United, Southwest, cut MAX deliveries

United has told Boeing it’s cutting its delivery of 737MAX aircraft by 50% in the coming years, reducing the total from 80 to 40. It will take only 16 this year and 24 in 2021. The schedule for the remainder depends on the scale of the airline industry’s revival.

United recently sold 21 of its newest aircraft to leasing companies to raise cash and leased them back.

United did say it would still take the 8 787-9’s already in assembly this year, and 1 787-10 due in 2021. The more fuel efficient aircraft will help reduce costs and older aircraft types will likely be replaced. United is keeping quiet on retirements at present, until it sees what the ‘new normal’ turns out to be.

United reported web enquiries for travel in 2021 were strong but their current bookings were being balanced by refunds and remained at net zero. 90% of the schedule remains suspended through to July.

The MAX cut move comes hot on the heels of Southwest, the worlds largest 737 operator, telling Boeing it was cutting 75 MAX deliveries until 2022, basically accepting no new aircraft until then.

The news on MAX remains largely negative, GOL cancelled 34, and the rush to return the aircraft to service has largely vanished because nobody wants to take delivery of anything.

Analysts are seeing the 200 MAX order by IAG as highly unlikely to reach maturity, as it’s little more than a letter of intent at present.