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Southwest to end Newark Airport service due to 737 grounding

Boeing announces revenue drop
  • Southwest said it plans to end service to Newark Liberty International Airport in November due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.
  • The decision marks the first time an airline has dropped a destination due to the plane's grounding.
  • About 125 Southwest workers are employed at Newark, and they will be offered open positions at LaGuardia and elsewhere.

Southwest Airlines on Thursday said it will cease service to Newark Liberty International Airport due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. The move marks the first time an airline has dropped a destination because of the 737 Max's groundings. 

Southwest said it will stop flying in and out of New Jersey's Newark airport on November 3. Affected workers will be offered positions at LaGuardia airport in New York or in any location with open positions. 

The discount airline pointed to the longer-than-expected grounding of the 737 as placing pressure on its business. CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement that the company has been forced to "mitigate damages and optimize our aircraft and resources" by moving out of Newark and consolidating its New York-area service at LaGuardia. 

Family members of 737 Max crash victims demand safety reforms at congressional hearing

The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March following the deadly crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that month and Lion Air Flight 610 in October.

"We have had preliminary discussions with Boeing regarding compensation for damages due to the Max groundings," Kelly said in the statement. "We have not reached any conclusions regarding these matters, and no amounts from Boeing have been included in our second quarter results. 

Southwest, which started service at Newark in 2011, employs about 125 people at the airport. 

Separately, Boeing on Wednesday reported its worst financial quarter in the company's history, with revenue plunging 35% due to the 737 Max's grounding. If the 737 Max does not fly by the end of the year, its continued grounding could force Boeing to further slow or halt production. Such a move by the nation's largest exporter could send a ripple through the U.S. economy.

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