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A Southwest 737 MAX at Paine Field (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Boeing and Southwest Finalize Major Boeing 737 MAX Order

Boeing and Southwest Airlines on Monday announced a new order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with options for an additional 155 options in two variants including the 737 MAX 7 and 737 MAX 8.

Southwest had been exploring options to modernize the most prominent aircraft type in its fleet: the 737-700. With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737 MAX 7 as its preferred replacement and growth aircraft. The aircraft will complement the 737 MAX 8, which meets Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model. Among that exploration of options, the Airbus A220 was considered, but the close relationship between Southwest and Boeing, added to the weakness to negotiate and the need for the manufacturer for a big order that boosts confidence in the MAX, tipped the balance towards this better deal.

Initially, several analysts indicated that the deal would round 130 737 MAX 7 and 170 options, but the confirmed amount fell just short of that first report.

“Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unmatched success. Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plans to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our employees and customers for years to come, “said Gary Kelly, president and CEO of Southwest in a press release.

The new purchase agreement brings Southwest’s order book to 200 737 MAX 7s and 180 737 MAX 8s, of which more than 30 have already been delivered. Southwest will also have 270 options for either model, carrying the commitment to direct purchase of the airline to more than 600 aircraft. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX aircraft through third-party lessors. The deal also means that 70 firm orders were switched from the 737 MAX 8 variant to the smaller 737 MAX 7.

“Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and benchmark in the airline industry and this request is a huge vote of confidence. As vaccine distribution continues to increase, people are taking to the skies and raising hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry, ”said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in a press release.

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