Southwest Air Extends Absence of Boeing Max to Early February

(Bloomberg) -- Southwest Airlines Co., the largest operator of Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max, moved the return of the aircraft further into 2020, pulling it from flight schedules through Feb. 8.

The carrier, which announced the change in a statement Thursday, previously targeted Jan. 6 to resume Max flights. It joins Air Canada, which on Wednesday moved its date for resumption of flights to Feb. 14, citing “regulatory uncertainty” on when the jet will be approved to fly again.

The Max was grounded by authorities worldwide in March after crashes at Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines killed 346 people. Boeing has targeted this quarter for the narrow-body plane to be cleared to fly again, which requires regulators’ approval of new software and other changes meant to avoid a repeat of the malfunctions that caused the disasters.

The revised date means Southwest, with 34 parked Max aircraft, will cancel about 175 daily flights. United Airlines Holdings Inc. last week pulled the jet from its schedule until Jan. 6, while American Airlines Group Inc. plans a Jan. 16 return.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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