British Airways chief Alex Cruz insists that introduction of the Boeing 737 Max would not contradict parent company IAG's efforts to simplify its short-haul fleet.

IAG has been engaged in an effort to achieve greater commonality of configuration between the Airbus A320-family jets across its group carriers.

This process is designed to achieve weight savings and allow greater flexibility to transfer aircraft between the IAG operators.

BA withdrew its last 737s in 2015, in favour of Airbus single-aisle jets, and IAG's Vueling, Iberia and Aer Lingus all use A320-family aircraft.

But the tentative IAG agreement for up to 200 737 Max jets would not necessarily upset this harmonisation, insists Cruz.

Speaking to FlightGlobal ahead of BA's inaugural A350-1000 service to Madrid, Cruz said the company had the production volume to support more than one provider.

"If you have 20 or 30 aircraft a single type is important," he says. "When you have 400 you have more flexibility."

He points out that Ryanair, an exclusive 737-800 operator, has reached the point where it can accommodate the Airbus operation of Austrian division Lauda.

Without specifically suggesting that Airbus delivery delays might have influenced the IAG decision, Cruz states that substantial adjustments to planning have to be made if individual aircraft do not arrive on time. "We have sufficient reason not to be happy," he adds.

BA has indicated that 737 Max operations would be conducted from London Gatwick, where the airline formerly used 737-400s.