As airlines continue to battle with delays to incoming aircraft, this isn’t felt more so than with the 737 MAX series, which still has two uncertified variants, the 737-7 and 737-10.
For Southwest, an all-737 operator, the series is thus hugely important, and the MAX provides the company with an efficient natural progression in the fleet.
However, their attempts to fly the smallest variant, the 737-7, have become empty as the jet remains uncertified. Boeing has pushed back the first delivery to 2024, dealing with another delay to the aircraft and more frustrations for customers.
During its second quarter, Southwest exercised options for additional 737-7 jets, 18 specifically as part of its future commitment to the program.
However, for the more immediate future, Southwest has converted 16 737-7s to the 737-8, a currently certified and flying variant in the company’s operations. The 737-7s that were restored were scheduled for delivery in 2024 but have been swapped to the middle ground type.
Uncertainty about when the 737-7 will be certified and delivered continues to wreak havoc with airlines like Southwest, who rely on the aircraft’s arrival for fleet replacement plans.