IAG first expressed an interest in the Boeing 737 MAX series at the 2019 Paris Air Show.
IAG Order 50 MAX Jets
The International Airlines Group (IAG) has placed an order with Boeing for 50 new 737 MAX jets, with the option to purchase 100 more. The planes will be available to its group airlines, including British Airways, Vueling, Iberia, and Air Lingus. The group has not yet revealed how the new aircraft will be allocated, only saying that they “can be used by any airline in the Group for fleet replacement”.
Of the planes ordered, 25 are for the 737 MAX 8-200, a high-capacity version of the 737 MAX 8 that can carry more passengers thanks to an extra emergency exit. The aircraft was designed with low-cost carriers in mind, so one might guess that Vueling will be a key recipient of IAG’s purchase. However, with British Airways soon to launch their own LLC, “Eurowings”, it’s anyone’s guess. The rest of the 25 orders are for the 737 MAX 10, which is still undergoing certification.
A vote of confidence in Boeing
IAG first registered an interest in the MAX series at the Paris Airshow in 2019, signing a letter of intent for the purchase of 200 aircraft. The move came as a surprise to the airline industry as it followed two high-profile crashes involving the MAX jet. The Lion Air crash in 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in 2019 led to the plane being grounded; as in each case, the accident was attributed to a flaw in the aircraft’s MCAS system.
Though the latest order is a significant walk back from the original figure of 200 planes, it’s still great news for Boeing. IAGs purchase comes as a vote of confidence in the struggling US planemaker. IAG said it negotiated a “substantial discount” on the price of the jets, as is typical in the industry. The new planes are set to be delivered from 2023 to 2027.
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