Southwest Airlines is removing the 737 MAX from it's flight schedule for an additional two months, until at least Aug. 10.
The Dallas-based airline said they would not resume MAX flights until at least June 6, but on Thursday said, "based on continued uncertainty around the timing of MAX return to service, the company is proactively removing the MAX from its flight schedule through Aug. 10, 2020."
This latest revision will remove less than 10% of weekday flights from Southwest's summer schedule (roughly 371) out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.
"By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers' travel plans," the airline said, adding that customers who have already booked travel and who are impacted by the schedule change will be notified.
According to George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, it will also mean higher fares for those who've yet to book summer travel.
"Fares are pretty reasonable until mid-June. And then they’re solidly more expensive. It doesn’t even help flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Saturday. Every day of the week is expensive. I haven’t seen that in quite awhile," said George Hobica.
The airline said they are continuing to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on the software enhancements and training requirements for the 737 MAX.
"We remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX," Southwest said in a statement. "We offer our apologies to our customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience."
In January, Fort Worth-based American Airlines said they expected to resume service with the 737 MAX on June 4. There's no word yet if AA also plans to further delay the return of the jet.