The 737 MAX Is Back, Flying at Least 42 Routes in the U.S. Alone by March
Denver, Houston, Miami and Seattle are all cities that will see an influx of new Boeing 737 MAX flying over the next few months as U.S. airlines slowly reintroduce the jet to their fleets.
United Airlines will become the second U.S. carrier resuming MAX flights next month. The Chicago-based carrier will deploy its 737 MAX 9 jets on 12 routes from its Denver and Houston Bush Intercontinental hubs beginning February 11. Beginning with an early morning departure from Denver to Houston, the airline will operate the MAX on select flights between Denver and Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando and Sacramento; and Houston and Chicago O’Hare, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark, Orlando and Phoenix.
Alaska Airlines will follow United with MAX flights launching on March 1. With none of the type in its fleet prior to the grounding, the day will mark the debut of the type at the Seattle-based carrier. Alaska will initially fly the 737 MAX 9 on eight daily flights from Seattle to Los Angeles and San Diego, and Portland to Los Angeles.
The largest U.S. MAX operator, Southwest Airlines has yet to detail its return-to-service plans for the plane. The Dallas-based carrier has said it will resume flights on the 737 MAX 8 in March.
Alaska, United and Southwest all follow American Airlines, which was the first U.S. carrier to put the MAX back in the air. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier reintroduced its 737 MAX 8s on a single round-trip between Miami and New York LaGuardia on December 29. American expanded its MAX operations to flights from Miami to New York JFK, Orlando and Washington Reagan National on January 5, and to Boston and San Juan on January 7, according to Cirium schedules. By March 3, it will fly the aircraft on 27 routes covering more than 90 flights a day from both Miami and New York JFK.
Aeromexico and Gol also resumed 737 MAX flights in December, and Copa Airlines in January. And pending final sign off on the jet’s re-certification by Canadian regulators, WestJet plans to re-introduce the MAX on three-flights-a-week between Calgary and Toronto Pearson on January 21.
- Alaska continues to diversify its flying from California with two new routes. The airline will connect Los Angeles with Austin from March 18, its sixth route from the Texan tech center. A new flight between San Diego and New York JFK begins April 4. The routes follow the addition of dozens of new services in 2020 as Alaska diversified its network amid the crisis.
- Once known for its careful, measured expansion, Southwest is up to 12 new destinations added during the pandemic. Fresno and Santa Barbara in California will join the airline’s network in the second quarter of 2020. The cities are the largest markets unserved by Southwest in the Golden State after Palm Springs where it began flights in November.
- In response new onerous Covid-19 restrictions for travelers arriving in Canada, WestJet will slash planned capacity by 30% in February and March. All flyers must test negative for the virus and quarantine for 14-days under new rules implemented by Transport Canada on January 7. As a result, WestJet will suspend 11 international routes and temporarily close 13 stations, including: Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Huatulco, Ixtapa, London Gatwick, Mazatlán, Nassau, Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), Tampa, and Turks and Caicos.