Southwest Airlines scrubs Boeing 737 Max flights through early June

Jan. 16 (UPI) — Southwest Airlines said Thursday it has pulled the grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft from its flight schedule until early June in a proactive effort to avoid last-minute flight cancellations.

Southwest, which exclusively uses Boeing 737 aircraft, had previously planned to restore the Max after April 13, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration still has given no firm timeline for lifting its order grounding the model following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people within five months in 2018 and 2019.

Adding to the possible delays, Boeing this month announced that pilots will need to undergo flight simulator training after the Max is reinstated.

That prompted Southwest to announce the planes will be off its schedule until at least June 6, removing roughly 330 weekday flights from its schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights at peak times.

“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.

Southwest joined American and United airlines in proactively scrubbing more planned 737 Max flights. Both announced they have cancelled them through June 4.