The faster-than-expected recovery of domestic air travel has helped Boeing find new homes for unclaimed 737 MAX jets that buyers have left or collapsed during a pandemic.
Some airlines are buying isolated jets during the rebound of vaccine-fueled travel in the United States and other parts of the world. With this purchase, Chicago-based plane makers are storing about 10 MAX aircraft and needing buyers, people familiar with the matter said. There were about 100 cases in July last year.
A year ago, airlines parked planes in the desert and permanently retired part of their fleet in preparation for a prolonged recession. Many business travelers haven’t returned yet, and profitable international routes are still suspended, but domestic air travel has been on the rise in recent months, U.S. airline executives said. say.
With the surge in summer travel, US flights are on average 84% full. According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 2 million people passed through US airports on Friday. This is the last level reached in March 2020. Previous travel rebounds have been shortened by a wave of new infections and restrictions, but airline executives have begun a full-scale recovery and their finances have begun to stabilize.
The airline responded by adding flights, planning to bring back idle crew members, and hiring new pilots and flight attendants. They are also beginning to expand their fleet.
Major US airlines such as United Airlines Holdings Co., Ltd.
And Alaska Air Group Co., Ltd.
One of the recent purchasers of an unbilled MAX plane. Jet is often referred to as the white tail and is an industry term for jets that are not painted in airline colors. The MAX jet in question needs to be repainted with the new owner’s design.
United said previous orders for the 25 MAX jets announced in March included planes from Boeing’s production inventory and planes to be produced later. Alaska Airlines spokeswoman said the nine MAX jets secured under the December contract were manufactured for other airlines.
Separately, United is discussing with Boeing the possibility of ordering as many as 150 additional jets, people familiar with the matter said.
Flair Airlines Ltd, a Canadian discount carrier. New entrants such as are also accelerating demand.
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Flair CEO Stephen Jones said the carrier has added 13 previously unclaimed MAX aircraft to its fleet to grow to capture demand as travel recovers. Said to promote. Flair said he could get the delivery in a few months instead of waiting more than two years after ordering a new plane.
“We can get started very quickly,” Jones said.
Some Boeing customers are likely to face supply constraints this summer, CEO David Calhoun said earlier this month. He described the recovery as “more robust than I imagined.”
Southwest Airlines Co., Ltd.
This week, he said he plans to fly in much the same way as the same month in 2019 by August. The airline has added 18 new destinations during the pandemic process, including the announcement of a flight to Syracuse, NY. autumn.
Southwest Airlines announced on Tuesday that it would increase orders for a new smaller version of the Boeing 737 MAX by 34 next year, accelerating plans announced in March to revamp the entire Boeing fleet.
Boeing’s unclaimed number of MAX aircraft is in flux as airlines in the United States and several other parts of the world are increasing their flights and fleets. Customers usually pay most of the purchase price of an airplane at the time of delivery.
This development has helped Boeing overcome the pandemics and economic consequences associated with the previous two 737MAX crashes. Some customers were able to leave the newly built aircraft without penalty after regulators had grounded the aircraft for nearly two years.
Boeing’s attempt to stop the outflow of cash relies heavily on increased production of MAX jets, which have delivered about 100 aircraft to airlines since December. According to securities filing, there were about 400 MAX jets in total inventory at the end of March. Most of the jets delivered go to US airlines and lining up additional customers for unbilled planes will help achieve the goal of generating cash next year.
A Boeing spokeswoman said the plane manufacturer is grateful to customers for their continued trust in the 737 MAX.
Boeing’s ability to find a MAX Jet home also highlights the aviation industry’s second-speed recovery. High immunization rates in the United States and China helped domestic traffic return to pre-pandemic levels. According to the International Air Transport Association, an industry group, both countries account for two-thirds of the world’s traffic rebounds since last year. On the other hand, most airlines in Europe and Asia have a hard time finding passengers.
— Doug Cameron contributed to this article.
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