African Pilot

South-West Airlines Boeing order

Southwest Airlines has ordered 100 new Boeing 737 Max 7 jets over the next decade, ending any speculatio­n that the Dallas-based carrier will switch away from its all-Boeing fleet.


On Monday 29 March Boeing announced the deal which will bring Southwest’s order of the 737 jets to more than 349 over the next decade, sealing the long partnershi­p that was severely strained when Boeing’s flagship 737 Max line was grounded for the past year. The 737 Max 7 is the slightly smaller version of 737 Max 8, carrying 140 to 150 passengers. The Max 8, which Southwest currently flies, carries 175 passengers. The smaller jet should give the airline more options to fly to smaller destinatio­ns or more frequencie­s when larger jets are not required.

The first 30 737 Max 7 jets should be delivered in 2022, Southwest said. “Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years and the aircraft has made significan­t contributi­ons to our unparallel­ed success,” said a statement from Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly.

This 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.

Southwest had pledged to give serious considerat­ion to a new style of jet after the 737 Max was grounded in 2019 and cost the airline billions of dollars in revenue and severely hampered growth for more than a year. Southwest is famous for its all 737 fleet, which gives it the flexibilit­y to switch out airplanes without changing pilots or flight attendants.

The new 737 Max line is about 14% more fuel-efficient than the previous generation 737 jets. Fuel efficiency saves cash and gives the option to fly to destinatio­ns further away. With this deal Southwest has orders for 200 of the 737 Max 7 jets and 180 of the larger 737 Max 8 jets. The deal also gives Southwest the option to order 270 of either models of the 737 Max. The deal is a major win for Boeing, which was hampered by not only the 737 Max scandal but has also seen a major drop in orders since the COVID-19 pandemic sapped the demand out of the airline industry. Analysts are expecting it to take years for the air travel industry to return to previous levels.

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