/Grounded Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 makes emergency landing on way to storage facility

Grounded Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 makes emergency landing on way to storage facility

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Boeing CEO Dennis Mullenburg explains what his company is doing to ensure the safety of passengers after the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes.
USA TODAY

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 on its way from Orlando to a temporary storage facility in California made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff Tuesday afternoon.

Southwest Flight 8701 was headed from Orlando International Airport to Southern California Logistics Airport, an aircraft storage facility in Victorville following the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent grounding of the plane following two fatal crashes in less than five months.

The flight, which had no passengers on board, took off at 2:47 p.m. ET and landed back at the airport at 2:58 p.m., according to flight tracker FlightAware.

The FAA said it is investigating the incident. It said the crew declared an emergency due to a reported engine problem on takeoff.  

Southwest Airlines said the plane returned to the airport after pilots reported a “performance issue” with one of the engines. 

“The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport,” Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said in a statement. 

The plane will now be moved to Southwest’s Orlando maintenance facility for a review, the airline said.

The FAA grounding, announced two weeks ago, allows so-called ferry flights with no passengers. That allows airlines to get the grounded planes to a storage facility or airports with room to accommodate them. 

Southwest has 34 Max 8s in its fleet, the most of any U.S. carrier. American is next at 24.

More: Ethiopian official: Preliminary report on Boeing 737 Max 8 accident due out this week

MoreYou don’t have to be on a Max 8 to be affected by the grounding. Here’s why.

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