Southwest Supersizes Its Order for the All-New Boeing 737 MAX

Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) kicked off Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) inaugural order for the all-new, more fuel-frugal 737 MAX airplanes, buying 150 of them. This order, plus another for 58 additional 737s, totted up the order value to a minimum $17.6 billion. Expecting delivery of the Max jets to commence by 2017, Southwest holds options to buy 150 more.

Southwest is a long-standing and loyal customer for 737 jets and is globally the largest operator flying these planes.

Southwest (NYSE:LUV) is also traditionally the first in line to book new versions of the plane when announced by Boeing, the MAX order being the fourth such instance.

The MAX planes are up to 12% more fuel efficient. This is important to Southwest, because fuel costs are now the largest slice in its pie-chart of operational costs, having surpassed labor costs due to repeated price hikes.

The customized engines for the MAX are being developed for Boeing (NYSE:BA) by a joint venture between GE (NYSE:GE) and French company Safran SA.

Here’s how these stocks are trading on the news:

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV): LUV shares recently traded at $8.43,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $7.15 to $13.59. Volume today was 263,903 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 9,830,320 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 43.01, while trailing earnings are $0.20 per share.

Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA): BA shares recently traded at $71.86, up $0.96, or 1.35%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $59.48 to $80.65. Volume today was 567,616 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,977,370 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.22, while trailing earnings are $5.05 per share.

General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE): GE shares recently traded at $16.67, up $0.21, or 1.28%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $14.02 to $21.65. Volume today was 5,395,467 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 69,309,900 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.75, while trailing earnings are $1.31 per share.