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Can Southwest Airlines break away from being the carrier of all 737s?

On October 22, in a call for Southwest Airline’s third-quarter profit, the carrier’s chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven revealed that the Airbus A220 was seen as a future addition to the fleet. Once considered an impenetrable Boeing stronghold, Airbus is now much more likely to join Boeing 737’s existing southwestern fleet.

Southwest Airlines has one of the largest 737 fleets in the world. Photo: Vincenzo Pace JFKJets.com

Boeing 737 MAX 7 against Airbus A220

So what exactly is being said about the A220 to cause a 1.1% drop in the price of Boeing shares? Well, here is the part of the transcript of the call for revenue in the Southwest, relating to the purchase of aircraft:

“… in our network there is definitely a need for what I would say 140, a plane with 150 seats compared to a plane with 175 seats. Today – at the moment, we are mainly focused on MAX 8, the 175-seat aircraft. A A220 and MAX 7, they are the two players in the market. Both aircraft have their strengths and weaknesses. And […] we looked at both planes. We will continue with this assessment. “ -Mike Van de Ven, Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Airlines at SeekingAlpha.com

Air Canada A220
As for North American carriers, only Air Canada, JetBlue and Delta Air Lines have accepted the Airbus A220. Photo: Chris Loch / Plain Flying

When can the Southwest make a decision?

Of course, immediately after the above statement, Van de Ven added that this decision (between MAX 7 and A220) will not need to be taken “until probably 2025 and beyond”.

The Chief Operating Officer also said the following, according to Seeking Alpha:

“So today we are really focused on MAX, putting MAX back into operation, making sure we have the right delivery schedule with Boeing.”

CEO Gary Kelly adds the following, noting that now is a good time to look into the matter:

“And we don’t know when we will grow and we have a surplus of planes. So the only thing I would readily admit is that if there was ever a scenario for us to consider making a change in the type of aircraft, it would be now, because we are not desperate to develop the airline and it may not be for long time. ”

Kelly goes on to say that its chief operating officer and chief financial officer are working to make sure the airline is sure to do so. “They have the best narrow-body aircraft with 150 seats in the world in terms of performance, in terms of economy, in terms of fitness” in the system. In conclusion, he says that the environment lends itself to the time it would take the carrier to make this type of investment.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace JFKJets.com

Long-standing speculation has been further confirmed

It has been more than a year and a half since there was initial speculation that Southwest was considering an Airbus A220. In April 2019, after the crash of the second Boeing 737 MAX, it was reported that members of the Southwest team were in Europe, evaluating the Airbus A220.

At the time, Bizjournal reported that CEO Gary Kelly had made the following statement:

“Obviously we don’t have any plans to change there at the moment. But like everyone else, we will have to constantly evaluate what is available on the market. And we’ve been a Boeing customer all these years, and I think there’s a chance we’ll continue to be a Boeing customer. ”

Do you think the Southwest should choose a mixed fleet and choose the Airbus A220-300 over the Boeing 737 MAX 7? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Simple Flying contacted the Southwest communications team for further comments. However, an airline spokesman told us that there was nothing to add to the comments made under the call for revenue.

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