Air Lease leads MAX order charge

Air Lease Corporation has signed a US$9.6 billion deal with Boeing for 78 aircraft, made up of commitments for 75 B737 MAX 8s and three B787-9s.

Among a further set of orders announced on the second day of the Farnborough International Airshow, to add to a healthy set of commitments from the previous day, was one valued at $2.34 billion signed with another lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG) for 20 MAX 8 aircraft. Another deal with Indian airline Vistara was valued at $2.8 billion for six B787-9 Dreamliners, with options for four more.

The headline order from Air Lease expands its B737 MAX portfolio to 213 jets. The trio of 787-9s and the first 20 737 MAX aircraft are firm purchases, with the subsequent 55 737 MAX aircraft being commitments not yet formally finalised.

The lessor also confirmed at the show that it has placed four MAX 8 aircraft on long-term lease with Belavia-Belarusian Airlines. The new CFM LEAP-1B25-powered aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020, with the first to be delivered from ALC’s order book with Boeing in May next year.

Aviation Capital Group’s order for 20 MAX 8s raises its direct purchase of MAX aircraft to 100, and includes MAX 8, 9 and 10 variants. ACG first placed orders for the MAX 8 and 9 in 2012 and became part of the launch group for the MAX 10 last year.

According to Boeing’s latest market outlook, airlines will need 31,360 new single-aisle aircraft over the next 20 years, representing a 6% increase over last year’s estimate. The demand, it says, is being fuelled by the success of low-fare carriers and the need to fulfill growth and replacement needs for single-aisle jets.

In the wide-body sector, which has taken something of a back seat at the airshow so far, the deal with Vistara – the joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Group – will see the airline become the first operator in India of the 787-9. The initial six, with the purchase options for four more, will help it launch long-haul operations.


Primera fleet care

Latvia’s Primera Air also signed a global fleet care agreement at the airshow with Boeing for its 737 MAX and Next-Generation 737 fleets. Boeing will provide engineering services, material services and line and heavy maintenance execution services. Primera has a fleet of nine Next-Generation B737s and in January last year ordered up to 20 MAX 9s.

China’s Xiamen Airlines was another to sign up with Boeing, this time for an optimised maintenance programme agreement, becoming the first Chinese carrier to use the analytics-powered service. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) recently accepted Xiamen Airlines proposal to use the optimised maintenance programme. The airline operates an all-Boeing fleet with 168 aircraft currently in use with an additional 66 on order (one 737NG, 55 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 10s).

On the narrow-body freighter front, Boeing and GECAS also signed an agreement for 35 additional 737-800 converted freighters. The deal, which includes 20 firm orders and an option for 15 more, would take GECAS’ 737-800BCF order book from 15 to 50. With the latest order, GECAS will commit nearly $1.5 billion worth of 737-800s with conversions to the narrow-body freighter sector.

Another agreement by Boeing with Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding saw a letter of intent signed for the $9.8 billion purchase of 29 B777 Freighters, confirmation of a $2 billion order for five B747-8 Freighters, and an agreement to work together on future freighter projects.


Written by: Mark Thomas

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