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Airbus exclusive airline Allegiant to order 50 MAXs

written by Adam Thorn | January 5, 2022

Ultra-low-cost US carrier Allegiant Air is set to order 50 737 MAXs despite currently operating an entirely Airbus fleet, according to reports.

Reuters said the deal, which would be worth $5 billion at list price, came after fierce competition to instead purchase the European planemaker’s A220.

The good news for Boeing comes despite Airbus looking set to have recorded more aircraft orders during 2021 than its major rival.

In total, Airbus received 664 jet orders, compared to rival Boeing’s 476. The news won’t be confirmed until later in January when the pair reveal if they’ve received any cancellations.

Nonetheless, Airbus’ significant advantage follows big orders from Qantas and Air-France KLM last month.

The Australian flag carrier said it would initially place an order for 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220s, with the option to purchase a further 94 over 10 years as its Boeing 737-800s and 717s are phased out.

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The order was in addition to low-cost subsidiary Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce explained why his airline decided against upgrading its 787-800s with the newer MAX.

“The Airbus deal had the added advantage of providing ongoing flexibility within the order, meaning we can continue to choose between the entire A320neo and A220 families depending on our changing needs in the years ahead,” said Joyce.

Meanwhile, Air-France KLM said in December it had made a “firm order” for 100 A320neos, with purchase rights for 60 more. The first deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023. The airline also signed a letter of intent to buy four A350F Full Freighters, with the purchase right to an additional four.

Allegiant’s deal also provides another vote of confidence in the MAX after it was grounded for almost two years following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people.

In January 2021, the US Department of Justice fined Boeing US$2.5 billion. It ruled Boeing had deceived FAA safety officials who initially cleared the 737 MAX to fly and senior figures said it had concealed “material information” and engaged “in an effort to cover up their deception”.

4 Comments

  • Steve

    says:

    The A220 is a premium new product.
    The 737 is a nearly sixty year old design and in no way premium.
    Plus, the MAX tag may be off putting for some who are aware of the models recent history and cost in lives, and are not ready to trust yet.
    I think they will regret not opting for the A220.

    • lgjk

      says:

      The level of “premium” comes from the airline fit out not from whether the manufacturers design is old or not.
      The 737 has had substantial upgrades to the design over the decades and the MAX is as capable and as comfortable as a an all new design such as the A220.
      Further, the decision by Boeing to create the MAX instead of an all new design was due to major legacy airlines demanding an updated 737 instead so they could buy it sooner and introduce it more easily without having to train crew on a new design.

      Perhaps the question you should be asking yourself is why can’t the newer design jets outperform the 737 if they’re “premium”?

  • Adam

    says:

    I have always supported Boeing over Airbus; however, my quiet allegiance is waning. With exception of the B787 and to a lesser degree the upcoming B777X, Boeing have for many years relied on updating old airframes and technology (to a degree). In the other corner, Airbus have much newer airframes and embraced new technological features.

    It is time for Boeing to bit the bullet and develop the NMA asap. Far from being an expert, i would have thought to revitalise the B787-3 may be a good option. It is still a relatively new airframe and not outdated as the B737, B757 and B767 for example. If Boeing don’t do something sooner rather than later, they will definitely remain a distant second to Airbus – if not worse.

    • hsghg

      says:

      Adam, The A330/A340 date back to 1972 using the A300 fuselage and then putting new engines, a new wing and tech from the 1987 A320 to create two new models. Airbus rehashed the design again with the A340-500/600 which were underperformers with excess weight, bad economics and poor field performance. They were so bad that understand some were scrapped after just 5 years with most gone after only 10 years use. Airbus then rehashed the design again with the A330-800/900. In that sense, it is hardly any different to the 737 MAX which kept the same family name and is only a few years older.
      The A380 is of course a complete dud. Yet it’s one of Airbus”s newer designs! It’s so overweight, it’s hard to believe. Around 100kgs of extra weight per passenger compared to other airliners.
      Now, if you’d followed the industry during the lead up to the launch of the NEO and MAX programs, you’d be aware that Boeing proposed an all new narrow body but the airlines didn’t want it. They wanted an updated 737 instead so they could introduce it faster and at less cost for training crew.
      So irrespective of manufacturer, reusing old airframes is very economical. If it weren’t, then perhaps you could explain why the supposedly newer airframes and new technological features you claim Airbus are using, are unable to outperform Boeing’s old airframes?
      I will answer why the MAX can match the performance of the NEO. The NEO dates back to 1987 and it still uses the same wing so it is hardly a new design anyway. The MAX has a brand new wing which has better aerodynamics.

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