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737 Max

With 737 MAX Return Potentially Days Away, Southwest Eyes Adding Finished Aircraft

With 737 MAX Return Potentially Days Away, Southwest Eyes Adding Finished Aircraft
Joe Cortez

The Boeing 737 MAX could be cleared to fly passengers again as soon as Nov. 18, 2020, if rumors from inside the Federal Aviation Administration are true. With the grounding order coming close to being lifted, Southwest Airlines is reportedly considering adding more unsold airframes to their fleet.

Could the Boeing 737 MAX start flying before the end of November 2020? Citing sources inside the Federal Aviation Administration, Reuters reports the troubled airframe could be cleared to start carrying passengers as soon as Nov. 18, 2020.

FAA Administrator Expects Re-Certification to Be Done “In The Coming Days”

In a statement, FAA administrator Stephen Dickson told the news agency that they expected the 737 MAX recertification process “will be finished in the coming days.” Anonymous sources speaking to Reuters say the planned date is Nov. 18, 2020.

If the Thursday does become the date, it will be sooner than the two major domestic operators of the 737 MAX – American Airlines and Southwest Airlines – had anticipated earlier this year. Southwest Airlines was hopeful that they would be able to return the 737 MAX by the end of 2020, while American had plans to retrain pilots before the aircraft gets back in service as soon as December 2020.

However, the airlines are not necessarily in a hurry to once again reintroduce the troubled airframe into service. Southwest will reportedly wait until 2021 to start 737 MAX operations, while American has not given a hard timeline on when the aircraft will come back into service.

Both Congress and aviation stakeholders have been critical of the 737 MAX comeback, citing safety concerns at the heart of the matter. While the Senate Transportation Committee expressed their frustrations directly to Dickson earlier this year, a FlyerTalk investigation found many industry groups had criticisms they wanted to see addressed before the 737 MAX was given a new airworthiness directive.

The 737 MAX was grounded after Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 both crashed shortly after takeoff. Combined, both flights killed 346 people.

Southwest Reportedly Considering Buying More 737 MAX Airframes

Although they won’t start flying the 737 MAX anytime soon, Southwest could be considering adding even more airframes to their current fleet of 34. Bloomberg reports the airline may be in talks with Boeing to acquire some of the “white tail” cancelled-but-completed airframes. While the Dallas-based carrier still has 249 airframes on backorder, buying the completed airframes would allow Southwest to add aircraft to their fleet much faster, and solve a delivery problem Boeing is facing.

Before this announcement, Boeing was reportedly pitching Delta Air Lines on purchasing some of the completed aircraft.

View Comments (8)


  1. Flying Oncologist

    November 12, 2020 at 4:18 am

    The bigger issue for airlines will be the unwillingness of customers to fly on the Max. Whilst the FAA certification might convince the airlines to buy them (with what I imagine will be huge discounts from Boeing), passengers are going to be circumspect. I for one would not fly on a Max until the airframe was fundamentally re-designed to remove the requirement for MCAS completely. The size and position of the new LEAP engines makes the airframe fundamentally unstable and prone to stall, without MCAS. Airbus for me every time

  2. paj9zo

    November 12, 2020 at 4:49 am

    No way, no how. I wouldn’t trust Boeing to make a paper airplane.

  3. BC Shelby

    November 12, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    …Delta already stated they chose the A320 Neo, 321-200 over the 737-Max because they feel those aircraft better fit their needs.

    They are already operators of older generation A-320s along with A330’s and A-350s already in the fleet, as well as standing orders for A-330 900 Neos, A-350 900s, A-220-200s/300s, and A321 XLR’s on order.

    Besides retiring their 777s, they also retired their 737-700s,and will retire their fleet 717s (both latter types replaced by the 220-200s). The A321 200s and XLRs will replace their ageing 757s.

  4. AsiaTravel2019

    November 12, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    There is nothing wrong with the Max. I flew it before several times and will again.

    Boeing’s dishonest marketing plan to the airlines that the plane didn’t require new pilot training was the culprit here.

  5. JonMST

    November 13, 2020 at 9:24 am

    737 MAX is not safe. It should go through the type certification process to get a new type certification. It’s not the same as the other 737s.

    This is dangerous, and government regulators are asleep at the yoke.

  6. Podcat

    November 13, 2020 at 11:00 am

    No way, no how.
    Never for me.


    November 14, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    The max has always been safe. The MCAS is faulty with no redundancy or indication there is a problem. MCAS works perfectly in military aircraft, but they put in extra features.
    The main reason the planes crashed is the pilots failed to identify a stuck trim up condition and failed to take back control. This same incident could happen in any aircraft. MCAS just makes this condition happen way more frequently. It seems there are many pilots that do not know how to correct a stuck up trim condition.

  8. edgewood49

    November 17, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    WOW so I have to ask those who adamantly consider Boeing to be inferior and incapable of making a paper airplane I assume none of you fly on a BA aircraft PERIOD. Delta has been in the AB camp for years reason ? Money of course AB offering huge discounts, long term leveraged financing etc. The same reason Eastern did. Which is ok I get it. MCAS in its inception was ill handled by the engineers, but then there the fact that accidents involved non US aircrews and non major carriers certainly something to consider.

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