Southwest Airlines has removed its 34 Boeing 737 Max
aircraft from its schedule through Aug. 5.
“While the timing for the return to service of the Max
remains unclear, what is very clear is our commitment to operate a reliable
schedule and provide the famous customer service you expect from us. Our
revised summer schedule allows us to accomplish those objectives,” the
airline said in a statement.
The carrier went on to say that it is notifying “the
limited number of customers” who have already booked travel and will be
affected by the schedule changes.
Max aircraft have been grounded in the U.S. since March 13
as Boeing works on a software fix to its automated flight control system.
Investigations thus far suggest that erroneous information transmitted from an
aircraft sensor to the automated flight control system was responsible for
bringing down a Lion Air flight last October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight
last month. Between the two crashes, 346 people died.
The grounding initially forced Southwest to cancel
approximately 150 flights per day. The carrier has since reduced that number to
90 per day, spokesman Chris Mainz wrote in an email.
In taking the Max out of its flight planning through August,
Southwest will proactively remove approximately 160 flights per day from its
schedule, Mainz said.
The Southwest announcement follows a decision by American
Airlines to extend until June 5 cancellations of approximately 90 flights per
day due to the Max grounding.
Southwest has 34 Max aircraft out of a fleet of more than
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