Despite having been grounded since March and a profound lack of recent orders for Boeing’s beleaguered 737 MAX, good news arrived at the Paris Air Show as the International Airlines Group (IAG) and Boeing announced signing a letter of intent for 200 of the single-aisle jets. IAG is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, among others. The value of the deal is said to be $24 billion.
The order is something of a coup for Boeing, not only because it’s an important industry signal that faith in the MAX can be restored. Currently, IAG’s single-aisle fleet is made up of Airbus A320 models almost exclusively, so orders for the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 10 aircraft, which seat as many as 230 passengers, portray an important recovery for Boeing in the segment. The aircraft will be delivered between 2023 and 2027.
“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.”
Boeing’s Kevin McAllister commented, ”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.”
Meanwhile, the FAA is slated to begin test flights this week to review changes to the MAX’s MCAS software, and a congressional hearing on the status of the airplane’s return to service is planned for this Wednesday, June 19. Foreign aviation authorities have indicated they are unlikely to “rubber stamp” any of the FAA’s decisions regarding the 737 MAX.