Delta Air Lines might acquire the Boeing 737 MAX, hinted Ed Bastian, the Chief Executive of Delta Airlines (DAL). If carried through, this would be the airline’s first Boeing 737 MAX order.
Bastian revealed that the American air carrier was in negotiations with Boeing among the possible purchase of the MAX. The aircraft had been grounded due to safety concerns for 20 months, until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formally ungrounded the jet on November 18, 2020.
“We’re talking to Boeing about lots of different things, the MAX included. If there is an opportunity where we would feel comfortable acquiring the MAX we’d have no hesitation doing that,” said Bastian in an interview with Financial Times on November 22, 2020.
In October 2020, Boeing reportedly offered the airline to purchase 40 of the Boeing 737 MAX “white tails“ ‒ white-painted jets that have lost their customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, the deal was not concluded and Delta remained the only airline among the biggest American air carriers, including American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV), which has not added any Boeing 737 MAX jet to its fleet yet.
Back in April 2020, the airline looked into making an indirect exchange of its Boeing 717 jets into the 737 MAX order consisting of 100 narrow-bodies. Delta was considering replacing its 100-seat Boeing 717 jets into the MAX family planes which cabin configuration started at around 150 seats, meaning that the MAX order could have become a part of a large Delta‘s fleet shuffle at the time.
The biggest of Delta’s competitors, American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) as well as Southwest Airlines (LUV) and United Airlines, have already scheduled their flights with the recently ungrounded Boeing 737 MAX jet. While American scheduled the return of the MAX to operations on December 29, 2020, Southwest and United indicated that they would fly the 737 MAX starting in Q1 2021 and Q2 2021, respectively.