Southwest Air Doesn't See 737 Max Flying Before March — NewsBreak

Cheryl Sanders
November 10, 2019

MCAS was created to compensate for the 737 Max having larger engines than previous 737 generations.

The domestic-focused United States carrier, which had previously set February 8 as a return date for the MAX, said "proactively" removing the aircraft from service reduced the likelihood of last-minute cancellations and disruption. Boeing Co is facing increasing hurdles in obtaining approval to return the plane to service before the end of this year as it has targeted.

Southwest extended its grounding by way of March 6, 2020, whereas American extended it till finally March 5.

United Airlines and American Airlines, the other two US operators of the jet, have cancelled their 737 Max flights into January. Boeing has confirmed it must submit revised documentation.

That has thrown into question when Boeing can complete a certification test flight. The Federal Aviation Administration issued its order on March 13, 2019.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper. However, it now expects to return the planes to service by March 5, almost one year after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines accident which killed 157 people and led to the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX.

The return-to-service dates provided by the airlines are hardly set in stone, considering they're contingent upon Boeing completing its work to fix problems with the plane, and regulators' acceptance that those changes are sufficient.

Just two days ago, American Chief Executive Doug Parker said he was hopeful that the aircraft would "get certified in the near future".

The jet's flight control system - including the so-called MCAS anti-stall system - played a role in the crashes of both the Ethiopian Airlines flight in March this year and in the Lion Air flight in October last year. That toll will only rise the longer the MAX remains parked. The airline is discussing compensation with Boeing, but no agreement has been reached.

It is the largest customer of the aircraft in the U.S. with 34 in its fleet and 200 orders pending when air authorities made the decision not to allow the planes to fly in the wake of the two fatal accidents. It said on Friday it still hopes to receive seven MAX deliveries in the current quarter, with the remaining shifting into 2020.

As a result of the extended cancellations, Southwest said it was unable to provide an update on first-quarter capacity guidance at this time.

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