Southwest to take delivery of 35 737 MAX jets through end-2021

FILE PHOTO: grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co said on Wednesday it expects to take delivery of 35 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing Co through the end of 2021.

The deliveries include 16 leased aircraft, the U.S. carrier said, adding that it expects the MAX to return to revenue service in March after all active pilots have received updated, MAX-related training.

“Given the continued surge in COVID-19 cases and depressed revenue environment, the company continues to experience softness in leisure passenger demand and bookings for December 2020,” Southwest said in a regulatory filing.

The company also flagged elevated levels of trip cancellations for December travel.

Southwest now expects average daily core cash burn to be about $12 million in the fourth quarter, up from a previous estimate of between $10 million and $11 million.

Several U.S. airlines have raised their daily cash burn forecast due to this year’s coronavirus-driven collapse in travel, as a batch of new lockdowns and advisories discourage Christmas and New Year flying.

The company’s shares fell 1.2% to $45.88 in premarket trade.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila