Southwest Airlines announced today (June 27) that they will keep their Boeing 737 Max-8 jets grounded through Oct. 1, a move that will cancel at least 150 flights every day for the carrier.
Southwest had planned to return their 737 Max-8s to service after Labor Day, but, uncertainty over Boeing's software updates have pushed the date back for the second time this month, according to a statement from the carrier.
"The revision will proactively remove roughly 150 daily flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights," the statement read.
Federal authorities say they identified a new problem with Boeing's update, that they want fixed before they'll allow the planes to fly again.
Customers who have previously booked flights with Southwest who might be affected by the extended grounding have been notified of their re-accommodated travel, the airline said.
"We offer our apologies to our customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience,'' the airline added.
The problem is related to unprompted movement of the plane's horizontal stabilizer, which can move the plane up or down without being prompted to by pilots. The FAA says the issue, known as "runaway stabilizer trim" could push the jet's nose down toward the ground, with pilots unable to correct it. The problem is thought to be responsible for two fatal crashes, one involving a Lion Air flight over the Java sea last October, and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March.
Other carriers, such as American and United, are also expected to extend the period their Max-8 fleets will be grounded.
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