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Sat, Mar 16, 2024

Boeing Delays Cut Into Southwest Airlines Capacity

Boeing's Woes Topple Dominoes Downstream

America's own homegrown underperformer Boeing continues to affect the wider airline industry thanks to delivery cancellations and delays, this time pushing Southwest Airlines to trim operations.

The carrier said that they originally expected to take delivery of 79 737s this year, a figure that has been further adjusted to 46. Southwest is a unique one in the industry, at least it used to be, since its fleet is composed entirely of the Boeing 737 and its variants. The pilots there have generally loved the model, and despite the teething woes of the MAX series it's been fairly well appreciated by passengers.

The C-suite, however... isn't all too pleased with their forebears' decision to maintain an all-Boeing narrowbody fleet. There isn't much wiggle room when building out their schedules, they either have their particular aircraft, or they don't. And for now, until Boeing really tightens up its delivery schedules, they won't. At best the carrier will see those 46 MAX 8s, and with the last few years, it's hard to assume that's a guarantee. As such, they've scaled back on their plans, readjusting revenue per seat to somewhere south of 2%. That's about half of their optimistic case for this year, had Boeing had its act together. Not to mention, Southwest is still smarting from their recent $140 million civil penalty incurred during the 2022 travel meltdown. And a new pilot contract, which offers their aviators a lump-sum catchup payment. The SWA wallet is probably looking pretty slim these days.

FMI: www.southwest.com

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