By John Flett
IAG Confirms Order for Boeing 737s and Options for Additional Aircraft
Shareholders of the International Airlines Group (IAG) have approved the consortium’s order for 50 Boeing 737 aircraft announced in May. Boeing has confirmed the order for the aircraft is now ‘firm’ and IAG will also have the option for 100 more. In IAG’s initial announcement which was given five months ago, it was noted that the order was for 25 Boeing 737-8-200 and 25 B737-10 aircraft with deliveries expected to begin in 2023.
Luis Gallego, IAG´s chief executive, said in May: “The addition of new Boeing 737s is an important part of IAG´s short-haul fleet renewal. These latest generation aircraft are more fuel efficient than those they will replace and in line with our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
IAG comprises British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and LEVEL. The aircraft are expected to be utilized across all airlines for fleet replacement.
Boeing noted that IAG would be able to configure the B737-8 MAX 200 with up to 200 passengers, while the Boeing 737 MAX 10 could accommodate up to 230 passengers ‘in a single-class configuration and can fly up to 3,300 miles.’ Fuel efficiency for both aircraft is cited as ‘on average 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today’s most efficient Next-Generation 737s and 20 percent more efficient than the original Next-Generation 737s when they entered service.’
Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing said, “We welcome today’s decision by IAG’s shareholders to approve a firm order for 50 737-8-200s and 737-10s, with options for 100 more, and we look forward to working with IAG on reintroducing the 737 into the Group’s fleets.”
The announcement comes a day after Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told CNBC he was confident that the company would get an extension to a deadline from the United States Congress on certifying the B737 MAX7 and B737 MAX 10 with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under existing rules. Reuters reported that meeting the deadline or gaining an extension would be crucial for the aircraft manufacturer to avoid significant delays in delivery to airline customers.
Boeing is confident that the 737 MAX 7 would be certified by year’s end or in 2023 and that the 737 MAX 10 would begin FAA certification flight testing later this year or in 2023. If FAA certification was granted, Boeing would expect the 737 MAX 10 to enter into service in 2023 or 2024.
Failure to meet the December deadline or gain an extension would require Boeing to ensure that the aircraft ‘must have modern cockpit alerting systems to be certified by the FAA.’ The United States Congress adopted these certification reforms after the two fatal MAX aircraft crashes in 2018 and 2019 involving Lion Air of Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines.