Southwest Airlines has been eyeing a replacement for its aging fleet of 737-700s for some time. While the natural pick would likely be the MAX 7, the airline is contemplating breaking with tradition and is inspecting the potential for the Airbus A220. CEO Gary Kelly spoke this week about the latest on this important decision.
It’s no big secret that Southwest is, for the first time in history, eyeing a non-Boeing aircraft for its future fleet needs. But in all the mess of COVID and 737 MAX grounding, attention on the issue seems to have slipped away. At an Aviation Week webinar yesterday, CEO Gary Kelly noted that he is still weighing his options.
“We already said last year that we were going to look very carefully and closely at the A220. It’s a good airplane, there’s a fair number of orders out there, so I think it’s going to be a successful program.”
For Southwest, a long-time 737-only operator, the smaller Boeing narrowbody should be its go-to replacement for its small airplane needs. However, he was clear that the A220 is absolutely under consideration. As with anything, it will likely come down to cost.