what are Southwest Airlines Fleet

Southwest Airlines Fleet

Category : Airlines / Posted on: January 16, 2023 / Author: Admin

what are Southwest Airlines Fleet

Southwest Airlines Fleet

Southwest Airlines almost exclusively operates Boeing 737 planes since its inception (except for a short period when it leased and flew some Boeing727-200 aircraft). Southwest is the largest Boeing 737 operator in the world and was the launch customer for the 737-3, 737-5, and 737-701.

For Southwest Airlines, the Boeing customer code is H4 for both Next Gen and Classic 737s. The 737-7H4 code for the -700 and 737-7H4 codes respectively, while the 737-8H4 code for the -800 is 737-8H4. These codes are not applicable to the 737 MAX 8 or 737 MAX 7 aircraft models.


The beginning

Southwest Airlines started revenue flights on June 18, 1971, using three Boeing 747-200 aircraft. The type was used exclusively by the airline during its early history. These aircraft were not ordered originally by Southwest. Instead, they were delivered from Air California and Aloha Airlines. Also included was a 737-200 Combi, which was later sold with a VASP 737–200. Southwest obtained six of these aircraft and made its first all-new 737 purchase from Boeing in June 1976.

Southwest donated the nose section of a retired Boeing 737-200 to the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field in early 2004. From March 15, 1984 to January 23, 2004, the aircraft flew for Southwest. Southwest retired its last active Boeing 737-200 revenue service aircraft on January 17, 2005. However, one 737-220 was kept at Love Field up to 2009 as a training aid for ground crew.

Between 1978 and 1985, Southwest operated six Boeing 727-220 aircraft. In August 1978, the first aircraft was leased by Braniff International Airways. Braniff provided training and support. The aircraft was returned in January 1980. Southwest leased two 727-200 jets from People Express in September 1983. In February 1984, it added two more identical aircraft from the same airline. Southwest also leased a fifth 727 200 from an unidentified lessor around this time. All five aircraft were returned to Southwest in September 1985. The type was never operated again.

737 Classic era

Southwest was the first airline in the United States to operate the Boeing 737-3000. This aircraft was designed by Boeing to fulfil Southwest's needs. When Southwest absorbed Morris Air's operations in 1994, additional 737-300s were purchased from them. Southwest had 195 aircraft in its 737-300 fleet. The first 737-3000 to enter service was registered N300SW with the manufacturer's serial (msn). The aircraft, which was named "The Spirit of Kitty Hawk", flew its first flight on December 17, 1984. After 83,132 hours of flight and 77,301 cycles, N300SW was retired in April 2011. It was restored and preserved by the Frontiers of Flight Museum. The museum houses a historical exhibit.

The Boeing 737-580 was launched to Southwest. It was a smaller version than the 737-220, but had a greater range and fuel capacity. The 737 500 was bought for new long-haul routes that were less popular than the 737 200. However, it had a greater fuel capacity and range. Southwest was the launch customer.

737 Next Generation era

Southwest became a 737-launch client again when it ordered its first Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft on November 1993. The first Boeing 737-707 was delivered to the airline on December 17, 1997. Southwest added the Boeing 737-880 to their fleet on April 11, 2012. Southwest now has 175 seats in the aircraft, 32 more than its previous largest 737s.

Southwest Airlines purchased the AirTran Airways fleet of Boeing717 aircraft. They were not integrated into the Southwest fleet, so they are currently being leased to Delta Air Lines. Southwest Airlines received its last Boeing 737-800 on October 1, 2018. For the foreseeable future, all deliveries were to be Boeing 737MAX variants.

737 MAX era

Southwest placed a firm purchase for 150 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes on December 13, 2011. This made them the launch customers for the type. However, the first delivery of the 737 MAX 8 to Malindo Air was in November 2011.

Southwest was the Boeing 737 MAX 7's launch customer on May 15, 2013. Although the first delivery was scheduled for 2019, it was delayed due to the grounded of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Southwest Airlines received its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on August 29, 2017. This was the first airline to do so in North America. Southwest Airlines was also the first airline in North America to fly the aircraft on a scheduled revenue passenger flight, on October 1, 2017.

Southwest Airlines received the 10,000th Boeing 737 on March 13, 2018. This was the Guinness World Record set by Boeing, which began producing the 737 in January 1967. This surpasses the previous record of 5,00, which was set in 2006. This flight will be under tail number N8717M. Inside the L1 door, there is a commemorative registration plate.

In March 2019, countries around world grounded the Boeing 737MAX and prohibited it from flying within their airspace. This was due to safety concerns after the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, and the crash of Lion Air flight 610 five month prior. Southwest Airlines, which operated the MAX's largest fleet of aircraft, was the most affected by the US grounding. It had 34 grounded aircraft. Three other airlines were tied for second place with 24 aircraft. Southwest Airlines stock fell more than 4% on the day of the US grounded order.

Due to the ongoing groundings of 737 MAX aircraft, Southwest temporarily grounded 350 of its 742 planes in March 2020.

The FAA officially ended the 737 MAX grounded in November 2020. Southwest began the process to return its 34 737 MAX aircraft into service and retrain all its pilots. Southwest, the fourth US airline, resumed 737 MAX operations on March 11, 2021.

Southwest announced in October 2020 that it was looking at the Airbus A220 to replace its 737-7s. It will begin deliveries in 2025. In March 2021, Southwest announced that it had placed an order for 100 MAX 7 aircraft with delivery in 2022. However, negotiations with Airbus never took place. Southwest had converted several MAX 7 options to firm orders by June 2021. They believed that MAX 7 aircraft would only be delivered between 2022 and 2026. Southwest, however, stated in July 2022 that MAX 7 type certificate delays could delay the first delivery to 2023, and that it would instead receive MAX 8 aircraft.

Current Fleet

Southwest Airlines has an all- Boeing 737 aircraft fleet as of December 2022. It includes the following aircraft:

Southwest Airlines fleet


In service




Boeing 737-700



Launch customer and largest operator.[11]
Older aircraft to be replaced by Boeing 737 MAX.[32]

Boeing 737-800



Second largest operator.[33]

Boeing 737 MAX 7



Deliveries begin in 2023.[28]
To replace older Boeing 737-700.[27]

Boeing 737 MAX 8




Largest Boeing 737 MAX operator.[34]
To replace older Boeing 737-700.[35]





History Fleet

Southwest Airlines fleet history







Boeing 727-200




Boeing 737-300

Leased; not operated concurrently.[6]

Boeing 737-200




Boeing 737-700

Southwest's first aircraft type.[2]

Boeing 737-300




Boeing 737-700
Boeing 737-800
Boeing 737 MAX 8

Launch customer.[7]

Boeing 737-500





Launch customer.[7]

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