MIAMI – Boeing has recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operations. The announcement prompted multiple carriers to immediately pull some of their fleets temporarily out of service.

“The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system,” Boeing said in a statement. “We are working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on this production issue. We are also informing our customers of specific tail numbers affected and we will provide direction on appropriate corrective actions.”

American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

Southwest, American, United Affected


At least three U.S. carriers are affected by the recommendation. Southwest Airlines (WN) said it is pulling 30 of its 58 MAX plans from service, while American Airlines (AA) said it would ground 17 of its 41 planes. On its part, United Airlines (UA) is pulling 16 of its 30, according to multiple news reports.

Additionally, Alaska Airlines’ (AS) four Boeing 737 MAXs are grounded. Three are grounded in Seattle, while one remains grounded in Portland.

The latest issue follows the MAXs return to service in November following two fatal crashes that grounded the global fleet for more than a year.

United Airlines Boeing 737MAX Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Airline Statements


United said in a statement it is working with Boeing to determine when the planes could return to its fleet.

“We have been in touch with the FAA and Boeing and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service,” United said.

American said in a statement that only the planes it received after the return of the MAX to service were affected.

“As we shared when we returned the 737 MAX to commercial service, the safety of our customers and team members comes above all else,” AA said.

Southwest, meanwhile, “anticipates minimal disruption to our operation, and we appreciate the understanding of our Customers and Employees as Safety is always the uncompromising priority at Southwest Airlines,” the airline said in a statement.


Featured image: Southwest’s Boeing 737 MAX Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways