Category Archives: Southwest Airlines

Reuters: U.S. airlines face too many travelers, too few planes in 737 MAX summer dilemma

From Reuters:

Normally, U.S. airlines compete to sell tickets and fill seats during the peak summer travel season. But operators of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX are facing a different problem: scarce planes and booming demand.

The grounding of Boeing Co’s fuel-efficient, single-aisle workhorse after two fatal crashes is biting into U.S. airlines’ Northern Hemisphere spring and summer schedules, threatening to disarm them in their seasonal war for profits.

“The revenue is right in front of them. They can see it, but they can’t meet it,” said Mike Trevino, spokesman for Southwest Airlines Pilots Association and an aviation industry veteran.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8718Q (msn 42546) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 944333.

Above Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8718Q (msn 42546) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 944333.

Southwest Airlines Co, the world’s largest MAX operator, and American Airlines Group Inc with 34 and 24 MAX jetliners respectively, have removed the aircraft from their flying schedules into August. United Airlines said on Monday it would remove its 14 MAX jets through early July.

Southwest’s decision will lead to 160 cancellations of some 4,200 daily flights between June 8 and Aug. 5, while American’s removal through Aug. 19 means about 115 daily cancellations, or 1.5 percent of its summer flying schedule each day.

Low-cost carrier Southwest, which unlike its rivals only flies Boeing 737s, had estimated $150 million in lost revenue between Feb. 20 and March 31 alone due to MAX cancellations and other factors.

So far airlines have said it is too soon to estimate the impact of the MAX grounding beyond the first quarter, but the extended cancellations signal that they do not expect a quick return of Boeing’s fast-selling jetliner. The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash just five months after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia. All on board both planes were killed.

Boeing is under pressure to deliver an upgrade on software that is under scrutiny in both crashes and convince global regulators that the plane is safe to fly again, a process expected to take at least 90 days.

The timing of a prolonged grounding could not be worse for Northern Hemisphere carriers. Planes run fullest during June, July and August, when airlines earn the most revenue per available seat mile, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

In a letter to employees and customers on Sunday, American Airlines’ top executives said they believed the MAX would be recertified “soon” but wanted to provide their customers reliability and confidence during “the busiest travel period of the year.”

American Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N303RE (msn 44447) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 945355.

Above Copyright Photo: American Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N303RE (msn 44447) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 945355.

American was cancelling about 90 flights per day through early June, but runs more flights and has less fleet flexibility in the peak summer travel months.

“We’re not denying that it’s going to be a challenge for us,” American spokesman Ross Feinstein said. “That is why if we have to extend cancellations based on aircraft availability we will do so as far in advance as possible.”

A decline in seat capacity could mean higher last-minute summer fares, particularly for business class travelers, aviation consultants and analysts said.

United has largely avoided cancellations by servicing MAX routes with larger 777 or 787 aircraft, but the airline president, Scott Kirby, warned last week that the strategy was costing it money and could not go on forever.

“We’ve used spare aircraft and other creative solutions to help our customers, who had been scheduled to travel on one of our 14 MAX aircraft, get where they are going. But, it’s harder to make those changes at the peak of the busy summer travel season,” United said on Monday.

  

Overall the MAX represents just 5 percent of Southwest’s total fleet and even less for American and United, but the strain on fleets increases as additional MAX deliveries remain frozen.

Southwest has 41 MAX jets pending delivery for 2019, while American has 16 and United 14. They are each working with Boeing and regulators to ensure the aircraft’s safety before flying it with customers and employees.

Meanwhile, operators have added a flight or two to other aircrafts’ daily schedules and deferred some non-essential maintenance work. Some airlines are also weighing extending aircraft leases and bringing back idled planes, but with unclear MAX timing, no option is clear-cut or cheap, consultants said.

United is due to publish first-quarter results on April 16, followed by Southwest on April 25 and American on April 26.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chris Sanders, Susan Thomas and Nick Zieminski

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Southwest takes the MAX 8 out of its schedule until at least August 5

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8708Q (msn 42566) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 940318.

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

MAX Summer Schedule Revision: An Update from Our President Tom Nealon

I want to take a moment to provide an update on our current plans surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. As you might know, Southwest removed the MAX from service on March 13, 2019.

Our Teams are working to further increase the Reliability of our schedule and reduce the amount of last-minute flight changes—especially during the upcoming summer travel season. With that in mind, we’ve now modified our schedule through August 5, 2019 to add further stability for Customers booking their summer travel.

While the timing for the return to service of the MAX remains unclear, what is very clear is our commitment to operate a reliable schedule and provide the famous Customer Service you expect from us. Our revised summer schedule allows us to accomplish those objectives.

The limited number of Customers, who have already booked their travel and will be affected by this amended schedule, are being proactively notified so that we can reaccommodate their flight plans well in advance of their travel date.

While the vast majority of our Customers’ itineraries have remained unaffected, flight schedule changes have inconvenienced some of our valued Customers, and, for that, I offer my sincerest apologies.

Safety has always been our most sacred responsibility to both our Employees and our Customers, and we will continue to remain in full compliance with all FAA directives and any additional requirements necessary to return this aircraft to service.

Again, our goal is to deliver the excellent Customer Service that you’ve come to know and expect from us and we remain steadfastly committed to that. We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments, and we invite you to visit Southwest.com for the latest updates.

Thanks for your patience and understanding during this time, and please know that the entire Southwest Team looks forward to serving you soon.

Tom

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8708Q (msn 42566) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 940318.

Southwest aircraft slide show:

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Winter Storm “Wesley” to affect a large area of the upper Midwest

Map: National Weather Service.

