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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

VietJet places $13bn order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes

Vietnam's first privately owned airline will become the largest MAX 10 customer in Asia once the deal is completed

A Boeing 737 Max jetliner. VietJet has ordered 100 planes to satisfy surging demand. Bloomberg
A Boeing 737 Max jetliner. VietJet has ordered 100 planes to satisfy surging demand. Bloomberg

Boeing struck a new deal for 100 passenger jets with Vietnamese budget airline VietJet Air on Wednesday, deepening a battle for market share against rival Airbus in one of South East Asia's hottest markets.

Boeing and VietJet signed the provisional order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes worth almost $13 billion at list prices at the Farnborough Airshow in southern England.

Of these, 80 are the recently launched 737 MAX 10 - the largest version of Boeing's best-selling 737 range - and 20 are the benchmark 737 MAX 8 model.

"The growth is incredibly strong in South East Asia," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister. "VietJet is a major player there."

The draft deal comes two years after Boeing upstaged Airbus by clinching an order for 100 737 MAX jets during a visit by then-US President Barack Obama.

Until then, VietJet had only ordered planes from Airbus, including a bumper order for 92 jets in December 2013.

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However, aircraft finance industry sources have expressed doubts over whether all the planes on order would be delivered on schedule amid a glut of airplane orders in the region.

VietJet CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao insisted on Wednesday the airline would use both the A320 and 737 aircraft in its fleet and would have "no problem" taking delivery.

The companies said VietJet, one of the fastest-growing carriers in South East Asia, needed the planes to satisfy surging demand on high-density domestic routes as well as popular routes throughout Asia.

Vietnam's first privately owned airline will become the largest MAX 10 customer in Asia once the deal is completed, with deliveries due in 2022-2025, the companies said.