© Reuters. Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft at Midway International Airport in Chicago

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing (NYSE:) Co is close to a deal to sell dozens of its 737 MAX 7 jets to Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) Co, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The proposed deal, which one of the sources said could potentially top 100 firm orders plus significant options, follows intense competition between the smallest member of Boeing’s MAX family and the A220 from Airbus SE (OTC:).

U.S. carrier Southwest said it does not comment on fleet decisions and has nothing to announce. Boeing declined comment.

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