Southwest Airlines has announced that it will relocate its activities from Newark Airport in New York, amid falling revenues due to the grounding of the 737 Max. The New York Times reports that the airline will consolidate its flights at the nearby La Guardia airport. Southwest also canceled all 737 Max flights until January 5, 2020.
Southwest is currently the fifth largest airline flying from Newark; 20 of its flights depart daily from the airport and the airline flew a total of 1.5 million passengers from the airport in the year ending April 2019. Combined with its decision to cancel all 737 Max flights until the rest of 2019, the Southwest actions the most far-reaching response so far to the ongoing problems with the 737 Max van Boeing, which came to light after an aircraft design error resulted in two crashes in which hundreds of people died.
Following an investigation into the Augmentation System Maneuvering Target, which was thought to be related to the two accidents that killed 346 people, the US Federal Aviation Authority found another aircraft safety risk in June. The news of the extra error caused several airlines to extend their cancellation of flights that would have used the 737 Max. ABC news reports that Boeing has not ruled out that the aircraft's production will be temporarily suspended if it does not return to service by the end of the year.
Southwest Airlines says that customers who would previously fly out of Newark are offered flights from alternative airports and that it would provide jobs for around 125 employees elsewhere at the airport, The New York Times reports. The airline also said it was in preliminary talks with Boeing about a fee for grounding the aircraft. Southwest had previously expected to receive 44 of Boeing's aircraft in the course of this year.