Having a fleet of more than 800 Boeing 737s is not enough for Southwest Airlines, the single-aisle jet’s biggest customer in the world. The US carrier has decided to expand orders for the 737 MAX 7 variant by 108 aircraft, Boeing revealed.
The new order will bring Southwest’s MAX family backlog to more than 500 aircraft. For the 737-7 version alone, the airline has more than 300 orders.
“With the world’s largest all-Boeing, all-737 fleet, Southwest is counting on the exceptional efficiency and reliability of the 737 MAX family,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737-7 is pivotal to Southwest’s long-term fleet modernization strategy, and we are honored to have the airline’s continued trust in us to deliver its future fleet.”
Larger deliveries but postponed until 2031
The 737 MAX contract extension was revealed in Southwest’s results published on Thursday. According to the company, the total number of 737-7 aircraft jumped from 192 to 302 jets while the 737-8 had the addition of just one plane.
Altogether, firm orders now amount to 373 aircraft with 207 purchase options, totaling 780 aircraft.
As of July, Southwest had 192 firm orders for the 737-7 and 270 for the 737-8 in addition to 102 options (564 aircraft).
Despite the increase, the airline postponed a large part of deliveries. If previously it expected to have 136 jets in 2023, now there will be 85, all of the MAX 8 version as the MAX 7 has not yet obtained type certification from the FAA.
Ninety 737-7s will also be delivered between 2030 and 2031, contrary to the previous forecast. Peak deliveries of the smaller version of the MAX family will occur between 2025 (54 jets) and 2026 (59).
Southwest currently operates 207 737 MAX 8s, in addition to 607 737NGs.
|Previous 737 Order Book as of July 27, 2023|
|New 737 Contractual Order Book as of October 26, 2023|