Southwest Airlines, America’s first low-cost airline, announced Wednesday that it had temporarily grounded 130 Boeing 737-800s. At issue: discrepancies in the aircraft weight data, which require aircraft reprogramming.
The Dallas, Texas-based airline said in a statement that “out of excess of caution” it had “stopped flying the planes” to reset the program and ensure the correct aircraft weight was entered.
In January, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) sought to impose a $ 3.92 million (€ 3.3 million) fine on Southwest for alleged violations of the aviation rules. weight on 21,505 flights performed by 44 aircraft between May 1 and August 9, 2018.
Few canceled flights
Operational curb weights and center of gravity data are used to determine how many passengers and how much fuel can be safely carried.
The difference between the data is only 75 pounds, or 34 kg, for behemoths that weigh 73 t at takeoff, kerosene, passengers and luggage included. But in announcing its decision to ground 130 planes, all Boeings, it is on the question of the reliability of the information that Southwest wants to emphasize, rightly or wrongly.
This case is in any case more bad news for Boeing. The American aircraft manufacturer is already suffering from the immobilization of its 737 MAX after two crashes which left 346 dead in October 2018 and March 2019. Boeing has not yet responded to the request for comments made by the Reuters agency. .
On the passenger side, Southwest says few flights should be delayed or canceled as a result of its decision. The company plans to run at 50% of its capacity in September, due to the drop in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.