Southwest Airlines is suspending flights aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 through Aug. 5, the Dallas-based airline announced last week.
Aviation officials grounded the aircraft in March after two of the jets crashed in the last year — in October, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia, and in March, when an Ethiopian Airlines flight went down southeast of Addis Ababa. The official causes remain under investigation, but the focus has been on a flight control system designed to prevent the aircraft from stalling.
Southwest, which has its headquarters at Love Field, removed the aircraft from its schedule on March 13. The extended suspension is likely to affect more passengers' travel plans. In a statement released Thursday, Tom Nealon, the airline's president, said "the vast majority" of passengers would be unaffected by the change. The company has already begun contacting travelers who would be affected in order to allow them to reschedule their flights, he said.
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"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," Nealon wrote. "Our revised summer schedule allows us to accomplish those objectives."