Southwest Airlines Heavily Considering Airbus A220-300

Southwest Airlines considering adding the Airbus A220

Since 1971, Southwest has had an all Boeing aircraft fleet and 99.99% all Boeing 737 aircraft with the exception of a few Boeing 727s early on.

But since the grounding of the MAX and their aging older 737-700s, Southwest may finally be ready to add a new aircraft type to its fleet. One that sits around 140 - 150 passengers.

“We absolutely do need the smaller airplane,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said during the airlines 3rd quarter earnings on Thursday, Oct. 22. “We have a ton of 737-700s that are coming up for retirement over the next several years.”

With all the expanding Southwest has done with adding service to new airports and returning to old ones, ordering a new plane during a crisis is not necessarily a bad idea. As long as they can support the financial commitment, the companies are often desperate for new deals as orders are scarce and deliveries are slow.

In addition to potential deals, Southwest is anticipating a recovery in air travel over the next two to three years.

Southwest is also evaluating the A220 and 737 MAX 7 and is to place an order for one of those 2, or both, within the next year with deliveries beginning around 2025.

The MAX grounding appears to be what broke the string of SWAs long, exclusive relationship from Boeing. Shortly before the MAX suspension began in March of 2019, CEO Gary Kelly told investors that SWA was not considering alternatives to the Boeing 737. Well, that sure did change fast.

While the split with Boeing remains to happen or not, Southwest’s eye is wandering. “The A220 and MAX 7, they’re the two players in the marketplace,” said Van de Ven, Southwest’s Operations Chief. “Both of those airplanes have their strengths and disadvantages. And we’ve been looking at both planes.”

The A220-300 can fly up to 160 passengers in a single class layout just over 3,900 miles whereas the 737 MAX 7 can carry up to 172 passenger for 4,430 miles.

Although, the A220’s seeming advantages over the MAX 7 may not be enough to persuade Southwest as they are a living example of the benefits of a single fleet.

In my opinion, I think it would be a great addition to Southwest’s fleet. Most of Southwest’s flights are “shuttle like” and a more fuel efficient plane that can carry about the same amount of people to replace SWAs older 737-700s would be a great idea.

Let me know what you think about this below!

Thanks and good night,

AviationFreak

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The A220, A321LR, and A350 are the future of aviation.

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Boeing better pull their act together. I’m excited to see how the 777X turns out.

Southwest talking about a potential Airbus order could be Southwest’s strategy to leverage a cheap deal with Boeing for some more 737 MAXs.

Honestly, the A220 would look amazing in Southwest’s livery.

Southwest A220-300 concept:

Credits: https://www.instagram.com/modified_airliner_photos/

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Having a direct line to Marketing Research and the numbers SWA continues to post, but also knowing the money that goes into maintenance and effects of operating not one but two manufacturer aircraft, I can’t see it happening.

Van de Ven did in fact say that. However for SWA to seriously or “heavily” consider an airbus order, the deal is going to have to be sweet. We are talking a Airbus-Liaison army to aide in a maintenance program establishment for A220’s. An import negotiation on a large scale. Most importantly, a deal on the aircraft themselves based on a lower capacity while the Middle-seat Open Policy still stands amid the pandemic and may stand until 2022.

If anything these press releases by SWA do seem to be an offer to Airbus to come to the table ready to negotiate. Airbus has a unique opportunity to capitalize on Boeing’s misfortune and mis-handling recently. Im looking forward to what, if anything, they bring to the table.

That being said Boeing will not make it easy for SWA. While commercial aviation is a business, there is politics that come into play with a major company such as Boeing. They will beg, borrow, steal, lobby, and fight to keep business right now. They have made that clear with Embraer.

As interesting as an Airbus order from SWA would be, I cant see it happening at this moment. SWA currently holds the record of any company trading on the NYSE for longest FY profit streak. They have posted in the green for 47 years straight and even with the pandemic they are poised to keep the record breaking streak going for a 48th year.

While SWA Operations is considering this possibility, SWA’s Financial minds are also going to make sure that streak continues. An Airbus order would be a risk to the books possibly and it will definitely be brought up in near future board meetings.

Let’s see what happens!

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Ah darn, I was gonna put that part in too but I forgot 😂

I’m gonna be honest, I’ll agree on any decision they make, whether they obtain the A220 or not.

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It’s a major decision for sure. The Pro-Con lost is long. As a company in general, they are the best American Commercial Aviation has to offer. Their customers “Luv” them, their employees “Luv” them, and their stockholders (me) “Luv” them. I fly no one else for work because they take the wondering and complications out of air travel and bring it to a simple, transparent form. Bags fly free, no change fees, numbered boarding that gets the plane in the air on time or early, and what you see is what you get. I “Luv” them back and they take pride in all their customers who do.

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My parents “Luv” them. We’ve been to the hangar Christmas party at PHX every year and everyone and all the employees are just happy and love their job. Its a company like no other.

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Hope you have told your parents “thank you” on my behalf. Here’s to year 48!

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Agreed, not until they manage eliminate negative cash burn or until they return to normal profitability levels.

Although, Southwest could place a non-binding Letter of Intent with either manufacturer. It would look especially good for Boeing’s 737 MAX considering it’s been constant cancellations in 2020.

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Exactly. I can’t see Boeing or the US Government allowing it to happen.

Boeing will fight because as you say, it could help revive the 737 MAX series. Great point.

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I would honestly love to see this. It’s just different. We need some type of really cool change to aviation.

I can see why I say this as Las Vegas is a main hub 😂 But I really wouldn’t mind spotting A220s!

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Kam, if companies thought the way you did, the world would be a better place!

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Yet another reason to hate Southwest. (Jk I just don’t like Airbus. Newbies 😑)

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I dont what world you’re living in

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No C-Series. They should stick to the 737MAX7 because everything should be under control next year for Boeing.

This would be awesome! @Ishrion where do you think they would base or operate them if they were ordered? Would they fit well into their secondary hubs (places like OAK, HOU, etc. Also HOU is sort of a more secondary hub now I believe compared to places like MDW, BWI, PHX, etc)?

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LAS is needed or I will refuse to like Southwest. The A220 would be good though for flying Major Hubs to small destinations.

A few examples are Vegas to Wichita or Phoenix to Lubbock.

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Well Looks like Jetblue’s A220 has a competitor with SWA again