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British Airways Owner Orders 50 Boeing 737MAX Jets and Has Options For a Further 100 in Major Win For US Aircraft Manufacturer

British Airways Owner Orders 50 Boeing 737MAX Jets and Has Options For a Further 100 in Major Win For US Aircraft Manufacturer

South Africa's Comair has decided to voluntartily ground its only Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo Credit: BoeingSouth Africa's Comair has decided to voluntartily ground its only Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo Credit: Boeing

The parent company of British Airways and Spanish flag carrier Iberia has confirmed an order for at least 50 Boeing 737MAX jets, as well as options for a further 100 which could be delivered between 2023 and 2027.

Madrid-based International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) said it had secured a “substantial discount” on the order which would have cost US $6.25 billion at list value for the firm order of 50 aircraft.

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In a statement, the European airline group said it had ordered 25 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft which can carry up to 200 passengers in a high-density configuration and 25 of Boeing’s stretched 737-10 jets which have a maximum capacity of 230 passengers.

Both aircraft types are part of the 737MAX family, although IAG did not acknowledge this fact – perhaps, given the controversial history of the model.

The order is a major coup for Boeing, not only because airlines have recently favoured rival Airbus’ A320 single-aisle aircraft over the 737, but because IAG currently only operates A320 series aircraft for short-haul services across all of its brands.

IAG refused to say which airline brand the aircraft would be destined for but Luis Gallego, the group’s chief executive said the order was “an important part of IAG’s short-haul fleet renewal.”

“These latest-generation aircraft are more fuel-efficient than those they will replace and in line with our commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

In June 2019, IAG signed a Letter of Intent with Boeing for a potential order of up to 200 MAX jets which would have been used by IAG’s Spanish low-cost brands Vueling and LEVEL.

Another potential suitor for the MAX jets is a new low-cost British Airways subsidiary based out of Gatwick airport.

The 737MAX is unlikely to be utilised by British Airways out of Heathrow or by Iberia due to crew training restrictions imposed by European regulators.

Ryanair has temporarily shelved a new 737MAX order because Boeing is unwilling to lower the price to what the Irish discounter is asking for. As a sole 737 operator with no interest in defecting to Airbus, the casual observer would think that Ryanair had little bargaining power but chief executive Michael O’Leary says he is willing to wait years for the market to change and prices to plummet in order to secure a good value deal.

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