Will Boeing 737 MAX Customers Jump To Airbus A320neos?

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Ask the Editors: The Aviation Week Network invites our readers to submit questions to our editors and analysts. We’ll answer them, and if we can’t we’ll reach out to our wide network of experts for advice. 

Will the COVID-19 cancellations and slowdown in orders enable frustrated Boeing 737 MAX customers to jump to buying Airbus A320neos?

Aviation Week Executive Editor, Commercial Aviation, Jens Flottau responds: 

The longer the MAX’s reentry into service is delayed, the greater the opportunity for customers to dump orders, particularly as they pass the one-year delay mark. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive delivery deferrals. Deferrals in theory free up aircraft production slots and may generate an opportunity for customers to jump to another manufacturer. 

However, in reality that is rare in normal times, let alone in crises. Switching to a new aircraft manufacturer comes with huge costs for training, spare parts, ground infrastructure and sheer workload for planning the transition. That is an exercise few airlines would want to go through at the moment. And with few carriers wanting to take delivery of aircraft already on order, it is hard to see a meaningful number of airlines wanting to sign new commitments in the coming months, even if huge discounts are offered.

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens leads Aviation Week’s global commercial coverage. He covers program updates and developments at Airbus, and as a frequent long-haul traveler, he often writes in-depth airline profiles worldwide.