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Southwest’s timeline for Boeing 737 MAX pushed back, affecting Sacramento passengers

Trump issues order to ground Boeing 737 Max planes

President Donald Trump says the U.S. is issuing an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the wake of a crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people.
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President Donald Trump says the U.S. is issuing an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the wake of a crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people.

Southwest Airlines extended the length of time that its Boeing 737 MAX planes will remain grounded, which may be impacting Sacramento flights for the budget carrier.

In a Thursday news release, the airline said it would be keeping its fleet of MAX planes out of the air until November 2, extending it out from its previous October date. Two MAX planes were previously involved in deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Southwest previously announced that it was going to offer flights out of Sacramento International Airport to Hawaii, but flights are still not available.

“With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through Nov. 2,” Southwest said in a prepared statement. “By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our customers’ travel plans.”

The extended timeline means Southwest will be removing about 180 daily flights from its schedule out of more than 4,000 daily flights, according to the release.

Southwest operates 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and more than half of the flights out of Sacramento International Airport are through Southwest, according to previous reporting by The Bee.

Customers who have already booked airfare during the amended timeline period are being notified by Southwest and will be offered reaccommodation, according to the release.

Boeing’s MAX planes were removed from service by federal aviation regulators in March after 157 people were killed in an Ethiopian Airlines MAX plane six minutes after takeoff. Last year, a Lion Air MAX flight out of Jakarta crashed, killing 189 people.

“Southwest Airlines continues to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements,” the airline said in its release. “We remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.”

Bloomberg reported Thursday that the FAA has no fixed timeline on returning 737 MAX planes to service.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.
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