Southwest accelerates 737-700 retirements

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Introduction
April 30, 2018, © Leeham News: Southwest Airlines announced orders 80 Boeing 737-8s so far this year and market intelligence indicates the carrier may be far from done. Another 60 orders may come during the year, though this trend could slow, market intelligence indicates. The carrier is accelerating fleet retirements of its Boeing 737-700s with the orders. The latest round last week now makes Southwest the largest single customer for the MAX. Significantly, the orders represent an up-gauging to the 8 MAX from the -700. The similarly-sized, slow-selling 737-7 MAX, of which Southwest is one of only four identified customers, is being bypassed. Southwest previously deferred delivery of 23 7 MAXes four years.

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Southwest historically operated its 737s for at least 25 years. Some 737-300s were 28 years old by the time they were retired and stored, according to the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker.
Summary
  • Strong economic business case cited to retire 737-700s.
  • 40 737-700s to be retired with concurrent deliveries.
  • Retirements occurring at earlier age.
  • Aging aircraft issues exist.

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