WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) pilots predicted on Monday that the grounded Boeing 737 MAX (BA.N) airplane will return to the skies around February, weeks later than Boeing and airlines have projected. FILE PHOTO: A traveler checks her baggage at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), the union for the airline’s pilots, said it believes the aircraft, which was pulled from service in March after two fatal crashes, will likely resume flights in “probably a February time frame.” Southwest, United Airlines (AAL.O) and American Airlines (AAL.O) currently estimate the planes will be available to fly in early January. Boeing said Monday it is “working towards return to service in the fourth quarter.” A key step – a certification test flight by Boeing – is not expected until early November. Last week, SWAPA sued Boeing alleging that the planemaker “deliberately misled” the airline and pilots about the 737 MAX aircraft. The grounding of the 737 MAX in March forced more than 30,000 Southwest Airlines flight cancellations, causing over $100 million in lost wages for pilots, the union said. Boeing said last week… Read full this story
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