After several turbulent months, Boeing’s embattled 737 MAX airliner has been bolstered by a Letter of Intent for 200 examples from International Airlines Group (IAG). The deal, worth in excess of $24bn at list prices, is the type’s first sale since the loss of an Ethiopian Airlines MAX 8 on March 10.
IAG will fly a combination of MAX 8 and MAX 10 jets, although specific numbers of each model have not been disclosed. The former can seat a maximum of 178 passengers in a two class cabin while the latter, the largest variant, accommodates 188-204 in a similar layout.
Thank you International Airlines Group for your trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and the people of Boeing: IAG Announces Intent to Buy 200 Boeing 737 MAX Airplanes. #PAS19
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) June 18, 2019
Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive said: “We’re very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG’s short-haul fleet. 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.”
Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, added: “We are truly honoured 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. We are delighted that the IAG team recognised the superior qualities of the 737 MAX and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family. We look forward to building on our long-standing partnership with IAG for many years to come.”
Seemingly keen to avoid the negative connotations surrounding the type, IAG did not include the word “MAX” in its press release. In the same statement, it confirmed deliveries of the CFM LEAP-1B powered narrow-bodies would take place between 2023 and 2027 and “anticipated that the aircraft would be used by a number of the group’s airlines including Vueling, LEVEL [and] British Airways at London Gatwick airport”.
The group has also placed an order for 14 examples of the latest Airbus A320 Family member, the A321XLR. Eight of which are due to be delivered to Iberia with the remaining six joining Aer Lingus’ fleet.