Southwest Airlines has removed Boeing 737 Max which has been grounded worldwide since mid-March after the second of two deadly crashes from their Schedule till next year February
Over the summer, Southwest had delayed the date of the planes’ expected return until January, 5 but has now removed the aircraft from its schedule through February 8.
The lack of clarity on when regulators will allow airlines to operate the planes, grounded since mid-March after the second of two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people, have forced airlines to repeatedly change their schedules.
Southwest’s pilots said last week they didn’t expect the Max to return until February at the earliest.
American Airlines and United Airlines last week said they don’t expect to fly the planes until January, about a month later than they previously forecast. Airline executives say it is easier to cancel 737 Max flights ahead of time than scramble at the last minute to rebook passengers and crews.
Air Canada on Wednesday said it would take the plane off its schedule until Feb. 14, citing “regulatory uncertainty about the timing of the aircraft returning to service.”
Pressure is mounting on Boeing to get approval for the return of the aircraft to commercial service, but aviation officials say they have no firm timeline to do so. Crash investigators implicated flight control software that misfired, repeatedly pushing the nose of the planes down on both doomed flights.
Boeing has developed a fix but hasn’t yet handed it over to regulators for final review.
Airlines with the Max in their fleets say they have lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to the grounding.
Boeing in July took a nearly after-tax $5 billion charge to compensate airlines, but a total is still unknown as the grounding passes the seven-month mark