April 13, 2024

A bunch of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes on a daytime tarmac together

A bunch of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes
Photo: Mike Blake (Reuters)

Southwest is especially vulnerable to Boeing’s production woes. Twenty-seven percent of its 817 planes are 737 Maxes according to its latest annual report (pdf). And all of the planes it has on order are 737 Maxes. The company said that it is having to reevaluate its entire fiscal year because Boeing told it that many of the planes it had been expecting this year won’t be showing up. CEO Bob Jordan teased that he might consider giving Airbus a call, but his tone at the J.P. Morgan conference was conciliatory — and maybe a bit pleading.

“A strong Boeing is great for Southwest Airlines,” he said. “It’s great for our industry. It’s great for our country. And so, I and I know other CEOs have told Boeing, get your — get the issues understood and get the issues fixed. They’re bracing the work with the FAA, we appreciate that. This is Boeing’s view as well. Stop, take the time, understand what’s going on, fix the culture, whatever is at work here, but fix this, because we all need Boeing to be stronger, two years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. And that takes precedent over delivery delays.”

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