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Delta hints at the possibility of purchasing Boeing's 737 MAX - FT

FILE PHOTO: Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, speaks during a keynote address at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian hinted at the possibility of purchasing Boeing Co’s 737 MAX, which was recently approved to fly again by U.S. regulators, in an interview to the Financial Times on Sunday.

“We’re talking to Boeing about lots of different things, the Max included,” Delta’s chief executive told the Financial Times.

Any Boeing 737 MAX order would be the first for Delta, which did not have the aircraft in its fleet when the plane was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes.

“If there is an opportunity where we would feel comfortable acquiring the MAX we’d have no hesitation doing that,” Bastian added.

Reuters reported in October, Delta is among airlines Boeing has approached to buy dozens of 737 MAX jets built for clients that have since scrapped their orders or gone bust, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The United States lifted a 20-month-old flight ban on Boeing 737 MAX on Wednesday, easing a safety crisis that left its top exporter with a tarnished reputation and hundreds of idle jets.

Bastian also cast doubts on travel corridor between New York and London calling it “complicated” and said it would be easier to relaunch transatlantic flights to “just about any” other European capital.

Major airlines want the U.S. and British governments to launch a trial of coronavirus testing for passengers flying between London and New York to pave the way for resuming more international travel.

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Lisa Shumaker

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