Boeing could use some good news, following more revelations last week and this about the wing-body issues of the 787, and this is it.
Southwest Airlines plans a $113m bid for bankrupt Frontier Airlines in an auction next month. In a conference call, WN officials said that Frontier’s fleet of 51 Airbus A320 family members will be phased out in favor of Boeing 737NGs, probably over a two year period. (If WN wins the auction, government approvals will push consummation of the deal to the end of this year or into 1Q10.)
Southwest currently has 10 firm orders for 737-700s in each of 2010 and 2011 with 10 options for 2011. To replace 51 A320s within the 2010-11 (and perhaps spilling into 2012 when WN has 13+10 orders from Boeing), the company will have to convert options. Over the three years, WN has 33 firm orders and 20 options, but it is unknown how many of these are designated for growth in other markets or to replace older 737 Classics.
Regardless, this means some new orders for Boeing–as well as the elimination of an Airbus customer.
Here is a 15 minute podcast by Innovation Analysis Group on the topic.