Boeing and Southwest Airlines have announced the carrier will continue to build its business around the 737 Max family – in what amounts to a huge endorsement of the troubled aircraft.
The low-cost carrier has placed a new order for 100 planes and 155 options across two models.
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 through to 2031.
The plane has just returned to service after a grounding of nearly two years following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Southwest had been exploring options to modernise the largest component of its fleet: the 737-700 that serves the airline’s needs for a 140-150 seat airplane.
With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737-7 as its preferred replacement and growth plane.
The jet will complement the 737-8, which serves Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model.
“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 chairman and chief executive…