Boeing nears 737 MAX deal with Southwest: sources

Boeing is nearing a multibillion dollar deal to sell dozens of its 737 MAX jets to Southwest Airlines, according to people familiar with the matter.

It's potentially the company's largest 737 MAX order since the aircraft's safety ban was lifted.

If confirmed,the deal would provide much-needed support after the plane was grounded for nearly two years following back-to-back fatal crashes.

The exact terms and timing of a possible announcement were not clear.

The proposed deal follows speculation of a faceoff between the smallest member of Boeing's MAX family, the 737 MAX-7, and the A220 plane from Airbus.

Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly had said in November that they were debating between the still-uncertified Boeing 737 MAX-7 and the A220, which would be the airline's first shift away from an all-Boeing fleet.

Southwest said it does not comment on fleet decisions and has nothing to announce, but Kelly said at an event Wednesday that Southwest's negotiations with Boeing are ongoing.

Meanwhile, Boeing declined to comment.