Southwest dumps New Jersey

(Woodys Aeroimages/Flickr)

Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that it was pulling out of Newark-Liberty International Airport to help mitigate the financial blow the company took due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The Dallas-based airline plans to consolidate air services in the New York City metro area at LaGuardia Airport starting on Nov. 3, 2019.

Southwest is the world’s largest user of the 737 MAX with 34 jets and dozens more on order.  Southwest took a $175 million blow from the grounding of the planes.

Boeing grounded the 737 Max in March after two deadly crashes within five months.  It has considering stopping production of the plans

In a release ahead of an earnings call Gary C. Kelly, the Chairman of the Board and CEO stated:  "I am grateful to our wonderful Newark Employees, who are a top priority, and will be given an opportunity to relocate to another station in our system, including LaGuardia Airport, where we are experiencing strong Customer demand. As part of this move, we will offer options and flexibility for Customers to recover planned travel from other area airports."

The airline did announce that it was expanding service to Hawaii and Mexico in the coming months.

Southwest Airlines Co. on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings of $741 million.  On a per-share basis, the Dallas-based company said it had net income of $1.37.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.35 per share.

Southwest shares have increased 18% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 20%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.