Southwest Airlines bounces back from Boeing incident

“Only about 100 planes were grounded,” said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Air Forwarders Assocation. “We get that many aircraft pulled just when a major weather event occurs.”

By ·

The abrupt withdrawal of Boeing 737 aircraft from Southwest Airlines’ fleet had little impact on shippers, said an industry leader.

“Only about 100 planes were grounded,” said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Air Forwarders Assocation. “We get that many aircraft pulled just when a major weather event occurs.”

Meanwhile, Southwest said today that it has completed all aircraft inspections in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive (AD) that was released on Tuesday, April 5. The airline began operating a normal schedule Tuesday morning and does not anticipate the directive impacting the schedule moving forward.

“Now that our inspections are complete and the FAA has issued an AD for the rest of the world-wide 737 fleet, our focus shifts to completing the repairs and getting the aircraft back into service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  “Our event, though obviously not what we would want to happen, is ultimately working to improve the effectiveness of 737 inspections and maintenance programs world-wide.”

During the airline’s inspections of aircraft this week, minor subsurface cracking was found on five Southwest aircraft which will remain out of service until Boeing’s recommended repairs are complete.  As of today, Boeing has provided repair instructions for all five of the impacted aircraft, which includes the removal and replacement of an 18-inch section of the lap joint. Southwest’s Maintenance and Engineering Department has begun the repair process, with each repair taking 8 to 16 hours to complete.

Matt Buckley, Southwest Airlines’ senior director of cargo and charters, told LM that any disruption in service was “minor.”

The airline anticipates returning four of the five aircraft back into service by Saturday (pending the appropriate FAA approvals), with one aircraft remaining in previously scheduled maintenance. The incident aircraft has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) but the airline does not have a repair update at this time.

For related stories click here.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Air Cargo · Air Freight · Logistics · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
Avoid quality program bureaucracy that can sap logistics productivity and increase costs
Download Today!
From the September 2016 Issue
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and organizational structure—finds many companies waiting to commit to a strategic path. However, waiting too long will only result in a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to overcome in today’s fast-paced, global economy.
Time for Asia’s ports to rebuild
Is the freight recession upon us…again?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Supply Chain Best Practices: Visibility to In-Transit Inventory
During this webcast you'll learn on how various organizations have gained instant access to in-transit parcels and given access to this information to stakeholders.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...

Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....