Shareholders of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) have approved a pair of firm orders with Airbus and Boeing covering a total of 87 of the manufacturers’ respective narrowbody offerings. The orders, approved during IAG’s extraordinary shareholders' meeting on October 26, call for delivery of Airbus 37 A320neos and 50 Boeing 737 Max 8-200s and Max 10s. The order with Boeing also includes options for a further 100 Max jets.
IAG first revealed its interest in the Max three years ago with a surprise announcement at the 2019 Paris Air Show by then group CEO Willie Walsh. The letter of intent for 200 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, a mix of Max 8 and Max 10s, marked the first major deal for the narrowbody family following two fatal crashes and its worldwide grounding earlier that year.
The latest Airbus order follows earlier agreements for 17 A320neos and five A321neos announced in March and June 2022, taking the total for the year to 59 single-aisle aircraft.
When IAG in May announced it had confirmed the Boeing contract, it said it would take deliveries between 2023 and 2027 for fleet replacement at any airline in the group. The 737-8-200 will allow IAG to configure the airplane with up to 200 seats, while the Max 10 can hold up to 230 passengers. The high-density 737-8-200 entered service with Ryanair in June 2021. The low-cost carrier has configured the aircraft with 197 seats. The Max 10 still awaits certification, but Boeing CEO David Calhoun on Wednesday expressed confidence the variant would begin FAA certification flight testing later this year or in 2023 and enter service in 2023 or 2024.
IAG still hasn’t detailed airplane allocation to its various subsidiaries. Four of IAG’s airline units—Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and low-cost carrier Vueling—fly Airbus A320-family jets, leaving industry observers speculating about the most likely destination for the Boeing narrowbodies.