By Mary Kirby in Philadelphia
Southwest Airlines today exercised options on 79 Boeing 737-700s bringing its total firm orders for the type to 140.
Deliveries will begin in 2007 and run through 2012, says the low-cost carrier in a statement. Dallas Love Field-based Southwest says it also has options on 116 more -700s, with delivery positions in 2008-2012, plus 54 purchase rights for delivery until 31 December 2014.
Company chief executive Gary Kelly says the firm order shows Southwest is “confident about our future growth opportunities”. Southwest today posted a first quarter net profit of $61 million.
This year the carrier will take delivery of a total 33 -700s. CFM International (CFM), the 50/50 joint venture between Snecma and GE that has exclusive manufacturing rights to the 737 series, values the carrier’s latest engine order at $1 billion. The manufacturer says Southwest’s fleet will reach more than 550 aircraft by 2012.
Southwest currently carriers more passengers within the USA than any other domestic airline.