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Southwest Airlines will start flying the 737 MAX aircraft "as quickly as is efficient and cost effective," its CEO Gary Kelly told "Axios on HBO." Still, he said, "it'll be well into next year before we have a revenue flight."

Why it matters: The airline says 25% of its passengers have indicated that they are not comfortable flying on the aircraft. But Kelly says "the Max is a great airplane," with "a wonderful customer experience."

  • "The software issue has easily been addressed."
  • "The facts are very compelling. Aviation is the safest way to travel, and has been for decades. It is heavily, heavily regulated, it, and with very skilled people involved."

Between the lines: Kelly said that passengers can trust Southwest's experienced pilots, who "are among the best in the world and operate very, very safely" and who "are very, very confident in the airplane."

  • "There's no question that there were pilot errors in both in both crashes," he said.
  • "You train pilots to make sure that they know what to expect when they do certain things. That's what needed to be changed. And that's been addressed."

Go deeper

FAA will pursue "strong enforcement" after unruly pro-Trump passengers disrupt flights

Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson testifies before a Senate panel examining safety certification of jetliners on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the agency will "pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight," after unruly behavior took place on several flights to and from the Washington, D.C. area this week.

Driving the news: American Airlines is investigating an unruly and frightening episode on a flight to D.C., the night before a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Alaska Airlines said it had banned 14 passengers after a rowdy flight from an airport near Washington, D.C., to Seattle on Thursday, per Bloomberg.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.