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The AirlineGeeks Podcast Episode 14: A Look Into EAS, Dreamliner, and Southwest Operations

The AirlineGeeks Podcast Episode 14: A Look Into EAS, Dreamliner, and Southwest Operations

Thank you for reading the AirlineGeeks Podcast Recap. This article gives a brief look at this week’s episode of our news podcast. For our full analysis of each of these stories, you can listen to The AirlineGeeks Podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or through our distributor, Anchor.

This week, we start out with a discussion of the Essential Air Service program in the United States. After briefly looking at the program’s inception in the late 1970s, we look at modern-day requirements. Then, we move on to how the program is carried out practically and some of the most influential services, especially in Alaska and near the U.S./Canada border. We also briefly consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Essential Air Service.

Next, we take a look at the latest structural errors with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. At the end of August, Boeing self-reported a structural error with certain shims near the rear of the aircraft: some shims may not be the proper size and do not meet skin flatness specifications. The errors do not immediately impact aircraft but could pose risks as aircraft near the end of their service lives and the parts start to weaken. Up to 900 aircraft could be affected, and the FAA may issue an Airworthiness Directive, pending investigation, that could impact over 1,000 aircraft.

The latest issue is another in what has seemed a long string of problems for the Dreamliner. Starting in 2013, the aircraft had an issue with its lithium-ion batteries exploding, and soon after there was a problem with some of the engines that airlines can choose for their Dreamliner orders. More recently, Boeing has also reported issues with Dreamliner horizontal stabilizers. The issues come amid reports of serious quality oversight both in the Dreamliner and 737MAX programs. Boeing is considering consolidating Dreamliner production into its South Carolina plant to eliminate discrepancies caused by spreading production to Washington State.

We conclude by discussing Southwest Airlines’ announcement that it will expand into Miami, Fla. and Palm Springs, Calif. Many have questioned the airline’s choice since it already flies to airports near to both Miami and Palm Springs – like Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and West Palm Beach in Florida and Long Beach in California, where Southwest is soon increasing services after JetBlue’s exit – but Southwest hopes that its additional services will attract leisure passengers looking for a getaway during the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts have also considered Southwest’s decision to serve a larger “hub” airport like Miami. The carrier tends to serve smaller airports instead of bustling hubs, but it has started serving more hubs in recent years to match demand. Entering Miami gives it a foothold into another popular market where it can attract passengers with its historically low fares and customer-friendly branding.

We hope you’ll give our episode a listen at our links above for a more in-depth discussion of each of these stories. Monitor our pages on your favorite streaming service each Friday to hear the latest episode just as it’s published – at 12 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time each week. Let us know what you think in the comments.

John McDermott
Latest posts by John McDermott (see all)


  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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