Boeing Lands First Firm Order for 737 MAX, Southwest Airlines to Spend Record $19 Billion
Chicago-based Boeing Co. has landed a large order for the fuel-efficient version of the 737 MAX jets. Reuters

Chicago-based Boeing Co. has landed a large order for the fuel-efficient version of its 737 MAX jets. The order, valued at $19 billion, is from Southwest Airlines and is believed to be the biggest in the company's history, both in the number of planes and their list price value.

In addition, this order means Southwest is the first aviation company to place a firm order for the MAX, whose revamped engines reportedly cut fuel use by as much as 12 percent from current versions.

The decision to introduce a revamped series of engines follows an announcement by European rival Airbus to equip its A320 jets with modified engines. The 737 MAX is set to enter service in 2017.

I think next year from an order standpoint, again assuming that we don't have a total meltdown in the economy and the financing is still available, next year looks like it's going to be a very good year as well, Jim Albaugh, the Chief Executive for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a report by Reuters.

From Southwest's perspective, the order is aimed at containing rising fuel costs. According to a report by the Washington Post, the company's spending on fuel, for this year, is estimated to be $5.6 billion; with aviation fuel costs set to rise, the company must hope that the MAX can help reduce costs on this front. The new plane, Boeing believes, will have approximately 10 percent better mileage than most single-aisle jetliners in the skies today.

A report by FOX News suggests that Southwest have committed themselves to the purchase of 150 of the yet-to-be-built Boeing 737 MAX. The airline has also agreed to buy a further 58 737 jets (the current range), adding to the 142 it already has on order.

Boeing officials hope that with the revamped engines on offer, the company will land between 1,400 and 1,500 firm orders by the end of 2012.