IAG — the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level announced on Thursday, May 19, that it will purchase 50 737 MAX 10 and 737 MAX 8-200 aircraft, and put another 100 on option. This is significantly less than the original order, which was announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Then an agreement of intent was signed for 200 aircraft.
The current deal for the troubled aircraft — the first after a ban on its operation as a result of two accidents in which 346 people died. The very fact that large airlines are turning to the Boeing 737 MAX shows the entire industry that there is interest in the aircraft, although experts do not exclude the fact of great bargaining and maximum discounts.
It is interesting that the airlines that are part of the IAG operate only narrow-body aircraft Airbus.
Thursday's press release did not indicate which IAG airline would receive the new 737s. In 2019, it was said that the aircraft would join the fleet of low-cost Level and Vueling brands. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, Level has focused on long-haul flights. Order for 737 MAX 8–200 — and this is the 200-seat version of the 737 MAX 8 — increases the likelihood that Vueling will receive the aircraft.
The press release also emphasizes that “the purchase of new Boeing 737s is an important part of the renewal of the holding's short-haul aircraft fleet. These latest generation aircraft are more fuel efficient than those available today and are in line with our commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
There is one “but” though. Now the deal needs to be approved by IAG shareholders.