Southwest To Only Get 20 Boeing 737 MAXs In 2024

Daniel Fowkes
12 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Southwest is likely to receive only 20 Boeing 737 MAX jets in 2024, less than half its revised March forecast, amid severe ongoing problems.

Southwest, one of Boeing’s most important customers, has a deep-rooted relationship with the manufacturer that dates back to its birth.

Boeing has been with Southwest along the highs and lows for multiple decades, and the major airline extended its commitment to the manufacturer when it decided to commit to the 737 MAX.

The Boeing 737 MAX, an upgrade to the 737NG, promised to bring next-level efficiency, reliability, and enhancements to customers who ordered the type. Southwest believed this aircraft would be a natural next step to moving forward with its fleet.

Ultimately, the MAX has had a shakey last decade within the industry, filled with several landmark moments that helped reshape how the industry moves. This included two crashes that killed over 300, several quality issues, shortcuts, and poor internal decisions, among many other things.

Southwest, relying solely on the 737 family, has meant its been one of the airlines impacted the most by the consistent problems that have repeatedly shown no end in sight.

Deliveries To Keep Shrinking

Now, according to Reuters sources, the airline’s expectations of deliveries from Boeing in 2024 are continuing to shrink as the planemaker’s production and delivery rates fall rapidly.

Boeing is also battling ongoing investigations and formal audits, with a heightened focus from airlines. As a result, Boeing has been barred from reaching the key production targets it had outlined and has also been unable to increase rates.

Southwest is expecting few aircraft this year, which could be less than the previous estimate of 46, potentially half of this amount. The newest figures from sources note that only 20 aircraft will potentially be delivered from Boeing across the calendar year.

While this figure can ultimately change between now and the end of the calendar year, such a considerable drop will have ramifications on growth and the network, as Southwest’s ability to rely on the MAX will drop.

Reporting indicated that during the final weeks of March, weekly output dropped as low as single digits as increased oversight from the FAA saw focus on the production floor and how persistent issues have slipped through quality inspections.

Southwest is persistently communicating with Boeing concerning its inability to acquire aircraft. While discussions continue over how the major airline will cope, the ultimate delays do take their toll on the airline’s ability to offer the scheduled service it would like.

Certification Troubles As Well

While Southwest battles the inability to acquire aircraft on time, it is also one of the airlines facing substantial delays in the delivery of uncertified MAX aircraft.

Notably, the airline has made consistent schedule adjustments as uncertainty remains over the smallest member of the MAX series, the 737-7, which remains uncertified.

Southwest initially forecasted a late 2023 delivery. However, that wasn’t met. Following this, it was expected that April 2024 would be the certification date, which Boeing will also miss.

As a result, it is now entirely unclear when Boeing will get the smallest member of the series certified as it battles so many other problems affecting its day-to-day operations.

For a company such as Southwest, it becomes difficult to forecast when an EIS will be possible, whether for new routes, the retirement of ageing aircraft, crew deployment, or general business.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Sign Up

Stay updated with the latest developments in the aviation and aerospace sector

Share this post: