Southwest Airlines announced this weekend that it will resume flights with the Boeing 737 MAX beginning March 11, starting with a flight scheduled to take off at 7 a.m. from Denver to Chicago/Midway.
The Dallas-based carrier has a total of 32 flights scheduled with the MAX for that day, according to Cirium data.
Southwest’s MAX deployment plan is much broader than that of other airlines. American Airlines was the first U.S. carrier to resume flights with the aircraft on Dec. 29 with daily service between Miami and New York/LaGuardia. Since then, American has expanded its schedule with the MAX to cover an average of 45 daily flights.
In addition to American and Southwest, Alaska Airlines and United have the 737 MAX in their fleets. On Thursday, February 11, United will resume MAX operations, flying 24 flights nationwide.
For its part, Alaska just took delivery of its first 737 MAX, and the airline’s first MAX is scheduled to enter service on March 1 with daily round-trip flights between Seattle – San Diego, and Seattle – Los Angeles. The airline is expected to take delivery of its second 737 MAX 9 by the end of March.
For Boeing, Southwest’s decision is good news. Unless plans change, all U.S. airlines will have the MAX back in the air on March 11. All eyes will then turn to other major markets, such as China, which has yet to recertify the aircraft.