International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced at the Paris Air Show 2019 that it will bolster its future fleet with Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and revealed its intention to purchase 200 MAX jets.
The parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL, IAG signed a letter of intent with the Boeing Corporation in a deal that is estimated to value more than $24bn per list prices.
Commenting on the deal, IAG CEO Willie Walsh, said: "We're very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG's short-haul fleet.
"We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators."
The deal follows the finalisation of a major order with Boeing earlier in the year for 777X aircraft, which complements the group’s fleets of 777s and the new 787 Dreamliners. For the single-aisle segment, IAG utilises the original 737 aircraft, while currently, its fleet is comprised of Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO, said: "We are truly honoured and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else.
"We are delighted that the IAG team recognized the superior qualities of the 737 MAX and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family. We look forward to building on our long-standing partnership with IAG for many years to come."
The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements geared towards efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort. The 737 MAX is 14% more fuel-efficient than the current 737s, and 20% better than the original 737s when they entered service.
Viewed by many as a show of confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, IAG’s letter of intent is the first following the 737 MAXs groundings back in March. After a series of crashes, the aircraft was grounded by a number of authorities across the world and has yet to return to service.