American & Southwest Pull Jets, Say They're Confident In Pilots

Alan Scaia
March 14, 2019 - 8:37 am
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8

© Xinhua


DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - American and Southwest Airlines both say they have followed an order from the FAA to pull Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 models from service. The FAA issued the order Thursday.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9s are flown on about 280 flights among all airlines each day.

At Love Field Thursday morning, most flights were still on schedule.

"As long as I'm not driving, we're good," one passenger said, laughing. "This is still, statistically, the safest way to travel."

Other passengers say they are glad the FAA is taking a cautious approach, but they feel confident in their pilots.

"I do think they are trained to a different standard," one person said after picking up his ticket. "Our standards are way different than anybody else's."

Southwest says it has removed its 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8s from service. The airline says it operates a total of 750 Boeing 737s, so the MAX 8 accounts for less than five percent of its daily flights.

"During our 48 year history, Southwest has continuously demonstrated our commitment to safety," Chief Executive Gary Kelly wrote in a statement.

Southwest says it has operated 41,000 flights safely with the MAX 8 and has been in "constant contact" with Boeing and the FAA since the crash in Ethiopia.

American Airlines says it took delivery of its first MAX 8s in 2017 and has safely transported 2.5 million passengers on 18,000 flights.​ American, though, says flights with a MAX 8 account for just 85 of its 6,700 daily departures.

American says it regularly monitors aircraft performance and safety parameters across its fleet, including "extensive flight data collection."

"We continue to have the utmost confidence in our fleet, which is flown by our highly-trained pilots and maintained by our highly-skilled maintenance team," American wrote in a statement.

Both American and Southwest say passengers on flights canceled because of the grounding of MAX 8s will be able to receive a refund or change plans with no additional fees.