Orders for Boeing 737 MAX start to flow
March 17, 2021 - Boeing is reportedly close to clinching a multibillion-dollar deal with Southwest Airlines for its 737 MAX. Southwest is the 15th operator worldwide to return the 737 MAX to active passenger service.
Since November, a green light from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been a critical step towards resolving an almost two-year safety crisis linked to flawed cockpit software.
The MAX is making a slow but steady return to service worldwide, with around 100 aircraft now in active use by 15 airlines.
Considering that the MAX fleet globally peaked at 360 aircraft in service before being grounded in March 2019, there’s still some way to go.
In January 2021, Boeing agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle a criminal probe with the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ had accused the company of concealing information about its MAX to the FAA, undermining the regulator’s ability to evaluate the plane’s safety.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and other Boeing executives have denied the company cut corners, but they admit that a series of mistakes led to the crashes.
The deferred prosecution agreement closes the DOJ’s roughly two-year probe and drops all charges after three years if there aren’t additional violations.
Boeing has sold 147 of the MAX jets since November, and the order from Southwest Airlines could add 130 MAX planes with an option on 170 other aircraft. Operators cancelled nearly 800 737 MAX orders since the plane was grounded.