International Airlines Group (IAG) has
signed a LOI with Boeing for up to 200 of the troubled Boeing 737
MAX aircraft, in a deal that would be valued at more than $24
billion if it is finalised.
IAG is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British
Airways, Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL. In total, IAG has 582 aircraft
flying to 268 destinations and carried more than 113 million
passengers in 2018.
The group has been a long-time operator of
Boeing twin-aisle airplanes. Earlier this year, IAG 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. In the
single-aisle segment, IAG and its affiliates operate almost exclusively
Airbus A320 family aircraft.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh has said that 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," said 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," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & 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."
Regulatory authorities around the world have
grounded all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until further notice,
following the two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in
October 2018 and March 2019 that killed all 346 people on board.
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