International Airlines Group (IAG) will be purchase 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to expand its fleet. The agreement, announced at the 53rd International Paris Air Show, marks Boeing’s first sale of the 737 MAX airliner since loss of life events involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines. The value of the purchase is upwards of $24 billion, per list prices.
IAG is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and LEVEL, Those companies combined fly more than 113 million passengers a year. IAG has been a long-time operator of Boeing twin-aisle airplanes, and earlier this year, it committed to and finalized a major order for Boeing's newest long-haul model, the 777X, to complement its fleet of current-generation 777s and new 787 Dreamliners. IAG CEO Willie Walsh has said the group would consider the 737 MAX as part of diversifying its future fleet to spur competition.
“We're very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG's short-haul fleet,” says Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. “We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators.”
In selecting the 737 MAX, IAG says it will fly a combination of the 737 MAX 8, which seats up to 178 passengers in a two-class configuration, and the larger 737 MAX 10 jet, which can accommodate as many as 230 passengers. The airline did not disclose a specific split between the two MAX models, though it anticipates deploying the aircraft at a number of the group's airlines including Vueling and LEVEL.
“We are truly honored and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, Kevin McAllister. “We are delighted that the IAG team recognized the superior qualities of the 737 MAX and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family. We look forward to building on our long-standing partnership with IAG for many years to come.”
IAG is one of the world's largest airline groups with 582 aircraft flying to 268 destinations, carrying 113 million passengers in 2018.
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
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