737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines (2023)

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737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines (1)

Messages from Gary Kelly

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737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines (2)

(Video) More Than 600 Boeing 737 MAX In Service: How Is It Performing?

Return to Service Message

Alan Kasher, Southwest Pilot and
Senior Vice President of Air Operations

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737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines (4)

Returning the 737 MAX to Service

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Gary Kelly’s Message Regarding MAX Return to Service l March 10, 2021

As we prepare to return the Boeing 737 MAX 8 into scheduled service this week, let me begin by extending my personal thanks and sincere gratitude to the thousands of Southwest Airlines Employees across every Department who have worked countless hours, spanning two years, to bring us to this point. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our Customers for their patience. We appreciate the focused work of our counterparts at Boeing, the FAA, and aviation regulators and experts across the globe to ready the aircraft to welcome everyone back onboard.

While the airline industry is competitive, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the shared dedication of aviation experts and Leaders worldwide devoted to resolving operational issues to prepare the MAX for a safe return to service. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to find a more impressive display of collaboration and Teamwork across the entire industry throughout my 35-year history in this business. There is no greater responsibility that we all share than the Safety of our Employees and Customers.

To be clear, I have the utmost confidence in our ability to safely operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8. In December, I had a chance to fly on one of the more than 200 readiness flights we have conducted since late last year. It was a quiet and smooth ride, like I have experienced on every MAX flight I have taken since Southwest began operating the aircraft in 2017. I hope you will be reassured, as I am, to know all that has gone into making the MAX among the most-reviewed planes in the world.

In addition to the FAA-approved changes Boeing made to the MAX, our Teams across Southwest Airlines have spent the last two years preparing for our safe operation of the MAX after its return to service. Since December, we have completed the following:

  • Every active Southwest 737 MAX Pilot has completed (or will complete prior to flying the aircraft) additional FAA-required flight training in one of our nine 737 MAX simulators, as well as additional FAA-required computer-based training covering MAX procedures;
  • Every active Southwest Pilot has re-taken Southwest’s original 737 MAX 8 computer-based differences training as a refresher to complement the FAA-required training;
  • Southwest has conducted more than 200 Readiness Flights with our active 737 MAX fleet and completed thousands of hours of work, inspections, and required software updates to the aircraft so that we are prepared to welcome you back onboard.

Simply put, we would not be returning the MAX to service if I did not believe, beyond any and all doubt, that the aircraft is ready to carry our most precious cargo—you! I would not hesitate for a second to put my wife, daughters and sons-in-law, and granddaughters onboard the plane.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, there is nothing more sacred to me than the safety of our Employees and Customers. The changes made and the measures taken, by literally thousands of experts around the globe, have convinced me that the MAX is ready for us to safely fly once again with our proud and beautiful Southwest livery and our Pilots’ collective stamp of approval.

Thank you for your patience through this important work as we prepared to welcome you back onboard!

Letter from Gary Kelly, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer l November 18, 2020

After a thorough and comprehensive review of Boeing’s enhancements to the 737 MAX 8, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued official requirements that enable airlines to return the MAX to service. Southwest is in receipt of the FAA’s directive regarding flight control software updates and additional Pilot training related to the MAX, and we are ready to meet each requirement. There is much work to be done before our MAX aircraft will resume service, which we estimate will likely take place no sooner than the second quarter of 2021. Today, I want to share a few of our thoughts and plans.

First and foremost, there is nothing more sacred to me than the Safety of our Customers and Employees. If we had a cause for doubt of the Safety of our fleet—or any subset of it—simply put, the planes would not fly. That is a moral obligation that I share with my fellow Southwest Family Members who work, fly, and travel with our own families on these aircraft. This is not only our profession, career, and livelihoods—it’s deeply personal to all of us.

Our Southwest Pilot Leadership Team has reviewed and expressed confidence in the MAX software and training updates following Boeing’s enhancements to the aircraft. I have personally been in contact with Boeing and the FAA regarding the changes and have been briefed by our internal experts. Additionally, aviation regulators from countries around the world have reviewed Boeing’s changes to the aircraft and the FAA’s new requirements.

Without getting too technical, we understand that Boeing has made changes to the flight control system that now compares input from two angle of attack sensors as opposed to one; the aircraft only responds if data from both sensors agree and only activates once per event; and Pilots always have the ability to override the aircraft’s input. These changes have been reviewed and approved by the FAA, and, with these enhancements, I am confident we will be ready to operate the MAX in accordance with the FAA’s requirements. I am going to be flying on the MAX before we return the aircraft to service—and the same is true for many other Southwest Leaders.

