Boeing’s embattled 737 Max jet has got another boost at the Dubai Airshow.
An order from Kazakhstan’s newly-launched budget carrier came as the Chicago-based company works to try and win US regulatory approval to get the plane back in the sky by early next year.
The plane has been grounded around the world after two crashes that killed 346 people.
We are honored to share that Air Astana intends to order 30 737 MAX airplanes to grow their new airline @FlyArystan. Thank you @airastana for your trust and confidence in us. #DubaiAirshow— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) November 19, 2019
RELEASE: https://t.co/52kFrUP6E0 pic.twitter.com/evktHK1Alg
The jet’s automated flight control system has been blamed in part in the crashes that occurred after take-off from Indonesia in October of last year and from Ethiopia in March.
Still, the single-aisle jet managed to secure some deals at the airshow.
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 US dollars for its new 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 perished.
Air Astana executives said details of the deal, including the final price, will be finalised in the coming months as the newly-launched 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 US dollars in deals a day earlier at the airshow.
Air Senegal announced a memorandum of understanding to purchase eight Airbus A220s in an order worth 734 million US dollars at list price.
Airbus also secured purchases from British budget carrier easyJet, which said it will order 12 additional A320neos it previously had options to buy, pushing the airline’s total order for the single-aisle plane to 159.
The airline operates across Europe with a fleet of entirely Airbus aircraft, serving 155 European airports.
The list price of the A320neo in 2018 was 110.6 million US dollars, making the order for 12 worth about 1.3 billion US dollars.
Airlines, however, typically negotiate better prices.