The fallout from the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 increased over the weekend as Southwest Airlines trimmed summer flight schedules across multiple cities because of reduced aircraft availability.
The schedule adjustments, attributed to vacancies left by the grounded MAX jets, will take effect from June 8-29. Whether the suspensions specific to PIT will continue beyond June is unclear.
Southwest removed all 34 of its MAX 8s from service March 13 following a grounding order from the FAA in the wake of two crashes on other carriers.
The grounded aircraft account for a small percentage of the 750-plus Boeing 737 models in the airline’s fleet.
Routes affected from PIT during June include suspended nonstop service to LAX and Cancun as well as reduced service to Las Vegas. Pittsburgh International Airport maintains nonstop service to all three of those destinations on other carriers.
Customers who already booked seats with Southwest during that window will be rebooked on a connecting flight.
Southwest officials said they took a broad view of their network to provide the most reliable operation possible, rather than just axing the MAX 8 routes.
“While the timing for the return to service of the Max remains unclear, what is very clear is our commitment to operate a reliable schedule and provide the famous customer service you expect from us,” Southwest President Tom Nealon said in a statement last week. “Our revised summer schedule allows us to accomplish those objectives.”
American Airlines also adjusted its schedules relative to its grounded Max jets, although those changes did not appear to affect the schedule at PIT.