Southwest Airlines has placed a firm order for 100 additional Boeing 737 Max aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2022.
The agreement between Boeing and Southwest includes 100 new firm orders for the 737 Max 7 (the smallest variant of the Max family), a conversion of 70 aircraft from the larger Max 8 to the Max 7, as well as options for 155 additional Max planes. It brings the total amount of aircraft ordered by Southwest to 349, consisting of 200 Max 7 and 149 Max 8. Furthermore, the company now holds a total of 270 purchase options.
This order comes after what the airline calls a “multi-year evaluation”, which included discussions between the airline and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus. Southwest reportedly considered to abandon its single-type fleet strategy and potentially place an order for Airbus A220 as a replacement for its Boeing 737-700.
But instead of the A220, Southwest has now decided in favor of Boeing by placing the firm order for 737 Max 7 to replace previous generation 737-700.
The Boeing 737 Max was grounded from March 2019 until late-2020, following two fatal accidents. After the FAA re-certified the typ in November, airlines are now starting to resume service with the type, including Southwest Airlines, which had received about 30 aircraft prior to the grounding.
In 2021, Southwest expects to take delivery of 28 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft (included nine leased ones), while retiring 17 Boeing 737-700. Next year, at least 30 Max 7 aircraft are set to be delivered to Southwest.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.