Before we return the aircraft to customer service, however, every active Southwest Pilot will complete additional FAA-required flight training in one of our nine 737 MAX simulators and will complete additional FAA-required computer-based training covering MAX procedures. Southwest will also require active Pilots to re-take our original 737 MAX 8 computer-based differences training as a refresher to complement the FAA-required training. Additionally, Southwest will conduct multiple readiness flights on each of our 34 MAX aircraft and complete thousands of hours of work, inspections, and the software updates before any of our Customers board a Southwest 737 MAX.

At Southwest, we only operate Boeing 737s, and our Pilots are highly trained and experienced at flying the aircraft. In fact, before the 737 MAX was grounded, Southwest Pilots flew almost 40,000 flights on the aircraft, which is more than 89,000 flight hours. Now, we’ll approach returning the MAX to service with the same commitment to training that we’ve employed for almost 50 years coupled with an uncompromising and unwavering commitment to Safety. For us, it’s a passionate pursuit, and it’s among the most important work of our careers.

(Video) Flying Southwest Airlines on their BRAND NEW 737 MAX 8 From Long Beach to Tampa

Finally, we invite you to continue reading for more information regarding our plans for returning the aircraft to service. On this site, we feature a video from Senior Vice President of Air Operations Alan Kasher that explains next steps, including the additional Pilot training that will take place before the MAX will return to service. We will continue updating the site with additional information as we move forward. Our goal throughout this process is to be open and transparent with you every step of the way—just as you’ve come to expect from us.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding throughout our upcoming return-to-service process for the 737 MAX. As always, we appreciate your support.

(Video) Why The Boeing 737 Max Is Flying Again

Return to Service Message

Southwest Airlines Pilot Training

Returning the 737 MAX to Service

737 MAX News and Updates | Southwest Airlines (5)

Southwest Estimated 737 Max 8 Return to Service Timeline. FAA issues requirements for returning the 737 MAX 8 to service. Phase 1, Preparing 737 MAX materials for FAA review. 15 plus days. Southwest updates Operational Manuals with new procedures. Southwest finalizes training curriculum for Pilots. Southwest submits all materials to the FAA for review and approval. Phase 2, FAA approval achieved: Launch return to service plan. 120 plus days. Remove MAX from storage. Install software update on every MAX. Train all active Southwest Pilots. Each Southwest MAX will fly multiple Readiness Flights with Pilot from our flight Operations Team (without Customers onboard). Final Phase, the MAX returns to service.

Southwest Business Customers

We understand you may have some questions about the upcoming 737 MAX return to service. First and foremost, there is nothing more important to us than the Safety of our Customers and Employees. After a thorough and comprehensive review of Boeing’s enhancements to the 737 MAX 8, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued official requirements in November 2020 that enable airlines to return the MAX to service.

Why we’re confident:

(Video) A First Look Inside Southwest’s Boeing 737 MAX 8

  • The Southwest Team carefully reviewed the FAA-required software enhancements, revised operational procedures, and Pilot training requirements.
  • Aviation regulators from countries around the world have reviewed Boeing’s changes to the aircraft and the FAA requirements.
  • With these changes, we believe the MAX is among the most reviewed and tested commercial aircraft in the world, and we have confidence in our ability to operate the MAX in accordance with FAA requirements.
  • Southwest conducted multiple readiness flights on each of our MAX aircraft and completed thousands of hours of work, inspections, and software updates before welcoming Customers onboard.
  • Customers are able to view the scheduled aircraft type on their itinerary. Please keep in mind that aircraft swaps can occur, meaning the scheduled aircraft at the time of booking may be different than the aircraft type scheduled on the day of travel. We encourage Customers to check aircraft type closer to the scheduled departure date. For more information on how Customers may determine a scheduled aircraft type, please visit The Southwest Airlines Community.
  • If you are booking in your company’s preferred booking channel, aircraft type may not be displayed during the booking process. If this is the case, please visit Southwest.com and use the Flight Status option to check your flight’s aircraft type.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 FAQs

Yes, we are. The Southwest Team carefully reviewed the FAA-required software enhancements, revised operational procedures, and Pilot training requirements. With these changes, we believe the MAX is among the most reviewed and tested commercial aircraft in the world, and we have confidence in our ability to operate the MAX in accordance with FAA requirements. Additionally, aviation regulators from countries around the world have reviewed Boeing’s changes to the aircraft.

