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Southwest may be flirting with Airbus


Southwest Airlines, which has over 700 Boeing 737s in its fleet and flies only 737s and has often bragged about being all-Boeing, may be casting lustful eyes at another company's planes.

Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly told financial analysts in a call last week that the airline is evaluating both the 737 Max 7 and the Airbus A220 for a major order it will place within the year. "We absolutely do need the smaller airplane. We have a ton of 737-700s that are coming up for replacement over the next several years." Southwest has just under 500 of the 143-seaters out of its 750 or so planes.

Even considering the A220, originally developed by Bombardier, is a major shift for Southwest, and Kelly confirmed that before the 737 Max was grounded 18 months ago, no other plane was under consideration. Of course, it's possible that Southwest isn't all that serious about Airbus; at a time like this, with few new orders and losing some older ones, even the possibility of losing a Southwest order might push Boeing into offering very good deals.

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While it might seem surprising, it isn’t really when you consider they are talking about orders to be placed in a year or two for planes that will start deliveries a couple of years after that… especially if you have a LOT of planes approaching the 15 to 20 year mark and with older, less economical engines. And at this point, Boeing and Airbus may both be in a mood to offer significant discounts. In fact, they may have some bargains on the parking lot—planes already built for airlines that have collapsed.
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