Southwest in talks to buy up to 30 Boeing jets that lost buyers


(Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) is in advanced talks with Boeing Co (BA.N) and lessors to buy up to 30 737 MAX aircraft, which have lost their original buyers, Bloomberg News reported.

Any of the jets that the airline accepts from storage at Boeing would replace a similar number of the 249 planes that Southwest has already ordered, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reuters had reported last month that Boeing was in talks with airlines including Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) to take the so-called “white tails.”

Boeing declined to comment on the report, while Southwest said it was working with the planemaker to refresh its order book.

Boeing had said last month it expects to win 737 MAX approval in time to resume deliveries in the fourth quarter, as it works to emerge from a 20-month-old worldwide ban triggered by two crashes.

By restoring an upward bias in its production plans earlier than expected, rival Airbus (AIR.PA) may increase pressure on Boeing to find new homes for up to half the 400 737 MAX aircraft it has produced while the jet has been grounded.

Dozens of MAX jets have been canceled and only once the MAX is cleared to fly and the jets have been re-sold and delivered can Boeing return to high-speed new production, market sources have said.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Uttaresh.V)