Canadian low-cost carrier Swoop is delaying its new San Diego flights until at least the summer of 2020. The reason for this: The world-wide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. However, doesn’t have any 737 MAX aircraft currently in its possession nor does it have any on order. What’s going on?
The original plan
Swoop was to begin service to San Diego (SAN) from two Canadian cities:
- Abbotsford, British Columbia (YXX)
- Edmonton, Alberta (YEG)
This service would utilize some of its seven Boeing 737-800s, commencing on Oct 4th. According to The Points Guy, the airline first unveiled these plans earlier this summer, in early July. However, these flights are no longer in Swoop’s schedules and were quietly removed without any announcement. In fact, San Diego has been removed from the airline’s route map recently (amusingly, the filename for the new route map is called “route-map-W19-withoutSAN”).
A spokesperson for Swoop confirmed with The Points Guy the changes stating:
“…due to the industry-wide Boeing 737 MAX groundings and subsequent aircraft inventory shortages, Swoop has cancelled two routes to San Diego.”
The plan now: Swoop will aim to launch its San Diego routes almost a year from now – during summer of 2020.
How is this related to the 737 MAX?
So why is Swoop blaming their San Diego route postponement on Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis? Well, those familiar with the Canadian aviation industry will have already guessed it: Swoop is a discount carrier owned by WestJet. WestJet has already had 13 737 MAX 8s delivered with another nine on the way. Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, there are also 12 737 MAX 10s on order.
The connection is that Swoop will be growing its fleet by “inheriting” aircraft from WestJet. However, previous plans to grow the fleet are on hold with WestJet adjusting to its own inability to use its 737 MAX aircraft for passenger service.
At the end of last month, WestJet announced that it will remove all Boeing 737 MAX flights from its timetables until 4th November. Making up around 10% of the carrier’s seat capacity, the loss of its 13 Boeing 737 MAX has come at a bad time for Canada’s second largest airline. The carrier is currently preparing for a $3.5 billion acquisition by Canadian private equity firm Onex Corporation.
Other airlines affected
Here is what we have so far on 737 MAX groundings and schedule adjustments:
- WestJet arch-rival Air Canada has removed the 737 MAX from schedules until January.
- Like WestJet, American Airlines has taken the 737 MAX out of its schedules until November.
- Like Swoop, United Airlines has had to cancel a route for the time being: Chicago to Leon (Mexico).
- Alaska Airlines will re-introduce the Q400 aircraft into its fleet until the 737 MAX can fly again.
- Southwest has removed the 737 MAX from schedules until January.