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Southwest Drops Boeing Planes from ’24 Plans

Southwest Airlines (NASDAQ:LUV) has taken the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 Max 7 out of its fleet plans as regulators haven’t yet certified the smallest model of the manufacturer’s best-selling plane.
Southwest became the latest of the major airlines this week to rethink its fleet plans because of certification delays at Boeing.

Earlier this week, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) said it was removing the 737 Max 10, the largest model of the Max family, from its internal fleet plans after delays with certification.

Scrutiny on Boeing has mounted in recent weeks after a door panel blew out midflight from a 737 Max 9 that was operated by Alaska Airlines on Jan. 5, prompting the FAA to ground that model. The FAA on Wednesday cleared inspection instructions to allow the planes to return to service as early as this week.

Southwest said in a quarterly earnings and outlook report on Thursday that it expects to receive 79 aircraft this year and that it was removing the Max 7 from its plans “due to Boeing’s continued supply chain challenges and the current status of the -7 certification” down from a contracted 85 aircraft.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told the media earlier this week that even before the Alaska Airlines incident, the agency had concluded it needed a more “hands-on approach” with the certification of the Max 7 and Max 10 aircraft. He said the agency has no timelines for those aircraft certifications.

Southwest stock took flight 51 cents, or 1.7%, to $31.63, while Boeing shares dipped $10.46, or 4.9%, to $203.67.

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