China Eastern Airlines has placed a major order for 80 new Boeing 737 aircraft.
The Shanghai-based carrier, which earlier this year agreed to buy 70 new single-aisle aircraft from Airbus, has now balanced out its acquisition strategy by placing an order for 80 B737s, comprising both the standard model and the new fuel-efficient B737 MAX. The deal is worth more than US$8 billion at current list prices and becomes the largest ever purchase of single-aisle jets by a Chinese airline.
“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, Boeing’s vice president of sales & marketing for Northeast Asia.
“We share an enduring partnership with China Eastern and we are excited to see that the 737 family of airplanes will play an important role in their continued success.”
Following this latest deal, February’s purchase of 70 Airbus A320neos, and other outstanding orders, China Eastern now expects to take delivery of more than 80 A320s and 115 new B737s in the next decade. These will add to the airline’s existing fleet of approximately 320 single-aisle aircraft.
And while some of the airline’s older B737s will be phased out as the new aircraft arrive, China Eastern is still expected to operate a short-haul fleet totalling approximately 500 aircraft by the time all these new aircraft are delivered, making it one of the biggest airlines in the world.
As well as its main bases at Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports, China Eastern is the biggest operator in the southwest city of Kunming and has a large base at Xi’an.