Hopes for a rebound in air travel are growing with a massive global vaccination effort underway.... and even the Boeing 737 MAX is getting some love ahead of the expected bounce back.
Private investment firm 777 Partners agreed to buy 24 737 MAX airplanes with an option to purchase 60 more, Boeing announced on Friday.
777 Partners, which has a stake in a super-budget Canadian air carrier and plans to lease the jet to its affiliated carriers, in a statement pointed to the MAX’s “superior economic performance” and its fuel efficiency for making the purchase.
The plane returned to the air in December after being grounded for 20 months in the U.S. following two deadly plane crashes, while Boeing fixed a software glitch tied to both air disasters, and retrained pilots.
The industry's re-embrace of the plane is key to Boeing's rebound after total orders plummeted last year as the health crisis grounded air travel to a halt and airlines put purchases on hold. The safety issues with the 737 MAX certainly didn't help.
But that's slowly changing.
Sources tell Reuters Southwest Airlines is close to signing a multibillion-dollar order for dozens of the 737 MAX. European budget airline Ryanair has about 75 on order and Alaska Airlines agreed to buy 23.
Orders for the fuel-efficient jet coming amid early signs that domestic travel is starting to ramp up. On eight of the last 14 days, TSA has cleared more than a million people per day to board an airplane - that hasn't happened outside of the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays since the health crisis began a year ago.