Boeing has started Farnborough off on good footing with the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding with Xiamen Airlines, the state-owned subsidiary of China Southern Airlines, for the purchase of up to 30 737 MAX 200 aircraft, with list value of $3.39 billion.
This variant of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft can accommodate up to 200 passengers, and Boeing claims it offers “20 percent better fuel efficiency per seat than today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes.”
Ryanair became the launch customer for the 737 MAX 200 in 2014, with an order of 100 then valued at list of $11 Billion. Michael O’Leary described the aircraft as a “game changer” which would allow the airline to “lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room and the Boeing Sky Interior, as we roll out new offers, particularly for our Business Plus and Family Extra customers.”
Of today’s MOU with Xiamen Airlines, Boeing Commercial Airlines President and CEO Ray Conner said:
“The market-leading efficiency and reliability of the 737 MAX 200 will enable Xiamen and its subsidiaries to expand its growing network, while maintaining an optimal fleet. This MOU further demonstrates the strength of our enduring partnership and we look forward to finalizing the deal in the near future.”
Xiamen Airlines already operates an all-Boeing fleet of more than 140 aircraft, including 787 Dreamliners, 130 Next Generation 737s, and four 757s. It plans to add 200 aircraft to its fleet by the end of the decade.
The 737 MAX aircraft play a pivotal role in the airline’s plans for regional expansion.
Xiamen intends to put the MAX 200 model in service for its low cost subsidiaries, including Jiangxi Airlines and Hebei Airlines.
The agreement signed today requires the approval of the Xiamen Airlines board and the China Southern Airline Group board, as well as from the Chinese Government, before it can be finalised.