Southwest Pilots are among the most experienced Boeing 737 aviators in the industry -- in fact, it’s the only aircraft we fly. Our Pilots flew almost 40,000 flights with the MAX prior to the grounding, which is more than 89,000 flight hours. We know the 737, we train in the 737, and we take our mission to return the 737 MAX safely to the skies very seriously.

Yes! Before we brought the aircraft back into service, every active Southwest Pilot underwent FAA-required flight training in a 737 MAX simulator.

In fact, Southwest spent more than a year obtaining, installing, and certifying nine 737 MAX simulators that join 15 other 737-700 and 737-800 simulators as part of our Pilot training center in Dallas. To supplement the flight training, all of our active Pilots will complete computer-based training modules reviewing MAX procedures and operations, as required both by the FAA and Southwest.

To prepare for service, there was a great deal of work going on behind the scenes to remove Southwest’s 34 MAX aircraft from storage, install the new software, and perform maintenance checks on every aircraft. Additionally, our Flight Operations Team conducted Readiness Flights by flying each Southwest 737 MAX multiple times, without Customers onboard, prior to welcoming you and our fellow Southwest Employees back onboard.

Boeing made changes to the flight control system that now compares input from two angle of attack sensors as opposed to one; the aircraft only responds if data from both sensors agree and only activates once per event; and Pilots always have the ability to override the aircraft’s input.

The Southwest Pilot Leadership Team has reviewed the software and training updates proposed by Boeing, and required by the FAA, and has expressed confidence that the changes will add another layer of Safety to the MAX.

Additionally, Southwest believes the MAX will be among the most reviewed and tested commercial aircraft in the world, and we have confidence in our ability to operate the MAX in accordance with FAA requirements.

Customers are able to view the scheduled aircraft type on their itinerary. Please keep in mind that aircraft swaps can occur, meaning the scheduled aircraft at the time of booking may be different than the aircraft type scheduled on the day of travel. We encourage Customers to check aircraft type closer to the scheduled departure date. For more information on how Customers may determine a scheduled aircraft type, please visit The Southwest Airlines Community.

If you are booking in your company’s preferred booking channel, aircraft type may not be displayed during the booking process. If this is the case, please visit Southwest.com and use the Flight Status option to check your flight’s aircraft type.

(Video) Boeing 737 Max, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines: What's next?

FAQs

What Airlines are still using 737 MAX? ›

581 active Boeing 737 MAXs
AirlineMAX 8MAX 9
United Airlines1630
American Airlines40
Aeromexico2610
Air Canada34
12 more rows
14 May 2022

Are Airlines flying the 737 MAX again? ›

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it plans to put its Boeing's 737 Max back to service for the first time since the aircraft model was involved in a crash that claimed 157 lives three years ago.

Is the 737 MAX OK now? ›

The Max was allowed to fly again in late 2020 after Boeing made changes to the plane, including to MCAS, the flight control system behind the crashes.

Did Boeing fix the problem in 737 MAX? ›

Boeing had developed MCAS as a quick fix for stresses resulting from the Max's engine design, which could cause the plane to fly at too high of an angle and stall. MCAS was supposed to push the nose of the plane down to compensate.

Which airline flies the most 737 max? ›

1. Southwest Airlines - Unites States. Leading the pack with 69 aircraft is the airline that inspired the Ryanair we know today, Southwest Airlines. All 69 of the airlines MAXs are from the -8 family.

What is 737 Max called now? ›

"The aircraft family is still the Max, but Boeing calls the model the 737-8 for the first time in a deal announcement," Jon Ostrower of The Air Current, an online aviation news operation that closely watches the airline industry, noted in a morning tweet.

Which US airlines do not fly 737 Max? ›

After manufacturing issues led to two incidents in 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded across the world.
...
This means that the following US carriers aren't using the Boeing 737 MAX on their flights:
  • Allegiant Air.
  • Delta.
  • Frontier Airlines.
  • Avelo Airlines.
  • Hawaiian Airlines.
  • JetBlue.
  • Spirit Airlines.
  • Sun Country Airlines.

How do you avoid 737 Max? ›

Airlines Flying The 737 MAX

An easy way, for now, to avoid the 737-MAX is to figure out which airlines are flying the plane, and when. If you don't want to fly it, the simplest solution would be to choose another airline.

