In a much-needed win for the company, Boeing announced on November 18, 2019, at the Dubai Airshow it has sealed a deal with SunExpress for additional 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. With the order, the Turkish carrier becomes the second airline to endorse the grounded jet after International Airlines Group (IAG).
According to Boeing, SunExpress, a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, is exercising options for 10 further 737 MAX 8 jets, in addition to a previous deal for 32 MAX aircraft. The newly placed order is valued at $1.2 billion at list prices.
SunExpress initially ordered 15 737 MAX 8 jets, including options for another 10 MAX 8s, in 2014. It was part of a major purchase agreement for up to 50 Boeing aircraft, including 25 737-800NG airliners. Over the years, the Turkish carrier has steadily expanded its fleet of mostly Boeing 737s and currently operates 65 737-800 airplanes as well as seven Airbus A330-200s.
“We have a long standing, strong and trustful relationship with Boeing and thus we decided to turn our option into an order. We stand behind our strategic decision to phase the 737 MAX into our fleet for all of its economic and ecological advantages, mid- and long-term,” said CEO of SunExpress Jens Bischof in an official press release.
With the order, the carrier becomes the second to express confidence in the grounded aircraft since its grounding in March 2019. It follows IAG’s surprise announcement at the Paris Air Show in June 2019, declaring the group’s intention to acquire 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets. The order, signed in the form of a Letter of Intent (LoI), includes both 737-8 and 737-10 versions of the MAX and is valued at more than $24 billion at list prices.
SunExpress order can be considered as a major win for the manufacturer as it tries to shore up support for the MAX before the promised re-certification of the aircraft in Q4 of 2019.
“We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable, and efficient aircraft. However, it goes without saying that this requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model, granted by all relevant authorities,” commented Bischof in the press release, adding that, “Our utmost priority at SunExpress is and has always been safety.”
Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, stated his team was “honored and humbled” by the trust that SunExpress has placed in the company. He also expressed regret over the impact the MAX grounding has had on the Turkish leisure carrier.
This may also not be the last we hear of the 737 MAX at the ongoing Dubai Airshow. Rumors have emerged that Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet is holding talks with Boeing to purchase more MAX jets as part of the airline’s fleet expansion plans, Bloomberg reported on November 18, 2019.
SpiceJet has so far taken delivery of 13 737 MAX 8 planes and already has another 136 MAX jets on order from Boeing, according to the manufacturer’s order book as of October 31, 2019.