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Thu, 20 June 2019

IAG Signs LOI for up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

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.

Boeing 737 MAX 7 reg: N720IS. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

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.

The 737 MAX is powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines.

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