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

Advertisement:

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.

Pilots of Southwest Airlines are indicating that the 737 MAX may not fly until March, 2020. Photo: Boeing

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.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest has a major stake in the 737 MAX. Photo: Southwest Airlines

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.

Advertisement:

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. 

Advertisement:
Tire Burst Landing
Though Southwest has a sizable number of 737NGs, the 737 MAX could help restore additional capacity across the system. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest employees and compensation

Southwest Airlines is definitely seeking compensation amid the worldwide grounding of the type. With a sizable number of aircraft unable to fly, their operations are definitely taking a hit. And, other carriers have also received compensation offers or negotiations amid these groundings. However, unlike other carriers, Southwest is signaling that its employees could receive a part of that compensation.

Southwest 737
Southwest employees could see compensation amid the 737 MAX groundings. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Indeed, for the flight crew and cabin crew, there are fewer flights they can operate. As a result, there is a little less to go around in terms of flight schedules and aircraft variations.

Overall

MAX Landing
Boeing is hoping for a sooner rather than later return for the 737 MAX. Photo: Boeing

Though this is by no means definitive, it is noteworthy that Southwest pilots are planning for a longer grounding than anticipated. Only the FAA and regulatory agencies will be able to definitively offer a more concrete timeline for return to service. Although, there are plenty of variables still in play.

Advertisement:

When do you think the 737 MAX will return to service? Let us know in the comments!

Advertisement:

14
Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
Remy

Is this the longest grounding of an aircraft type ever? I read that all DC-10’s were grounded for a while at the end of the 1970s. And they eventually went on to fly. I wonder if the 737 MAX will survive this major scandal and grounding.

Shapes

5 months ago boing were saying they were ready to submit its final software fix for certification. What went wrong? Does anybody know? Clearly there is more going on than we are all privvy to.
https://interestingengineering.com/boeing-announces-software-fix-for-737-max-8-finally-ready

John

I have little sympathy for Southwest since they were part of the environment that led Boeing to rehash a 1960s designed aircraft for yet another time instead of doing a clean sheet narrowbody aircraft. Southwest has stubbornly refused to operate anything beyond the 737. The 717s from AirTran could have helped open up routes too big with the 737, but they’re now being useful for Delta.

As other articles have shown, I think Southwest will eventually be forced to bring in the A220 or A320neo on board.

Warren Heller

this aerodynamically poorly designed, “fatally flawed” plane must never be allowed to keep killing, hundreds at a time. GROUND IT PERMANENTLY ONCE AND FOREVER before more die.
put that damnable dennis the menace muilenburg where he belongs making license plates in the prison. his hencemen must go too and now before they destroy evidence. arrest them all now.
stop adolf’s [dennis] $ 12,000.00 per hour salary now paid for his excellent [sic] leadership.

WordsMatter

You get the impression that when Boeing asserts the MAX will be back in service in the last quarter of 2019, that the assertion is not based on anything material at all. It seems it is purely there to hurry regulators and to sell the notion to pilots and travellers that the fix for the MAX is 100% tried, tested and complete.

Chief_Engineer

This long grounding could probably have been avoided, had Boeing not tried to control events after having been caught out trying to support the flying of an airplane that should never really have received certification with the original configuration of MCAS.
The way Boeing has conducted itself in this case has severely damaged the reputation of Boeing for a very long time.
Boeing used to be an engineer’s company. It would seem that with the takeover of Mcdonnell Douglas, Boeing changed from being an engineer’s company to be a company run by bean counters.
The current Boeing CEO is a perfect example of this type of culture.
FAA has also showed both incompetence and displayed a remarkable lack of resources in letting a lot of the certification process rest with Boeing.
How an airplane can be certified with a system that is not mentioned in the airplane quick reference manual is actually quite worrying, and how the Boeing 737 MAX could be certified with a system like MCAS that relied on the input from only one AOA sensor without any AOA sensor disagree function is also very worrying.
The problem now is not so much for Boeing to actually fix MCAS but more for FAA to get foreign regulators to accept the airplane at the same time as FAA.
There are a few things where FAA and foreign regulators are in fundamental disagreement. One of these seems to be the need for simulator training.
For the European regulator, simulator training has pretty much been the norm if any new systems are introduced on a new iteration of an airplane type. The need for this was perfectly illustrated when fly-by-wire was introduced with the Airbus A-320. Back then, the problem was how the pilot could gain full control over the airplane without the flight control system wrestling for control in the background.
The very difficult job of regaining the trust and respect from other aviation regulators in the world is a position FAA landed themselves in so they can hardly get upset when the trust in FAA now is very low.
Hopefully, the 737 MAX case is a lesson learned to Boeing and FAA. Only the future will prove if any of them has learned any lesson this time.
If another 737 MAX crashes again, I would guess that it will be the nail in the coffin of the 737 MAX.
I hope the 737 MAX will fly again because the world needs the airplane, but the certification of the 737 MAX shall never be awarded as a compromise or as an attempt to solve the current need of a single isle airplane. Hopefully, the certification will only happen when the airplane is 100% safe.

OSCAR

THE MAX MAY TAKE LONGER THAN MOST PEOPLE THINK TO GET CERTIFIED TO FLY AGAIN AS THE US FAA MIGHT ACCEPT A QUICK FIX OTHER COUNTRIES MAY REQ A COMPLETE RETEST OF ALL SYSTEMS AS TRUST IN BOEINGS SELF TESTING HAS LED US TO THIS POINT ????? BOEING ARE TO BIG TO FAIL AND THE US GOV WILL EVENTUALLY ORDER MORE MILITARY AIRCRAFT TO HELP OUT WITH LOSSES , IF THIS WAS AIRBUS OR ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER US COMPANIES WOULD BE TAKING THEM TO THE CLEANERS FOR COMPENSATION AND LOSSES ……..

Jimbo

Why is the impetus regarding the problems with the max simply confined to getting it back in service hopefully with all its problems resolved as opposed to the general flying public being convinced and comfortable that the max they may be flying on/in isn’t going to drop out of the sky given all the negative publicity that Boeing has had and is still having regarding what’s been going on in the background ?, the texts between two inspecting pilots to name one instance.

Darren Love

I live in Australia and all of our airlines have cancelled all 737 MAX orders. The travelling public in this country will never accept the 737 MAX. We don’t have commercial airplanes falling out of the sky in this country and will never accept any compromised product that has the potential to fail. We have a saying here. Once a goat, regardless of how you dress it up, always a goat!

We will never fly on it as it is fundamentally flawed in its design and only fly’s because of a software patch. I will go as far as to state that if travelling overseas, I would seek out a carrier that does not have this aircraft in its stable. Most Ozzies (Australians) would also do the same.

If you understand the way this aircraft came into existence, then you will understand that the bean counters are in control. They tried to present a product that was dressed up as a 737, however was never part of the 737 trusted stable. It was a Frankenstein aberration that looked like a 737, however was a goat dressed up as a sheep.

Once a goat always a goat regardless of the spin that Boeing place on the chin of this death trap. Just my opinion.

I understand that the 737 MAX will need to be recertified for Boeing to continue to exist. The financial realities dictate that this must occur. In real terms I will not fly on this aircraft and will place my spending dollar with carriers that have anything other than the 737 MAX.

If Boeing was smart, they would convert them all to freighters and pay crews the extra danger money to fly them.