HOTR: Compensation wins Southwest order for MAX

By the Leeham News Team

March 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Southwest Airlines today announced an order for 100 Boeing 737-7 MAXes.

The order was expected. The carrier also considered the Airbus A220-300. But any prospect of diverging from the 50-year relationship with Boeing was at best a crapshoot.

Despite the flowering language in the press release, the key reasons are buried.

“Our estimated contractual aircraft capital spending remains immaterial in 2021, and is expected to be approximately $700 million in 2022,” Southwest wrote.

“Net of progress payments made on undelivered MAX aircraft and previously agreed upon delivery credits provided by Boeing to the Company due to the settlement of 2020 estimated damages relating to the Federal Aviation Administration grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft,” the airline wrote in a footnote.

The compensation Boeing owed Southwest due to the 20-month grounding of the MAX was enormous.

There was no way Airbus could match the financial terms of Boeing had to offer Southwest to keep the airline away from its arch-rival.

200 Comments on “HOTR: Compensation wins Southwest order for MAX

  1. According to the press release, Southwest now has 19 firm MAX 8 orders for 2021, after that they have 30 MAX 7 firm orders per year from 2022 through 2025, with no additional MAX 8 firm orders until 2026, in which year they have 15 MAX 7 firm orders and 15 MAX 8 firm orders. Remaining MAX 7 firm orders now outnumber remaining MAX 8 firm orders by 200 to 100. Would Airbus have been able to provide 30 A220’s per year to Southwest from 2022 through 2025?

    Here is Southwest’s current 737 order book according to the press release.

    “As part of the agreement, the Company also converted 70 MAX 8 firm orders to MAX 7 firm orders and added 155 MAX options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft for years 2022 through 2029. These order book additions and revisions result in a new total of 349 MAX firm orders (200 MAX 7 and 149 MAX 8) and 270 MAX options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft for years 2021 through 2031. The Company’s previous order book consisted of 249 MAX firm orders (30 MAX 7 and 219 MAX 8) and 115 MAX options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft for years 2021 through 2026. The Company continues to expect delivery of 28 MAX 8 aircraft in total this year (19 from Boeing and 9 from third-party lessors), as well as 17 737-700 retirements, ending 2021 with 69 MAX 8 aircraft and 729 total aircraft.”

    • MAX 7 or 8 option per year according to Southwest’s press release, years 2022 to 2025.

      2022: 42
      2023: 38
      2025: 40

      • In my post above “Remaining MAX 7 firm orders now outnumber remaining MAX 8 firm orders by 200 to 100”, should have been “Remaining MAX 7 firm orders now outnumber remaining MAX 8 firm orders by 200 to 149”. I mis-typed the order numbers that I was reading from the Southwest press release excerpt that I included in the post.

    • Of course airbus can match Boeings price, they didn’t want to.
      South West has to redeem their MAX warranty compensation somehow, Airbus hasn’t got the production cost down to an profitable level yet and the A220 isn’t mature enough for this market. The next competition in 4/5 years time is the one to look out for.
      Can Boeing offer a price for the next batch while they get their act together? I don’t think so.

      • I don’t see the A220 maturity having anything to do with it.

        I can see number available being a big factor and the commonality works though they get a heavy for the mission -7.

        Theoretically if marginally the market came back tomorrow Boeing could ramp up to 50 x 737 a month.

        Airbus can’t do that with the A220.

        Its an interesting look at while you have an excellent aircraft, building the market for it so you can compete is a tough proposition even for Airbus.

        MC-21 has the same problem and its not backed by an Airbus capability in all the other support areas United Aircraft has no experience in let alone structure and people in place.

        • United is just a holding company name…the names of the organisations building /designing the MC-21 are Yakolev ( the ‘Prime’), Tupolev, Sukhoi Civil and Beriev. They have no organisation in the west however

          • United Aircraft is more known than Yakolev as well as the references in discussion so that is why I used it.

            Its all getting integrated however slowly under United Aircraft and will be marketed that way.

            Not sure why you feel the need to repeat no support, I stated it as such.

          • Obviously in places where they fly the old Soviet airframers have ‘people and support’, United is nothing but a name on the HQ as the various production plants and design bureaus still exist as subsidiaries
            eg Voronezh Aircraft Production Association
            Not repeating you , you were on the wrong track

      • Note that though WN expects to take delivery of 19 MAX in 2021, the co. does not expect any material contractual aircraft capital spending in 2021. My take is the final delivery of many MAX 8 this year won’t bring much relief to BA’s high leverage, contrary to many’s wishful thinking.

        Airbus, unlike BA, is not the man drowning and grasping at straws. Now jet buyers know how desparate BA is and will negotiate deals for new jets and adjust their valuation of used jets accordingly. Airbus should continue to have discipline, unlike BA which continues to swim in swollen debts. There it goes any hope for an all-new NB jet.

        • > My take is the final delivery of many MAX 8 this year won’t bring much relief to BA’s high leverage, contrary to many’s wishful thinking.

          An important point, I think: Boeing *had to have* this deal, but will maybe-paradoxically gain little from it.

          I do hope that Boeing can again become a good company,
          and -especially- a good employer..

          • @ Pedro
            Thanks for that.
            As suspected, BA gave away hundreds of planes at a loss.
            No wonder it had to secure yet another $5.3B floating credit recently, on top of the $64B that it already had.

          • Has Sprint announced new production schedule for B737 MAX 7? Any guess about when FAA will certify the jet?

          • I believe it’s just Round 1. More battles to come.

        • Some pretty convoluted assessment.

          Bottom line is like the 787, Airbus can talk all it wants about its position and all the paid for stuff, if Boeing is willing to cut margins and Airbus is not then it looses sales and Boeing gets them.

          Not disagreement Airbus does not have to match Boeing, their back log and sales speaks for themselves in that regard.

          Boeing is not going away yet either. 5 years from now without new offering the decline may continue.

          In theory Boeing has military sales to prop it up (pun) that Airbus does not.

          The KC-46 is a lemony mess, but the F-15 and F-18 and the Apache conti8nue to sell well (as does the Chinook and V-22)

          Boeing is clearly intent on keeping is market share. And for now that is enough.

          The 787 is a very good aircraft being undercut by management (that may be clearing up)

          While the A321 is viable due to its size, the A320 is getting a bit long in the tooth as well.

          Where Airbus goes with that really depends on the A220 and they need to do the 500 ASAP.

          Boeing can recover, I don’t see it under Calhoun so we have to see.

          • @TW

            From the Q3 filing of ’21, LUV said they were not spending any more money for capex in 2021 and were going to take delivery of 35 Max’s from BA. Now they are getting another 60 in 2022 for $700 million.

            Do the math; 95 jets in 2 years for $700 million ~ $7 million a plane. (plus whatever deposits and pdp’s were made)

            I guess when the financials come out, it’ll be there for all to see, how profitable BCA is…

          • Hello Frank,

            Re:”Now they are getting another 60 in 2022 for $700 million.”

            According to the press release issued today 3-29-21 by Southwest (see the link below), they have firm orders for 3o MAX’s in 2022, all 737-7’s, and their contracted aircraft capital spending is “expected to be approximately $700 million in 2022”.

            $700 million / 30 aircraft =$ 23.3 million per aircraft in 2022.

            The press release also states that “We now estimate contractual aircraft capital spending for all years 2021 through 2026, which consists of 169 MAX firm orders with Boeing (135 MAX 7 and 34 MAX 8 aircraft), to be approximately $5.1 billion.”

            $5.1 billion = $5,100 million
            $5,100 million / 169 aircraft = 30.2 milion per aircraft average for years 2021 through 2026, according to Southwest,s press release.


          • According to Southwest’s press release, the “contractual aircraft capital spending values” I quoted in my post above are “Net of progress payments made on undelivered MAX aircraft and previously agreed upon delivery credits provided by Boeing to the Company due to the settlement of 2020 estimated damages relating to the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA) grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft.”

          • > if Boeing is willing to cut margins and Airbus is not then it looses sales and Boeing gets them <

            Are "sales", given the context you've provided, a good thing; and if so, why?

            "We'll lose money on every unit sold, but don't worry:
            we'll make it up on volume."

            Boeing's rationale for not coming out with a new plane
            because they don't want to undercut the Mad MAX's
            sales is *not* a good one. The MAX is a badly tainted über-kludge that should have never been produced:
            see in particular Boeing's latest recovery procedures from an MCAS (or other) derived upset that really call for three persons in the cockpit, not two..

            "But that's what the chaperone is for!"

          • Decades ago now, Boeing quickly switched gears after a new sales boss explained to chief honchos why it was not getting as many sales as Airbus.

            It needed to cut prices more in negotiation.

            I don’t know if it raised list prices.

            One way to cut prices without appearing to n the surface is to include extras, such as spares, perhaps manuals, extra training, …

            Circa 1980s Boeing was doing a lot of training, bussing customer pilots north to Vancouver BC airport to simulators run by PW and CP. (Those were 737-200, PW’ was motion and visuals – early days of simulators, a few thousand points of light for visual worked OK. For night scenes anyway, which are the trickier flying I think.)

            ne day Captain Revel scared his boss demonstrating the value of HUD in dark approaches. Made the sale.

