful about Boeing 737 Max's return anytime soon and has decided to extend cancellations till June 6. Southwest Airlines' announcement follows United and American Airlines' decision to extend cancellations of its 737 Max flights.

This is the second time in the last few weeks that Southwest Airlines decided to extend the cancellations of all its 737 Max flights. The situation is similar with all other airline companies, who have been suffering owing to Boeing's constant failure and delay in returning the troubled aircraft to service.

Southwest Airlines continues to bleed

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Pixabay

Southwest Airlines on Thursday said that it would be cancelling all its 737 Max flights through June 6. This would mean the company will be now operating 330 fewer weekday flights from its combined peak-day total schedule of 4,000 flights daily.

In December, Southwest had projected the return of the aircraft to its fleet not before April 13, which was after Easter. The announcement came hours after Boeing had said that it would be halting the production of 737 Max starting January, as the Federal Aviation Administration won't allow airline companies to fly the jet before 2020.

Crisis deepens for carriers

Boeing 737-MAX. (File Photo: Boeing)
Boeing 737-MAX. (File Photo: Boeing) IANS

Boeing's crisis has become a punishment for airline companies across the globe. Boeing's highest-selling 737 Max has been grounded across the world since March following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people.

The aircraft maker had earlier said that it expected the return of the aircraft in December. However, the US Federal Aviation Administration in December said that it won't allow airline companies to fly the troubled jet and didn't set a timeline for the return of the aircraft to service.

Earlier this month, Boeing said that it would recommend pilots to undergo simulator training before flying the 737 Max. This would not only add to Boeing's costs but also would further delay the aircraft's return to service even if it comes back from review anytime soon.

Southwest suffers the most

Southwest is the biggest operator of the 737 Max and this has been bleeding the most. Although the airline company struck a partial compensation deal of $125 million with Boeing, its sufferings are far from over. Southwest has 34 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet, the highest by any airline company in the world. Since the grounding, the company has cancelled 175 weekday flights.

This article was first published on January 17, 2020