US-based Southwest Airlines has increased its ongoing order with Boeing, adding more than 100 737-7s to bring its total order of the aircraft to more than 300 and its total 737 MAX family order above 500 jets.

The increased order is part of the airline’s work to modernise its Boeing fleet and provide flexibility to adjust growth up or down along with the industry environment.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal said: “With the world’s largest all-Boeing, all-737 fleet, Southwest is counting on the exceptional efficiency and reliability of the 737 MAX family.

“The 737-7 is pivotal to Southwest’s long-term fleet modernisation strategy and we are honoured to have the airline’s continued trust in us to deliver its future fleet.”

The purchase follows on from one in March 2021 when the airline reaffirmed its use of Boeing aircraft and the 737 series, which it has been operating for 50 years.

As part of the renewal, Southwest also recently said during its Q3 earnings report that it would be accelerating the retirement of some of its existing fleet, bringing its expected retirements of 737-700 aircraft up from 26 to 41 for 2023.

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Expansion of the Southwest fleet lines up with its recent announcement that it would be introducing new international services to its offerings, including flights from Florida to Mexico, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

Alongside additional domestic routes in the US, the timetable increase means that Southwest will be flying a record-high 4,526 departures.

Boeing and Southwest also recently joined a partnership with NASA and other US airlines to advise the space agency’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project and aid in the development of its X-66A research aircraft.