All indications are the MAX is to be back in service in July.
DEN is at the edge of MAX range. Flights will be like earlier (pre-scimitar winglet) 738 flights by AS (restricted winter loads). I have no doubt it will be done, it is a question of when.
I 100% agree with the preference for frequency. That gives HA a huge advantage in a downturn. But so far, from people I talk to, the service is well received. I have no idea on profitability. Personally, I think a steady state will be arrived at where HA still dominates inter-island flying.
But that doesn't mean WN won't grow. Expecting a customer to fail usually results in lost market share.
The MAX will be forgotten in two years. I doubt the will initially go all MAX. But eventually one rationally allocates resources. That means putting aircraft with on the routes they are better for. In the winter, the MAX is needed for full loads. By winter, customers will be comfortable again.
I'm curious as to what you're basing your opening sentence on. From what I saw on the one of the Dallas-area news stations earlier this week, each 3M8/3M9 will need at least 150 hours of maintenance for software upgrades, fluid/engine checks, etc. once the FAA approves Boeing's solution.
On the 23rd the FAA made two statements
1) It expects to recertify the MAX in June
2) It told airlines it saw no need to extend the time that airlines have banished MAXs from their schedules (mostly August, although UA just extended the ban til August).
There will be teams of people getting aircraft/flight crew ready to fly. If the ban is lifted in June, then MAXs will have the capability to dribble back into service shortly thereafter.
If the fix is good, FAA is stating the work will take 3 to 4 weeks.https://www.bing.com/amp/s/www.seattlet ... %3famp%3d1
It is absurd to consider this fix would take 150 man hours per aircraft. Work is also never performed serial.
One team will update the cockpit. I assume new switches, lights go in. Another skill set loads the software.
The other checks required can usually be performed in half a day by an experienced team. It is a slightly expanded A check.
My expectation is one team goes in the morning to perform changes then moves onto aircraft #2. Another team that just completed most of the preps on aircraft #2 come over to aircraft #1 and finish the checks. On overtime, they go back over to aircraft #2 to finish post fix checks. Repeat 6 days a week (mass overtime).
So 12 aircraft per team per week reintroduced.
I would expect WN to assemble 10+ teams to do this.
Selling tickets will be the biggest hold up. Perhaps parts, which if Boeing hasn't ordered at risk, airlines will be pissed. I fully expect ticket sales to start as soon as certified. I expect a quiet launch to Hawaii and then the push I described with flights from the inland hubs. (PHX, LAX, DEN, and possibly SLC). Note, I haven't looked into MAX MTOW from SLC, so my possibly.
I'm highly curious as to LEAP performance on quick turns. Today's hotter engines will be tougher to manage.
Please note the 3 to 4 week clock already started. If the FAA hasn't mandated overtime, they should expect a budget fight from any state budget hurt by the loss of tax revenue (states will lose more than Boeing... ironic in my opinion). Don't forget to include the half dozen states dependent on GE/CFM revenue. I see no pressure on an thorough audit, I see pressure to mandate overtime.
So recertification in June is quite possible as early as mid-June, but I expect a week delay for show. Any discovery requiring a software or hardware change will result in a minimum 10 week delay. I would bet on a 20% chance of a discovery.
Flu+Covid19 is bad. Consider a flu vaccine, if not for yourself, to protect someone you care about.