by Associated Press | July 25, 2019
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Southwest Airlines is pulling out of New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport following extensive delays caused by the FAA's grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. The carrier will cease operations at the facility and consolidate them at LaGuardia Airport in New York effective Nov. 3.
"This was not an easy decision to make, but we must optimize our aircraft and resources to meet customer demand in other markets," the airline said in a statement issued today. In the statement, Southwest reported record second-quarter revenues and earnings per share. The carrier ended second quarter 2019 with 753 aircraft in its fleet. All 34 of the company's MAX aircraft were grounded as of March 13, 2019, to comply with the FAA emergency order issued for all U.S. airlines to ground all MAX aircraft. 

While the company's contractual delivery schedule with Boeing has not changed, a portion of its scheduled 2019 aircraft deliveries are expected to shift into 2020. As a result of the MAX groundings, the company deferred the retirement of seven of its owned 737-700 aircraft, and now plans to retire 11 of its 737-700 aircraft in 2019.

The airline employs approximately 125 workers at Newark.

"All Southwest employees at Newark are being offered positions at New York's LaGuardia Airport or being allowed to bid for other open positions anywhere in the Southwest network," the airline said.

Southwest began service at Newark on Mar. 27, 2011. The airline has three gates at Newark and offers up to 20 departures per day to 10 cities, including Denver and St. Louis.

Boeing is still working on fixing flight-control software that appeared to play a role in crashes that killed 346 people off the coast of Indonesia and in Ethiopia. In March, regulators grounded the Boeing 737 Max, and the company suspended deliveries of new jets. Southwest has 34 of the jetliners.