Southwest Airlines announced, on April 25, 2024,  it will stop flying to four airports in the U.S., including Bush Intercontinental in Houston. This news will be an obvious inconvenience for Houston residents and commuters from neighboring states who flew out of IAH.

Ironically Southwest just started making flights to Bush three years ago. According to reports from Houston's KTRK, Southwest is also pulling out of Cozumel International Airport in Mexico, Bellingham, Washington, and Syracuse, New York. The airline points to losses of $231 million in the first quarter of the year, caused by delays in receiving several new 737 Max plans from Boeing.

After a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines jet in January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began an audit of 737 Max. Production was halted after Boeing failed 33 of 89 audits during an examination. According to NBC, Southwest will not be able to retire some of its older plans as planned. Southwest Airlines only flies Boeing aircraft, so it continues to face challenges due to delays in the delivery of aircraft.

Instead of purchasing 46 new 737 Max 8 planes, it will only be able to get 20 as it stands now. However, they aren't scheduled to arrive until sometime in 2025. Bob Jordan, CEO of the Dallas, Texas-based airline said Thursday, "To improve our financial performance, we have intensified our network optimization efforts to address underperforming markets." Jordan continued. "I want to sincerely thank our employees, the airports, and the communities for all their incredible support over the years."

Southwest isn't the only airline cutting back. In March, JetBlue announced that it was also reducing flights to Los Angeles and Miami to cut costs after its $3.8 billion merger deal with Spirit Airlines fell through.

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