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Southwest Airlines leaving Newark Airport due to Boeing 737 woes

Declining passenger numbers and profits fuel the airline's departure.

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737 Max planes were removed from airports across the globe after the Ethiopia crash. 

Wang Shoubao via Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is flying out of Newark airport for good. Lower than expected earnings from the airport fueled the airline's decision to exit, according to its second-quarter earnings call Thursday. 

The decision follows the grounding in March of all 737 Max planes. The Boeing planes are under intense scrutiny due to two crashes that occurred within a window of five months, killing 346 passengers and crew combined

"We are not considering any other station closures," said Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz, in an email. "This was specific to the New York market."

As of last month, the Federal Aviation Administration stated that there's no set date yet for sending 737 Max back to "passenger service." Boeing, meanwhile, said a software update to a flight control system that's at the center of the crash investigations is ready for FAA approval. Boeing may temporarily stop production of the plane until it flies again.

Southwest said the pause on Boeing 737 Max flights worldwide had resulted in a loss of about about $175 million in profit. Missed profits for Southwest Airlines might signal a reason to worry for other companies that were involved in the 737 Max's creation. Suppliers like General Electric, which makes the plane's engines, identified the plane as a risk to the company's financials earlier this year.  

When asked if Southwest believes 737 Max's continued grounding will impact future financials, Mainz states it is too soon to speculate at this point. 

Customers who have currently booked Southwest flights through Newark will have the option to travel via other airports. Employees will have the chance to relocate to LaGuardia Airport, the company stated in its earnings. 

Originally published July 26, 12:52 p.m. EST
Update, 3:49 p.m.: Adds comment from Southwest airlines spokesman.

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