            (In the High Arctic, it is difficult to judge glide path angle as landscape over which snow has blown is almost featureless, ice strips had lights but…. Similar in deserts I understand.

            A shame was that when PW sold a 727-100C with the Sundstrand Visual Approach Monitor installation Air Micronesia did not use it. So wrote the airplane off going into a strip that had significant slope and trees alongside.

      • I agree, production cost is not yet at Airbus targets. Reliability improving on engines and systems but still has a few more years to go (Delta Tech Ops working with Airbus-P&W will speed it up), production capability/speed increasing in Mobile. So 4-6 years from now it will be another situation, especially if DAL and SWA now will run parallel routes with A220 vs. 737-700/-7 and customer selection decides what aircraft gets the most paying pax.

        • Assuming that the entire C series is a financially viable project, there has to be a mk2 version fairly quickly. Not just to tweak it like any other new aircraft , but also to put right all the things that were done too cheaply, too expensively or not at all owing to bombardiers lack of cash.
          Presumably this would include the 500 version and a developed GTF.
          If they can get the production cost down, it will be a killer.
          No one was saying that 5 years ago!

          • Airbus should have plenty of engineers and purchasing working on it right now. I suspect that the A220-300 is pretty MAX’d out after Lufthansa Technik years back made Bombardier redo it (with a good delay) to increase max seating from 130 to 160. Airbus still manages to squeeze out a bit more MTOW and range of it. Stretching an A220-300 2+3 seater 90 ft 1 in cabin is not as mass effective as stretching an A320neo 3+3 seater of 90 ft 3 in cabin. It might get some wing improvements as Airbus is developing the slow selling A220-100 into a biz jet and maybe be in line for an A321XLR type of aft body with integral fuel tanks to boost range as you fly more comfortable in an A220 than in 3+3 seating section in a A320family.

    • The A220 was and is an excellent aircraft and would have fitted into that mission with perfect profile.

      Keep in mind a lot of the messaging came out of SW.

      I think AP_Roberts hit it on the head, aircraft numbers when they wanted them vs what produion for the A220 currently is (and many if not all slots are taken by prior customers that want them now as well)

      You can add in two other considerations.

      One not being at the pointy end of the decision spear

      The other is, executives can make decisions that are not in the long term interesting of their operation but short term. It may well be easier to stick with Boeing with all the uncertainty of post Covd and recovery from the last year+ before we get to post Covd.

      I have seen decisions made in corporations that were pure BS, someone spun the numbers.

      I saw one where one entity wanted to kill off a branch ops that was performing a fantastic service let alone a very good return.

      In that case they got shot down because the upper guy in charge had been personally involved in the original location decision, he had his own numbers and knowledge and he kept shooting the guy down.

      Why he did not fir him I do not know. It was all arrogance based and not company benefit based.

      We have seen Boeing management try to shoot its entire foot off based on stupidity of personal gain vs company benefit.

    • Why switch when the 737 has worked so well for them over the years and the MAX has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. Keeping one model and OEM makes sense in so many ways, pilot training, maintenance, parts inventory and training. Alaska sees the value of an all Boeing fleet, keeps costs low and having a few A320’s does not make sense in any aspect of airline costs.

      • Has it been gone over with a fine tooth comb?
        China doesn’t think so: it first wants BA to address all the points raised in the recent IG report.

        • What China thinks and what China does for what reasons is purely a speculative dive that makes an LSD down trip look normal.

          Where were they before?

          Unless you have some insider information?

        • Why put all the eggs in one basket???

          In 2019 and 2020, only 34 were grounded (representing ~8% capacity), costing WN almost $70,000 each and everyday.

          From LHN:
          – In 2012, Boeing 737 NGs operated by Southwest suffered cracking along the crown skin. Major repairs were required across most of the fleet. This followed similar cracking in the 737 Classic which forced Southwest to retire jets early;
          – There were two incidents of Southwest’s NG suffered “pop top”, the planes were depressurized, requiring emergency landing;
          – Boeing’s MAX 7 is ill-suited for airports on high elevation.

      • Its a matter of looking at two facts and coming up with different decisions.

        Long term not being beholden to one mfg is a bonus.

        But once you cut your deals that is where its at (sans a massive failure like MAX)

        After that it gets into A220 pure flight costs vs the cost of simulator, mechanics and support for that model.

        Once SW went with the MAX (and its not a non issue for the parts and mechanics as there is a LOT different) then its do you repeat for the A220 vs the return?

        Only SW has the numbers and how they play out on a spread sheet.

        Equally some of that is not fully quantifiable but they have a good feel (slow A220 ramp up vs a faster 737MAX fill)

        I don’t contend its a wrong decision, I would like to see the A220 succeed and SW would have been a good second large base (Delta being the first)

        Others like Baltic that are in a complete rebuild the airline had an easier choice.

    • “LOL, it was just a few months ago that this site, among other fan boards, was hyping the prospect of the A220 for WN”

      I can see no “hype” at all – about A220 or anything else – in the Leeham article you linked. Could you tell what exactly in it is non-factual or unrealistic in your opinion.

    • Alternatively, the Airbus fanboys will chuckle in their fists, amused by the knowledge that BA has made another few hundred sales with very meager / zero / negative margin, thus further deepening its financial quagmire 😏

      • I think that could be correct, but on the other hand, if Boeing sensed in the negotiations SW wasn’t going anywhere, I would be certain Boeing did just fine on the contract. And at the end of the day, SW would want a major supplier that wasn’t going to go away.

        • Sam:

          I doubt fine is the term.

          Surviving is probably better.

          Now if I was drowning, break even is keeping my head above water and that is not always a bad thing. Yea I may die of thirst but as I am going to die anyway?

          I think Rickenberg went onto a long career after staying alive long enough to (make shore or got rescued? somewhere off of Fuji or some such group)

          But if you look at the losses with the MAX debacle, will they ever actually make money on the 737MAX?

          At best its a holding action, may well be more a minimize the losses at this point and hope someone can pull off the rescue down the road.

          And what does SW do when Boeing comes out with a new aircraft?

          At some point the 737 is gone.

          Now it might well be a good move to wait and get an all new bird, the A320 is no spring chicken either.

          But all those losses will never be recovered. 787 is the same way, yes it is making money (or was) but how many to build to pay back that losses? You never can. I could take that 31 billion and have been making a safe 6% interest from day 1. I keep putting the return into the principle and I have a money making machine.

          The idea is to invest in mfg to make more money not loose more money.

          What a mess.

        • You could be right. However:
          – Seeing as Boeing gave super low pricing to Alaska, everyone else in the industry can now press for a similar deal, knowing that Boeing’s back is against the wall;
          – This deal was ultra-important from a PR point of view, so Boeing was never going to let it slip.

          • From all accounts Boeing has also given Ryan Air supper pricing.

            Alaska and SW maybe caught up?

            Airbus did not want it bad enough – and hard to blame them with their backlog.

            Get more customers or make some money. After all the A320 is still paying for the A380 and the A350 ! (grin).

          • The trouble with having one’s back against the wall is that it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable end comes. Boeing did have to close this deal, but at what cost for the long term? Boeing have put themselves into a position where the airlines are exploiting them, and have been for some time. Airbus have it the other way round.

            It’ll be interesting to see when it is that airlines decide that Boeing has taken too much pummeling on price. The problem with the current situation is that the airlines operating Boeings fundamentally do need Boeing to survive. They can’t afford for Boeing to go bust. If the company did fail, a fair few airlines would suddenly have to start working out how to be very nice to Airbus. Can you imagine if South West or Alaska suddenly had to go to Toulouse? I hope they can translate, “Vous allez devoir lécher plus fort que cela”, accurately. And the cost; just imagine!

            I know that a Boeing bankruptcy is relatively unlikely. But it is one of those unlikely-but-catastrophic risks. The correct way to handle those on the risk register is to put mitigation measures in place. It’s interesting to think what mitigation measures could be, and what their certainty of success is.

            1) Pay more money for Boeing products. Unlikely to succeed unless other airlines also do that, and does not encourage Boeing to reform itself.

            2) Buy shares in Boeing, get some control over the company. There’s probably an anti-trust angle to that, but a consortium set up by US airlines to represent them all equally within Boeing could work. If accomplished and well executed airlines could end up with a driving seat in the manufacturer and having a lot of control over the product being built and how it fits into their operations. Arguably this would be the airlines preemptively deciding what to do about Boeing before the US gov were obliged to intervene.

            3) Start transitioning to a hybrid Boeing / Airbus fleet. Does nothing to keep Boeing afloat long term, but it does illustrate to Boeing that it needs to up its product offering to survive. So, kind of like kill-or-cure. Being an existing Airbus customer means you’ve already crossed that barrier.

            4) Rely on asking the US gov to intervene in Boeing on behalf of airlines / aviation / US patriotism, when the time comes. Probably comes with a price…

  2. Re: “Despite the flowering language in the press release, the key reasons are buried.

    “Our estimated contractual aircraft capital spending remains immaterial in 2021, and is expected to be approximately $700 million in 2022,” Southwest wrote.”

    The first sentence of the paragraph from which the above quote was taken (see below) had nothing to do with Southwest’s decision?

