Boeing secures its largest order ever for 230 737s, pushing MAX orders past 1,000

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The Boeing Co. kicked off the Singapore Air Show on Tuesday on a high note by locking in its biggest aircraft order ever.

The deal with Indonesian carrier Lion Air for 230 Boeing jets, valued at $22.4 billion at list prices, was announced as a tentative agreement last November. But the deal, which also gives Lion Air the rights to buy up to 150 additional aircraft, was recently finalized. Lion Air plans to pay for the planes over 12 years with bank financing.

Lion Air’s order includes 201 of Boeing’s re-engined 737, called the 737 MAX, and 29 extended-range 737-900s. Securing the Lion Air order is a big win for Boeing because it was considered something of a long shot when it was first announced in November. The order will more than quadruple the current fleet at Lion Air.

Until the deal was confirmed, Boeing’s biggest firm order was from Southwest Airlines Co. for 208 planes valued at $19 billion at list prices. Airlines commonly get discounts. Southwest will be the first customer to get the 737 MAX, which is still in testing. It’s scheduled for delivery in 2017.

The order gives Boeing’s backlog a nice boost, especially for the 737 MAX. The jet maker said it has more than 1,000 orders and commitments for the re-engined jet, which will be assembled in Renton. Boeing is expected to firm up many of those commitments this year and likely take back the aircraft orders title from rival Airbus, which has enjoyed sales success with its A320neo.

The European company beat Boeing to the punch, launching its re-engined single-aisle A320 in December 2010. Boeing announced the 737 MAX last August.

Other news announced at the air show Tuesday:

Boeing Edge: Boeing launched a new initiative for providing aviation services and support on Tuesday. Its services division provides four core capabilities for carriers that buy Boeing jets: material, flight, fleet and information services. The jet maker estimates the market for these services over the next 20 years will reach $2.3 trillion.

Service deal: Singapore Airlines Cargo signed an agreement with Boeing for engineering and materials services on the carrier’s fleet of 13 747-400 freighters. The coverage plan, called GoldCare, initially was designed for the 787 but falls under the new Boeing Edge services program.

747-8 Intercontinental: Boeing announced Tuesday that it will deliver the first 747-8 passenger plane on Feb. 27. The revamped jumbo jet is going to a private customer. It will depart from Everett’s Paine Field on Feb. 28.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.