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Southwest Will Replace Many 737s With the 737 Max

Southwest is gearing up to retire 20 of its oldest 737 planes this year. In their place, Southwest has placed orders for a total of 30 Boeing 737 MAX 7 planes of tiny bathroom infamy. Seven of those planes will enter the fleet in 2019. The rest will arrive subsequently in waves.

Southwest likes this model because of its increased fuel efficiency, technological upgrades and its ability to handle between 20 and 30 more passengers than previous models. Southwest currently has 513 737-700 aircraft flying and, says Simple Flying, fully intends to replace them over the next 10-20 years with “more efficient aircraft.”

Southwest’s order of 30 new Boeing planes will be enough to keep routes going. However, the full delivery will take a while. That leaves Southwest in quite a pickle until the full delivery can be completed. In fact, the airline will be left with a shortfall of about 13 aircraft. The plan is to lease a total of nine MAX 8 aircraft to fill the gap. It has not yet been announced which routes will receive the leased aircraft or what the configurations inside those planes will be.

Southwest is pretty much alone when it comes to its affinity for the 737 MAX 7. The plane has failed to find favor among most of the major carriers in the world. The only other carrier that also seems to like the 737 MAX 7 at the moment is WestJet.

In fact, WestJet has actually placed an order for 23 of the aircraft. Which plane are other carriers going for instead? There are 2,500 orders out for the MAX 8 at the moment. That dwarfs the 61 that are out for the MAX 7 by quite a bit. This is a fact that is causing many in the industry to wonder if Boeing will continue to manufacture the MAX 7 once it has completed the orders it owes to Southwest and WestJet.

[Image Source: Wikimedia/Steve Lynes]

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8 Comments
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Iam Jetlagged March 26, 2019

1. Alaska is NOT flying the MAX 8, or any MAX at this point in time. They are currently flying the age old 737-700, 800 and 900. They do however have a good affiliation with Boeing, and even greater affiliation with Safety! READY. SAFE. GO. Has been a long time philosophy of this airline. 2. Both Boeing, Airbus and everybody else out there trying to cram more passengers onto airplanes ... and have all failed to remember that loyal passengers will pay more ... for good customer service and feeling valued for choosing your airline. Please give us back our legroom, bathroom space, complimentary cocktail and DIGNITY! ---> 3. And for goodness sake, quit with the 'Boeing MAX Drama' until you've researched the training capacity of these "autopilot-pilots" outside of the USA! They just don't have the same training qualification standards as required by the FAA. (someone might even speculate that non-boeing lobbyists are throwing fuel onto the competition mass-media fire ... you know how everyone loves a good drama).

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milypan March 7, 2019

It'll never happen, but too bad WN doesn't replace it's 73Gs with A223s and upgauge some to a future A225. I don't fly WN because there's no premium seating (even just Y+ would be fine for domestic). But the A220 is so nice that I'd consider flying it in just plain Y.

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N1120A February 21, 2019

United has apparently converted a bunch of -700 orders to MAX 7s.

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bradleykhofmann February 20, 2019

edgewood49, Alaska Airlines has 71 Airbus aircraft and 32 on order. They got them when they bought Virgin America.

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WebTraveler February 20, 2019

Alaska is flying the 737 MAX 8. Southwest is going after the MAX 7., Like the article said, 2,500 orders for MAX 8 and 61 for MAX 7.