Southwest Airlines on Monday said it agreed to buy 100 of Boeing’s 737 Max 7 planes as it plans to retire older jets, sticking with the manufacturer that has been the backbone of its fleet for 50 years.
The Dallas-based low-cost airline said under the agreement it would convert 70 of its firm orders for Max 8 planes to the smallest jets, the Max 7s. It also added 155 options for 737 Max 7 or Max 8 airplanes through 2029.
Southwest, which operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet, said its order is a vote of confidence in the planes. U.S. regulators lifted a 20-month grounding of the 737 Max in November, a flight ban that was put in place after two crashes over less than five months killed 346 people.
“This cost-effective order book with Boeing allows the Company to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network,” Southwest said in a statement. The airline only operates Boeing 737 planes.
Southwest said it would take delivery of the first 30 737 Max 7 planes in 2022. Boeing is working with the Federal Aviation Administration toward certification of the planes.