Aerospace & Defense

Boeing's $11.3 Billion Order Ends Airbus Lock on Vietjet Fleet

Paul Ausick

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) announced Monday morning that it has finalized an order for 100 of its 737 MAX 200 aircraft with Vietnamese carrier Vietjet. The deal is valued at around $11.3 billion at a current list price of $112.9 million per copy.

Until this order, Vietjet had flown Airbus planes exclusively. The airline’s fleet includes 27 Airbus A320s and four A321s. The average age of the planes in the fleet is 3.9 years, and an additional two A320s and one A321 are on order.

Vietjet’s is the second large order for the MAX 200 variant of Boeing’s new 737 MAX family. The launch customer for the plane is Ryanair Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: RYAAY). The Ireland-based carrier ordered 100 of the planes in December of 2014 with an option on another 100.

The 737 MAX 200s are set to be delivered to Vietjet beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2023.

Both Ryanair and Vietjet are low-cost carriers and the MAX 200, with 200 seats, carries 11 more passengers than the MAX 8 or the Airbus A320neo. The Ryanair planes are reportedly going to be configured with 197 seats, just two short of the maximum before an additional flight attendant must be added to the plane’s cabin crew.

Through May 17, Boeing had taken a total of 157 net new orders in 2016, including 128 for various versions of its single-aisle 737. The May 17 report indicated that orders for the MAX family totaled just 26 for the first four-and-a-half months of the year.

This has been a slow year for new aircraft orders after the boom of the past few years. Boeing took 768 net new orders in 2015 and delivered 762 new airplanes.

Airbus wrote 1,080 new commercial jet orders in 2015, down from 1,456 in 2014. For 2016 the company has said it expects more than 700 net new orders.

Airbus has received just 92 net new orders through the first four months of 2016. That total does not include an announced commitment for 118 new planes from Iran Air in a deal reportedly worth $27 billion.

Both Boeing and Airbus may be lining up orders for the upcoming Farnborough Air Show in mid-July. Whatever the results, they won’t be anything like the hundreds of new orders booked in 2013 in Paris and 2014 in Farnborough. At this point though, either company should welcome any new orders it receives.

Boeing’s shares closed down about 0.5% on Friday at $127.39 and were inactive in Monday’s premarket. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.10 to $150.59.