President Donald Trump’s emergency order to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes have impacted travelers in the Las Vegas valley. But, things weren’t too crazy at McCarran International Airport on Wednesday because there are only three airline carriers that operate routes to and from Las Vegas with those jets.
Southwest and West Jet, a Canadian based airline fly the Boeing 737 Max 8, while United operates the Boeing 737 Max 9.
An airport spokesperson says these models were scheduled this month for more than 650 flights to and from Las Vegas.
That’s only two percent of overall commercial operations at the airport. The FAA says there are a total of 74 of those planes registered in the Unied States.
With 34 of them, Southwest has the majority of the 737 Max 8’s.
One person 8 News NOW spoke with says he and his family purposely rescheduled their flights to avoid coming into Las Vegas on a Max 8 Wednesday.
“I think there is still enough uncertainty out there that the flight attendants, the pilots, all of the travelers certainly should know a little bit more; what’s caused the two crashes before anybody takes any more chances,” said Don Gula, flyer.
Southwest Airlines issued the following statement:
“Southwest Airlines is immediately complying with today’s FAA requirement for all U.S. airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. As a result, we have removed our 34 MAX 8 aircraft from scheduled service. Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights.”
“We have been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since Ethiopian Airlines’ accident last Sunday. 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. The Safety of our Customers and Employees is our uncompromising priority, and today’s action reflects the commitment to supporting the current investigations and regulatory concerns.”
“Our goal is to operate our schedule with every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our Customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season. Additionally, to support our Customers, Southwest is offering flexible rebooking policies. Any Customer booked on a canceled MAX 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs. A Travel Advisory with additional information for Customers will be posted on Southwest.com.”
“During our 48-year history, Southwest has continuously demonstrated our commitment to Safety,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. “We sincerely appreciate the trust our Customers and Employees place in our airline every day, and the Southwest Team is working diligently to minimize disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans.”
United Airlines also released a statement saying, “Our Max aircraft account for roughly 40 flights a day and through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order.”
Southwest said the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes are being swapped out for other aircraft to accommodate passengers.