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. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
  2. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]
  3. With successful jewelry line, Durant High alum Carley Ochs enjoys 'incredible ride'



    As a child Carley Ochs played dress up, draped in her grandmother's furs.

    Founder Carley Ochs poses for a portrait in her Ford Bronco at the Bourbon & Boweties warehouse in Brandon, Fla. on September 19, 2017. Ochs is a Durant High and Florida State University graduate.
  4. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. After Irma, nursing homes scramble to meet a hard deadline

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's nursing homes and assisted-living facilities find themselves in an unfamiliar place this week — pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott's administration over new rules that require them to purchase generator capacity by Nov. 15 to keep their residents safe and comfortable in a power …

    In this Sept. 13 photo, a woman is transported from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as patients are evacuated after a loss of air conditioning due to Hurricane Irma in Hollywood. Nine have died and patients had to be moved out of the facility, many of them on stretchers or in wheelchairs. Authorities have launched a criminal investigation to figure out what went wrong and who, if anyone, was to blame. [Amy Beth Bennett | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP]