Southwest Airlines places huge order for 737 MAXs

In a big boost for Boeing, the airline has committed to modernising its fleet using the narrowbody

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has signed a deal with Boeing to acquire additional 737 MAXs to advance its fleet modernisation programme. 

The low-cost carrier has agreed a new order for 100 airframes and options for 155 additional jets spread across two models. 

Southwest Airlines expects to take delivery of both -7 and -8 models. Boeing

The deal comes after a multi-year fleet evaluation by Southwest and means that Boeing and its suppliers could build more than 600 new 737 MAX jets for the airline before 2031. 

“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,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.” 

Southwest Airlines
The low-cost carrier has already accepted more than 30 MAXs. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

The new purchase agreement takes Southwest’s order book to 200 737-7s and 180 737-8s, more than 30 of which have already been delivered.  

The operator also expects to have 270 options for either of the two models, taking the carrier’s direct-buy commitment to more than 600 examples. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX jets through third-party lessors. 

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, commented: “We are deeply honoured by Southwest’s continuing trust in Boeing and the 737. Their fleet decision today brings more stability for our biggest commercial program and will ensure that our entire 737 family will be building new airplanes for Southwest for years to come.” 

This order comes just over two weeks after the airline resumed flying with the 737 MAX, following the near two-year grounding of the type. On March 11, the airline used the type for 32 different flights to 15 cities across the United States – the strongest resumption of any American carrier so far.