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Southwest Didn’t Invite Airbus to Bid

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Southwest Airlines didn’t ask Airbus to submit a commercial bid for the A220-300, three knowledgeable sources tell Leeham News. (leehamnews.com) More...

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Justthefacs
Justthefacs 12
What's the big deal. Buy from the supplier you want. Obviously SW thinks this makes sense for them.
srobak
srobak 8
ok, and?
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 5
Southwest is a B shop so there is nothing to see here. If the shareholders wanted an open procurement process, the Board would have insisted that an A-B analysis be performed. Let's move on.
lecompte2
lecompte2 7
Is it because Boeing is giving them away ?
Jaime1949
Jaime Terrassa 4
well said mr. lecomplete2
bucksrule
Roy Nickerson 5
An American Company buying from an American Company. Wow,what a concept. Lets keep the jobs here in the USA.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 6
Not as clear-cut as waving the flag sport. A220s are now assembled in Mobile Alabama which, if my memory serves me well, is still in the USA.
wiregold
wiregold 0
No bid contracts always provide the best return for executives. Boeing's greed cost more than half again as many lives as the Beirut blast. The Lebanese actually arrested people, too.
dnorthern
dnorthern 11
So? SWA knows what they are doing
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling -4
They did it for the money, and nothing else. Having to have two different flight crews would have meant SouthWest would be taking on a whole new 'cost center', and they know it would mean they would be struggling in a time when everyone is already on the ropes. Southwest, to order any other plane, would be committing corporate suicide. Them sticking to Boeing is as much an admission they boxed themselves in, as even anything remotely against AirBus.

They should have diversified their planes and crews a long time ago. Now, if there is another set of MAX crashes, they are going down, just like Boeing.

If they were smart, they could have used larger planes for transcon flights to feed coastal airports, and still kept their 737 focus for local hops, but gone 757 or 767 for the longer flights.
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 9
The single-type fleet seems to have worked well for Southwest, though it’s not without risk. Some other single-type airlines have diversified (JetBlue added the E190 and now the A220, Alaska added A319/320/321 through Virgin America acquisition, seems to see a continuing role for the A321neo), they’ve judged that branching out works for them.

An interesting point from the article and its comment stream: A220 production now at about 5 per month, with stated plan to ramp that up to 14. With a substantial backlog of previous orders, Airbus doesn’t really have the capacity and flexibility to build and deliver 100 A220-300s for the delivery times Southwest may have wanted.
ssobol
Stefan Sobol 5
Except that Alaska will probably divest the Airbus aircraft as they get more MAXes.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling -9
But be careful. There are airplane type/model that are so similar, a pilot trained and certified in one model is certificated for the other models too.

The 737 is kinda stuck to a few models, where the Airbus models cover a wider range of capacities, from what I gather. Boeing kinda screwed themselves with the 737, I think. Cut and pasting bigger engines made so much sense to them, but it was a step too far in a dated design, apparently. Time will tell...

I wouldn't feel incredibly comfortable being in a MAX. Imagine flying in an Alaska Air DC after their horrific crash in the Pacific Ocean.
vulcancruiser
Larry Loffelmacher 2
Ignorance is bliss apparently.....the AS that went in the ocean was an MD-80......nothing to do with 737........
WesFoster
Wes Foster 1
I agree with the fact that they have put too much lipstick on an old pig (the 737). I think after what happened to the MAX, Boeing will have to come up with a different airframe and finally put the 737 to rest.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling 1
Not necessarily 'put it to rest', but stop thinking they can Frankenstein it any more. Sticking larger engines on it, and having to lift them higher on the wing should have made someone think that wasn't a great idea. I mean, even though Boeing doesn't do engineering anymore, *someone* should have said 'This doesn't seem like a great idea', but maybe someone did, and they were trashed and dismissed, but if they had any morals or ethics, they would have left copious notes around for people to find.

Back to the lifting of the engines, they needed more clearance. Would it take an engineer to think that was a screaming need for a change in the landing gear, and raising the whole plane so the engines aren't sucking in tarmac? It shouldn't have been that hard to realize they were over extending that monster. (And when they did, they 'fixed it in software', and even that failed. They made a worse situation even worse, and knew it because they didn't tell every purchaser of the planes what the deal was, and to me, that's admitting they really screwed up. It was a committee decision by people that shouldn't have been in the position to make those decisions. Real human beings DIED because of it. And real Boeing investors made money off that decision. Sad...
jammen737
jammen737 0
I knew you’d chime in. Where’s all of your needless political jargon to feed your useless comments?
emkostiuk
emkostiuk 5
Fairly decent article, well written I'm just not a big fan of "sources" unless you are willing to identify the sources. Boeing survived the crisis and hopefully learned a valuable lesson.
punkrawk78
Silent Bob 9
In this case I don't mind the "anonymous sources" because they're not making unfounded accusations, they're simply people who are not authorized to make public statements on behalf of a company and doing so would probably put their job(s) at risk. The information they revealed is not exactly earth shattering, it's just something SWA may not want to state publicly themselves because it could be seen as a slight towards Airbus and could negatively impact future business.

