No sim’ needed for 737 MAX return at Southwest Airlines

Chief executive Gary Kelly of Southwest Airlines told analysts on 25 April that he does not expect its pilots to undergo simulator training as part of the process to re-introduce the 737 MAX to service. He stressed that the airline’s pilots were well-equipped to handle a problem that has emerged as a common link between two fatal crashes of the aircraft.

“We are not hearing that will be a requirement,” said Kelly. “Managing the aircraft in a runway stabiliser scenario we’ve already covered,” he added, this airline “has some of the most experienced 737 operators in the world.”

The training 737 pilots undergo when transitioning to the 737 MAX has emerged as a point of discussion during the analysis of the two fatal crashes. Southwest’s pilots’ union did criticise Boeing for not informing operators about the MCAS system, which it called “ill-designed”.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) said it is still awaiting the revised training programme for the software update. “Once we see the final training product from Boeing, we will decide if more training should be given to SWAPA pilots in conjunction with the company. If we and the company disagree, we will do what we think is best for the passengers and the flying public,” said SWAPA president Jon Weaks.

The Dallas-based airline currently has 34 737 MAX 8s grounded and holds the largest order for the type, with 260 additional models ordered from Boeing.

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