Can you refuse to fly Boeing 737 MAX? ›

No refusals to travel

The MAX was grounded between March 2019 and November 2020 after two similar fatal accidents involving the type. As such, many airlines prepared for nervous passengers to refuse to fly on the aircraft.

Should I Worry About 737 MAX? ›

By endorsement of the FAA, Boeing and its pilots, the 737 MAX has been determined as safe to fly. But safe pilots fly planes safely and part of being a safe pilot is being well-trained and well-informed as to the full functionality of an aircraft's systems.

Are the 737 maxes still grounded? ›

The Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and December 2020 – longer in many jurisdictions – after 346 people died in two crashes: Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.

How many Boeing 737 MAX crashes? ›

The 737 Max

Boeing's 737 Max suffered two fatal crashes, in 2018 and 2019, that were shown to be caused by a design flaw and led to a global grounding of the aircraft.

Which airlines do not use Boeing? ›

Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines do not operate Boeing aircraft.

Has Boeing fixed the 737 MAX 8? ›

When the FAA retested and approved the 737 Max 8 and Max 9, ending the grounding in November 2020, it required airlines to take the following steps before putting the planes back into service: installing new flight-control-computer and display-system software; incorporating revised flight-crew procedures; rerouting ...

How many 737 MAX jets are still grounded? ›

Register for free to Reuters and know the full story. The FAA said in a formal notice to international air regulators that 106 airplanes are covered, including 71 registered in the United States. "All of these airplanes remain on the ground while Boeing continues to develop a proposed fix," the agency added.

Are 737 Max and 737 Max 8 the same? ›

The first variant developed in the 737 MAX series, the MAX 8 replaces the 737-800 with a longer fuselage than the MAX 7. In 2016, Boeing planned to improve its range from 3,515 nautical miles (6,510 km) to 3,610 nmi (6,690 km) after 2021. On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8.

Is 737-800 the same as Max? ›

Though both designs exist under the Boeing 737 umbrella, the 737 Max is newer, and it was created to replace the 737-800, according to ABC News. But the 737 Max was grounded for 20 months following an investigation into those fatal crashes.

Does Delta fly Boeing 737 MAX? ›

Delta will add 100 state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its fleet, with options for 30 more.

What do pilots say about 737 MAX? ›

One of the nation's best known airline pilots is speaking out on the problems with Boeing's 737 Max jetliner. Retired Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday that an automated flight control system on the 737 Max "was fatally flawed and should never have been approved."

Which version of the 737 MAX is grounded? ›

United States: President Donald Trump announced on March 13, that United States authorities would ground all 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft in the United States. After the President's announcement, the FAA officially ordered the grounding of all 737 MAX 8 and 9 operated by U.S. airlines or in the United States airspace.

Which is the safest plane? ›

According to experts, the model (737-800) is considered to be the safest aircraft ever made. The 737-800 belongs to the aviation giant's next-generation aircraft which also includes 600, 700, and 900.

Do Pilots like flying the 737 Max? ›

Union officials indicate that pilots like the Max and are confident in the changes from Boeing. Representatives of three unions said that crews were largely happy with the plane and added that, except at a select few airlines, training backlogs were the biggest challenge to getting more pilots in the cockpit.

How do I know if I have a 737 Max? ›

One more way you can tell the two planes apart are the chevrons on the back of the engine. Most of the 737-800 models have no chevron and they have a simple straight line at the back of the engine. The engines of the 737 Max have chevrons.

Should I avoid Boeing 737 MAX 8? ›

The Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts are returning to the skies. If there is an aircraft that you want to avoid it is this one. The 737MAX has been responsible for the deaths of 346 people in 2 separate plane accidents.

What is so good about the 737 MAX? ›

Maximum efficiency

The 737 MAX 8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by an additional 14 percent over today's most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service.

What was the root cause of the 737 MAX crash? ›

It's been widely reported that Boeing's decision to use a flight control software fix known as MCAS in its 737 MAX planes was one of the key factors that led to two crashes that killed 346 people.

Who was blamed for 737 MAX? ›

Cost-cutting, corporate arrogance, and a new plane that was supposed to be easy to fly. An exclusive excerpt from Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing.

What is hanging off the tail of the 737 MAX? ›

This object, known as a trailing cone (or static cone), almost looks like an oversized badminton birdie or shuttlecock.

