Southwest Airlines is ceasing operations at four airports, and reducing flights from others, in an effort to cut costs as its growth plans were also curtailed by fewer-than-expected plane deliveries from Boeing.

The airline, which flies only Boeing 737 planes, said on Thursday that delays from the embattled aircraft manufacturer contributed to its struggles. Southwest reported a loss of $231 million for the first quarter, worse than analysts expected, sending its share price down 10 percent in early trading.

To cut costs, Southwest said, it will cease operations at four airports from early August: Bellingham International Airport in Washington State, Cozumel International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Syracuse Hancock International Airport. It will also “significantly restructure” its flights from other airports, most notably by reducing flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta and Chicago O’Hare International Airports.

Southwest’s chief executive, Bob Jordan, said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that the decision to exit those airports was unrelated to delays in receiving new Boeing planes, although those delays were causing other problems.

“The network actions have really nothing to do with the Boeing delay. We are taking network actions regardless,” he said. “Now, the Boeing delays are very painful. They cause us to replan, they hurt us on the revenue front, they cause us to be inefficient, and we’re working all of that.”

The airline’s woes were another ripple effect of the incident on Jan. 5, when a panel of a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight. The event led to the temporary grounding of the popular jet model and a slowdown in production as Boeing has faced increased regulatory scrutiny over its quality control.


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