    “”We remain diligent in managing costs and capital spending, in particular in this environment. Our refreshed order book with Boeing allows Southwest to preserve the low-cost advantages of a single fleet type, and the balance of firm orders and options—along with flexibility with 737-700 retirement plans—allows the opportunity to manage our fleet needs over the next decade,” said Tammy Romo, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.”

    • Re the following in Southwest’s press release: “the balance of firm orders and options—along with flexibility with 737-700 retirement plans—allows the opportunity to manage our fleet needs over the next decade…”

      Perhaps Southwest believes that it will be much easier to call up Boeing and get them to adjust next years balance of MAX 7 and MAX 8 deliveries if recovery from COVID is more rapid or less rapid than anticipated, than it would be to call up Boeing or Airbus and ask them to deliver fewer aircraft next year so that Southwest can take more deliveries from their competitor?

      • Thats the the fine print on those very big orders and ‘flexibility’ of delivery. Ryanair would have similar.
        Essentially they need a minimum deliveries per year but will take more to fill holes in the 737 ‘skyline’, so the production/delivery line is running smoothly.
        You could say they are obliged to take ‘possible’ white tails with enough advance notice they are the variant and layout they need. Of course the price
        and extra support reflects that they are doing Boeing some big favours. It helps that Southwest has written the book on how to make the most money, and consistently, from a large common fleet ( and Im sure theres new chapters being added as we speak).
        Thats one smouldering fire put out by Boeing , the problem is Southwest( or Ryanair as well) is of no use what soever regarding launching a new NMA

      • Re in my post above: “Perhaps Southwest believes that it will be much easier to call up Boeing and get them to adjust next years balance of MAX 7 and MAX 8 deliveries if recovery from COVID is more rapid or less rapid than anticipated, than it would be to call up Boeing or Airbus and ask them to deliver fewer aircraft next year so that Southwest can take more deliveries from their competitor?”

        I just noticed the following in the footnotes of Southwest’s press release.

        “The Company has flexibility to designate firm orders or options as MAX 7 or MAX 8, upon written advance notification as stated in the contract.”

        • Phew, now there is some twisted thinking.

          May be right, but I would think they can get their contracts they could defer as many as they want.

          Still means he mix then changes as to support for the birds (MAX pilots and mechanics) vs A220 pilots and swapping around.

          Its not that it can’t be done, Airlines do it all the time, but SW would cut profits (or have larger losses) to do so and way you go trying to assess all that, spread sheet it and make some sense (at least SW seems to try vs Boeing management whose only focus has been on their gains and pandering to shareholder and the heck with the company future)

  3. Airbus fanboys will now say Boeing only won the order because of price.

      • He actually/later advised/hinted, if I recall, it was actually an issue about support costs dealing with Safran, not Boeing directly, which as the hold up.

        Who knows, maybe the real reason for this deals with support costs for LEAP/CFM56, vs. A220/737. My suspicion is that it was a real opportunity, and one vendor won.

        If it had gone the other way, this site would already have 200+ responses to a much longer post, as we all know.

        • I believe just the opposite.

          Airbus stood no chance unless Boeing hosed the deal and someone in Boeing sales realized it and made sure it did not happen.

          We saw the flip of that with the A330NEO/A350 vs the 787. Delta always was going to go with Airbus, they used Boeing to get the best deal possible (and it worked).

          And then sometimes like Emirates, they got a poor engine from RR on that kind of decision.

          Reality is often there is no pure right or wrong (maybe long term you can see it separate out) but you make the best decision you can.

          You have to know the reality which is why Emirates as nuts as what RR was saying could be done was impossible with a revised engine and difficult with an all new engine.

          TC had an agenda beyond the engine that failed anyway.

          so it goes

          • “We saw the flip of that with the A330NEO/A350 vs the 787. Delta always was going to go with Airbus, they used Boeing to get the best deal possible (and it worked).”

            No, that is not true.

          • Really?

            Delta clearly had no intent to buy the 787, they used it to get great pricing on the A350 and A330NEO.

            Good for them, but to deny it is absurd.

        • > If it had gone the other way, this site would already have 200+ responses to a much longer post, as we all know.

          Could you say a little more about that, because your message is
          a bit unclear to me. Thank you.

        • > If it had gone the other way, this site would already have
          > 200+ responses to a much longer post, as we all know.

          Of course it would have been. But not because we’re all Airbus fanboys. SW going with Airbus would have been a fracture in a 30 year old relationship and a huge blow to Boeing. It would have been aviation NEWS. Front page stuff not just here. Staying with Boeing is not really news, just business as expected.

      • @Scott Hamilton

        The implications of this remark by Mr Ostrower are that something(s) other than price, and perhaps longstanding ties as well, are were involved

        This can – reasonably – be that both have collaborated in such a (financialised) way as to need eachother to survive long term, even if it’s merely to continue to produce/fly cheap Max’s, and nothing more

        Which is a suitable end game for BA – in effect a reverse take over into decline

    • There was no need for Airbus to match anything. Airbus quality vs Boeing tricked self certs with proven crashs.
      SW already ordered some MAX before, so the direction they wanted to go was already chosen.
      But it’s interesting that the A319 was not an option, even the A320 is more fuel-efficient than the MAX-7.
      So SW is putting all eggs into one basket. Times could change after the next crash. In the meantime ET302 victims could uncover even more drama. SW can only lose. I’m sure Delta, JetBlue and all the others are happy.

      • SW will be fine. They have made money for most of their history unlike the other that went belly up.

        Boeing may loose more, but as long as they are afloat SW is just fine.

        If Boeing managed to go under (they won’t) SW then adjusts.

        Supposedly that is what they pay the big bucks for to management.

      • SW has done fine with Boeing for decades, why switch? Look at some of the info on those crashes, some pilot error was to blame. No MAX’s went down in other countries, says something about some countries training and maintenance standards.

          • We are getting into the what if area, no plane is 100% safe all the time. Myriads of issues can occur but one of the news stories was that on one flight, a pilot in the jump seat had to instruct the pilots on how to correct a problem during the flight.
            This tells me training was subpar.

          • @ Steve
            UA232 (the Sioux City DC10) only “landed” due to the efforts of an additional pilot in the jump seat. The need for a third pair of hands doesn’t necessarily point to a training issue — there can be so much going on in a cockpit that two pairs of hands just aren’t enough.

            And that may very well happen again in the MAX: thanks to the runaway trim recovery procedure published by EASA — which states that BOTH pilots may be needed to turn the trim wheel — one can ask who will be left to fly the plane if both pilots are heaping onto the trim wheel (and the jump seat is empty).

            Chesley Sullenberger has described the MAX as “not up to modern standards”. He makes a good point.

          • Or: relaxed pilot in the jump seat got lucky with a proposed course of action, while the captain and co-pilot were trying to fly the plane through a satanic tantrum by a system of which they had no knowledge.

          • Your mind is made up to trash Boeing. Sure mistakes were made but there is a reason some countries are called “Third World”. I in no way mean people from those countries are second rate but in some countries the level of education, training opportunities and technology are sorely lacking.
            A news item I read on India a few years ago stated the biggest need in the cities are public toilets.
            I’ve been to some poor countries and when I hear some in the USA say they are poor, it’s a lot worse in many foreign countries. I don’t want to start a dialogue on rich and poor and education opportunities, but there is a wide gap among the nations.

          • @Bryce:

            Time for BA to stand up and admit its jets are not ready for the emerging market. BA should give up its ambition and compensate airlines like Lion Air, Vietjet Ethiopian Airlines etc that placed substantial orders of 737 MAX accordingly.

        • According to Boeing’s own website, the MAX had an accident rate of 7.21 per million. Compared to 0.25 for other 737s and 0.08 for A320s (and 0.00 for the direct competitor, A320neo). Plenty of “3rd world” nations use those other types. In fact, besides the SSJ, no jetliner designed in the 21st century has had a fatal accident. Source:

          2 crashes in 0.15 million flights is unacceptable and unheard of. The NG/320 does that amount in 2 days. The A319 has flown 30 million flights, 25 years, without a single fatality, despite plenty of usage with airlines banned from the EU into numerous dangerous airports.

          I hope and believe MCAS is resolved, but it’s going to take decades of fatality free service for the MAX to be comparable statistically with 1980s aircraft.

          • A very neat summary.

            To worsen the challenge: when Boeing and its acolytes resort to the usual habit of pilot blaming, Airbus giggles and breaks out the champagne. Why? Well, when you assert that pilots in developing countries don’t have the skills to fly a Boeing, then the airlines involved will be more inclined to opt for an alternative for which their pilots *do* have sufficient flying skills — and that hands more orders to Airbus. After all, Airbus doesn’t work with 1950s-era cables and pulleys, so it doesn’t require 1950s-era aces to fly its planes.
            So, with fewer MAXs flying around, it will take even longer to reach the “fatality-free service” figures to which you refer.
            Poor Boeing 🙁

          • Classic example of selective statistics.

            There is no question Boeing management was lethal in what they did, none.

            I can list A320 crashes (not accidents ) that raised the A320 to 100% fatality rate (until 1000 other flights were flown )

            Ugly or beyond Ugly as the 7376MAX MCAS 1.0 was, its now a sub set of a very safe aircraft that the real data set is the Classic, NG and now the MAX.

            You can jump up and down and false cite anything you want, the 737 has been a safe aircraft and the MAX will be no different.

            Should regulations be changed? I have no disagreement with that argument.

