A six week strike by machinists at Boeing has resulted in the pushback of three 737-700 deliveries scheduled for Southwest this year to 2009.

About 27,000 Boeing employees represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) have been on strike since 6 September.

Today Southwest explained the strike will result in the addition of 26 -700s to its fleet this year instead of the previously-planned 29.

The carrier plans to return a total of 10 older 737-300s this year for a net addition of 15 aircraft in 2008.

Southwest has previously said it is deferring four -700 deliveries scheduled for 2009 to 2016, and plans to take delivery of 13 aircraft in 2009 - including the three originally scheduled for this year. Three more -300s are scheduled to exit the fleet next year.

Capacity during the first quarter of 2009 at Southwest is expected to fall 5%-6% compared with the first three months of 2008.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news