Aircraft leasing business SMBC Aviation Capital has agreed to buy an additional 14 Boeing 737 MAX jets configured for low-cost carriers, with delivery starting later this year.
The company, a major Boeing customer, said the order is for jets that have already been built and will increase its fleet to 121 MAX aircraft.
Last year during the grounding of the MAX and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, SMBC deferred delivery of 68 jets by four years until 2025-2027 and indicated that it had not ruled out cancellations.
But Chief Executive Peter Barrett said he was confident in demand for the MAX, which he said was finding increasing acceptance after regulators cleared it to fly late last year after its two-year grounding.
“We thought this was a good opportunity to increase our portfolio of young, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly narrowbody aircraft – the kind of planes we think are going to be in demand as this recovery takes a firmer footing,” Barrett told Reuters.
“There seems to be good acceptance for the aircraft with airlines and customers.”
Aircraft leasing companies, which control more than 40 per cent of the global fleet, are among the largest MAX customers.
SMBC Aviation Capital is owned by a consortium including Japan’s Sumitomo and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.
Source: Civil Aviation Authority – Qatar