Malaysia Airlines inks US$5.5 bil deal to buy Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

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PUTRAJAYA (July 27): Malaysia Airlines Bhd and Boeing inked a  deal for 25 firm orders and 25 purchase rights for the US aircraft maker's 737 MAX airplanes.

In a statement today, Malaysia Airlines said the deal is valued at US$5.5 billion at current list price and deliveries will begin in 2019.

Calling this deal a game-changer, the airline's chief executive officer Peter Bellew said the procurement will gives Malaysia Airlines much lower costs and greater efficiency which the company will pass on to its loyal customers with lower fares.

"With the 737 MAX's longer range capabilities, we will be able to connect our passengers to more destinations, in greater comfort and with superior economics," he said.

Bellew said these newly-ordered aircraft have more seats (180 seats) than the national carrier's current 160-seat fleet.

"(The) new CFM LEAP-1B engines, which combined with the advanced technology winglet and other aerodynamic improvements, will reduce fuel consumption by up to 15% in Malaysia's configuration and reduce operational noise emissions by 40%," Bellew said.

The other features in these aircraft includes new interior design, slimline seats with more leg room, and WiFi enabled internet.

"Malaysia Airlines is now on a path to growth across the ASEAN region. This new aircraft order will set the stage for our continued recovery and success into the next decade," said Bellew.

Malaysia Airlines has operated almost every derivative of the 737 airplane family and took delivery of its 100th 737 in December 2014.

The carrier currently operates 56 737-800s.

Under the current deal, Malaysia Airlines will take delivery of a mix of 737 MAX 9 and 737 MAX 8.

"The 737 MAX will continue the superior operating economics and reliability of the 737 that Malaysia Airlines has depended on for more than 40 years," Boeing Commercial Airplanes Asia Pacific and India sales senior vice president Dinesh Keskar said.

"We are honoured to continue our long partnership with Malaysia Airlines and welcome then to the growing 737 MAX family," he added.