Southwest Airlines is prepping for a summer travel season without its Boeing 737 Max planes. The agency and Boeing are now working to restore confidence in the 737 Max's safety with the public and regulators around the world, which halted flights before the United States. The decision, he wrote, would make the schedule more reliable.
Boeing said it has reprogrammed software on the 737 MAX to prevent erroneous data from triggering an anti-stall system that is under mounting scrutiny following the two deadly nose-down crashes. Most of Wall Street has expressed confidence that Boeing can fix the Max quickly and regain momentum.
Last month, Boeing and federal officials said privately that the company would finish a software fix before the end of March. Instead, it was delayed by an unexpected problem that Boeing hasn't fully described, and the company is now aiming to complete its work by late April. "We'll continue to work collaboratively with the FAA, Boeing and the Allied Pilots Association in this process".
It remains unclear how passengers will be after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia murdered all 346 people on board, to board the Max.
The longer the planes sit on the ground, the more money airlines lose. Southwest already figures that just the first three weeks the Max had been grounded, along with other setbacks, cut the airline's first-quarter revenue by $150 million.
Southwest is already canceling about 90 flights a day because its 34 Max jets have been grounded since mid-March. However, unless the airline finds replacement planes quickly - and that may be a complex process - Southwest will refuse about 10,000 flights that could have carried nearly 1.8 million people between now and early August.
Southwest Airlines has dropped the 737 Max aircraft from its schedule through the first week of August, signaling it expects the jets to be grounded for most of the busy summer travel season.
United Airlines, with 14 Max planes, says it is shuffling its fleet and mostly covering flights that were scheduled with the Max in mind. There could also be fewer fare sales.
This Max disaster to Boeing's price also climbs the more the plane is grounded and jets stack up around Seattle.
Airlines in China and Norway have said they want compensation for their grounded planes. While other airlines have kept quiet, analysts anticipate Boeing will make concessions that may total hundreds of millions of bucks.
The Chicago-based company also faces a growing number of lawsuits by families of the crash victims. Fewer than 400 have been delivered, but about 4,600 are on order.
Boeing stopped deliveries and announced last week that it was cutting production of 737s from 52 to 42 a month. "Our watches are off, calendars are in the drawer, we're going to take this on a pacing of getting it done right and getting all of our pilots' concerns addressed". It could be that airlines interested in the plane had already placed orders.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the FAA was still awaiting Boeing's final package of software updates for the Max's anti-stall countermeasure suspected of being a factor in the recent 737 Max crashes. Company leaders are expected to do so when they report first-quarter earnings later this month.
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