BOC Aviation has placed an order for 13 additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The latest purchase agreement takes the lessor’s commitment to 209 aircraft from the Boeing Next-Generation 737 Family including 74 MAX 8s.
“Airlines are attracted by the 737 MAX 8’s lower operating costs and fuel efficiency, and we are delighted to announce the inclusion of these additional aircraft as we build our future delivery pipeline,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director and CEO of BOC Aviation.
Dinesh Keskar, Senior VP, Asia Pacific & India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “BOC Aviation’s purchase for an additional 13 737 MAX 8s is a testament to the superior value, performance and economics the 737 MAX will bring to airlines around the world.”
Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This paves the way for the manufacturer to begin delivering the aircraft to customers.
Certification was achieved after a comprehensive test programme that took just over a year and included four aircraft, plus ground and laboratory testing. The FAA has granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate for the 737 MAX 8, verifying the design complies with required aviation regulations and is safe and reliable.
“This certification is a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our entire MAX team throughout the process, from airplane design to flight testing,” said Keith Leverkuhn, VP and General Manager, 737 MAX Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The Renton team looks forward to delivering superior efficiency, reliability and design to our customers as they start to receive their 737 MAX aircraft in the next few months.”
Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has placed a firm order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The contract, which was signed in New Delhi on January 13, also includes purchase rights for 50 additional jets of an unspecified type. When added to SpiceJet’s existing orderbook for 42 MAX 8s, plus 13 examples that were previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s website, this increases the airline’s total commitment to 205 aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2018 and running through to 2024.
Ajay Singh, SpiceJet’s Chairman and Managing Director, remarked: “The Boeing 737 class of aircraft has been the backbone of our fleet since we began, with its high reliability, low operation economies and comfort. With the Next-Generation of 737 and the 737 MAX we are sure that we can be competitive and grow profitably.” He added that the 50 purchase rights include the option to select widebody aircraft, which SpiceJet could potential use for a new low-cost, long-haul operation.
Ray Conner, Boeing Vice Chairman, commented: “We are honoured to build upon more than a decade of partnership with SpiceJet with this commitment of up to 205 aeroplanes. The economics of the 737 MAXs will allow it to profitably open new markets, expand connectivity within India and beyond.”
Czech carrier Travel Service has finalised an order for five additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, valued at $550m at current list prices.
Travel Service, which already operates a fleet of 32 737s, initially placed an order for three 737 MAXs at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
“We are pleased to add more 737 MAXs to our original order and we look forward to receiving the first one to become the first airline to operate the 737 MAX in this region,” said Roman Vik, CEO, Travel Service.
Travel Service operates regular flights under the SmartWings brand, as well as charter flights and private business jet flights.
Monty Oliver, Vice President, European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “We are delighted that Travel Service continues to place its faith in our products with this new, increased order for the 737 MAX. This airplane will be a great addition to its fleet providing the airline with unmatched fuel efficiency and its passengers with superior comfort.”
Boeing and Iran Air have reached agreement over an order for 80 aircraft.
The Tehran-based carrier has signed a contract for 50 737 MAX 8s, 15 777-300ERs and 15 777-9s, valued at $16.6bn at list prices. The deal is based on a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed in June and was reached within the terms of the US Government licence issued to Boeing in September.
In a statement the manufacturer said it “coordinated closely with the US Government throughout the process leading up to the sale and continues to follow all licence requirements as it moves forward to implement the sales agreement”.
Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines has finalised an order for five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $1.32bn at current list prices.
The Chinese carrier announced at July’s Farnborough International Airshow that it intended to order 25 737 MAX 8s and the five Dreamliners, with the former deal confirmed last month.
“Donghai Airlines has undergone steady development over the past 10 years since the beginning of our freighter operations in 2006,” said Wong Cho-Bau, Chairman, Donghai Airlines. “Under China’s One Belt One Road initiative, we will accelerate our fleet expansion plan to satisfy the rapidly growing air travel market and help build our home base Shenzhen as the transportation hub in southern China. Introducing these new next-generation airplanes that deliver the industry-leading fuel efficiency and passenger comfort in their segment market will be a key effort for us to fulfill the plan.”
