The announcement that the 737 MAX 10 is not in United Airlines’ fleet plans was not just a speech. The US airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby, approached Airbus about a possible extra order for the A321neo, a rival to Boeing’s jet, according to Reuters.
According to agency sources, the chief-executive went to Toulouse, Airbus headquarters, to evaluate the possibility of obtaining more jets in view of likely delays in the delivery of the 737 MAX 10 variant, the largest of the model.
United would have used as a bargaining chip its orders for A350 wide-body aircraft, which have been on hold for several years.
The expansion of the A321neo order, however, comes up against the long waiting list for the aircraft, which has the largest backlog on the market.
According to Bloomberg, Airbus tried to buy back slot positions from other customers to offer them to United. The two companies declined to comment to the outlets.
737 MAX 9 door plug
Last week, during the release of its 4th quarter results, Kirby stated that the incident with the door plug on the 737 MAX 9 was “the straw that broke the camels back” in the aircraft’s continued problems.
The carrier returned to flying some of its 79 737-9 jets over the weekend after a three-week grounding.
The market is seeing that Boeing will have further delays in certifying the 737 MAX 7 and 737 MAX 10 models after yet another episode in which the company demonstrated that it did not have control over the production process of its commercial aircraft.
Despite stating that it does not count on the 737 MAX 10 in its fleet plans in the coming years, United Airlines has not canceled any of the 277 orders for the aircraft.