The impact of the Boeing 737 MAX crisis continues to impact airlines around the globe, with Southwest now stating that the continued grounding of its fleet, means that the operator has put a hold on its continued expansion into the Hawaiian market. The airline released a statement on 27 June, saying that it was awaiting guidance from the FAA as to when the software enhancements and training requirements will be approved and had revised the expected date back into service until 1 October.
CBS Sacramento reported that Southwest flights from Sacramento and San Diego to Hawaii were indefinitely postponed. These flights first went on sale in early March. But the grounding of the MAX means Southwest stopped adding new routes and is working just to plug the gaps with its existing schedules.
At present the operator is removing around 150 flights a day out of its regular daily schedule.
The Sacramento and San Diego flights were key priorities in the expansion of Southwest’s Hawaii strategy. But, until a definite plan is revealed for the MAX, Southwest is being cautious and halting any expansion plans, to try and ensure reliability and stability with its modified existing systems.
The LCC is operating a twice-daily service from Oakland to Honolulu and a daily service to Kahului on Maui.
Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly said the inter island services are going “extremely well.”