Southwest Airlines has launched the Boeing 737 MAX 7, the third member of the 737 MAX family.
Dallas-based Southwest, which was launch customer for the Boeing 737 MAX program, becomes the first airline to order the 737 MAX 7 by converting existing orders for 30 Boeing 737NGs into orders for 737 MAX 7s.
Southwest has also exercised options to add five more Boeing 737-800 jets to its fleet.
According to Boeing, Southwest Airlines is expected to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 7 in 2019.
“We are thrilled to announce that Southwest Airlines and Boeing have entered into an agreement for Southwest to be the launch customer for the Boeing MAX 7 series, with deliveries beginning in 2019,” says Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines’ chairman, president, and CEO.
Adds Kelly: “The 737 MAX 7 builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737-700, incorporating the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines is expected to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by an additional 12 per cent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane.”
The 110-foot-long Boeing 737 MAX 7 will have a full-payload range approximately 400 nautical miles (741 kilometers) longer than that of the Boeing 737-700.
“Southwest has been a valued partner in the evolution of the 737 program,” says Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ president and CEO. “We have worked together to launch several models of the 737, including the 737 MAX family in 2011.”
With the 737 MAX 7 conversions and exercised options for 737-800s, Southwest’s unfilled orders consist of 180 Boeing 737 MAX jets and 137 737NGs.
The manufacturer has now received firm orders for 1,315 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Including the fleet of subsidiary AirTran Airways, Southwest Airlines has the largest Boeing fleet of any airline in the world.
Within the next three years, as Southwest leases to Delta Air Lines 88 Boeing 717 jets now in AirTran’s fleet, all of Southwest’s aircraft will be from the Boeing 737 family.