Southwest Airlines Concedes 737 Max Planes Won't Be Ready for the Holidays and Asks Boeing to Pay for Losses

Southwest Airlines said it doesn't plan to fly its grounded 737 Max jets through the holidays and has asked Boeing for compensation to help pay for losses, the company said Thursday.Dallas-based Southwest Airlines also said it is dropping service to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey as it tries to juggle a smaller fleet."We have had preliminary discussions with Boeing regarding compensation for damages due to the MAX groundings," Southwest said in a statement. "We have not reached any conclusions regarding these matters."Southwest Airlines said it is preliminary taking the planes off schedules through Jan. 2, ending hopes that it would be ready to fly for the Winter holidays and forcing the company to scramble during its busiest flying season of the year.The 737 Max jets have been grounded since March 13 following two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.Southwest made the announcement in its second-quarter earnings, where revenues were below expectations even though profits were up.Southwest didn't say how much the 737 Max groundings had cost it or how much it wanted back from Boeing, it's sole plane provider, but American Airlines said in January it had lost $185 million in the second quarter alone from the plane being out of service.Southwest and other airlines have been canceling certain flights and dropping some routes on a month-by-month basis. Southwest only last week said it was dropping flights through November, but Thursday pushes its expectations back by another two months.But the airline made its most dramatic move yet in dropping service to Newark because of the 737 Max problems. Instead, it will push service to New York LaGuardia Airport.Newark service will stop Nov. 3, the company said."The financial results at Newark have been below expectations, despite the efforts of our excellent Team at Newark," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement. "I am grateful to our wonderful Newark Employees, who are a top priority, and will be given an opportunity to relocate to another station in our system, including LaGuardia Airport, where we are experiencing strong customer demand."Boeing on Wednesday said it expects to have the 737 Max jets cleared to fly in the fourth quarter of 2019, but didn't offer further clarification on where the plane was in getting FAA approval.  Continue reading...

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