Boeing tries to sell 40 737 MAX ‘white tails’ to Delta, says Reuters

Aircraft were assembled, but their orders were canceled by their original customers. About 460 jets are stored in the US
Boeing 737 MAX (Steve Lynes/CC)

Boeing faces a new problem with the 737 MAX: what to do with hundreds of planes already assembled, but which had their purchase canceled by the original customers?

According to Reuters, the solution is to offer these aircraft, dubbed the ‘white tail’, to other airlines. One of them is Delta Air Lines, which would have received a proposal to have 40 737 MAX jets, people familiar with the matter said.

The proposal is not surprising since rumors circulated that Boeing could accept the 717-200s used by Delta as part of an agreement to take orders for the 737 MAX, but without these aircraft being delivered anytime soon.

Delta replaced the 737 with Airbus

Last week, however, Delta revealed that it intends to keep the 717 (originally MD-95) in service until 2025. Another problem is that the airline has preferred to use Airbus aircraft and even those planes must have deliveries postponed on account the drop in passenger demand.

Delta is the only one of the three major US companies not to have ordered MAX and market sources believe that accepting this deal proposed by Boeing would be “a surprise”.

While trying to find buyers for part of the 460 planes manufactured and stored in the U.S., Boeing is counting the days to receive the type recertification of the 737 MAX.

Airbus A220-100 from Delta Air Lines

“I like what I saw”

On Wednesday, the head of the FAA, the US civil aviation agency, Steve Dickson, fulfilled his promise to fly the aircraft. The executive, who is a commercial pilot, said he “liked what he saw” and that he felt comfortable aboard the jet. “I did two landings and also some air-work manoeuvres over about a 2h period,” he said.

Dickson, however, was keen to remember that his flight experience has nothing to do with the approval process, which will only occur when the agency is convinced that the plane is safe. Boeing expects this to happen later this quarter.

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