Vietnam Airlines committed to acquire 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to expand its fleet, an order worth about $7 billion based on list prices for Boeing’s top-selling jet series. Neither the OEM nor its customer offered confirmation of the order value.
In a separate order, jet-leasing group SMBC Aviation Capital booked orders for 25 of the same 737-8s, meaning its total backlog for 73 MAX jets is now up to 81 aircraft. According to list prices, the SMBC order would carry a value of $3.5 billion.
Both new orders confirm the continuing demand for new and expanded fleet capacity, to address forecast demand for air service worldwide. Boeing has drawn over 400 orders for new 737 MAX jets during 2023.
"The 737-8's incredible versatility and unrivalled fuel-efficiency makes it a key asset for the leasing community in its drive to help airlines achieve sustainability and efficiency goals," according to Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal.
And, according to Boeing SVP Brad McMullen: "Southeast Asia is one of the world's fastest growing aviation markets, and the 737 MAX is the perfect airplane for Vietnam Airlines to efficiently meet that regional demand."
Boeing and Vietnam Airlines announced their deal during a signing ceremony involving President Biden, U.S. Sec. of State Anthony Blinken, and other administration officials, as well as Vietnamese government officials. "In line with Vietnam Airlines' 2025-2030 fleet strategy and a vision to 2035, aircraft investment is a crucial project that underpins positive recovery momentum and prosperous outlook for the airline,” stated Vietnam Airlines chairman Dang Ngoc Hoa. "The new narrow-body fleet will allow us to foster our overall development and extend our high-quality service on Vietnam Airlines' domestic and Asian routes, as well as modernize our fuel-efficient fleet."
Vietnam Airlines is the state-owned carrier with hubs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and serving 21 domestic and 29 international destinations in 17 countries. The airline’s current fleet includes 96 passenger jets, including 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. All of its narrow-body aircraft are Airbus A321 and A321neo jets.
The 737 MAX 8 is the first version of the MAX series introduced by Boeing, with seating for 178 to 210 passengers, depending on configuration. It has a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500km / 4,000 miles), and as reported by Boeing it “reduces fuel use and carbon emissions by 20% and has a smaller noise footprint than airplanes it replaces.”