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Southwest Airlines CEO admits that he is not sure when Boeing Max aircraft will be returned to the service: “I am hopeful it will be this summer’

connectVideoBoeing under pressure as the 737 Max aircraft sit idle

Doug McKelway reports on the economic impact of the world’s largest airline to ground the best-selling aircraft after two accidents with a fatal outcome.

The CEO of Southwest Airlines said Wednesday that while he knows exactly when the Boeing Max planes will be returned to service, he is “hopeful it will be this summer.”

The Dallas-based company held their annual general meeting of shareholders in Denver, as the Denver Post put it, “there was an elephant the size of a 737 in the hall.”

The carrier was forced to ground 34 MAX airplane – about 5 percent of the active fleet – in the wake of the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident in which a Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft. The aircraft are now sitting in a California desert while the federal regulators to investigate the aircraft flight control systems, according to the Post.

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For the moment, Southwest has removed the Max planes of the flights scheduled through Aug. 5.
(Getty)

“I do not know when the Max will be returned for service. I have good hope that it will be this summer,” Southwest CEO and chairman Gary Kelly said at the Wednesday meeting. “We assure ourselves, of course, that it is safe before we get back in the service and in the meantime, we will continue with the offer of one of the strongest, if not the strongest route networks in the united states”

“I think more fundamentally though, we believe that the Boeing 737 Max 8 is the best plane in the narrow-body market,” he continued. “It gives us the best experience of the customer as well as the best economy. And we have almost 10,000 pilots who are expert in the management of the Boeing 737.”

For the moment, Southwest has removed the Max planes of the flights scheduled through Aug. 5, Bloomberg reports.

Forward, on May 23, the FAA will host some of the world’s leading civil aviation officials for a meeting in the Dallas-Fort Worth to discuss grounded Boeing 737 Max for the insights about “the decision to return the 737 Max fleet in the US. when it is made,” according to Reuters.

Last week, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam announced that its carrier of the “last to fly” the Boeing 737 Max aircraft again after a deadly crash of a Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft in March killed all 157 people on board. If Ethiopian Airlines decided to ever fly the aircraft again, Gebremariam detailed, the carrier will wait for other airlines to use the first plane.

This photo taken Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 showing an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 parked at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

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In October, another Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 people on board were killed in the crash.

Boeing spokesman Charles Cyclists told the Chicago Tribune on May 13 that the company “works closely with the pilots, the airlines and the global regulators to update the Max and help prevent this tragic loss of life from happening again.”

Three days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the FAA ordered Boeing 737 Max 8 and 737 Max 9 models to be temporarily grounded in America. The agency said that the decision has been made on the basis of both the jets as a result of the data gathering process, and new evidence collected at the site and analysed.”

“The grounding will remain in effect, pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder,” the FAA said at the time.

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The CEO of American Airlines, also agree that he is a carrier, “100 percent certainty that the plane is safe” at the time that the plane is renewed by the FAA and are actively flying again.

“Our focus now is working with the regulators and our pilots and Boeing to come to a point that we all feel comfortable, the plane is safe, it won’t fly until everyone is comfortable,” Parker said. CEO Doug Parker recently told Business Insider.

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