Southwest Airlines has released a statement regarding the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. Effective immediately, the airline will continue the grounding of these jets until at least February 8, 2020. Previously, Southwest had only anticipated grounding the airplanes until January 5.
The 737 MAX is one of the newest planes being offered by Boeing. It is also their best-selling plane in history. However, two passenger airplane crashes occurred just five months apart, both involving 737 MAX jets. The planes were operated by different airlines and were flying in different parts of the world when the crashes occurred. All passengers and crew perished in both unfortunate deadly accidents.
The crashes were attributed to a design flaw, and these 737 MAX planes have been grounded worldwide since mid-March of this year. At first, Boeing thought that a simple computer patch would work. It has been several months, and the planes remain grounded globally. Boeing, along with the FAA, continues to work on the problem, but nobody knows for sure when the 737 MAX aircraft will be fit to return to service.
U.S. airlines have continued to reschedule flights that were meant for the 737 MAX and have canceled many over the last few months. Without a confirmed date in sight, many are changing their routes altogether.
Southwest has the largest fleet of 737 MAX jets in the United States. This grounding has caused significant changes to its flight schedules. In an effort to not cause any additional delays or cancellations for passengers, the airline has removed the 737 MAX from its schedule into February. United Airlines and American Airlines have only extended their delays through January.