            But you are also arguing now with EASA, Canada, Brazil and just al but all but China on the MAX itself.

            Should the FAA have made more changes to the MAX to met modern standards? I think so.

            But I also think Airbus and their system has major issues as well that are not addressed.

            All those bells whistles and voice stuff did AF447 no good not to mention it dumped alternative law onto the crew for no reason.

            In fact, Airbus portends its system is superior but when it really should be workign it quits.

            Like any system, it has its flaws.

            Overall its been safer, but it has lead to new issues that are being struggled with.

            Cherry picking one out of the rest is either an act of ignorance or willful cherry picking.

            There is a lot in aviation that needs fixing and in Europe as well as the USA and no excuse to let Boeing management off any hook.

            But the EASA allowed the 787 to fly with two flawed Trent Engines when it should not have had any.

            The only saving grace was the remaining bad engine that was even closer to the failure line than the other one did not happen to fail.

            You should not count on luck.

          • @Transworld.
            No. At no point did the A320 have a “100%” rate. That could only occur if there was an accident on it’s 1st flight, which it did not, no matter how you twist statistics. AF296 was not the 1st flight, and neither was it the fault of the aircraft. In fact, the aircraft saved most onboard by not listening to the pilot’s command to pitch up at the critical AoA, which would have resulted in a catastrophic stall with a worse outcome than a landing in the forest (Beyond critical AoA, lift decreases with an increase in AoA, a fully loaded A320 flying at 112kts is damn close to critical AoA).

            As stated in my previous comment, if the A320 or non-MAX 737 had the accident rate of the MAX (source:, there would be an accident every 2 days , thankfully we don’t(in reality there’s been 3 737 hull losses and 1 A320 hull loss in the past year). And yes, I agree that the MAX record will likely and hopefully improve now, but the original commentator stating that the MAX is the safest aircraft is just blatantly ignoring the statistics that tons of aircraft types in the modern era have flown 10s of millions of flights (not 150k, like the MAX) without a single fatality. A319, E145, CRJ700, etc. There are many more types that have had fatal accidents but none of those caused by a design flaw. This includes most Boeing/Airbus/McDonnell Douglas models since the 80s.

            You state that the FBW system “but when it really should be workign it quits.”, and yet out of the 4 times Airbus aircraft have had dual engine failures due to fuel or bird strike, the survival rate has been 100%. , surely the flight envelope protection played some role.

            It has been said that “the news doesn’t report on airplanes that land safely”. There’s been tons of events in the past in which FBW saves the day. Here’s an example of a relatively unknown incident that could’ve been catastrophic without the envelope protection:

            And yes, I agree that you should not count on luck.

          • @Transworld
            (Continuing my reply)
            To be fair, your assessment of the Habsheim Air Show accident would be correct if you include the phrase “passenger” flight. But regardless of how it’s categorized, the early days of the 320 were rough statistically (2 in 1st 2 years), you simply can’t compare the CFIT accidents with the MCAS. It would be like comparing a guy who drives into a lake due to improper turn planning vs the Toyota accelerator crisis in 2009.

            You said I used selective stats. Yet if the commentator was correct in that this is the *safest* type, shouldn’t that assessment still be valid against any “selective stats”? You do make some valid points, though. All systems have its benefits and flaws.

    • There is also the issue of heavy Tarifs on Airbus 220 wings, is that still a factor.

  4. Wondering if the math here is that Southwest gets a better ROI with the MAX 7 instead of the A220, given the massive Boeing discount, AND that still leaves adding the a321 as a larger capacity aircraft in the out years.

    Southwest can either upgauge with the A321 or use that as a negotiating hammer, again, with Boeing on a future MAX-? order.

    • ROI is the major concern for the CEO of SW. Does the A220-300 beat the MAX-7 per passenger? It’s got to be close. Remember, Boeing made it longer. Could SW take the money Boeing owes it without buying da plane? Would Boeing even have the money if SW didn’t buy da plane? I still think in 5-10 years when SW planes are going up daily against Delta, JetBlue and other A220s, they’ll be getting their lunch handed to them. It would be interesting to know exactly what the RASM is between the two planes. We used to know the exact difference financially between the 737 Classic and an MD-83.

      • Sam:

        Boeing just made the -7 a shorter -8.

        The A220 is more better all the way around, but that does not count all the details like how many can you get how soon as AP Roberts pointed out.

        And the existing benefits of commonality even if its more with the incoming MAX not the NG.

        Simulators can be reprogrammed and some stuff does not require full. motion.

        Equally a lot of the ground support is identical and support in general is close to if not the same.

        I had one guy who was impressed with the Passast MPG. Yes it was 42, but we drive in town a lot so the mix is more like 30.

        and it takes a lot more maint than the pickup that gets 10 mpg mix.

        So yes it more than paid for itself but that was at 3X the most common cost of fuel.

        Flip that around to maybe 20% better and …………………….

        • Robert Crandall said when you have huge fleets at about a hundred planes (100) you reach a certain economy of scales. At some point it pays to have the right equipment. That’s how almost all big airlines World-wide operate. Now what happens in three years or so when the Max is grounded for this or that. One could easily make the argument that CEO Kelly just made an extremely foolish decision. Time’ll tell…

          • And how did Crandalls years of profit at American do compared to Southwests?
            They used a common fleet in far more ways than AA probably could think of. I would think they designed their route structure around the single type capabilities while AA would work the other way round.
            Hawaii is a good example, not until the 737 had that capability did they go there.
            Thats the trouble with quoting people who were trailblazers in the 50s to the 70s. They eventually are outclassed.

          • Right, and eventually Kelly / Kelleher could be outdated, too. Especially if SW decides to have more of a global presence.

    • Possible yes, likely, I doubt it.

      SW would need to have a different route structure much like AK where the 737 would not work to make that possible.

      And often you can get around it with a fuel stop which is common anyway in the Single Aisle world.

      I have seen routes that 250 mile hops with a 737.

  5. Of course airbus can match Boeings price, they didn’t want to.
    South West has to redeem their MAX warranty compensation somehow, Airbus hasn’t got the production cost down to an profitable level yet and the A220 isn’t mature enough for this market. The next competition in 4/5 years time is the one to look out for.
    Can Boeing offer a price for the next batch while they get their act together? I don’t think so.

  6. Doubtful Airbus could have ramped up production that quickly, but now Delta has a large and growing fleet of A220 that they purchased for a very good price. How is SW gonna compete with a plane that is so much more efficient in all respects? Also there is a risk of new entrants using A220.

    • SW does not compete head to head with Delta on many routes.

      SW also has a efficient work force, Delta has a lot of legacy aircraft (granted they may not come back)

      SW maint costs will be much lower running one type of aircraft (really two with the NG for some time).

      Its no single aspect of an operation that determines the whole competitive costs.

      As I recall SW has some high personal costs but they also perform at a high level.

      • Delta actually has an agreement with P&W to be a COE and do MRO on these and other GTF engines. I doubt SW will be doing the same on the LEAP engines. Delta does not compete with Southwest YET on many routes.

    • @Joe

      Cheap crappy plane for cheap crappy airline

      It’s the cheap that makes for the crappy that kills

    • Hello Joe and Gerrard,

      Re: “Crappy plane for crappy airline. Period.”

      The 10,100 airline customers interviewed for the J.D. Power 2020 North American Airline Customer Satisfaction Survey had a rather different opinion. See the excerpts below from the 5-27-20 USA Today story at the link after the excerpts.

      “Travelers picked an airline once known for its no-frills service as their top choice for overall satisfaction in a new J.D. Power survey released Wednesday – but the results poured in largely before coronavirus fears imploded air travel.

      Southwest Airlines ranks best for both long- and short-distance flights in the research firm’s annual North American Airline Satisfaction Study, which polled flyers about trips they had taken the previous month. The airline was followed by JetBlue and Delta on long-haul flights and by JetBlue and Alaska on short-haul flights.”

      The rankings for long haul flights.
      1. Southwest
      2. JetBlue
      3. Delta
      4. Alaska Airlines
      5. WestJet
      6. American Airlines
      7. United Airlines
      8. Air Canada
      9. Frontier Airlines
      10. Spirit Airlines

      The rankings for short haul flights.

      1. Southwest
      2. JetBlue
      3. Alaska Airlines
      4. Delta
      5. WestJet
      6. American Airlines
      7. Air Canada
      8. Spirit Airlines
      9. United Airlines
      10. Frontier Airlines

      Note that Southwest with an all 737 fleet and JetBlue with an Airbus and Embraer fleet rank 1st ans 2nd, respectively, in both the short haul and long haul categories, while all Airbus Spirit ranks last in long haul and all Airbus Frontier ranks last in short haul.

      Could it be that something is more important in forming passenger’s opinions of an airline than the type of aircraft the airline flies?

      “”It’s really the fact they avoided cancellation fees and change fees,” Taylor said. Leaving the impression that the airline treats its passengers fairly gave “a halo effect to Southwest.”

      By contrast, low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines comes in last in the long-haul category (defined as routes of more than 800 miles). Another discounter, Frontier Airlines, is last for short-haul (flights under 800 miles).

      “There are not a lot of amenities” on those airlines, Taylor said. “They are in the business of getting you from Point A to Point B as cheaply as possible.”

