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Southwest Airlines Community

Gary Kelly Message Regarding the 737 MAX

Retired Community Manager

Southwest's Chairman of the Board and CEO Gary Kelly addresses the FAA's order for U.S. airlines to temporarily ground the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft series. 


Explorer C

Check your flights you have probably been changed and or cancelled with out notifacation as i have been. When you do call you will be lied too swa will not own up to the fact of what is going on and will do nothing for you. What industry can sell you something and not deliver what they sell you. Veryy disappionted

Explorer C

There is a lot of hype and political maneuvering regarding the max 8 and it’s grounding. Especially European governments.  Doug mccowns assertion that the engine upgrade and its affect on the wings is ludicrous. I if you don’t know the specifics, please don’t fan the flames of rumors and speculation. Boeing makes the safest planes in the industry. Training levels of airlines and pilot certification of certain airlines may be in question here.  


This is either a Boeing employee/stockholder lying or an ignorant poster. Every news article that talks about the problem note that the larger Max 8 engines had to fit higher and more forward on the wing and that it changed the aerodynamics, causing the plane to pitch upwards some amount of the time during take-off. The whole "non-fail-safe" MCAS system was designed to correct this problem. 

Explorer C

I encourage Southwest, the main airline I have flown for two decades, to begin transitioning to an all Airbus fleet, due to the dirty and criminal behaviour of Boeing with regard to the 737 MAX 8.


Boeing put engines that were considered too large for a 1960's low-to-the-ground plane on the MAX 8, by an unusual wing mounting. They didn't want to re-design the plane to correctly handle the larger engines, due to the time delay that would likely cause customers to move to the Airbus short-range fuel-efficient planes which would be available before a new Boeing plane could be completed. The new wing mounting of the larger engines only worked some percentage of the time. Under certain conditions, it was causing the plane to go up at too large of an angle, risking a stall and falling out of the sky.


So they decided to fix this with an automatic system to move the nose back down. Although they had two sensors to determine the angle of the plane, they decided to use one, with saving development and testing money being the likely reason. So if the sensor was bad, the system would fail. They put in an indicator to tell you if the sensor was potentially bad (by showing it disagreed with the other sensor), but made it an $80,000 optional upgrade. The planes that crashed did not have this upgrade.


They told the government that the automatic system would change the rear wing control by a max factor of .6, which was 25% less than what it actually could do in one iteration: 2.5. Had the government known how much it could change it, they would have likely rejected that system/amount. 


They didn't advise that pilots get re-trained to learn how to handle the non-simple sequence of things they had to do to disable this automatic nose-down system (MCAS) because they were selling the plane as "more of the same" and didn't want to also advertise that they had a new critical system that could fail. It was supposed to be a "non-catastrophic" addition. A "non-catastrophic" system that moved the plane in giant amounts - it only had to be done twice to hit the max - and was dependent on a single sensor. And the system would continue to keep pulling the plane down even if the pilots were repeatedly trying to pull it up. Boeing needs to pay for this horrible and fatal set of business decisions made in the name of profits. If the government or courts won't do it, the airlines need to. The applicable leadership of the FAA and Boeing also should be fired and imprisoned.


Explorer C

I reached out to Southwest a couple weeks ago regarding my extreme discomfort with the 737-MAX aircraft.  Thank you for grounding it within your fleet.


However, in the course of the Ethiopian Airlines investigation, it has become brutally apparent that the FAA is so mired in regulatory capture that it is useless for purposes of certifying the safety of any aircraft.


I recently cancelled all my pending SWA flights.  I simply do not feel safe flying when flight in the US is overseen an agency so unequivocally corrupt, and so clearly beholden to the bottom line of a major corporation--one that has demonstrated, repeatedly, its complete willingness to sacrifice human lives for the sake of massive profits.


As a a citizen and voter, it seems I have absolutely no power to change the FAA's practices--a comically unfortunate commentary on the state of US democracy.  On the other hand, you, SWA, as yet another mega-corporation, are armed with lobbyists and funds; you regularly donate large sums to assorted federal legislators.  You could use your influence to give the FAA its teeth back, and thereby guarantee the safety of your passengers and crew.


When I see that happen, I'll start booking air travel again.


In the meanwhile, you've lost a loyal traveler.  I won't hand my money to a company that is willing to put my life at risk by quietly overlooking the profoundly corrupt relationship between Boeing and the FAA.

Explorer C

I have been a long-time loyal Southwest customer. However, I was very disappointed that SW did not ground the 737 Max planes prior to the Federal order. Now, given what we know about the issues with this plane, I would like to know if SW is going to stop using this plane.