Southwest Airlines addresses concerns over safety of Boeing 737 MAX 8

Model, grounded in handful of countries, under scrutiny after deadly crash

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The largest air carrier at Orlando International Airport is addressing concerns from passengers about the Boeing 737 MAX 8, which has been under scrutiny following the deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines released a statement saying the company will work with passengers who have questions about flying on the aircraft.

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"We are not issuing refunds of non-refundable fares, but we are working with customers individually who wish to rebook their flight if they want to change their reservation," a spokesperson said.

More than a dozen airlines and a handful of countries have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8, but it continues to fly in the United States.

Some passengers in Orlando spoke about their concerns with the aircraft.

"I just think they should ground them, that's it. Until they find out what's the matter with them," Ken Lerman said.

Other travelers said they trust the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines to make the right decision.

"The last thing they ever want is for one of their planes to go down," Roger Courtemanche said. "If they thought there was such a risk of a plane going down, they wouldn't fly it."

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was involved in a similar incident in October 2018 when a Lion Air flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia.

In both cases, investigators said the pilots of the jets reported technical difficulties and appeared to struggle to gain altitude before making a steep nosedive shortly after takeoff.

[RELATED: Which airlines are still flying Boeing 737 MAX 8s?Experts split on whether Boeing 737 MAX 8 should continue to fly]

After the Lion Air crash, Boeing began working on training and design updates, which the FAA said must be completed by April.

Boeing released a statement on Tuesday about the 737 MAX operation.

"Safety is Boeing's number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX," the company wrote. "The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance operations."

 

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