      Southwest also offers 2 free checked bags while Spirit and Frontier charge fees for everything that you can imagine, including checked bags.

      • @AP_Robert

        It may be that the US pax is used to such low quality service on such a poorly made plane: he’s certainly gotten used to low quality infrastructure in every other transport domain, or should I say every other domain period

        I’ll not get on the ‘compare with x airline’ cart – but echo what ASCE and others have been remarking for years

      • You may well be right, but hardly any Americans have had a chance to fly on an A220 yet.

      • Very few Americans have had the chance to fly on an A220.
        If you pass on the fuel savings, surely they will be interested in the lower ticket price?

        • @Grubbie

          The race to cheaper and cheaper is a death spiral

          Infra is expensive, requires concerted large scale community effort and investment – as in the functional past US, as in the functional present Asia

          When cheap is the only goal the result is cheap or no infrastructure: which the rich can afford to do without but which cripples the overall economy and the lives of the poor

        • Airlines will not pass on fuel savings to lower ticket prices, profit is job number one.

  7. Just to put all of this into context:

    LUV in their previous filing of Q3 stated they had arranged to take 35 Max’s in 2021 for ‘an immaterial amount of capex’ – read no more money to be paid.

    They are getting the next batch of 60 Max’s in 2022 for $700 million.

    LUV just scored 95 Max’s for $700 million, over 21/22. That’s just over $7 million a copy (plus whatever deposits and pdp’s they made)

    No wonder why Airbus didn’t go down there to match. No one in their right mind would.

    • Hello Frank,

      Re: “LUV in their previous filing of Q3 stated they had arranged to take 35 Max’s in 2021 for ‘an immaterial amount of capex’ – read no more money to be paid.”

      According to a press release released by Southwest on 3-29-21 their old and new delivery schedules for 2021 were as follows.

      OLD: 7 MAX 7 firm orders, 100 MAX 8 firm orders, 9 MAX 8 from lessors.
      NEW: 19 MAX 8 firm orders, 9 MAX 8 from lessors, total = 28.

      Re: “They are getting the next batch of 60 Max’s in 2022 for $700 million.”

      According Southwest’s press release issued 3-29-21 they have firm orders for 3o MAX’s in 2022, all 737-7’s, and their contracted aircraft capital spending is “expected to be approximately $700 million in 2022”.

      $700 million / 30 aircraft =$ 23.3 million per aircraft in 2022.

      The press release also states that “We now estimate contractual aircraft capital spending for all years 2021 through 2026, which consists of 169 MAX firm orders with Boeing (135 MAX 7 and 34 MAX 8 aircraft), to be approximately $5.1 billion.”

      $5.1 billion = $5,100 million
      $5,100 million / 169 aircraft = $30.2 milion per aircraft average for years 2021 through 2026, according to Southwest’s press release.

      According to Southwest’s press release “contractual aircraft capital spending is the “Net of progress payments made on undelivered MAX aircraft and previously agreed upon delivery credits provided by Boeing to the Company due to the settlement of 2020 estimated damages relating to the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA) grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft.”

    • @ Gerrard
      Actually, the sale just adds to BA’s problems, because @Pedro has very neatly confirmed above that the planes were sold at a loss.

      “Southwest says its 169 737Max deliveries through 2026 will cost it $5.1B, or $30.2mn (after PDP) — well below the ~$100mn list price, or the ~$46mn appraised value for the 737-7”

      • @Bryce

        Death Spiral Special

        I’m sure the planes were sold at a loss : but better a loss on those some which may, perhaps, shore up Max’s credibility as saleable help get the rest of the deplorables white tails out the hangar than no sale at all : which might have scared off other airlines

        Beyond that I think that the manner, financialised, in which LUV and BA can harmonise production and payments and other financial instruments may well provide BA with an iota of the long term comforting it requires

        Or maybe more like a jot – shrink BA to a rump, dispose of DoD stuff, and why should’nt the Max be evergreened to eternity as a LUV Exclusive Special Fly the Safe American Dream?

      • Per Scott’s tweet:
        “In a new report, @CreditSuisse predicts @Airbus will deliver nearly twice as many A320 family vs @Boeing 737 MAX through 2024.”

        Shows why BA is so desperate to make deals. Bigger issue is Airbus has a plan for its future product and cash generated to fund product development. How about BA??

        Happy #A330day!

        • @ Pedro
          Indeed…I found Scott’s Tweet very interesting.
          And that’s just the sales side. Let’s not forget the cancellations that Boeing is currently suffering for the MAX. The backlog sank 30% in 2019/2020 (due to cancellations/deletions), and the current rate of published cancellations is about 30 per month (32 in February, at least 26 for March). Customers are voting with their feet 😉

          • Boeing was more deficient on orders prior and mostly in the A321 area they have not response for.

            This is not all MAX, its a COVD reality as well.

            EU not having a vaccine plan means deliveries are in peril and that is going to affect Airbus more than Boeing.

            Both have far more orders than they can ever deliver.

            In the end I believe you will see the split go to 60-40 in Airbus favor that its been headed for some time.

            That of course depends on what Boeing does or does not do as well as ow effective they are if they do something (which has its own questions due to the gang that cannot fly straight)

            Have to see how happy the A330 does!

            One of the big questions is how fast does Cathay sink with the sharks circling and in excess of China direction.

  8. Signals seem that the visibility and PR damage if Southwest had gone for A220-300 instead of 737-7 led to Boeing getting this deal whatever is needed.

    Same as when O’Leary prevented almost all of Europe replacing 737’s and United the same in ’16 considering to the CSeries.

  9. “The Company will continue to plan for multiple fleet and capacity scenarios; however, the refreshed 737 MAX order book and predominantly owned 737-700 fleet is intended to provide a high degree of flexibility for the Company to manage fleet retirements, growth opportunities, and capital spending in a variety of economic environments.”

    WN is still planning for multiple fleet and capacity scenarios. An acquisition would accomplish this.

    • As I recall SW/WN did that and dumped the fleet (717s from memory that went to Delta)

      I don’t doubt they are keeping a long term eye out, but I equally doubt they are going to change anything for a long time.

  10. Is Boeing dumping MAX 7s on South West for even less than BBD was selling C series to Delta?
    It’s hard to work out with the compensation payments, but it certainly looks like it.

      • SWA is formally the launch customer for the 737-7, hence pretty normal to sell to the launch customer at a loss.
        Bombardier/Airbus did it as well on the CS130/A220.
        The 737-7 has a chance to be a very reliable aircraft as it is a 737-8 shrink with oversized structures, landing gear, engines, APU, Air Conditioning etc. making it trot along and never have to work really hard, a bit like the 737-500.

        • A shrink means the MAX 7 is not as competitive as the A220-300 in per seat fuel consumption and overall seat cost.

  11. There is a lot of nonsense spout on this forum by Airbus fans who do not know anything about airplanes. To start with B737 have a life time cycle limits 30 percent longer than the belove A320. So how is it low quality. Mr. Leahy use to say you do not want your plane lasting past 15 years because fuel efficiency will make it obsolete only because Airlines were retiring 15 years old A320 and the cycle limits were only 48000. It has improved to 60000. The best run airline the world has ever seen do not know what it is doing because they did not buy Airbus. The A220 in SWA configuration with 3 lav is 132-135 seat. The Max7 is artificially restricted to 150 seat because of 4th flight attendant. They are not the same size and no amount of fanboy will change that.

    • Why didn’t Boeing ask for $50 mil then? Did airbus compete the A319?
      Why did no one point out that the A220 300 wasn’t big enough before?
      Is the 500 going to slaughter the MAX?
      Can Boeing offer a mature competitor in less than 10 years? Are you assuming the same seat pitch?

    • Correct, I believe the seat comparison is A220-135, MAX7-150, MAX 8-175. I don’t see the A220 ever being a direct replacement for the MAX 8, because they can’t stretch it close to 8 meters.
      I believe the best course of action for the A220-500, is to build the gold standard 150 seat three class airplane, for DL and others, about a 5 meter stretch.

      • Per LHN:

        – The A220 is more fuel efficient, both on a trip basis and on a per seat basis, than the smaller A319neo and the larger 737 MAX 7

        – On a total cost basis, the A220-300 is the lower cost aircraft (as long as normal net pricing prevails)

        • “”The A220 is more fuel efficient, both on a trip basis and on a per seat basis, than the smaller A319neo and the larger 737 MAX 7″”

          This must be the A220-300 which of course has a longer cabin than the A319, but the A319 is not really smaller in seats.

          Fuel-efficiency depends on what is compared.
          The 75.5t A319neo can do more than the 70 t A220-300. But if the 70t A319neo is compared, the 70t A220-300 is not more fuel-efficienct but can do more range.
          The 64t A319neo is also more fuel-efficient per seat than the 61.5t 195E2 till 1000nm but the E2 can do longer range.
          The MAX-7 burns more fuel per trip than the A319neo and A320neo.

      • I believe the Air Baltic is incorrect.
        From the exit row back, Korean gets 16 rows and a lav at 31″ to 32″. JetBlue gets 17 rows and no laves at 32″. AirBaltic gets 18 rows and a lav at 32″? Something doesn’t add up there.

    • The 737 pickle fork issue showed what Boeing’s lifetime cycle calculations are worth for. Not much.

