DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Southwest Airlines has become the first airline to say it won’t fly the Boeing 737 Max aircraft again until next year.
The company announced Thursday that they’re extending the date they expect to use the Max jets again — the extended date will not be until at least January of next year, they stated.
The Max jets were grounded after fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. When the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes in March, Southwest had 34 Max jets — more than any other airline.
Southwest reported second-quarter earnings of $741 million, but says the grounding cost the airline $175 million. The carrier said it will have to decrease capacity by as much as 2 percent because of the extensive delays in returning the Max to service.
The airline said the expected losses have also forced them to shut down operations at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. Officials said the move was made to mitigate damages and optimize their aircraft and resources. They will discontinue operations at the airport in November.
The new extension came just a week after the airline pushed flights on the Max back to November — taking about 180 flights per day off the airline’s schedule through the holidays.
However, the company mentioned by doing this now, they can make their flight schedule more reliable all the way through the busy travel period.