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Southwest Re-Introduces 737 MAX to Fleet Starting Thursday, March 11

Following American Airlines and United Airlines, the largest fleet owner of the Boeing 737 MAX will reintroduce the aircraft to service on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Southwest Airlines will begin operating 737 MAX passenger flights, with 32 scheduled to operate across the United States.

The airline owning the largest fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will reintroduce them for passenger service Thursday, March 11, 2021, with 32 scheduled to operate throughout the day. The Dallas Morning News reports the carrier will bring them online through a variety of departures and arrivals across the United States.

Southwest Final U.S. Carrier to Reinstate 737 MAX

When the 737 MAX was ungrounded by the Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Airlines did not announce when they would re-integrate them into their fleet, despite owning the largest fleet among U.S. carriers. The airline owns a total of 34, with orders to bring on many more in the future.

But after both American Airlines and United Airlines brought theirs back online, it was only a matter of time before Southwest would start passenger service with them again. After Thursday, only two of the Dallas-based carrier’s 737 MAX aircraft will not have carried passengers under the new airworthiness directive.

According to the carrier, they have operated over 200 readiness flights with their 737 MAX aircraft since December, in an effort to retrain pilots on the improved aircraft. In total, 9,000 pilots needed additional training after the MCAS system was redesigned to prevent future accidents related to faulty sensor readings. Leaders for the pilot’s union say they are confident in the changes to the aircraft.

“We haven’t been given a script, but I think all of our pilots feel the same way and we’ll be standing there as the passengers get on,” Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told the Dallas Morning News. “We will be on there and we will put our family on there if need be.”

Southwest says they are “pleased” with how the aircraft is booking. The airline is planning to operate up to 44 flights per day using the 737 MAX, with the goal of ultimately moving up to approximately 250 flights by April 2021.

Reinstatement Comes as Flyers Seem to Forget About the 737 MAX Tragedies

Southwest’s delay in re-instituting the 737 MAX may have played in their favor, after a recent poll by Reuters and Ipsos suggests flyers are forgetting about the tragedies. When asked, only 39 percent of flyers said they were familiar with the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

PaulMSN March 16, 2021

I'd guess that almost every adult who watched the news or read it were aware of the crashes at the time. They were front-page news for many days. But people do forget.

edgewood49 March 14, 2021

If there was an airline besides Alaska that can fly the Max it's SWA, The culture among their flight crews is to be envied by others as well as their training modules.

White Eagle March 13, 2021

Hopefully, Southwest can now bring back its HOU-Mexico City route---would be great!!!

AsiaTravel2019 March 13, 2021

Looking forward to flying the Max on Southwest

rightfred March 11, 2021

Wow what a misleading conclusion! I think the fact that 39% are familiar with the 737 Max tragedies is amazingly high. How many people in the US were even aware of these tragedies in the first place? To say that suggests people are forgetting about the tragedies seems to me to be the wrong takeout