International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) which owns British Airways and Iberia, as well as low-cost brands Vueling and LEVEL, has delivered a major coup for US-aircraft manufacturer Boeing with an order for 200 of its single-aisle 737MAX aircraft.
This is the first major order of the 737MAX aircraft after the Type was grounded worldwide in April. The announcement comes as other 737MAX operators have mulled abandoning the model for the rival Airbus A320 family of aircraft.
The deal is estimated at more than $24 billion USD at list price but it’s fairly safe to assume that IAG got a very significant discount on this price. Boeing may well have been keen to secure a deal at a knockdown price which may have been a deciding factor for IAG.
Taking into account the fact that the order hasn’t yet been finalised and won’t yet appear on Boeing’s order book, would also suggest Boeing was really keen to announce a big order at this weeks Paris Air Show and restore some faith in the 737MAX.
At present, IAG says its intends the 737MAX aircraft to be delivered to both Vueling and LEVEL – both of which have until now been exclusively Airbus operators.
There is also talk that the 737MAX could be destined for British Airways’ fleet at Gatwick airport. British Airways has been a previous operator of the 737 but has relied on Airbus A320’s for its shorthaul fleet for some years now.
IAG may well have selected these brands because customers are more likely to make purchasing decisions solely on price. It’s not really known just how toxic the 737MAX has become and it’s unlikely we’ll really know until they are cleared to fly again.
“We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators,” commented IAG chief exec, Willie Walsh.
“We are truly honored and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else,” Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister said of the deal.
The order will be made up of the 737MAX8 and the larger 737MAX10 which can seat up to 230 passengers. IAG hasn’t yet confirmed the exact numbers of either aircraft type
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.