Boeing has convinced an all-Airbus airline in Asia to switch to its 737 single-aisle airliners in a new $4.9 billion order.
SilkAir, the regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, has committed to order 54 737s with options to buy 14 more. The 54 aircraft are worth $4.9 billion at Boeing’s list prices.
SilkAir Boeing 737 Max 8
The airline’s letter of intent commits Silk Air to buy 23 737-800 and 31 737 Max 8 aircraft from Boeing. The final details of the order remain to be settled.
SilkAir now operates 21 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft with three more of the Airbus planes due for delivery by the end of next year. Boeing will begin delivery of the 737s in 2014 and continue through 2021.
Those 737s will eventually replace all the Airbus planes.
SilkAir said it entertained proposals both from Boeing and Airbus. Both planemakers proposed a mix of existing models and their coming A320neo and 737 Max aircraft.
The neo and the Max are upgraded versions of the aircraft producers’ best-selling single aisle jets with new engines and upgraded aerodynamics. Both aircraft companies have promised better fuel economy in the new jets.
Boeing will build the SilkAir 737s at its plant in Renton.
Switching to the 737 from the A320 will mean retraining for SilkAir pilots, maintenance, cabin and ramp workers.
Airbus pilots use a sidestick controller to guide the A320. Boeing pilots use a conventional yoke.