Southwest Airlines has extended the removal of the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedules through 2 September, reflecting ongoing uncertainty on when the aircraft will be cleared to return to service.
The Dallas-based carrier will cancel about 2.5% of its daily flights as a result of the latest extension. It had previously removed the 737 Max from its schedules through 5 August.
"With the timing of the Max’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the Max from our schedule through Sept. 2," says the low-cost carrier.
The latest extension will remove about 100 daily flights from Southwest's schedules, or about 2.5% of 4,000 daily flights on peak days.
Southwest had operated 34 737 Max 8s prior to the US Federal Aviation Administration grounding the aircraft on 13 March, making the airline the largest operator of the type at the time of grounding. Boeing is continuing with efforts to certify a software upgrade for the aircraft, to return the 737 Max to service.
"We are encouraged by the reported progress and proposed path forward for returning the aircraft to service, and we remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the Max," says Southwest.
Earlier this month, American Airlines said it was removing the 737 Max from schedules through 3 September.
Southwest, an all-737 airline, is the world's biggest 737 operator. It holds orders for another 233 737 Max 8s and 29 737 Max 7s, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows