Since the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in March last year, many issues have cropped up. Boeing has lost hundreds of millions as a result, but it isn’t the only American company to have been affected. A number of US carriers have invested heavily in the type.
The legacy of the 737 MAX will likely haunt Boeing for years. Not only has it racked up billions in losses for the manufacturer, it also appears to have damaged the company’s world-renowned reputation.
Boeing’s customers around the world have taken a big hit as a result of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, and US airlines are among the worst affected.
While the groundings stopped new deliveries of the type, more than 400 Boeing 737 MAX had already been delivered to customers. We’ll run through the US carriers which own the type below and explain the impact the groundings have had on their operations over the past 10 months.
When it comes to the Boeing 737, there’s no carrier in the world more experienced than Southwest Airlines. Out of the 752 active aircraft in its fleet, every single one is a Boeing 737 variant, making Southwest by far the biggest operator of the Boeing 737 in the world.
Before the Boeing 737 MAX scandal unfolded, Southwest Airlines had committed its future to the Boeing 737 with an order of 280 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. This order put the airlines among the top few customers for the Boeing 737 MAX worldwide.
In terms of Boeing 737 MAX deliveries completed before the grounding, Southwest had received the most aircraft by a considerable margin – 34 in total.
Although Southwest lost the most aircraft from its active fleet due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, the airline actually managed to turn a considerable profit during 2019. It even shared $125 million of the compensation it received from Boeing among its employees.
Another sizeable US customer of the Boeing 737 MAX is American Airlines. Although the airline’s total order for the type pales in comparison to Southwest Airlines, American still ordered 100 aircraft in total.
Of this order of 100, American Airlines received 24 aircraft before the grounding. Earlier this month the carrier announced it had come to an agreement with Boeing for a 737 MAX compensation deal.
Like Southwest, American Airlines says it will split some of this compensation among its employees via profit sharing, although the amount is a lot less at just $30 million.
Last week American Airlines announced it will be removing the Boeing 737 MAX from its schedules until at least June, meaning its aircraft will have been grounded for well over a year.
The third and final US airline currently in possession of the Boeing 737 MAX is United Airlines, which has received 14 of its total order of 135 aircraft.
Unlike the other two US carriers mentioned above, United Airlines doesn’t seem to have reached an agreement for compensation with Boeing yet.
Back in June last year, United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, confirmed that the airline would not be seeking an agreement on compensation until the Boeing 737 MAX is back in the air.
Like American Airlines, United Airlines also recently confirmed that it has removed the Boeing 737 MAX from its schedules until at least June 2020.
Although it isn’t actually in possession of any yet, Alaska Airlines has a total order of 32 Boeing 737 MAX on the books. It won’t have been as badly affected as airlines that already have the Boeing 737 MAX in their fleet, but the lack of additional capacity will have still caused Alaska Airlines a significant headache.