Southwest grounds all 737 Max 8 jets for summer

Southwest Airlines has removed all of its 737 Max 8 jets from flight schedules through the busy summer travel period amid ongoing concerns surrounding the safety of the aircraft.

All of Southwest's 737 Max 8 airplanes have been removed from flight schedules through Aug. 5, the company announced. It was unclear how many flights would be affected or canceled as a result of the decision.


The company's president, Tom Nealon, released a statement that said a "limited number of customers" were being affected by the continued grounding of the Max 8 jets, which occurred after the model was involved in two fatal crashes in six months.

"The limited number of customers, who have already booked their travel and will be affected by this amended schedule, are being proactively notified so that we can reaccommodate their flight plans well in advance of their travel date," he said.

Pilots union president Jon Weaks wrote in a memo this week about the influence of the jet's maker, Boeing, in the aerospace industry, The Seattle Times reported. Weaks said his union members have discussed "the advantages and disadvantages of an airline having a single fleet and having aircraft from only one manufacturer."

Southwest Airlines holds a fleet of nearly three dozen 737 Max 8 jets in addition to its other aircraft, which includes 750 Boeing 737 models in total, according to CNBC. The fleet is the largest collection of Max 8 jets in the U.S., while several Chinese airlines also operate large fleets of Max 8 jets.