Southwest Airlines has joined fellow U.S. carriers United and American Airlines in removing the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedules for another month, pushing back its previous plan to cancel all Max flights now through November 2. All three U.S. Max operators have now removed the airplanes from their schedules until early November, as they monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on software fixes and training requirements.
“By proactively removing the Max from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our customers’ travel plans,” said Southwest in a statement. “The limited number of customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule are being notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures. The revision will proactively remove roughly 180 daily flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.”
In its previous announcement, issued June 27, Southwest said the Max grounding would result in the removal of 150 flights through October 1. As more Max airplanes originally slated to enter the fleet remain grounded, their operators will feel a more acute effect in terms of daily flight cancellations.
The delays also have forced the airline to defer two new-hire pilot classes and two captain upgrade classes until it receives more definitive information about the airplane’s return to service and delivery timelines, reported Reuters, citing an emailed statement from Southwest.