During busy summer season, carriers seek to fill holes created by grounded aircraft

The global grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jetliners has upended air travel, but one little-noticed corner of the aviation industry is benefiting from the problems: companies that rent out planes and staff.

Regulators in March stopped MAX planes from flying because of safety concerns following two fatal crashes in less than six months. Almost overnight, airlines parked more than 370 planes. Boeing was forced to stop delivering the MAX, which it had been producing at a rate of around 50 each month.

Airlines that had ordered the MAX, the newest version of the 737, suddenly faced the busy summer travel season with hundreds fewer planes available than they had expected to operate.

In other industries, customers might turn to a competing supplier. But tapping Boeing’s European rival Airbus SE wasn’t an option. Even if airlines were able to manage all the pilot training and logistical complexities of switching between jetliner brands—a feat few carriers can handle—Airbus couldn’t supply the planes. Its production lines are booked for several years.

Excerpt from WSJ
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