So far, the Spanish low-cost airline only uses Airbus jets. That could soon change. Vueling parent IAG is considering switching to Boeing - and to the 737 Max.
Boeing could use a strong and tangible commitment to the 737 Max from a powerhouse in the industry. This might happen soon. Willie Walsh, the CEO of International Consolidated Airlines Group IAG, still considers the Boeing 737 Max to be a «great aircraft», he explains in an interview with aeroTELEGRAPH. «Boeing will solve the problem», he adds. He would therefore not have a problem traveling on board a 737 Max himself. «I would feel comfortable», Walsh says.
IAG, with its airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Level and Vueling, is not «yet» a Max operator, as Walsh points out. But he adds he definitely wants to «do more with Boeing» in the segment of medium-haul jets. He recently ordered Boeing 777Xs for the long-haul fleet of British Airways.
Only Airbus jets today
«Given the scale of our operations, I see no reason why we should confine ourselves to Airbus. There seems to be an impression that we will always be a pure Airbus operator. But that is not healthy. There has to be competition between aircraft manufacturers», Walsh explains. He adds he means that «very seriously». How serious? «It’s also not the first time we’ve thought about this. In 2012 we had considered switching the Vueling fleet from Airbus to Boeing», says Walsh. At that time, however, it had been concluded that the impact on operations had been too great.
In the meantime, things have changed. «Vueling is much more mature as an airline today. IAG has also matured as an organization and we could give Vueling – if it were Vueling – more support with the change», he explains. Currently, the airline’s fleet consists of 119 Airbus A319, A320, A320 Neo and A321.
Boeing 737 Max also with British Airways?
The Boeing 737 Max is also conceivable for British Airways, says Walsh. «We have already considered using a different fleet from London Gatwick.» After all, the fleet there was once a 737 fleet. For Iberia the Boeing 737 Max makes less sense, just as little for Aer Lingus.