Southwest Airlines has joined the growing number of airlines pushing the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service to June. The aircraft has been grounded for about 10 months now, following two fatal crashes of the type.
Month by month, we’ve slowly seen the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service pushed back. Each time that one of the three US operators of the type pushes the return date back, the other two seem to follow suit fairly quickly. Last night American Airlines pushed back the return to June 2020. Now, sure enough, Southwest has quickly followed suit, delaying the aircraft’s return to June.
When will the Boeing 737 MAX return to the skies?
It’s impossible to say with any certainty when the short-haul aircraft will return to the skies. The narrowbody aircraft’s date keeps getting pushed back. As a result, there’s nothing to say that it won’t be pushed again to July, or possibly later.
Both Boeing and the FAA are refusing to give a definitive timeline as to when the process of returning the aircraft to service is set to be completed. Instead, it seems more of a case of “how long is a piece of string”, and it’ll be finished when it’s finished.
Last year, Boeing was hoping that it could’ve resumed deliveries of the MAX by now. However, this has not been the case as the FAA takes each step as it comes. This means that the manufacturer has been forced to stall the production of the aircraft. Each aircraft takes up a set amount of space on the ground. The manufacturer has been running out of this space.
Will passengers fly on a recertified Boeing 737 MAX?
Like Marmite, this seems a hotly debated topic. Many have said that they will never fly on the Boeing 737 MAX again. However, others have said that they will fly on it without worry. It’s important to remember that once it returns to the skies this will be, arguably, the most scrutinized aircraft on the planet. No stone will be left unturned as any further incident could jeopardize the reputation of both the FAA and Boeing.
Exactly when this will take place is anybody’s guess. However, I believe that enough people will still fly on this aircraft. Airlines like Ryanair won’t publish whether a flight is being operated by a Boeing 737 MAX, or a non-MAX aircraft. Additionally, will a large number of people be able to tell the difference between the two aircraft?
There is a final group of passengers, who wouldn’t fly on the aircraft immediately. Some have said that they will wait for a year or two of successful service without any further incidents before flying on the aircraft.
Would you fly on the aircraft, or avoid it at all costs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!