Southwest Airlines said Monday that it reached an agreement for 100 orders of Boeing's smallest 737 Max jet -- the first 30 scheduled for delivery in 2022 -- as it retires older aircraft in its fleet.
Southwest will also convert 70 Max 8 firm orders to Max 7 firm orders and add 155 options for MAX 7 or MAX 8 aircraft from 2022 through 2029.
|LUV||SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.||41.45||-1.35||-3.17%|
|BA||THE BOEING CO.||188.30||-1.61||-0.85%|
This will result in a total of 349 Max firm orders, approximately 200 Max 7 and 149 Max 8 planes, and 270 options for Max 7 or Max 8 aircraft through 2031.
Previously, the company's agreement consisted of 249 Max firm orders and 115 Max options for Max 7 or Max 8 aircraft for 2021 through 2026.
The agreement bolster's the airline's commitment to add more fuel-efficient and climate-friendly aircraft while also helping it to capitalize on growth opportunities as they arise, Southwest said.
"This cost-effective order book with Boeing allows the Company to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network," the airline said in a statement.
Southwest says it still expects 28 Max 8 aircraft to be delivered this year. At the same time, the company will also retire 17 737-700 planes. As a result, the company will end 2021 with 729 total aircraft, 69 of which will be Max 8 jets.
Earlier this month, United Airlines announced it was adding 25 new Boeing 737 Max jets to its fleet and moved up the delivery of previously ordered aircraft as demand for the once-lucrative airline industry begins to return.
The moves from both airlines come just months after the jetliner returned to the skies for the first time in nearly two years since a pair of fatal crashes involving the aircraft less than five months apart forced U.S. regulators to ground the plane.
All Max jets were grounded after the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash in March 2019, which killed all 157 people on board, and Indonesia's Lion Air crash in October 2018, which killed all 189 on board.
Last November, however, the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to the system, effectively allowing airlines to resume flying the plane.
American Airlines was the first to do so on Dec. 29, flying passengers from Miami to New York.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.