Southwest has just placed the largest aircraft order in history, ordering 58 737NG aircraft and becoming the launch customer for the 737Max, with 150 firm orders.  Southwest, which was also launch customer for the 737-300, 737-500, and 737-700, will be the first to take of the 737Max powered by the CFM Leap-1B engines.

The combined order is valued at more than $19 billion at list prices, although our sources indicate that is closer to $10 billion given the substantial provide to Southwest, which will remain the largest single customer for the 737 and remains an all- customer.

The order for new aircraft from comes after considerable pressure from and other customers to deliver more fuel efficient aircraft in the wake of recent fuel price increases.  Boeing indicates that the max will be 10-12% more fuel efficient than current models, and claims “lowest operating costs in the single aisle segment by 7% over tomorrow’s competition”, although we would take that claim with a grain of salt, as our independent analyses show a different conclusion.

Gary Kelly, in announcing the order, stated “Today’s demands that we become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, and as the launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, we have accomplished both.”

To date, including the orders, the 737 MAX has 150 firm orders and more than 750 additional commitments from 13 customers.

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