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Southwest Airlines Raises its Commitment to 737 MAX

June 9, 2021
The budget airline is exercising options to buy 34 more Boeing aircraft, increasing its total order for the 737 MAX to 234 new jets.

Southwest Airlines is exercising options to purchase 34 more Boeing 737 MAX-7 aircraft, options included in an order announced in March. At that time, the airline confirmed purchase of 100 of the new variant of the narrow-body passenger jet, which followed an earlier order for 100 of those aircraft.

Totaling other orders for Boeing’s 737 MAX-8 jets, Southwest now has contracts for 376 new aircraft.

In its announcement, Southwest forecast that passenger demand and revenue will continue to rise through the June and July vacation season, though revenues will remain below the 2019 levels.

Neither Southwest nor Boeing has commented on the total value of its orders, but new 737 MAX jets have a reported value of $100 million.

Southwest’s fleet of consists entirely of Boeing 737 aircraft, including 669 older 737-700s and 737-800s, many of which are being replaced. Recently the carrier completed an extended “multi-year fleet evaluation,” following which it reconfirmed its commitment to the 737 series.

Southwest remains the largest customer for Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, and it took its first delivery of a 737 MAX-8 in August 2017.

The 737 MAX-8 was the first of three model variants introduced by Boeing, with a capacity of 170-200 passengers.

The 737 MAX-7 is planned to have a capacity of 140-150 passengers. Its commercial launch has been delayed by the 20-month grounding of the 737 MAX program, starting in March 2019, following the second of two fatal accidents for the Boeing jet.

Boeing earlier stated that SWA’s new jets will complement its 737 MAX-8 aircraft, with the same benefits of reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions offered by the earlier variants.

It added that retaining the 737 MAX fleet standard will preserve operating efficiencies for the carrier.

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