Another North American (ultra)-low-cost carrier is adding the Boeing MAX 8 to its fleet. Swoop, the ULCC subsidiary of WestJet, will take delivery of six MAX 8s until this summer to grow its fleet to sixteen aircraft, it announced on February 9. Boeing Swoops another MAX customer in Canada.
Canada’s Swoop has been operating 737-800s since launching services in June 2018 and currently has a fleet of ten NGs. The airline hasn’t identified where it will source the MAX from but they are likely to come from WestJet’s backlog of 27 aircraft. The parent airline operates fourteen MAX 8s and announced in March 2021 that it will reduce its order by fifteen aircraft to cap expenditures.
Swoop has announced an expansion of its network from this spring, adding fourteen new non-stop routes across Canada, including six in Ontario and the Prairies. It will also offer services to Newfoundland and Labrador. This brings its network to 37 routes. The carrier has been seeing strong bookings for the summer period and is responding by growing its fleet and recruiting staff.
Two other Canadian ULCCs have also selected the MAX for their fleet plans. Flair said in December that it will lease fourteen MAX 8s to grow its fleet to thirty aircraft by mid-2023 and fifty by 2025. The aircraft are sourced from 777 Partners, which owns 25 percent of Flair and ordered an additional thirty MAX 8s and -8200s a week before Flair announced its plans.
Start-up Lynx Air hopes to launch services in April across Canada with a fleet of three MAX 8s that are leased from ACG. Lynx says it has secured orders and lease agreements for 46 aircraft to meet anticipated demand over the next seven years.
The MAX 8 is also in service with Air Canada, which currently operates 32 -8s and has eight more on order. In January, US LCC Allegiant Air became a MAX customer after ordering thirty MAX 7s and twenty -8200s. The largest North American MAX operator is of course Southwest Airlines. After converting more options into firm orders in January, it has now 271 MAX 7s and 135 -8s on order plus 221 options.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.