Jet Airways India purchased another 75 of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft for about $8.8 billion as it looks to continue rapid expansion in the world’s fastest-growing major aviation market.
The latest purchase brings the airline’s backlog for the narrowbody plane to 225, Jet Airways said in a statement. It already placed two 75-plane orders, the most recent in April, with the first 737 Max delivery arriving last week.
Mumbai-based Jet Airways and rivals are expanding fleets as demand for domestic flights surges.
Rival SpiceJet has ordered more than 200 single-aisle aircraft from Boeing, while market leader IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation, is the biggest customer for Airbus’ competing A320neo plane.
Jet Airways, which didn’t detail which 737 variant it opted for, has historically gone with the best-selling -8 model, though its Chairman Naresh Goyal said last month it has the flexibility to upscale to bigger versions.
The carrier also has ten 787 wide-body jetliners on order though the airline may not take the aircraft as it reviews its network.
Jet Airways is part-owned by Etihad Airways. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier bought a 24 percent stake in the carrier in 2013.
Boeing also announced an order from Bamboo Airways, a Vietnamese start-up, who signed a commitment for 20 of Boeing’s twin-aisle 787-9 Dreamliners, worth about $5.6 billion before customary discounts.
The carrier plans to begin commercial service next year from its base in Hanoi, Vietnam, flying first within the country before expanding to markets such as China, South Korea and Japan.
The two deals underscore the tilt of the aerospace market to Asia, where airlines are stocking up on aircraft to serve a rapidly expanding middle class.
The orders also show that Boeing has access to a wider market in the region beyond China, where it could become an easy target if trade tensions with the US escalate.
Premier Li Keqiang said Monday that the Asian giant is willing to step up cooperation with Airbus.
“While China is a big and important market, there are other markets in Asia that are in demand,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consulting firm Endau Analytics in Malaysia. “Southeast Asia is a gold mine.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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