AA, Southwest defer 737 Max deliveries, Delta puts off Airbus
AMERICAN Airlines () and Southwest Airlines has joined other carriers in deferring orders for the troubled Boeing 737 Max, grounded for more than 18 months following two fatal crashes
29 October 2020 - 19:00
American has deferred delivery of 18 Max jets that were meant to be delivered in 2021 and 2022 and will take them on a new timeline over 2023 and 2024, reports Bloomberg News.
chief financial officer Derek Kerr said there would have to be a 'substantial improvement in the demand environment' to justify taking the jets before then.
Southwest, the largest Max customer, said it may restructure its order after already agreeing to take no more than 48 of the planes through December of next year.
Both the schedule of new deliveries and the pricing of the order are on the table, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told Bloomberg.
'In this world that we're living in, we're talking to them about everything. I'm not happy that the Max has been delayed for now getting close to two years and we still don't know when we'll have it in service,' said Mr Kelly.
'We're looking at the pricing in a whole new environment and obviously we need certainty around the Max, period,' he said.
American is planning to reintroduce the Max in December on a Miami-to-New York route, pending approval from US regulators that finally appears within reach.
But Southwest doesn't see the jet flying as part of its fleet until the second quarter of next year. That's a reflection of the logistical challenges involved with bringing mothballed jets back into service, but also a sign that Southwest already has more than enough planes as it is.
Rival Airbus is also facing order revisions in the wake of the Covid pandemic and a slower-than-expected recovery in air travel.
American said it had delayed some deliveries from the European plane maker, and Delta Air Lines said it had pushed out the handoff of US$5 billion worth of Airbus jets until after 2022.
But the Max's prolonged grounding has made the plane particularly vulnerable. More than 1,000 Max jets have been removed from Boeing's backlog this year, either because the orders were cancelled outright or because delayed deliveries and stressed finances at the buyer made it doubtful they would be filled. There are now 3,357 Max jets on order before accounting for any potential future cuts on the part of Southwest and other carriers.
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