Did Boeing compensate the 737 MAX? ›

In January 2021, Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion in fines and compensation to resolve a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation into the 737 MAX crashes.

Is Airbus safer than Boeing? ›

Which is safer: Boeing or Airbus? But this question is not really relevant, since both Boeing and Airbus have remarkably similar safety records. The differences between Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier are minor, all of them being more dangerous than Embraer but far safer than ATR or Sukhoi.

Does 737 MAX still have MCAS? ›

However, the MAX would have met certification standards even without MCAS, according to both the FAA and EASA. The presence of MCAS in Boeing 737 MAX was intentionally omitted from the pilot handbook.

How many planes crashed in 2022 so far? ›

9 plane crashes in year 2022. The Airbus A320-200 operated by LATAM Airlines Chile, took off from Lima, Peru, for a passenger flight to Juliaca, Peru. 102 passengers and 6 crewmembers were onboard. The plane was…

How much compensation did Boeing 737 MAX victims get? ›

Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Settlement Over Deadly 737 Max Crashes. Investigators found that both crashes were caused in part by a flawed automated flight control system called MCAS.

When was the last Boeing 737 MAX crash? ›

The first Boeing Max 737 crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189, and another crashed in Ethiopia killing 157.

What is the safest Boeing 737? ›

“The 737-800 that crashed in southern China's Guangxi province 'is one of the safest aircraft ever produced in commercial operation. It's one of the most widely used aircraft around the world.

Which Boeing is the safest? ›

The Boeing Co. 737-800 NG model that crashed in China on Monday is considered one of the safest aircraft ever made.

Is 737 better than Airbus? ›

But if you're faced with the choice between an Airbus A320 family jet and a Boeing 737, you might want to go with the former. Thanks to the wider cabin, reduced cabin-wall curvature and better-placed windows, the Airbus offers a more comfortable ride than the 737, all else being equal.

How long can a 737 MAX 8 fly? ›

3,500 miles (5,700km) plus

According to Boeing, the MAX 8's theoretical range is 4,085 miles (6,574km), although the real-world limit will be less. As such, some of the following will surely have payload restrictions.

How many 737 Max are waiting for delivery? ›

Boeing lost $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2022 and has made limited progress in divesting hundreds of stored 737 Max and 787s. The airframer still held 320 undelivered Max and 115 undelivered 787s at the end of March, executives say on 27 April.

What airlines do not use the 737 MAX? ›

After manufacturing issues led to two incidents in 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded across the world.
...
The most popular airlines that don't have Boeing 737 MAX planes within its fleet include:
  • Qantas.
  • Air New Zealand.
  • Rex Airlines.
  • Air Tahiti & Air Tahiti Nui.
  • Aircalin.

How do you avoid 737 MAX? ›

Airlines Flying The 737 MAX

An easy way, for now, to avoid the 737-MAX is to figure out which airlines are flying the plane, and when. If you don't want to fly it, the simplest solution would be to choose another airline.

Are 737 MAX and 737 MAX 8 the same? ›

The first variant developed in the 737 MAX series, the MAX 8 replaces the 737-800 with a longer fuselage than the MAX 7. In 2016, Boeing planned to improve its range from 3,515 nautical miles (6,510 km) to 3,610 nmi (6,690 km) after 2021. On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8.

Should I be worried about flying on a 737 MAX? ›

By endorsement of the FAA, Boeing and its pilots, the 737 MAX has been determined as safe to fly. But safe pilots fly planes safely and part of being a safe pilot is being well-trained and well-informed as to the full functionality of an aircraft's systems.

How many times has the 737 Max crashed? ›

The 737 Max

Boeing's 737 Max suffered two fatal crashes, in 2018 and 2019, that were shown to be caused by a design flaw and led to a global grounding of the aircraft.

Is 737 MAX better than Airbus? ›

Looking at the specifics, we can see that the Boeing 737 MAX beats the A320 with a higher max payload (46,040 lb vs 44,100 lb) and a higher thrust power. The 737 MAX 9 can also be reconfigured into a super-dense 220-seater variant (or in the case of the MAX 8, a 200-seater for Ryanair).

Is the Boeing 737-800 the same as the Air Max? ›

The 737-800 is an older model. Some airlines were shifting to the 737-Max, a newer narrow-body plane. The 737-Max was temporarily grounded worldwide after two of them crashed nearly four years ago. The 737-Max was widely criticized after one of them crashed in Indonesia in late 2018 and a second crashed in Ethiopia.

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