Southwest has scheduled the Boeing 737 MAX to operate over 9,000 flights next month, or about 9% of its total services. Some 84 airports will see the variant across 270 routes, the vast majority sub-daily. Showing how important the MAX’s fuel efficiency is versus Southwest’s NGs, the average sector length will be one-quarter higher than the carrier’s total average – helped by a big focus on Hawaii.
Southwest has 68 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, ch-aviation.com shows, nearly all of which are currently active. For now, its MAX aircraft are far overshadowed by 472 B737-700s and 207 B737-800s.
Southwest retired 36 B737-700s in 2020, with 30 to 35 expected to be retired annually over the next 10 to 15 years. Counteracting this will be its incoming MAX 7s and 8s, of which it has vast numbers on firm order.
Over 9,000 737 MAX flights in July
Southwest resumed flying the 737 MAX on a scheduled basis just over three months ago on March 11th, almost exactly two years after the type was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The 737 MAX 8 operated about 700 flights in that crucial March, with over 9,200 planned in July, analyzing data from Cirium, the aviation data company, indicates. This means about nine in every 100 Southwest flights will be the variant.
84 airports to see the MAX to July
Some 84 airports are scheduled to see the airline’s MAX aircraft in July, based on Southwest’s schedule submission. This is out of 114 in its network that month. That so many airports are down to see the variant shouldn’t be much of a surprise given how Southwest ‘flows’ aircraft around its network rather than there-and-back operations as often done elsewhere in the world. It also shows the network flexibility of the variant, crucial for a wider roll-out.
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What airports will see the most MAX flights?
Las Vegas – Southwest’s third-largest airport in July – will have the most MAX flights, as shown below. The importance of Hawaii is clear, with both Honolulu and Kahului in the top-10 list, with Lihue (#18), Kona (#22), and Hilo (#33) also served.
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- Chicago Midway
- Los Angeles
- Houston Hobby
As it currently stands, the state of Hawaii will have the second-highest number of MAX flights after California. Indeed, over four in ten of Southwest’s Hawaii flights are scheduled to be operated by the MAX, no doubt somewhat because of longer sector lengths and better fuel consumption versus the 738. This summer is a record for Hawaii to mainland service.
Las Vegas to San Diego is the top MAX route
About 270 routes will see the MAX in July, with the vast majority to be less than daily. At the other extreme are the top-10 routes, as shown below. While some are very short, the importance of Hawaii is obvious. At 2,917 miles, Honolulu-Phoenix stands out – it is Southwest’s longest route.
- Las Vegas to San Diego
- Las Vegas-Phoenix
- Los Angeles-Phoenix
- Phoenix-San Diego
- Honolulu-Las Vegas
- Honolulu-Long Beach
Have you flown the MAX yet or have a flight booked? Let us know by commenting.