SARASOTA (WWSB) - Of the more than 70 Boeing 737 Max planes in the United States, none are here at SRQ, and Tampa International Airport says these planes are part of only about five percent of their daily operations. SRQ’s President and CEO Rick Piccolo tells us even though there’s minimal impact to air travel here on the Suncoast because of these grounded planes, it’s still going to cause problems throughout the country and worldwide.
“Southwest flies 160 flights a day with the Max 8, so there’s going to be some ripple effect somewhere," said Piccolo. "If you take a 160 flights a day out of the schedule either you’re going to cancel those flights or you’re going to have flights where the Max 8 was that they’re going to substitute some other aircraft, which means they’re going to cancel flights somewhere else.”
News of the grounded Boeing 737 Max planes spread quickly throughout SRQ today. John Newbury and his wife are stranded in Sarasota because a blizzard in Colorado cancelled their flight back home. He says it’s smart to ground these Boeing planes especially following the recent crashes.
“I feel confident that we take airline travel very seriously and how our jets perform,” said Newbury.
Florida Senator Rick Scott says the safety of American families is his top priority and he supports the president’s decision to ground these Boeing 737 Max planes. Piccolo says there’s a possibility these planes can be back in the air within the next few weeks.
“I think the bigger issue will be what’s the determination which they should know in a week or two what was in the black boxes of those flights that went down and whether it was related to that control system or not," said Piccolo. "If it wasn’t related to that then I can foresee the Max 8 getting back in the air pretty quickly.”