Southwest places firm order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX and 58 more 737NGs

Boeing and Southwest Airlines have announced a firm order for 150 737 MAX aircraft, becoming the first customer to finalise an order for the 737 MAX and the launch customer for the new CFM LEAP-1B engine.

The Dallas-based carrier also ordered 58 Next-Generation 737s.

The firm order is the largest in Boeing history both in dollar value, nearly $19 billion at list prices, and the number of aircraft, although it will be superseded by the recent commitment from Lion Air for 201 737 MAXs if and when that deal is firmed up. As the 737 MAX launch customer, Southwest will take delivery of the first aeroplane when it enters service in 2017.

"Southwest is a special Boeing customer and has been a true partner in the evolution of the 737," remarked Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. "Throughout our 40-year relationship, our two companies have collaborated to launch the 737-300, 737-500 and the Next-Generation 737-700. As launch customer for the 737 MAX, Southwest, Boeing and the 737 continue that legacy."

"Today’s environment demands that we become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, and as the launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, we have accomplished both," commented Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines chairman, president, and CEO. "We are teaming up with our friends from Boeing to lead the industry in a way that makes both our shareholders and our customers proud to associate with Southwest Airlines. Today’s announcement will allow us to maintain our position as a low-cost provider in the years ahead."

With the Southwest order, the 737 MAX has orders and commitments for more than 900 aircraft from 13 customers, while the Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,600 aeroplanes and Boeing has delivered more than 3,800.

In addition to formally launching CFM International’s LEAP-1B engine, the airline will be using the CFM56-7BE engine on the 58 737-800s it has ordered. The total engine order is valued at approximately $4.7 billion at list price.

“Boeing and CFM have created an aircraft and engine platform that is uniquely optimised and the LEAP-1B is the focal point of that effort,” noted Mike Van de Ven,” executive vice-president and COO of Southwest Airlines. “We have a 30-year history of exceptional reliability, fuel efficiency, and ongoing innovation with CFM engines. I have tremendous confidence in the LEAP-1B to bring those same results to our future fleet.”

“We are obviously thrilled that Southwest Airlines is launching the LEAP-1B,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM. “We appreciate the confidence this order shows in our products and in our team’s ability to deliver the industry’s most advanced technology.”

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