Wednesday’s grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes did not appear to have any immediate impact on flights out of San Diego International Airport, but a ripple-effect from affected flights could potentially disrupt travel for people looking to travel by air in the coming days.
At least five airlines that service the airport — Southwest, American, WestJet, United and Air Canada — have used or currently use a variant of the Boeing 737 Max plane.
WestJet’s 13-plane fleet of 737 Max’s is in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, but it is unclear whether the other four airlines use the planes on routes that connect to San Diego.
Airport officials advised passengers to check their flight status for delays in the wake of the grounding. According to FlightAware, a total of 25 flights into and out of San Diego were canceled by early afternoon Wednesday, Wednesday, but none of them were flights on a 737 Max plane.
The airport issued a similar advisory on Twitter for passengers to check flight statuses to and from Denver International Airport, which is in the midst of a heavy snowstorm. More than 1,300 flights have been canceled in Denver. Nine flights coming into San Diego from Denver and 10 heading from San Diego to Denver have been canceled so far Wednesday.
Countries around the world have issued bans and groundings of the Boeing Max planes in the wake of Sunday’s deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 on board. Another Boeing 737 Max flight operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed shortly after takeoff in October. All 181 passengers aboard Lion Air Flight 610 died.
President Donald Trump issued the grounding order for Max 8 and 9 planes Wednesday, following actions by more than 40 other countries to ban the use of the planes in their airspace. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration bristled at a ban as recently as Tuesday, but Trump issued the order anyway, citing public safety concerns.
“While we remain confident in the MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data — including information from the flight data recorder — related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement. Southwest’s fleet of 737 MAX 8’s totals 34, less than 5 percent of the airline’s daily flights.
American Airlines, which as 24 of the affected aircraft, said in a statement: “We appreciate the FAA’s partnership, and will continue to work closely with them, the Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory authorities, as well as our aircraft and engine manufacturers,”
The second plane crash caused Boeing’s stock to plummet over the weekend, from $422.42 per share on March 8 to $371.40 on March 11. The stock has recovered slightly after the company announced its support of the grounding as Wednesday’s trading comes to a close.
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution,” said Boeing President, CEO and Chairman Dennis Mullenburg. “Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry.”
— City News Service
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