      The 20 year Ishka values are not higher for the 737.
      737-700 value is below A320-200.
      737-800 is below A321-200.
      The difference for 5 year values is similar.

      Instead, what was already mentioned, Boeing is dumping the MAX now which will affect values for used MAX in the future too and after the next crash even more.

      It could be that SW is using the MAX-7 with 150 seats and that 135 seats would be comparable in pitch for the A220-300. But that doesn’t mean that SW would use the A220-300 with 135 seats because the -700 isn’t used with 135 seats either. My God hahahaha

      • Southwest will be using Max 7 with 149 seats because its 1 seat row more than the -700 with 143
        The Max 8 and -800 are both 175 seats

        Baltic uses 145 seats @32 in on its A220-300, it seems pitch of 31 in is what SW uses on its -700. Such small differences can be hard to verify .
        But of course the Airbus seats are 18.5 in as opposed to Boeings 17 in ( some claim 17.8 on max versions ???)

        • Hello Dukeofurl,

          Re: “… it seems pitch of 31 in is what SW uses on its -700.”

          According to Airfare Watch Dog, the seat pitch is 31 inches on Southwest’s 737-700’s, and 32 inches on its 737-800’s and 737-8’s. Very unusually, Southwest increased rather than decreased the seat pitch on it newer airplanes. See the excerpt and link below.

          “Southwest only operates a fleet of Boeing 737’s, keeping its seating charts reasonably similar among all its planes. The Boeing 737-MAX (currently grounded) and 737-800’s, offer 32 inches of pitch, while the 737-700 offers a 31-inch seat pitch.”

          Re: “Southwest will be using Max 7 with 149 seats because its 1 seat row more than the -700 with 143”

          I think this is approximately correct but that the math will be a little more complicated than that. The 737-700 has one over wing emergency exit on each side of the aircraft, the 737-7 has two. Southwest’s 737-700’s have one row near the single emergency exit that is 2-3 across instead of 3-3 across, and I believe one row with expanded seat pitch, while its 737-800’s and 737-8’s have one row that is 2-2 across instead of 3-3 across, and I believe 2 rows of extended seat pitch at the emergency exits. It is often said that the 737-7 is 2 seat rows longer than the 737-700. Adding 2 rows of 3-3 seating to the 143 seat capacity of Southwest’s 737-700’s would give seating capacity of 143 + 12= 155, which as you point out would be over the 150 seat limit for 3 flight attendants. The actual math will be adding some rows or half rows, plus taking out parts of some rows of the 737-700 configuration to accommodate 2 over wing emergency exits on each side instead of one. According to Wikipedia Southwest will be putting 150 seats on its 737-7’s, I am guessing that this is correct, Southwest will figure out some way to make the math come out to the exact maximum number of passengers allowed for 3 flight attendants. With 150 seats on a 737-7, i s pretty likely that the seat pitch will be at least 32 inches.

          • Other sources say the 737 Max 7 was stretched by 2 seat rows, the Southwest max 7 would be 1 more 6 seat row to get to 149 .
            Maybe the overwing exits take more space or the seats rows have a little bit more pitch

          • The MAX-7 needs 2 overwing exit pairs for 150 seats. One of the overwing seat rows might have 38in seat pitch.
            The A319 needs only one overwing exit pair till 145 seats.

      • Just found out in fact Air Baltic is two classes configuration, there can be three more seats in one class seating.

      • What about all the 737 classic cracking up premature:

        “Boeing has issued a service bulletin that covers the operators of approximately 175 737-300/400/500s requiring a inspections on the aircraft fuselage structure to begin within five days for aircraft with more than 35,000 cycles, and 20 days for aircraft with 30,000 to 34,999 cycles, with the US Federal Aviation Administration requiring repeated examination every 500 cycles.

        The requirement comes in the wake of the 1 April fuselage rupture aboard a Southwest Airlines 737-300, that developed lap-joint cracks far earlier in its service life than anticipated, says Boeing’s 737 Classic chief project engineer, Paul Richter.

        The US airframer issued the service bulletin late on 5 April disclosing the requirement to conduct dial frequency Eddy-current inspections on the lower row of fasteners in the fuselage lap-joint, along the left and right-hand side of the crown of the aircraft at stringer four between Station 360 – just aft of the forward passenger door – and Station 908 – a few frames ahead of the rear passenger door, covering roughly 15.2m (50ft) and almost the entire length of the passenger cabin.

        The service bulletin applies only to 737 Classic aircraft with line numbers 2553 and 3132 inclusive, which were delivered from 1993 until the end of the Classic’s production run in 2000. Paired with the 30,000 cycle requirement, a total of 175 aircraft worldwide meet this criteria, with 80 operating within the US, almost entirely for Southwest Airlines. The majority of the balance are operating in Europe and Asia, says Boeing.

        What distinguishes this tranche of 579 737s is a design modification that was intended to eliminate the requirement for a lap-joint modification programme already in effect for line numbers 292 through 2552 inclusive, which were required above 50,000 cycles.

        Richter, who serves as chief project engineer for Boeing’s out of production aircraft, including the 737 Classics, says Boeing had anticipated some level of structural cracking in the area in question, though it had been expected to occur around 60,000 cycles, far later than the 39,000 cycles of the aircraft involved in the 1 April incident.”

      • Correct me if I’m wrong: JetBlue A220-300 has 140 seats and three lav.

        • FYI:

          6 rows 30 seats, featuring 35″ of pitch
          22 rows 110 regular economy seats, featuring 32″ of pitch

    • There is a lot of nonsense spout on this forum by Boeing fans who do not know anything about airplanes. To start, B737 have life time cycle limits which are unknown and are only assumptions from the marketing department. So it is low quality. Muilenburg used to say “we own safety”. The best run airline the world has ever seen does not know what it is doing because they were crying so much about all the Boeing failures. The A220 in SWA configuration with 3 lav has 145 seats. The Max-7 is artificially restricted to 150 seats because of no 4th flight attendant. They are not the same size and weight and no amount of fanboy will change that. And because of only 5 more seats the MAX-7 can’t be more fuel-efficient per seat.

      • That’s why I’ve said in 5-10 years, when many, many A220-300s are short, long and medium hauling the country, SW will be up against exceedingly tough competition. The A220 is not an MD-83.

        • > SW will be up against exceedingly tough competition. The A220 is not an MD-83. <

          Indeed! Almost as if there is (or should be) more to the matter than the initial purchase cost..

          • Exactly. Delta got a deal on the C-Series at the time because there were not a whole lot of orders for it. SW just concluded an order for the MAX-7 because essentially there were no firm orders for it. Sure, they got a deal for it, but they had to, so it would be viable.

  12. Very interresting information (sorry in French)
    one hour very open information about A220
    Key point is that AIRBUS is investing an awful amount of time and money to put the A220 house in order.
    suppliers quality and punctuality, assembly organization etc…
    And they need quite a lot of time to make it as profitable as this excellent frame should be.
    When everything is OK, they will seriously increase production and develop the much expected 220 500
    and competition will be tough for the Corvair vintage 737

    • My take is a bit different.

      Airbus has to invest in the A220 or dump it. As its a very plausible A320 replacement I don’t see them doing that.

      But you also have the issue of mfg capability and its not anywhere near the A320/737 series.

      Its one of those you need to sell aircraft to increase the numbers at the same time you are converting the supply chain into your system (Airbus).

      Boeing and Airbus had single aisle rates pushing 60 a month and the A220 can do 4-8 a month under the dual system that is not replaced yet.

      A big sale to SW would give them a base but it would require SW patience as the numbers are not there.

      Get enough numbers as we have seen, then you can shift and shuffle and trade off with buyers to get someone their minimum need while you work in the long term numbers.

      And Airbus has to make a decision, work on the shift from A320 to A220-500 or keep lumping along with the current mix.

      Its not an easy one to solve. The good news for Airbus is that there is a shift to A321.

      But then you loose commonality of the cockpits.

      But I think you are stuck in limited numbers until you move the 500 into priority and get it going. Now is the ideal time with things slower (or was, have to see if it picks up).

      Its that thing about a good position and opportunity and a dilemma.

      • “”Airbus has to invest in the A220 or dump it.””

        Airbus got the A220 cheap and it makes sense to invest in it with the orders it has. Also an A220-500 could be done easily with the same wing and could compete against the A320.
        There is also the LH2 thing and Airbus might not do a new SA to replace the A320family without LH2.
        The A220 is only a gap filler in between these times. I doubt an A220-700 would be built to compete against the MAX-8 because a new wing would make sense.
        In gerneral, a 5-abreast plane can’t beat a 6-abreast one. A new A320family replacement would always beat the A220. Then the A220 doesn’t use the full 36m gate and has engines with lower BPR.
        There might be an A220-500 but not an A220neo and then there will be LH2.

      • I think Airbus will trot along with A320neo, A321neo and A220-300 until a replacement aircraft is designed. All carbon of different types, active sidesticks, new engines burning a large mix of different fuels, new wings with folding wingtips (either down or up) and a fuel cell APU.

        • The base operators of the A220-100s, and more-so the -300, could well determine if and when Airbus makes the -500. Delta has said for years that they wanted this Bombardier plane in three lengths. The prevailing thought was the that engineering is complete on the -500, and estimates have been for .5 Billion in cost. When the time comes it should be a pretty straight forward decision. And if the orders warrant it, a slight wing and body extension would also come at this time in the form of the -700.

