Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert

In this news, we discuss the Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines LUV.N sent a team of mechanics to Victorville, Calif., To begin the long process of recovering its 34 Boeing 737 MAXs from their hibernation in the desert, after clearance to fly planes has been restored.

The reaction of passengers on the plane is unclear, although the response from southwest customers to the MAX in a recent survey has been positive, executives said.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration lifted a 20-month grounding of the Boeing Co BA.N 737 MAX on Wednesday triggered by two crashes that killed 346 people in less than five months and forced a series of safety changes that airlines must complete before the jets can fly with passengers again.

Low-cost carrier Southwest is the world’s largest 737 MAX operator and was betting heavily on the aircraft to grow its business before the coronavirus pandemic saps demand.

It still wants the jets, which are about 15% more fuel efficient than other 737 models, but will closely monitor customer response, executives said during a media call Thursday.

“What every customer thinks about making a reservation on a 737 MAX or flying on a MAX is an expression of personal comfort which we know will be different for each person,” said Alan Kasher, senior vice president of operations Southwest Aerials.

Southwest does not plan to schedule 737 MAX flights until the second quarter of 2021 and will allow anyone uncomfortable flying the plane to book their flight at no cost.

A team of mechanics are already monitoring the 34 Southwest jets in storage at Victorville, regularly running engines and systems, and a new team is now here to continue to “depreserve and exercise” the aircraft and complete the changes ordered by the FAA. . , a process that will take around 280 hours, Kosher said.

Once the FAA approves the work, the jets will fly to the main hangar towns in the southwest for further checks and maintenance. Meanwhile, its 8,000 pilots will receive new training on the 737 MAX which will include approximately two hours in a simulator.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Edited by Alexandra Hudson

Original © Thomson Reuters

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