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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Southwest Airlines has quickly become the number one airline out of Pittsburgh International, flying non-stop to at least seventeen cities.
“Southwest is our largest carrier, both in terms of passengers carried at the airport but also in terms of number of destinations served to passengers, so Southwest is incredibly important here at Pittsburgh International,” said Bob Kerlik, spokesperson for the Airport Authority.
So when the FAA grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8’s involved in two similar plane crashes overseas, local airport officials suspected it could have a local impact eventually.
- President Trump Orders Grounding Of Boeing 737 Max 8 Planes In U.S.
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Southwest Airlines has approximately 750 Boeing 737s in its fleet, of which only 34 are the grounded Max 8s.
But that was still enough to affect scheduling in and out of Pittsburgh.
Beginning June 8, Southwest has announced it will temporarily suspend its non-stop flights to Los Angeles and Cancun from Pittsburgh and scale back its non-stop flights to Las Vegas from here.
In a statement, Southwest president Tom Nealon apologized, saying, “While the vast majority of our customers’ itineraries have remained unaffected, flight schedule changes have inconvenienced some of our valued customers, and, for that, I offer my sincerest apologies.”
Airport spokesperson Bob Kerlik says the airline is reaching out to rebook affected passengers.
“Our understanding is that the carrier is reaching out to these people impacted directly, so they should be hearing from the airline,” Kerlik told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
And Spirit Airlines continues to fly non-stop to both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and Delta flies non-stop to Cancun.
“The west coast is an important destination for Pittsburghers,” Kerlik said. “That’s something we hear all the time from the business community and also leisure travelers.”
American Airlines also used Max 8’s, but so far it has not affected their Pittsburgh schedule.