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Unique: Boeing in talks with Alaska Airways for potential 737 MAX order – sources

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© Reuters. FAA Chief Steve Dickson returns in a Boeing 737 MAX plane in Seattle

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By Eric M. Johnson and Tracy Rucinski

SEATTLE/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co (N:) is in discussions to promote 737 MAX jets to Alaska Airways as soon as the aircraft returns to service following a prolonged grounding, three individuals acquainted with the matter mentioned.

The talks are a part of a sequence of negotiations between Boeing and a number of other airways over jet orders or compensation after the 737 MAX was banned worldwide following two deadly crashes.

Boeing and Alaska Airways, which is a part of Alaska Air Group Inc (N:), declined to remark.

Any deal can be topic to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval of proposed 737 MAX security upgrades.

Boeing shares have been up 1.6% at $167.22 on Thursday afternoon, whereas Alaska Air inventory was up 4.1% at $38.54.

Alaska Airways already had ordered 37 of the jets earlier than the grounding. If confirmed, a brand new order from such a serious provider would give Boeing’s 737 MAX a sorely wanted business enhance because the U.S. planemaker tries to maneuver past a disaster that has hammered its funds.

It might additionally mark a post-crisis check of the stability of energy between Boeing and Airbus (PA:). The European planemaker is battling to maintain a foothold in Alaska Airways, which had operated an all-Boeing fleet till it acquired Virgin America in 2016.

Nevertheless, any new deal between Alaska Airways and Boeing is predicted to incorporate important reductions given the MAX’s woes and plunging demand for airplanes in the course of the coronavirus disaster, trade sources mentioned.

It was not instantly clear what number of jets it might purchase.

The talks are amongst a number of discussions Boeing is having with airways, hoping to stimulate demand for the jet when it returns to the air. Analysts warning chopping costs too far might rattle some present clients.

After months of delays, and pending approval of design and operational modifications, Boeing expects to renew 737 MAX deliveries to airways earlier than year-end in the US.

Seattle-based Alaska Airways flies 166 older Boeing 737s and 71 Airbus A320-family plane.

It has one of many strongest stability sheets amongst U.S. airways and analysts consider it might emerge from the pandemic disaster in a aggressive place relative to its friends.

Boeing can also be negotiating with Irish funds provider Ryanair (I:), considered one of its largest clients, over compensation for delays in MAX deliveries and a possible new order.

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