Make us your home page

Southwest orders 208 Boeing 737s valued at $19B

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines is ordering 150 of Boeing's fuel-efficient 737 MAX airplanes and will be the launch customer for the aircraft in 2017, the airline said Tuesday.

"Today's environment demands that we become more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, and as the launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, we have accomplished both," Southwest chairman and chief executive Gary Kelly said.

Southwest, the top airline at Tampa International Airport based on passenger traffic, also said it is ordering 58 more of the current-generation Boeing 737s, making the order of 208 jets the largest firm order in Boeing's history, as well as the biggest in terms of list price — more than $19 billion.

"This is a thrilling day for us," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. "It truly is Christmas come early for Boeing."

With Tuesday's order, Southwest has 350 airplanes ordered for delivery between 2012 and 2022. In addition, it has options to buy 78 more of the current generation and 150 of the MAX version.

Southwest, which had 699 airplanes in its fleet and that of subsidiary AirTran Airways as of Sept. 30, said the new planes "are intended to predominately serve as replacement aircraft as the airline continues the modernization of its fleet."

Boeing has been looking at building an entirely new replacement for the Boeing 737, but wouldn't be able to deliver such an aircraft until early in the next decade. Meanwhile, competitor Airbus had launched a new-engine option, the Airbus A320neo, and airlines lined up to order that airplane, with deliveries to begin in 2015.

Albaugh said Boeing has commitments for 948 of the 737 MAX, and he expects 1,400 to 1,500 by the end of 2012.

But "this is the first definitive order we've signed," Albaugh said. "These are firm orders. That means Southwest Airlines will get the first airplane that rolls off the lines."

He gave Kelly a model of the 737 MAX, which isn't expected to fly until 2016 or be delivered until 2017.

"Gary, I wish I had a real airplane out on the ramp for you," Albaugh said.

"Me, too," Kelly said.

Boeing is promising fuel improvements of 10 to 11 percent from a new engine, the CFM International LEAP-1B engines, along with lower emissions.

Southwest orders 208 Boeing 737s valued at $19B 12/13/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PunditFact: George Will's comparison of tax preparers, firefighters based on outdated data


    The statement

    "America has more people employed as tax preparers (1.2 million) than as police and firefighters."

    George Will, July 12 in a column

    The ruling

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Conservative newspaper columnist George Will poses on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
  2. Appointments at Shutts & Bowen and Tech Data highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Retired U.S. Navy Commander Scott G. Johnson has joined Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office as a senior attorney in the firm's Government Contracts and Corporate Law Practice Groups. Johnson brings 15 years of legal experience and 24 years of naval service to his position. At Shutts, Scott will …

    United States Navy Commander (Retired) Scott G. Johnson joins Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office. [Company handout]
  3. Macy's chairman replaces ex-HSN head Grossman on National Retail Federation board


    Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy's Inc., will replace Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman as chair of the National Retail Federation, the organization announced Wednesday. Grossman stepped down from her position following her move from leading St. Petersburg-based HSN to Weight Watchers.

    Weight Watchers CEO and former HSN chief Mindy Grossman is being replaced as chair of the National Retail Federation. [HSN Inc.]
  4. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares nearly 25 percent


    CLEARWATER — Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  5. CapTrust moving headquarters to downtown Park Tower


    TAMPA — CAPTRUST Advisors, a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment consulting firm, is moving its Tampa offices into Park Tower. CapTrust's new space will be 10,500 square feet — the entirety of the 18th floor of the downtown building, which is scheduled to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation by 2018.

    CAPTRUST Advisors' Tampa location is moving into Park Tower. Pictured is the current CapTrust location at 102 W. Whiting St. | [Times file photo]