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Southwest Airlines Extends Boeing 737 MAX Cancellations Into August

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Southwest Airlines announced Thursday it has updated its flight schedule and extended the cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights through early August, which will impact the busy summer travel period.

According to Reuters.com, Southwest previously removed the grounded fleet of 737 MAX planes from its flight schedule through June 6, but the airline revealed it would keep the aircraft out of its plans through at least August 10.

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As the largest operator of 737 MAX planes, Southwest officials said the changes would result in roughly 371-weekday flights being removed from the carrier’s total peak-day schedule, a 10-percent increase from the 330 weekly flights previously canceled through June 6.

American and United airlines also previously canceled 737 MAX flights into June.

“By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our customers’ travel plans,” Southwest said in a statement. “The limited number of customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule will be notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures.”

Boeing officials announced last week the airplane manufacturer was still working toward a “mid-2020 estimate for return to service” for the 737 MAX fleet, which has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed last week it anticipates the grounded plane’s certification flight will take place sometime in the next few weeks, according to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

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TSA Bans TikTok Videos From Agency Social Media Accounts

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Sunday employees would no longer be permitted to use TikTok to post on behalf of the agency’s social media accounts.

According to the New York Post, the decision to ban the use of the Chinese owned video-sharing app comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer voiced concerns about potential national security issues.

TSA officials said several employees who managed the agency’s social media accounts had used the TikTok platform to create videos that were shared with followers, but the agency has told its staff they are no longer allowed to use the video-sharing app on TSA accounts.

While the TSA never had a TikTok account or posted content directly to the platform, the federal agency’s employees posted videos on TSA social media accounts that featured the social media platform’s logo in the corner.

Senator Schumer began advocating for the agency to stop using TikTok after he called on intelligence officials to investigate the platform to protect national security. He followed up his comments with a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Saturday, which sparked the ban.

When asked about the decision, Schumer defended his position and cited a Department of Homeland Security rule prohibiting TikTok on agency devices. The Department of Defense and the State Department have also banned employees from posting on the social media platform.

“Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly,” Schumer said in a statement.

“These videos sure do make you chuckle; they’re creative,” the senator continued. “But China might be laughing at these TSA postings for very different reasons, and that should concern us and it’s why I am urging the TSA to find a different platform, and cease its use of TikTok now.”

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