More than a month after the disconnection of Boeing 737 MAS, it was time for the first assessment of American Airlines and Southwest: large customers of this aircraft, they had to cancel thousands of flights, reorganize services and their profitability suffered.
The bill is salty and should at best be $ 350 million this year for "American Airlines", forced on Friday to review its financial ambitions for 2019.
"Our short-term forecasts are affected by the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet, which had to be removed from our flight schedule by August 19," said Doug Parker, CEO.
American Airlines, however, reiterated its support for Boeing, rejecting any idea of replacing its 737 MAX with Airbus.
This is also the case for the Southwest, which operates with 34 units and expects this year an additional 41 units.
Airlines' leaders claim that their recent visit to Europe to see the A220, an airbase built by Airbus and less than 737 MKS, was "overdue".
"To conclude that this visit suggests we want to move from Boeing and MAKS (Airbus and A220) is not true," Gerry Kelly, general manager, told reporters. . "We are just planning to increase our fleet with MAX".
Unlike their colleague Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines, MM. Parker and Kelly do not hide their frustration with Boeing.
"We are not happy with this situation, who would it be?" Fumidi Gerry Kelly. "Of course, we are not happy and nobody is happy," said Doug Parker.
Anxiety of travelers
Civil aviation authorities around the world landed the 737 MAX fleet in mid-March after the plane crash of 737 MAX 8, operated by Ethiopian Airlines on March 10th in the southeast. from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people.
This accident happened just months after Lyon Air killed 189 people.
The aircraft anti-aircraft system, MCAS, was involved in both tragedies.
Currently, Boeing is working to update this software, necessary before the possible abolition of the theft ban.
American Airlines had to cancel 1,200 scheduled flights from its 24,737 MAXs in the first quarter, for a price of $ 50 million, and to de-program all other scheduled flights by August 19th or 115 flights a day.
The Southwest has canceled more than 10,000 flights in the first quarter – a record from the third quarter of 2001 hit by the September 11th attacks – due not only to 737 MAX, but also to social unrest and storms in some areas of the United States.
As a result, the net profit fell 16% to $ 387 million.
The carrier also suspended all scheduled flights at its 34,737 MAX until August 5.
In addition to financial concerns, the two airlines face other inconveniences.
American Airlines had to find places for 700,000 passengers hit by MAX and to change the plane's schedule at the last minute.
"Our booking and customer relationship teams work 24 hours and are forced to work overtime to meet the needs of passengers," said Doug Parker.
"The newspaper consists of cancellations or delays of flights, device changes, route changes, large amounts of call in our call centers, logistical costs and requirements related to immobilization." 737 MAX, "complained Michael Van de Wen, number 2 from the Southwest.
Even more serious, the pain of passengers at airports is promoted by Mr Van de Wen.
The Southwest, which anticipates instant dissatisfaction with the 737 MAX, began conducting customer satisfaction surveys and market offensive efforts to assure the public of the safety of the aircraft.
Boeing should wipe this out, estimates by a large number of experts who expect multi-billion dollar compensation for the affected companies.
"This is a matter of which we will talk privately with Boeing," says Gerry Kelly.