737 Max grounding tests Southwest's relationship with Boeing - Southwest Airlines CEO Looking at Airbus A220
April 23, 2019 - by Jon Ostrower for theaircurrent.com
- Southwest Airlines CEO Looking at Airbus A220
As Southwest Airlines neared delivery of the first 737-700 in the 1990s, late-founder and Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher made a deal with Boeing that was never written down. No airline on Earth would pay less for 737s than Southwest. And if they did, Boeing owed Southwest a check "no questions asked," recounted another retired Boeing executive and confirmed by a second. "Just a handshake and it was honored."
Southwest isn't just a customer to Boeing. It has closely guided the 737's incremental development, serving as launch buyer for the jet's last two generations, but it is also a strategic governor for Boeing, cushioning the company's peaks and valleys in production.
The aircraft on which Southwest built its existence 48 years ago, Boeing's 737, today hangs in an uncertain balance...