SpiceJet said on Monday that it has signed an agreement to buy a stretched version of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft that can fly more passengers and help overcome slot constraints at some local airports.
At the ongoing Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, the airline said it has signed a memorandum of understanding for 40 737 Max aircraft which are valued at approximately $4.74 billion at current list prices.
These include 20 new orders for the 737 Max 10 and conversion of 20 of the low-cost carrier’s 737 Max 8 aeroplanes of its current order to 737 Max 10s.
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Airlines typically pay less than 3% to book these planes and closer to date of delivery sell them and lease them back for their use.
“As a Boeing 737 operator and current customer of the 737 Max, we are proud to be a part of the launch of the 737 Max 10 and to be the first airline in India to order the newest version of the 737, which will enable us to maximize revenue on our dense routes while having a lower unit seat cost," SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said in a statement.
The Boeing 737 Max 10 is about 5.5ft longer than its current 737 Max 9 and can seat 180-230 passengers, as against the Max 9’s 178 seats. The plane is likely to be in service by 2020.
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It was launched by Boeing at the air show and will compete with Airbus’s similar offering, which can seat 240 passengers.
SpiceJet operates a fleet of 35 737s and 19 Bombardier Q400s. The carrier said in the same statement that it plans to grow its operational fleet to 100 aeroplanes by 2020 and looks to expand regionally with the new 737 Max family of aeroplanes.