Boeing has a surplus of 737 MAX aircraft and has secretly approached Delta Air Lines to try to unload them.
Boeing Wants To Unload 737 MAX On Delta
As the 737 MAX inches toward re-certification, Boeing has a problem on its hand. Following two fatal crashes, the aircraft has been grounded for 18 months worldwide. During that time, Boeing has lost more than 400 orders. But during that time the 737 MAX has continued to be built. The result is a surplus of so-called “white tail” aircraft. These are aircraft which are painted white and awaiting a buyer to paint its own livery on it.
Per Reuters, Boeing has approached Delta to purchase 40 of these so-called “white tail” aircraft.
American already has the 737 MAX. So does United. And Southwest. Delta’s the play…the only holdout among the “Big 4” U.S. airlines.
But Delta, as we have seen over the years, prefers to buy Airbus jets (while talking about the need to block foreign competition to protect American jobs…). It has purchased the Airbus A330neo, A350, and now the A220. In fact, its $14.2 billion in current aircraft commitments are almost entirely for Airbus jets.
There’s another problem. Delta has made clear it is not in the market right now for new jets. In fact, Delta CEO Ed Bastian indicated earlier this year that he hoped to delay the delivery of new aircraft for two years.
Boeing declined to comment.
Delta declined to commnet.
Delta is a shrewd operator. It could be that Boeing will offer Delta a deal that it cannot refuse. Then again, despite an older fleet than its competitors, Delta has meticulously restored and upgraded its existing fleet, further diminishing the need for new aircraft.
Perhaps Boeing would be better served trying to push an existing customer like American or United to take more jets. Then again, it is unlikely Boeing can ditch the surplus during a time in which demand for travel remains depressed and worldwide travel bans remain intact.