Southwest is pulling the 737 Max from its schedule for another month as questions mount about whether Boeing can get the plane ungrounded this year
- Southwest Airlines is pulling the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule until at least March 6, a month later than previously.
- Boeing is facing increasing hurdles getting the plane returned to service, putting its goal of having the Max flying by the end of 2019 into doubt.
- The plane type has been grounded worldwide since March.
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Southwest Airlines said on Friday it is extending the cancellation of flights using 737 Max jets from its schedule by another month as Boeing faces increasing hurdles in winning approval to return the plane to service before the end of this year following two fatal crashes.Last month, Southwest had extended the grounding of all 34 737 Max jets in its fleet to February 8. Southwest, the largest operator of the 737 Max 8 jets, said it was now canceling flights through March 6 because of "continued uncertainty around the timing of Max return to service" and added it is "unable to provide an update on first quarter capacity guidance at this time."Advertisement
United Airlines and American Airlines have canceled their 737 Max flights into January.
Reuters reported this week that US and European regulators will need to return to Iowa to complete an audit of Boeing's software documentation after regulators found gaps and substandard documents. 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 has said it would not unground the planes until 30 days after that flight occurs. Two US officials told Reuters it is extremely unlikely -- if not impossible -- that Boeing will be able to win approval to return flights to service before the end of December.
MCAS was designed to compensate for the 737 Max having larger engines than previous 737 generations. The larger engines could cause the plane's nose to tip upward, leading to a stall - in that situation, the system could automatically point the nose down to negate the effect of the engine size.
Since the grounding, other potential safety issues have been found in the plane, leading Boeing to make major changes to how its onboard flight computer functions.Get the latest Boeing stock price here.Advertisement
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