The U.S. government ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft Wednesday afternoon, which will leave our area airports mostly unaffected.
Neither the Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) nor the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) see this aircraft on their runways.
The only large commercial carrier flying into PGD, Allegiant Airlines, uses Airbus A320 and A319 since retiring their MD80 fleet. The airport has never had the B-787 MAX land on its runway.
United Airlines has a version of the Boeing 737 operating at SRQ, but their Boeing 737-700 is not affected by the FAA’s grounding, the airport’s manager of airport operations, Lionel Guilbert, said.
Other aircraft at SRQ include a myriad of airbuses, McDonnel-Douglas aircraft, Embraer aircraft and Bombardier Regional jets.
However, some airlines housed at larger nearby airports including Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers and Tampa International Airport (TPA) will be minimally affected by the grounding.
Southwest Airlines has removed their 34 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from scheduled services, which account for less than five percent of their daily flights, they said in a statement Wednesday.
“Any Customer booked on a cancelled MAX 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs,” the company said.
American Airlines, which had 24 of these aircraft, said affected customers should rebook themselves on aa.com by retrieving their reservation or using their mobile app. If a flight is canceled, customers can request a full refund by visiting their website.
On average, American Airlines operates 85 out of 6,700 flights with these aircraft.
United Airlines will ground its 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which account for roughly 40 daily flights.
“Through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order,” the company said in a statement.