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Boeing eyes biggest MAX deal since global grounding

written by Hannah Dowling | March 11, 2021

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX, pictured at Las Vegas International (Tomás Del Coro/Wikicommons).

Boeing is reportedly closing in on a multibillion-dollar deal to sell dozens of its embattled 737 MAX jets in what is rumoured to be the largest deal the planemaker has secured since the aircraft was grounded in 2019.

According to a report from Reuters, the US planemaker is negotiating a deal with Texas-based Southwest Airlines, known to be Boeing’s largest global customer, for the sale of dozens of MAX aircraft, with options for another potentially significant amount of planes in the future.

The deal has not yet been confirmed by either the airline nor Boeing.

In November, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the airline was intending to come to a decision on replacing and modernising its fleet of ageing 737-700 aircraft.

At that time, Kelly said the airline was debating about investing in the smallest iteration of the 737 MAX, the MAX 7, or breaking its all-Boeing tradition, and opting for the Airbus A220.

The airline was, at that time, also seeking compensation from Boeing for the delayed delivery of its MAX jets ordered before the global grounding of the MAX fleet in 2019.

Now, on Wednesday, Kelly stated that the airline remains in negotiations with Boeing over the sale of new MAX jets, and again argued the benefits of having an all-Boeing fleet, though did acknowledge that the A220 is “a great plane”.


Boeing has seen a steady increase of orders on its beleaguered MAX jet since the FAA lifted its grounding order on the plane in November 2020, following a months-long process of safety checks and test flights.

European budget giant Ryanair was among the first to announce a major order with Boeing for 75 new MAX planes, in a deal worth over $9 billion, just weeks after US recertification.

By the end of December, Alaska Airlines announced it had come to an agreement with Boeing to drastically increase an order of 13 MAX jets to a total of 68 737-9 MAX aircraft, with options for an additional 52 planes in the future.

Meanwhile, just this month, United Airlines announced the order of 25 new Boeing 737 MAX jets, as well as its decision to move forward the delivery of 40 of its existing MAX orders to 2022, and five to 2023.


  • Damien


    Please stop saying ‘ageing’ to describe older aircraft, that term is WAY overused.

    • Hannah Dowling


      I’ll try and make note of that in the future. Thanks for reading, Damien!

  • Ben


    Is that Gary Kelly’s way of saying “the A220 is actually the better aircraft, but Boeing owes us so much over the MAX that we will almost get these MAX7’s for free”?? You have to wonder how many of these airlines are sticking with Boeing not because they want to, but it would be financial madness to not leverage the insane prices they are likely to be getting as compensation for MAX woes, 787 woes and to get something, anything on the books

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