Boeing is reportedly in discussions to sell an undisclosed number of Boeing 737 MAX jets to Alaska Airlines once the jet has returned to service, which could be a significant achievement for the embattled plane and planemaker.
Sources close to the matter have disclosed some details of the potential sale with Reuters, and have said any deal struck will be made on the basis that the 737 MAX is appropriately re-certified and the worldwide grounding order is lifted.
Alaska Airlines had already ordered 37 of the MAX jets before the grounding.
Notably, analysts believe Alaska Airlines to be in a strong recovery position in comparison with other US-based carriers, giving the potential deal even more weight.
Should the new 737 MAX order be confirmed, it could serve as a much needed commercial boost for Boeing, which has been struck by both crisis and controversy, and continues to battle through MAX recertification efforts, Dreamliner manufacturing flaws, and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Reuters claimed the deal could also serve as a “post-crisis test of the balance of power” between the US manufacturer and its European rival, Airbus, the latter of whom has been battling to attain a foothold in Alaska Airlines, which had previously operated an entirely Boeing fleet until it acquired Virgin America in 2016.
Notably, according to the sources, the deal struck between Alaska and Boeing is likely to include a hefty discount, in light of the MAX’s troubled history and the plunging demand for new aircraft amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Following a years-long process, and lengthy delays, the Boeing 737 MAX is nearing the end of its recertification efforts, with Boeing expecting to resume deliveries of the aircraft before year-end.
Both the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency have said they will lift grounding orders on the new and improved jet and its renewed safety procedures in November.