          What might be taking place in aerospace and airline evolution at this time is what has taken place in the past a couple times with single aisle planes: Growth of the fuselage. First major single aisle planes where centered around 110 passengers. Twenty years later, the base single aisle plane was 150-160 in two classes. At this point it is very realistic to believe single aisle planes could be A220s in three lengths; and a new A320 family replacement in three lengths. Boeing’s new offering when they get around to it, could very well be 4-5 lengths for two class planes from 140 – 225 people. The future tends to indicate something like this.

    • @ FF
      Competition is already tough for the vintage 737: there are currently of the order of 30 cancellations per month…excluding the Norwegian cancellations…

  13. Seat layout and installation is part of what i do. Southwest seat pitch is not the same as Ryan air, easy jet, lufthansa, spirit, frontier, delta , American Airlines etc. No 28, 29 or 30 inch in SWA airlines.

    • I am interested in your expertise, please explain. I don’t want to compare anything that isn’t SWA.
      In my opinion seat width makes up for lack of pitch(unless you go as extreme as the MAX 200) because you can sit diagonally if you have long legs and shift about a bit.

      • I find that interesting as I have wide shoulders and I am more interested in leg room than width (its 3.5 hour flight from ANC to SEA which is my most common)

        I am 5’8″ and my legs are too tight on AK.

        I had one American Airlines flight and it was better though the pax numbers were the same as I recall.

        Thinner seats and a sore butt. I can mange but I hate to think what taller people go through.

  14. Max 7 and B737-700 are not the same size or aircraft Mr. Pedro. Check before posting.

  15. The b737-700 and the A320-200 are not the same size. The 737-800 is not the same size as the A320-200. The 737-800 is comparable to A320 in size but slightly bigger. You need to compare like for like.

    • You mentioned cycles when Boeing can’t even calculate them.
      Sure the A320-200 is bigger than the 737-700 that’s why it is more expensive even after 20 years, no stupid cycle assumption can change that.
      It’s the same for the A321-200 vs 737-800.

  16. It’s good to see some cash flow at Boeing. Will these be aircraft all new or also -8 white tails?

    • Hello Keesje,

      Re: “Will these be aircraft all new or also -8 white tails?”

      Unless Southwest changes the delivery schedule they announced in the 3-29-21 press release at the link below, which has them taking only MAX 7’s from 2022 through 2025 after taking 19 MAX 8 from Boeing (and 9 more from lessors) in 2021, there won’t be many MAX 8 white tails involved, unless there are still white tail MAX 8’s sitting around in 2026. There won’t be any MAX 7 white tails involved since all that have been built were already destined for Southwest.

      According to the press release, Southwest now has 19 firm MAX 8 orders for 2021, after that they have 30 MAX 7 firm orders per year from 2022 through 2025, with no additional MAX 8 firm orders until 2026, in which year they have 15 MAX 7 firm orders and 15 MAX 8 firm orders. Remaining MAX 7 firm orders now outnumber remaining MAX 8 firm orders by 200 to 149.

  17. Southwest has often worked with Boeing taking aircraft when Boeing had a surplus and holding off during peak demand. This helps Boeing keep the line running at a stead rate. I expect we will see the same kind of co-operation in the future.

  18. A little off-topic, but an interesting article on Reuters (and a subject discussed last week here on LNA):

    “Boeing urges U.S. to separate China trade and human rights”

    “Boeing Co urged the United States on Wednesday to keep disputes over human rights and other topics separate from trade relations with Beijing, and warned that European rival Airbus would gain if the U.S. planemaker were locked out of China.”

    “Noting multiple disputes, he added: “I am hoping we can sort of separate intellectual property, human rights and other things from trade and continue to encourage a free trade environment between these two economic juggernauts….We cannot afford to be locked out of that market. Our competitor will jump right in.””

    • @Bryce: BA =/= Patriot

      While posters here want decoupling, BA can’t wait to jump back on the bandwagon!!

      • @ Pedro
        All of a sudden, the shining beacon on the hill will have to take a back seat…because earning dollars is at stake! One can sense a sort of panic in Cal’s words.
        It’s a nasty quandry to be in:
        (1) Ban sales of engines to COMAC so as to delay its expansion plans…but then risk a total cessation of Boeing imports by China, and precipitate accelerated development of Russian/Chinese engines.
        (2) Try to sell some Boeings to China, but concurrently accept that the Chinese will expect to receive engines for their COMACs — which will ultimately close the market for Boeing anyway.

        I suspect route (1) will be chosen…and Cal can see carnage coming for Boeing. What will it do if it loses the China market…on top of the fact that its margins in the US and elsewhere are paper thin?

        • @Bryce:

          Air China plans to take delivery of 56 A320/321; China Eastern 61 narrow body Airbus in 2021 and 2022. It’s no coincidence.

          I wonder which poster here is NOT following the news?? 😁

    • The fire sale of family’s heirloom continues:

      Boeing is selling 310 acres of its undeveloped land in the Puget Sound region as part of its plan to cut its real estate footprint by 30%.

    • @Bryce

      If even Chairman Cal is taking to the pulpit to talk politics in public, it is to indicate that to run a business and to avoid loud discussion of politics and war is now impossible

      Biden is talking tough – nominates an idpol Trade Rep only to keep her on a tight leash

      WSJ 28 March-

      « It is also far from clear how influential Ms. Tai will become on China policy in an administration where the National Security Council and State Department so far dominate policy.

      Major economic cabinet agencies — Commerce, Treasury and USTR — which often play big roles shaping China strategy, haven’t even named their senior international officials. »

      • You guys stop it with the China trade talk, you have been told its not allowed OT and it means the rest of comments gets blocked

        • @ DoU
          Scott indicated in the past that discussion of China was permitted when it related to MAX certification, for example. In this particular case, the original Reuters article relates to a plea from Boeing itself…so I can’t imagine that Scott would have a problem with that.
          I do, however, agree with you that the discussion should not widen in a purely political direction.

        • @DoU

          ‘The rest of the comments gets blocked’

          Now already?

          If Chairman Cal can no longer resist an appeal to the wider context – how can this not be relevant, at least as far as he thinks he is concerned – yet another sign politics has removed laissez faire from the stage

          Otherwise it’s seat pitch this seat incline that ad infinitum

          • > Otherwise it’s seat pitch this seat incline that ad infinitum

            Hear, hear.. [snoozy]


      • @ Gerrard
        I’ll keep my reply short, so as not to be accused of starting a political discussion.
        From the point of view of *trade* with the EU, let’s just say that it has been noticed that Ms. Tai’s words are at variance with the policies that are actually manifesting themselves. A perfect example of “saying one thing, but doing another”. That type of fudging won’t work with “a certain country in Asia”.

        Per my reply to Pedro above: Chairman Cal must indeed be rather desperate to dare being so vociferous — and so contrarian — on such a prickly topic. This must come as quite a shock to quite a few commenters here — and particularly to one who isn’t here at the moment.

  19. More China news…this time a frigid article on FG relating to MAX return-to-service at major Chinese carriers:

    “Chinese majors give indication on future of 737 Max orders”

    “China Eastern Airlines expects Boeing 737 Max deliveries to resume from 2023 — even while it works with the airframer to return the aircraft to service.”

    2023!! My lord…another 2 years!!

    • @Bryce

      Thanks for this report – was it not almost two years the FAA spent on figuring the re cert for the Max

      Another two, then, would be a reasonable time frame in another country

      Provided that, entre temps, nothing upsets the apple cart

      • If you look at their fleet, their plan does not make sense unless the A320NEO are being re-introduced, they don’t have that many orders for A320 (not broken down in the plan)

        They list a group of A320 into service in 2022, then an equal group of 737 in 2023.

        They only have 3 737MAX delivered and they are not saying nothing prior, they look to be seeing what CAAC is doing there.

        As I recall China was very late on their 5 year plan and missed orders leaving fleet renewal blank.

        None of it tells us anything about what the next CAAC moves are or when.

        Equally if you follow the news the 3 Chinese carriers have taken huge losses, I have not seen the reports on domestic vs intentional.

        • If you follow the news U.S. carriers suffered whopping losses last year. (Like an order of magnitude more?)

          • Why does it keep jumping out of relevancy? How about your countries losses during all this?

            Nothing more and nothing less than China (Eastern in this case) and its fleet moves as well as dealing with the MAX.

            It has nothing to do with US losses, simply what is going on in China and how MAX is affected, what CAAC is doing or going to do about re-cert or not.

            How about addressing the subject as presented instead of spirally out to unrelated false equivalency? Sheese Louise.

          • @ TW
            “How about addressing the subject as presented instead of spirally out to unrelated false equivalency?”

            That’s fresh coming from someone who said just above:
            “EU not having a vaccine plan means deliveries are in peril and that is going to affect Airbus more than Boeing.”

            First: Scott has asked us to avoid talking about vaccines.
            Second: EU does have a vaccine plan, and it’s progressing just fine (80 million shots administered so far), though certainly (up to now) more slowly than desired, due to delayed deliveries by various suppliers. In the meantime, the EU has exported over 80 million vaccines to 34 countries.
            Third: Airbus is producing aircraft at 3 plants outside the EU, so not sure how you conclude that the vaccine situation in the EU is going to affect Airbus deliveries more than Boeing deliveries. Also, Airbus production within the EU is progressing as normal, regardless of the vaccine situation.

