Sunday, May 26

Southwest Quits Four Airports in Cost-Cutting Drive

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Southwest Airlines is ceasing operations at four airports, and reducing flights from others, in an effort to cut costs after its growth plans were curtailed by fewer than expected plane deliveries from Boeing.

The airline, which flies only Boeing 737 planes, said on Thursday that delays from the embattled aircraft manufacturer were behind its struggles. Southwest reported a loss of $231 million for the first quarter, worse than analysts expected, sending its share price down 10 percent in early trading.

To cut costs because of its curtailed growth plans, Southwest said it would cease operations at four airports from early August: Bellingham International Airport in Washington State, Cozumel International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and Syracuse Hancock International Airport. It would also “significantly restructure” its flights from other airports, most notably by reducing flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The airline’s woes were another ripple effect of the incident on Jan. 5, when a panel of a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet blew out midair during an Alaska Airlines flight. The event led to the temporary grounding of the popular jet model and a slowdown in production as Boeing has faced increased regulatory scrutiny over its quality control.

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