China Eastern Airlines to buy 80 Boeing 737s

AFP, WASHINGTON

Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 13

US aerospace giant Boeing said on Friday that China Eastern Airlines (中國東方航空) has agreed to buy 80 737 aircraft, its biggest single-aisle purchase to date by a Chinese airline.

The deal, a mix of current 737s and the new 737 MAX model, is worth more than US$8 billion deal at list prices, Boeing said. Airlines typically receive discounts on orders.

“We look forward to making history with China Eastern as they are poised to make the largest purchase for single-aisle airplanes by a Chinese airline,” said Ihssane Mounir, vice president of Boeing’s sales and marketing for Northeast Asia.

Boeing did not provide details on the breakdown of the plane models or delivery dates.

Last month, Boeing’s arch-rival, European aircraft maker Airbus, won an order from China Southern Airlines for 80 single-aisle A320s with a list value of US$7.9 billion.

State-controlled China Eastern, headquartered in Shanghai, operates a fleet of more than 430 aircraft, including Boeing and Airbus jetliners.

In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday, China Eastern said it had agreed to buy 80 Boeing airplanes valued at US$7.4 billion, citing Boeing’s 2012 list prices.

The airline said it received “substantive price concessions” and as a result it was buying the aircraft significantly below the list price and at even more favorable terms than those under a 2012 deal with Boeing to buy 20 777-300ERs.

China Eastern also did not reveal the breakdown of the airplanes, saying only they were “mainly” the energy-efficient 737 MAX series.

The airline said it decided to buy the Boeing aircraft due to market demand and the company’s strategy to build a route network with Shanghai as the core hub and Xian and Kunming as the regional hubs.