Southwest Airlines issued this statement:

Based on the forecasted weather conditions for the following cities, our scheduled service may be disrupted (flights may be delayed, diverted, and/or cancelled) on the following dates:

Wednesday, April 10:

  • Milwaukee, WI (MKE)

Wednesday, April 10, and Thursday, April 11:

  • Denver, CO (DEN)

Wednesday, April 10, through Friday, April 12:

  • Minneapolis, MN (MSP)

Customers who are holding reservations for these cities on the dates noted above, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Customers who purchased their itinerary via Southwest.com or our mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device.

Customers who did not purchase a ticket via Southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.

Customers in the U.S. scheduled to travel internationally must call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative for assistance with rebooking.

Delta Air Lines issued this statement:

Delta has proactively issued two weather waivers ahead of a winter storm Wednesday and Thursday for the Upper Midwest area and Colorado.

This latest winter system is expected to bring frozen and mixed precipitation to Delta’s Minneapolis/St. Paul hub and surrounding cities, spanning from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, down through Central Minnesota and down into eastern South Dakota and Colorado. Winter precipitation is slated to begin Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, prompting the potential for schedule adjustments Thursday as a result of field conditions at airports in the region.

Delta’s routes from the MSP hub:

Both the Upper Midwest and Colorado waivers allow customers traveling to, from or through the cities included to make a one-time change to their itinerary without incurring a fee.

Delta’s Meteorology team continues to keep an eye on the late-winter storm system, closely analyzing the latest data from various weather forecasting models as the storm moves through the Rocky Mountains. Factoring in the mountainous typography and other variables, each model has provided separate, though converging, forecasts for cities in the Upper Midwest region and Colorado.

As the system approaches, the weather prediction models are expected to more closely align on precipitation amounts, wind speeds and timing, allowing the airline’s meteorologists to provide the most accurate and detailed information to Delta’s operations teams. They’ll use that information to plan for any necessary changes to flight schedules to minimize the operational impact.

Customers are encouraged to check their flight status on Delta.com or the Fly Delta Mobile App. Customers can also get updates sent directly to their mobile device or by email with One-Time Flight Notification.

Update April 8, 5 p.m. ET

Delta’s Meteorology team in the airline’s Operations and Customer Center are keeping an eye on a late winter storm system that is expected to bring frozen and mixed precipitation to the Northern Plains of the United States Wednesday afternoon through Thursday.

Moving east from the Pacific Northwest region Monday, specifics around timing, precipitation totals and wind speeds are still coming together as Delta meteorologists analyze the latest weather model data. Details around the storm will likely be better defined Tuesday after the system crosses the Rockies.

Wind speeds and precipitation totals will be better projected as the storm moves eastward from the Pacific Northwest.

Customers can check their flight status by visiting Delta.com, checking the Fly Delta Mobile App, opting in for updates sent directly to their mobile device or via email with a One-Time Flight Notification.

SWAPA welcomes the formation of DOT special committee for aircraft certification

SWAPA issued this statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) expressed support for the Special Committee to review the FAA’s aircraft certification process announced this afternoon by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“For the men and women of SWAPA, safety will always be paramount,” said Jon Weaks, SWAPA President. “SWAPA looks forward to assisting in determining whether improvements can be made to the FAA safety oversight and certification process. SWAPA also appreciates Secretary Chao’s leadership on these issues as well as SWAPA being asked to submit subject matter experts for consideration to the Special Committee.”

SWAPA looks forward to ensuring this endeavor is a success so the U.S. aviation industry will remain the safest in the world.

Airlines are beginning to move their MAX aircraft into longer term storage

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8721J (msn 42548) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945963.

Southwest Airlines is one of several airlines worldwide moving their Boeing 737 MAX into storage. Southwest Airlines has moved at least 6 MAX 8 aircraft to the dry desert environment of Victorville, CA for storage according to Flightradar24:

Where are the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft? Flightradar24 has compiled a list based on the last movements of each aircraft: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8721J (msn 42548) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945963.

Southwest aircraft slide show:

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Southwest Airlines launches its Hawaii service

Southwest Airlines on March 17 operated its first scheduled flight to Hawaii from the Mainland. Flight WN 6808, a 5.5-hour nonstop flight from Oakland, arrived in Honolulu with the traditional water cannon salute and leis.

The new route is operated with its Boeing 737-800 ETOPS. The first flight was operated with Boeing 737-8H4 N8329B.

Another inaugural flight from Oakland to Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui will start on April 7.

In subsequent weeks, the carrier will inaugurate additional service from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Honolulu on May 5 and to Kahului on May 26.

Southwest will operate its first interisland service within Hawaii between Honolulu and Kahului, four times daily in each direction, beginning April 28, followed by service between Honolulu and Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Hawaii Island, four times daily in each direction, beginning May 12. The additional interisland service will make possible connecting service between Kona and both Oakland and San Jose.

All photos by Southwest Airlines.

Video:

Southwest Airlines adds new nonstop routes

Southwest Airlines  Boeing 737-800 SSWL N8567Z (msn 36928) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 105006.

Southwest Airlines today announced several new nonstop flights linking cities across the United States as it extends its bookable flight schedule through Nov. 2, 2019.

New Daily Nonstop Routes Take Off

Effective August 10, 2019, Southwest will add weekend service between St. Louis and Salt Lake City. On October 2, 2019, this route will be offered with daily service between the two cities along with implementing twice-daily nonstop service between Baltimore/Washington and Newark*.

*Southwest previously served this route in March 2013.

Above Photo: First validation flight to Hawaii. Southwest Airlines.

New routes available on weekend days

Effective October 5, 2019, the carrier will add weekend service between Nashville and Buffalo, N.Y.; Sunday-only service between Houston (Hobby) and Amarillo; and Sunday-only service between Dallas Love Field and Cleveland.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 SSWL N8567Z (msn 36928) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 105006.

Southwest aircraft slide show:

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