Southwest Airlines announced Thursday it has updated its flight schedule and extended the cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights through early August, which will impact the busy summer travel period.
According to Reuters.com, Southwest previously removed the grounded fleet of 737 MAX planes from its flight schedule through June 6, but the airline revealed it would keep the aircraft out of its plans through at least August 10.
As the largest operator of 737 MAX planes, Southwest officials said the changes would result in roughly 371-weekday flights being removed from the carrier’s total peak-day schedule, a 10-percent increase from the 330 weekly flights previously canceled through June 6.
American and United airlines also previously canceled 737 MAX flights into June.
“By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our customers’ travel plans,” Southwest said in a statement. “The limited number of customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule will be notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures.”
Boeing officials announced last week the airplane manufacturer was still working toward a “mid-2020 estimate for return to service” for the 737 MAX fleet, which has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes killed 346 people.
In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed last week it anticipates the grounded plane’s certification flight will take place sometime in the next few weeks, according to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
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