The MAX opens a breach in Boeing’s wall

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Southwest Airlines is the biggest customer of the Boeing 737, it has over 750 including 33 MAX. Over the last 50 years, 10% of all Boeing 737s produced have been Southwest Airlines. The relationship between Boeing and Southwest is very strong and it is a true bond of trust that has been established between the two companies, it is a symbiotic relationship that has lasted more than 40 years. Southwest is Boeing’s impregnable fortress that Airbus cannot even think about in its wildest dreams. Airbus has never been able to approach Southwest Airlines in order to grab this valuable customer from Boeing.

But the issues that affect the MAX and Boeing is a wake up call for the management of Southwest who realizes that to do business with a single supplier has a level of risk that should be better assessed. Jon Ostrower of The Air Current website revealed this week that Southwest had visited a European company that operates A220-300s to get a closer look and make a first assessment.

For the moment, Southwest’s approach is exploratory and cannot serve the most urgent needs created by the withdrawal of B737MAX from its fleet, because with a production of just 45 aircraft expected in 2019 and perhaps 60 in 2020, the A220 cannot help Southwest in the short term.

The current Boeing crisis with the MAX has opened a small gap in the wall that protected Southwest from the Airbus assaults. Now, the Southwest management is able to look through this opening and see the A220 in the distance. For now, the breach is still too small to pass an A220 true it, but if Boeing’s troubles were to continue, the opening will eventually expand under the repeated attacks of Airbus.

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