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DALLAS -- Southwest and American airlines have dropped direct routes across the country as the carriers continue to grapple with fallout from the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets.

Southwest Airlines has suspended 13 routes across the U.S., and American Airlines has temporarily dropped a direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Oakland, Calif.

American's route from Dallas/Fort Worth to Oakland was cut starting in early June. Southwest's cuts include routes from Austin and San Antonio to destinations throughout the country.

Airline news website The Points Guy first reported the route cuts at Southwest on Tuesday. Southwest confirmed the routes to The Dallas Morning News.

"The routes that the airlines canceled will be among their least strategic and least profitable routes," said airline analyst Henry Harteveldt with Atmosphere Research. "And they are going to be on routes where they can protect the customer by routing them through another airport."

Both American and Southwest have hustled to reroute planes to minimize disruptions since the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max aircraft after two deadly crashes in Asia and Africa. Southwest had 34 Boeing 737 Max jets in its fleet at the time of the grounding, the most of any carrier. American had 24.

For Dallas-based Southwest, much of the disruption is in California. At Oakland, Southwest has suspended flights to and from San Antonio, Newark, Indianapolis and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Three routes at Los Angeles International Airport were dropped, serving Pittsburgh, Tampa and Omaha.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said flights have been off the books since April and March, and customers have already been rescheduled.

Some flights were temporarily dropped in June, while other cuts will start in August. They are scheduled to return Oct. 2, if the 737 Max is ready to fly again.

American, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, has removed 115 flights from its daily schedule, but has been able to do that mostly by picking out individual flights with lower demand, not entire routes. Oakland-Dallas/Fort Worth was the exception.

"On average, American only has a total of three to four daily departures from Oakland International Airport," said an email from American spokesman Ross Feinstein.

Business on 07/06/2019

Print Headline: 737 Max woes hit airline routes


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