By Edward Robertson
Southwest Airlines has agreed to buy 100 Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft, with the first 30 scheduled for delivery next year.
The agreement includes the conversion of 70 MAX 8 firm orders to MAX 7 firm orders and added a further 155 MAX options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft between next year and 2029.
These order book additions and revisions result in a new total of 349 MAX firm orders (200 MAX 7 and 149 MAX 8) and 270 MAX options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft between now and 2031.
Southwest chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said the announcement was a vote of confidence in the 737 MAX following its grounding and recertification earlier this year in the wake of two deadly crashes.
He added: “Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unparalleled 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.
“We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.”
Kelly said more than half of the 737 MAX aircraft in its firm order book will replace a significant amount of its 462 737-700 aircraft over the next 10 to 15 years to support the modernisation of its fleet, a key component of its environmental sustainability efforts.
Since 2002, the airline has improved its fuel efficiency by nearly 50 per cent and Kelly added the billions of dollars in capital expenditures committed to the 737 MAX order book reinforces Southwest’s commitment to improve further fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.