Boeing 737 MAX May Not Fly Until March According To Southwest Pilots

The Boeing 737 MAX is still facing a worldwide grounding. Although many airlines are expecting a return to service in early 2020, some airlines are preparing for an even later entry. Southwest Airlines’ pilots have now stated they believe the 737 MAX may remain grounded through March, 2020. 737 MAX return to service at Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines is still maintaining an early 2020 return to service. However, in Skift’s reporting, it is expected to take Southwest anywhere between 45 and 60 days to get the aircraft ready for passenger flights in compliance with FAA directives. As part of this timeline, Southwest anticipates the 737 MAX will receive re-approval before the end of November. This will put the 737 MAX on track to return to service by early 2020. However, if there are any delays to the process, it may push the timeline back. The FAA has not released a steadfast timeline as they are focusing on a thorough review of the aircraft. Needless to say, this review must be thorough in order for worldwide regulatory agencies and carriers to have confidence in the FAA’s safety standards. Numerous other agencies are conducting their own tests on the 737 MAX. What if the 737 MAX return to service is delayed? Unlike other airlines, Southwest will be less affected if the worldwide ban is not lifted simultaneously. The 737 MAX could fly on domestic routes while older 737NGs could take on the international routes until global certification. Nevertheless, even some restored domestic capacity would be a relief on Southwest’s operations. Indeed, having aircraft on reserve and not operating at full capacity gives airlines some breathing room in case of unexpected operational delays or issues.

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