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Pittsburgh flights cut as Southwest grapples with Boeing 737 issues | TribLIVE.com
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Pittsburgh flights cut as Southwest grapples with Boeing 737 issues

Paul Guggenheimer
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In this Saturday, March 23, 2019, photo, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft lands at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the high desert town of Victorville, Calif. Southwest, which has 34 Max aircraft, is making cancellations five days in advance, with an average of 130 daily cancellations. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

Nonstop Southwest flights from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles International Airport and Cancun will be suspended and service to Las Vegas will be reduced in June, Pittsburgh International Airport announced this week.

It’s part of the fallout from the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the airplane under investigation in the wake of two crashes.

The schedule adjustments will take effect June 8 and last through June 29, airport spokesman Bob Kerlik wrote on the airport’s website. Whether the suspension specific to Pittsburgh will continue beyond June is unclear.

Southwest currently has nonstop flights to Los Angeles six days a week. All of them will be eliminated in June. At that time, the airline’s seasonal Saturday service to Cancun will be discontinued. Daily flights to Las Vegas will be reduced to two days a week.

Southwest removed all 34 of its MAX 8s from service March 13 following a grounding order from the Federal Aviation Administration after the crashes on other carriers. One crash was last October off the coast of Indonesia and the other was in March in Ethiopia. A total of 346 people were killed in the two crashes.

Boeing continues to work on a software fix for the grounded jets that will be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Southwest carries the most passengers and serves the most nonstop destinations from Pittsburgh International Airport.

The airport maintains nonstop service to Los Angeles, Cancun and Las Vegas on other carriers. Spirit Airlines has daily nonstop flights to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Apple Vacations has flights to Cancun three days a week, and Delta flies there once a week. Vacation Express will begin flying to Cancun once a week starting in June.

Customers who have booked seats with Southwest during that three-week window in June will be rebooked on a connecting flight.

“While the timing for the return to service of the MAX remains unclear, what is very clear is our commitment to operate a reliable schedule,” Southwest president Tom Nealon said.

American Airlines adjusted its schedules due to the grounding of the MAX jets, although those changes do not appear to affect the schedule for Pittsburgh travelers, Kerlik wrote.

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].

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