            Sheese Louise…

          • @Bryce:

            Well, the top six U.S. airlines lost $34 billion last year. Remind me which country bans export of vaccxxx??
            Back in 2019, when CAAC grounded the 737 MAX, western media was flooded by conspiracy theory that it’s tied with trade negotiation. Nothing further than the truth could be said and I haven’t seen anyone has the courage to stand up and admit mistakes were made. At the time, China operated the largest fleet of 737 MAX in the world. It’s also a key supplier of Boeing 737 MAX, 777 and 787. BA has over 300 737 MAX order comes from China. In the next twenty years, how many jets BA forecasts to go to China??

          • @Bryce:

            BA wants to quickly ramp up 737 MAX production rate to 31 per month. However, many in the industry openly question it, esp. without access of Chinese market.

    • yea that was what I was thinking when I saw it pop up.

      They aren’t going to sell any F-18s either.

      Frankly I think the Grippen E would suit them as economical and rational. Canada is not a big country and has no reason to carry a NATO burden that the rest of Europe is more than capable of. US is going to share the air space defense regardless.

      Equally Canada has a lot of sea boundary they need ships for and while the US has a narrow Arctic Exposure (relatively ) Canada has a huge one.

      The lower performance (grin) but working A330MRT fits in nicely with Canadian needs and the better cargo flexibility.

      • As you know, putting a 300% tax on the A220 was a typical, We Ain’t Investing In New Technology, Boeing blunder.

        • What’s more important to the board of BA?
          Shares buy back or new jet development?

    • How come the “KC-46 is a lemony mess” one day and Boeing “supplied stuff that worked” on another??
      Disssociative identity disorder?

      A short history of KC-46:

      ” Boeing presented an aircraft to the specs the Military had requested. Airbus then presented a larger aircraft with more capability that was out of spec. Boeing objected (rightfully), something something Boeing executives and general went to prison for bribery…= KC-46 ”

        • @Pedro

          Great link – the following quote says it all

          “It’s scandalous that Boeing was forgiven so many past screw-ups that it ended up in a position where the Air Force has to beg it to fix the dysfunctional airplanes the company is delivering.”

          No wonder China is taking it’s time with the re cert

        • the USAF was never going to get a ‘manual’ boom operation system. Indeed they had been FBW since McDD did that for its KC-10
          The operator was always going to be in the cabin, just like he/she is for the MRRT. And the move to a fully remote operating system is on the way- but like full autonomous cars a longer term goal.

          NBCs Sébastien Roblin has never served in the military or even flies a plane. has BA in Social and Global Studies and MA in Conflict Resolution and worked with Peace Corps in China and now specialises in ‘International Security’ issues

          • @DoU

            Military&pilot credentials are required in order to comment on a military plane?

            Don’t tell me the reporter is a …’foreigner’.. as well

            Chairman Cal needs accreditation to comment on Trade Policy?

            Even the USAF has figured out they got screwed by BA – check out the many links already quoted

            Censorship is the sign of desperation, patriotism the last refuge of the scou…..

          • @Gerrard:

            Oh darn. BA’s Colhoun has a degree in bean counting. Can he fly a B737 or 777?

            Time to circle the wagons.

            No one here can post anymore unless they are part of the industrial-military complex!!

          • @Pedro

            Meet the new Censor, same as the old Censor

            At least BA’s non combat combat plane has held up the China war until someone somewhere can fix it –

          • The KC-46 Tanker problem is sure hard to comprehend. Is it rocket science? I can easily live with the choice for the American plane, but booms have been built for decades. Are they just trying to keep the crew to Two?

  20. And trying for humo(u)r on the first day of April, 2021:
    Rumour: Boeing to buy LongView Aviation to offer full fleet breadth to Southwest Airlines.

    (Longview owns Viking Air and deHavilland Canada, who produce the Twin Otter, CL415, and Dash8.
    And own rights to make a wide range of aircraft, from the Trigull through the Buffalo, to give SWA flexibility in matching aircraft to demand.
    The CL415 will be used to help Mexico fight forest fires, as the Martin Mars did from a reservoir in Texas.
    The Buffalo will be used for relief work next time the lights go out in Texas.
    If Sherry Brysden of Longview still owns a 737 she could zip experts down to help keep energy flowing in a freeze.
    Oh I am getting smart….)

    Yup, it is the first day of April 2021. 😉

    [Yes, she had use of a 737, maybe used for training, maybe carries Twin Otter parts to Calgary FAL (I speculate), claimed to some days be a playpen for grandchildren.]

    PS: For aviation nu.. er, enthusiasts, the Mighty Planes TV series covered the Mars operation, and the unrelated flying eye hospital DC-10. (Including maintenance action after an engine surged on descent into a refuelling stop in India, headed for Mongolia IIRC. Popular claim decades ago was the Pratt engine surged often but was robust whereas the GE engine less often but was tender.)

  21. An easy thing Boeing could do is using the MTOW of the MAX-9 on the MAX-7 (plus 8t) creating a MAX-XLR, depending on how much space is available for fuel tanks. That would be a cheap XLR for up to 150 pax and over 5000nm. But they are not doing this, who knows the reason why.

    • > You just can’t keep a good jet down! (noted 737NG but the line is still there………….) <

      Maybe a little political arm-twisting in play? Nah.. 😉

    • Some slightly shorter flights with A321LR
      ” operated by Air Transat. Taking place in October last year, it flew from Montreal in Canada to Athens in Greece, clocking in a flight time of eight hours and 20 minutes.”
      ‘. Azores Airlines took an Airbus A321LR from Lisbon to Bogota in Colombia, clocking in at a distance of 4,678 miles, according to GCMaps. The trip took just under nine hours to complete.’

    • So, it’s just been un-grounded after a 2-year debacle — and we’ve been told that it’s been “gone over with a fine-tooth comb” — and yet we now have a mandatory replacement of fuel system units because of “problems with fuel shut-off systems”?

      The Chinese — and all other countries that haven’t yet ungrounded this joke — should do themselves a favor and keep it firmly on the ground.

      • @Bryce

        Great link: a couple of hours in and already FAA and BA up to their old tricks as if thev are unable to learn any new tricks

  22. I remember Canadian regulator called for removal of MCAS from 737 MAX. (NYT broke the story.)

    Interesting letter in the latest issue of Flight International, questioning why @BoeingAirplanes deemed MCAS necessary for #737MAX in the first place. Essentially it was about Southwest NG/Max training requirements and ensuring sim time wasn’t needed (which of course it is now)

    • @ Pedro

      It’s ironic, isn’t it?
      Boeing went out of its way to please Southwest — greedy for a big order from that airline — and then, to finally secure the order, Boeing had to offer such a steep discount that it effectively represented a loss.

      Attention Boeing: Basic Accounting for Dummies, lesson #1:
      Sales generate turnover, but margins generate earnings.

      • Isn’t the rumored compensation is like $1 million per jet? So is it true that Boeing has to pay WN like $350 million?

      • @Bryce

        The loss on the sale, and the hit to future prices and margins very bad

        But to lose the sale – would not this have been worse/impossible?

        As the sim/MCAS (and financialising) SW reports indicate BA and SW are joined at the hip – they are co dependent in the worst of ways yet crippled if separated

    • The big question now is how long they’ll stay up.
      The CDC doesn’t like the current daily passenger numbers in the USA — it says that people are getting ahead of themselves in their enthusiasm, since 70% of US residents still haven’t received shots.

      (Disclaimer: Not intending to discuss vaccines here — just pointing out a mechanism that may cause passenger numbers to drop again.)

      In the EU, all sorts of route resumptions are being planned for June/July, but at the moment flights continue to remain at a minimum.

  23. Quick sum:

    – 737 MAX backlog as of Dec. 31 2020 was 3282 (down 30% from peak).

    – New orders since then: 247
    Ryanair: 75
    Alaska top-up: 23
    UA: 25
    777 Partners (Canada): 24
    Southwest: 100 (firm)

    – Cancellations since then: January ?+ 58 (Feb + March) + 92 Norwegian = at least 150.

    Not exactly a rosy picture, is it?

    • Bryce:

      So, try doing some math. Say a reasonable 30 a month, 360 a year. That is a TEN YEAR BACKLOG!

      We have seen entire programs with a few months backlog in the history of aviation. I would call the backlog a all time rosy picture.

      It really would be worth being factual. That the MAX was a lethal failure in MCAS 1.0 is not argued (by most).

      Norwegian reality is they went belly up. The A320 orders are gone to (those that had not gone away already).

      Sheese Lousie. Address the real issue with Boeing management and their screw ups. The MAX is a victim of that, not a cause.

    • Don’t forget there are four hundred sitting in various sites waiting for delivery as of Dec 31.

      Going back and find this gem:

      B737 MAX lease rate under pressure even before it’s grounded. Why?? Speculative orders overwhelmed the demand in the market.

      Proof that BA’s gambit, by lowering margin to ramp up sales, came back to bite its behind. Fanboys sees number of orders and rejoice. Now the street values a B737 MAX at $36 million. Shocking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *