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Dallas, Texas, U.S. - Southwest Airlines has reached an agreement with Boeing to restructure its Boeing 737 MAX delivery schedule. The airline will receive significantly fewer aircraft in 2020 and 2021.

According to the agreement, Southwest won't take delivery of more than 48 aircraft through December 31, 2021. The carrier is currently planning to receive less than the 27 737 MAX jets that were previously scheduled for delivery in 2020.

The move comes as part of the measures against the ongoing global crisis. The airline is also planning to retire some aircraft to shrink its fleet size.

The plan to take at most 48 aircraft by the end of 2021. It represents a cut of 55% compared to previous plans. The 27 737 MAX jets have already been manufactured by Boeing but cannot be delivered due to the prolonged grounding of the type.

Southwest Airlines said that it could retire some of its Boeing 737-700s of which the budget specialist operates 498.

"We've got a program to retire a fair number of airplanes in 2020 and 2021, that we were holding back on because of the delays with the MAX deliveries. So I think we're looking more aggressively at that,"

Chief Executive Gary Kelly added during the presentation of the airline's quarterly figures.

Kelly indicated that the deferral did not amount to a cancellation of any part of the order at this point.

"In the long-term of Southwest Airlines, it will be in our best position to bring that airplane [MAX] into the fleet. So we have a lot of flexibility with a Boeing order book, and right now we have so many airplanes on the ground, it doesn't make a lot of sense to go bring additional airplanes in from Boeing," 

Chief Operating Officer Michael Van de Ven added.
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