Boeing Co. has secured a deal for its grounded 737 MAX, a timely endorsement as the plane maker seeks regulatory approval for returning the aircraft to service. The order is from Kazakhstan’s newly-launched budget carrier.
The MAX deals, at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday, broke a five-month order drought for the plane, which has been grounded worldwide since March following its second fatal crash.
Kazakhstan’s national carrier Air Astana announced a letter of intent to purchase 30 of the 737-8 Max jets with a list price value of 3.6 billion for budget airliner FlyArystan. A day earlier at the airshow, Turkey’s SunExpress announced a purchase of 10 additional 737-8 Max jets for its fleet.
Airlines are likely negotiating competitive prices for the aircraft as Boeing talks to its already existing customer base about possible compensations related to the grounding of the jets and reaches settlements with relatives of victims who died.
Air Astana executives said details of the deal, including the final price, will be finalized in the coming months as the low-cost carrier scales its services from its current fleet of two A320 aircraft. FlyArystan began operations in May.
Air Astana’s Chief Planning Officer Alma Aliguzhinova said FlyArystan expects to start operations of the first 737 Max in late 2021, giving the company 18 months to observe its operations from when Boeing hopes to have the jet back in service globally.
What we see is that, as I said, we have time before we start operations, she said. So we are confident that this will be addressed by that time… We are confident in Boeing. In a major coup for Boeing not long after the second crash, one of the world’s largest airline groups IAG announced in June its intention to purchase 200 of the 737 Max jets.
Boeing competitor Airbus, meanwhile, also moved ahead with some deals on Tuesday after securing 30 billion in deals a day earlier at the airshow.
Saudi budget carrier flynas announced a firm order for 10 Airbus A321XLR, a deal estimated at USD 1.4 billion at list price. The purchase stems from a previous agreement for purchasing rights of the A320 narrowbody, bringing flynas’ order of the jets to 90.
Also, Air Senegal announced a memorandum of understanding to purchase eight Airbus A220 in an order worth 734 million at list price.
(With input from agencies)