Not many people think there was ever really a chance of SWA buying Airbus planes, as the article mentions the economics of a single type fleet are just too great at the moment.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling 5
I wasn't surprised actually. What did surprise me was when they said that Boeing was losing the market. I thought that was an interesting statement. Either it was a warning shot/bargaining ploy, or a lament for being so attached to Boeing. Did it help them get a better price? Who knows, but to have one of your practically joined at the hip customers tell you that you are losing, or should(?) lose, that market was rather shocking. Wow...
cm2ok
Mike Klein 2
With only one type of aircraft in the fleet there are tremendous benefits in scheduled and routine maintenance,parts, tools, fixtures, mechanic training, and FAA Directives
A very laudable business decision.
phowry
Phil Howry 3
Is the point of this article to critique the solicitation/procurement means and methods of America's commercial airline industry?

If so, these alleged "knowledgeable sources" should be, more than willing, to identify themselves for such altruism (i.e. promotion of the common good).
jptq63
jptq63 1
Who would be the A220-500 customer? Noting the "When" not "If" comment from the article.
darjr26
darjr26 0
To me Boeing is the company that made the wrong decision. They let Southwest bully them into trying to upgrade an airplane that has been upgraded enough. Boeing needed to design a new narrow body aircraft but backed away from that when Southwest and some others threatened to go shopping for Buses instead. If I ran Boeing I would have looked 10 to 20 years down the road and suffered some short term pain to get there. I don’t believe there is ever going to be a one size fits all airplane, but if there is it sure isn’t the 737. Southwest has started doing a lot of things they said they would never do. Flying into ORD and MIA, flying to Hawaii and Central America all depart from their original business model. At some point even Southwest will realize they would have benefited from a clean sheet narrow body option from Boeing or Airbus. Maybe sooner than later, since Boeing just grounded some Max’s again.
jmanley20
John Manley -3
I DONT UNDERSTAND HOW THIS IS NEWS. SWA WAS NEVER AND WILL NEVER CONSIDER SWITCHING. EVEN IF THEY DID GOOD LUCK GETTING SWAPA ON BOARD! TO ANYONE WHO HONESTLY THOUGHT SWA WAS EVEN CONSIDERING BY FROM AIRBUS, PLEASE USE YOUR BRAIN.....
a4mer49er
John Macaulay 3
Dude...grasp control of your keyboard & find the CAPS LOCK key to disengage it.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling 1
Southwest will do whatever Southwest feels they need to do in the time they make the decision.

If you think that an American corporation has any degree of loyalty to this country, you are living in a fairy tale land of pink ponies and purple dinosaurs.

Hell, GM sold out the country years ago, and their investors laughed all the way to the bank. NONE of those jobs *had* to go overseas. They went overseas because those corporations could pay literally pennies on the dollar for labor compared to what they had to pay here. So the products became incredibly cheaper to manufacture. Even with shipping, they were saving massive percentages of their costs on labor alone. Ahh, but did the prices go down? Heck no. In most cases the prices went UP!!! So they pay $20 a week for labor. They pay drastically less for raw materials. They don't own the plants. They don't have to pay for regulations because there aren't many. They ship the stuff back here. They raise the prices, and quality goes down. Their investors make BILLIONS. American workers are SUCKING AIR. And YOU want to defend corporations?

Wow... If corporations were really people, they would be locked up for being psychopaths and mass murderers!
jmanley20
John Manley -1
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BOEING BEING AN AMERICAN COMPANY. IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH COST BENEFIT IN KEEPING THE SAME FLEET FOR CREW AND MX QUALIFICATION, AND AS WELL KEEPING THE UNION HAPPY. THE QUICKEST WAY TO PUT THE COMPANY IN BAD STANDING WITH SWAPA WOULD BE TO SWITCH FROM AN ALL B737 FLEET. I DONT KNOW A SINGLE SWA PILOT THAT WANTS TO MIX THE FLEET UP AND I DONT BLAME THEM.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 3
Why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel John. No need to scream!
jmanley20
John Manley 2
i was at work. keyboard has to be on caps for the application i use. forgot to turn it off sorry.
a4mer49er
John Macaulay -4
I am responsible for our company's business travel & I plan on disinviting Southwest to bid for our future travel needs...frankly, I continue to be appalled by Southwest's pursuit of mediocrity insuring their passengers get only the highest percentage of risk of accidents and mishaps courtesy of their cozy relationship with BS Boeing. I can imagine the dialogue which occurred in the lead up to Southwest's decision to exclude Airbus from bidding. I bet it went something like this: "well, we can't really consider a plane's safety record when solicitations for proposals are sent out." No, we can't let an airline like Airbus participate in the bidding because then we won't be able to justify our insidious preoccupation with the social deviant Southworst."
Theodorewhitaker
Theodore Whitaker 3
Your comments don't make a lot of sense to me. Say what you want to about SW, but they appears to be surviving these tough economic time better than the other airlines. So they must be doing something economically smart. If southwest in making decisions to help their bottom line in order to keep their prices reasonable and you disinvite them, your company may be looking for someone to be responsible for their business travel.

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