Donghai Airlines currently operates 13 Boeing 737-800s with its fleet expected to reach 15 by the end of the year.
Qatar Airways has signed a multi-billion dollar order with Boeing for up to 100 widebody and single-aisle aircraft.
The $11.7bn deal consists of 30 787-9 Dreamliners and ten 777-300ERs, increasing the Doha-based carrier’s firm commitments for the US manufacturer’s widebody aeroplanes from 65 to 105, including 60 next-generation 777Xs.
More significantly, the Qatari flag carrier has also signed a letter of Intent (LOI) for up to 60 737 MAX 8s, valued at an additional $6.9bn if converted into firm orders. This would be Boeing’s first single-aisle aircraft to serve with the airline’s fleet and marks a notable departure for the current all-Airbus narrowbody operator.
Qatar Airway’s Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, remarked: “We are already one of the fastest growing airlines in the history of aviation, today we announce a significant and historic aircraft order that will power our future growth for the years and the decades ahead.”
Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, commented: “We are so very proud that a discerning and market-leading customer like Qatar Airways not only continues to endorse our current products, but also has confidence in Boeing’s new technology that will soon be evident on the 777X and 737 MAX.”
The confirmation of the LOI for 737 MAX 8s will be a further blow to Airbus which is dealing with ongoing, but unrelated, issues with Qatar Airways’ A320neo and A350 deliveries. Addressing a press conference in Doha on August 31, Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is at risk of reporting a financial loss this year due to these ongoing issues.” He also told reporters that the airline had cancelled commitments for two A320neos – making three in total – because the company felt the jet and its engines are not meeting contractual obligations. He went on to say the airline would “keep on cancelling” orders as each jet passes its delivery date until the situation is resolved. Al Baker has since threatened to walk away from the entire 46-aircraft order.
Qatar Airways could receive its first MAX in 2018, but Al Baker insisted the decision to order Boeing single-aisle aircraft wasn’t intended as a retaliation against the European planemaker. He said the carrier does still want to follow through on its 2011 order for A320neo and A321neos, despite the ongoing issues with the type’s Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines. He said the delays left him with “no alternative” but to order the “reliable” narrowbody aircraft from Boeing, which is expected to enter service with launch customer Southwest Airlines next year.
Malaysia Airlines has been revealed as the customer for a previously unidentified order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The deal is valued a $2.75bn at current list prices and also includes 25 purchase rights for MAX 8 and MAX 9 airframes.
“This deal is a game-changer for Malaysia Airlines with much lower costs and greater efficiency which we will pass on to our loyal customers with lower fares,” said Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Officer Peter Bellew. “With the 737 MAX’s longer range capabilities we will be able to connect our passengers to more destinations, in greater comfort and with superior economics.”
The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier has operated almost every variant of the 737 family, taking delivery of its 100th example in December 2014. It currently operates 56 737-800s.
“Malaysia Airlines is now on a path to growth across the Asean region,” added Bellew. “This new aircraft order will set the stage for our continued recovery and success into the next decade.”
Southwest Airlines has brought forward plans to retire its Boeing 737-300s from 2018 to the third quarter of next year. The Texas-based carrier said the “removal of the type” would simplify its operations and resolve uncertainty surrounding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot training requirements for flying both the 737 Classic and 737 MAX 8.
A spokesman from Southwest said: “The FAA is not expected to complete training requirements until next year, the only solution now is to avoid flying both the Classics and the MAX. Therefore, the Classics will be retired in 2017 prior to the MAX being placed into revenue service. This is a viable and manageable solution, although not preferred. This accelerated retirement of the Classics will result in fewer aircraft and lower available seat mile (capacity) growth in 2017 than previously planned.”
Southwest’s 737 Classic fleet currently consists of 116 737-300s and 11 737-500s. The 737-500s are scheduled to be withdrawn from revenue service in September of this year. The airline also has 170 737 MAX 8s on order from Boeing, the first of which is due for delivery during the third quarter of 2017.