CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Three of America’s largest airlines have grounded more than 60 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on Friday.
The Chicago-based airplane manufacturer told 16 customers to look at a possible electrical issue in a group of before “further operations.”
“The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system,” Boeing said in a statement Friday morning.
The company said it’s working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the production issues.
“We are also informing our customers of specific tail numbers affected and we will provide direction on appropriate corrective actions,” Boeing said.
United Airlines confirmed to NewsNation that the airline has 30 total 737 Max aircraft in their fleet. The company is working to “cover this flying with other aircraft” in operation until it’s safe to return them to the fleet. United doesn’t have an estimated timeline on how long this process will take.
Starting immediately and out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily and temporarily removing 16 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from our schedule. We have been in touch with the FAA and Boeing and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service. We are working to swap out aircraft to minimize the impact to our customers.
American Airlines released the following statement:
Last night, Boeing notified us of a potential production issue with a component in the electrical power system on 17 of our most recently delivered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. At Boeing’s direction, we have temporarily removed these 17 aircraft from service in order to complete necessary inspections and make any changes recommended or required by Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As we shared when we returned the 737 MAX to commercial service, the safety of our customers and team members comes above all else. It’s with this unequivocal standard that we rigorously maintain and monitor all our aircraft — including the Boeing 737 MAX — to ensure every plane in the air is safe.
We have 24 other 737 MAX aircraft in our fleet that are not affected by this issue as they were produced and delivered prior to the ungrounding. We will continue to work with the FAA, Boeing and our union leaders and their safety teams as a thorough assessment of the issue is completed.
Southwest Airlines issued the following statement to NewsNation:
Southwest Airlines has received notification from Boeing regarding a potential electrical grounding path issue associated with a subset of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
While Southwest has not experienced any known operational challenges related to the issue, 30 of the airline’s 58 737 MAX 8 aircraft are affected by the notification. Southwest has removed the 30 MAX 8s from our schedule for further review and will swap any flights previously scheduled with the aircraft to spare aircraft within our fleet of over 700 Boeing 737s.
Southwest anticipates minimal disruption to our operation. We appreciate the understanding of our Customers and Employees as Safety is always the uncompromising priority at Southwest Airlines.
The 737 MAX has been a challenge for Boeing, after 346 people died in two separate crashes. The plane was grounded from March 2019 to Nov. 2020 across the globe.
“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said CEO David Calhoun in November. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”