Matters involving airlines and airline pilots.
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Southwest Airlines and Boeing have been inextricably linked but maybe not so much anymore. Southwest officials have reportedly been asking questions about the Airbus A220, the highly regarded former Bombardier CSeries single-aisle programme acquired by Airbus last year and now being operated by Delta, Korean Air and Swiss, among others. Last week Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC his airline may no longer be exclusive with its only aircraft supplier thus far. That shot across the bow came as Boeing’s leadership girded for its annual shareholders’ meeting Monday, in which former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was expected to join the board of directors. The ongoing grounding of the 737 MAX will dominate discussion and the company’s biggest customer’s boss had some other words of encouragement for Boeing. “We have a great, historic partnership with that company and I would expect that would continue going forward,” Kelly said. “But, yeah, we have to work through this MAX issue. When we launched the MAX airplane, we felt like it was the best single-aisle airplane in the world and we still feel that way.” He also said Southwest plans to go ahead with its order for 200 737 MAX airliners. He also said sending a delegation of Southwest executives to Europe to view first-hand an airline’s operation of the A220 earlier this month was ‘coincidental.’