Boeing Max grounding leads Southwest Airlines to cease operations at Newark airport

Southwest Airlines will cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport starting in November due to the ongoing grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jet.

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The Dallas-based carrier will instead consolidate its operations at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Southwest disclosed in its second-quarter earnings report.

“The financial results at Newark have been below expectations,” said CEO Gary Kelly.

The company also extended the potential for flight cancellations as a result of the Max grounding until January 5, 2020, as Boeing expects to receive federal approval in September for a software patch intended to fix the issues that led to two fatal crashes.

The longer timeline means Southwest will miss out on thousands of flights during the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season, after having to also curb its schedules during Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 4 travel, some of the highest-volume flying days of the year.

The carrier also said capacity would decrease up to 2 percent, a major shift from the planned 5 percent expansion. Despite those hiccups, Kelly said the "financial outlook for second half 2019 remains solid."

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Southwest reported profits of $1.38 per share in the second quarter, while revenue came in below analyst estimates at $5.9 billion.