After months of flight cancellations in connection with the Boeing 737 Max's landing after two deadly crashes, Southwest Airlines has announced it will stop operating Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
Gary C. Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, announced the change in the company's earnings in the second quarter of this week. He cited financial results that were "below expectations" due to problems with the grounded jets. The airline, which has more than 30 Max jets in its fleet, has also extended its adjustments to the Max schedule up to 5 January 2020.
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines announced in an e-mail statement that the airline will cease operations. Newark will begin on Sunday, November 3. The change will affect 125 Southwest employees currently stationed in Newark. However, the airline stated that these people are offered other opportunities within the company.
We need to optimize our aircraft and resources to meet customer requirements in other markets, "the spokesman said. "All Southwest employees in Newark will be offered a job at New York's LaGuardia Airport or may apply for other vacancies throughout the Southwest network. We wish to thank Newark and the surrounding community for their visit over the last eight years and look forward to providing our EEA customers the same Southwest hospitality they know and love until November. "
Asked by Gizmodo if Southwest Airlines plans to discontinue air service at other airports, the spokesman said the company's focus is currently on" our [Newark] employees and our affected customers. "
It is unclear when the Boeing 737 Max will be approved for commercial flights, and the uncertainty has continued to affect the schedules of the major US airlines, including the jets in their fleet, including Southwest, United and American Airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration announced in June that, with regard to the ongoing review, "a thorough process and deadline for the return of the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service is in place."