Brussels, Belgium - One of the biggest surprises of the Paris Air Show this year was the order commitment made by the International Airlines Group for 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets.
Some claimed that it was due to huge discounts offered by the American manufacturer while others said it was a well-staged show to save Boeing's troubled 737 MAX program.
Now we know that it is mainly because of the IAG chief executive Willie Walsh's dissatisfaction with the Airbus A320neos.
I have never held back that we are dissatisfied with Airbus, as deliveries of A320neos to Vueling were on average 70 days late, said Walsh during the sidelines of the A4E (Airlines for Europe) meeting in Brussels.
I know what I am doing as a former 737 pilot myself, and this order is not due to alleged rock bottom prices from Boeing, but the fact that we need at least a healthy duopoly of manufacturers, IAG CEO added.
Walsh emphasized that IAG is determined to finalize its order for 200, 737 MAX jets and the order was placed based on Boeing’s reputation.
Walsh is not worried that the customers would hesitate to fly with the MAX. When the 737 MAX returns to service, it will be the safest aircraft ever that people will board again with confidence, the IAG boss thinks.
Airbus recently said it wanted to convince IAG to opt for more A320neos instead of the 737 MAX, but it seems Mr. Walsh is not interested in that.
We no longer want to depend on one manufacturer for the entire narrowbody fleet, he said.
The International Airlines Group (IAG) is the parent company of the airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL, and Vueling.