Boeing Co. is set to score a 15-strong order for 737 Max jets from Greater Bay Airlines Co., a person familiar with the matter said, a win for the US company over rival Airbus SE, which had also been vying to supply planes that will be the backbone of the Hong Kong carrier’s operations.
Greater Bay Air has settled for 737-9 aircraft that will seat 200 passengers, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing information that isn’t public. It should start to take delivery of some of the jets, which are 20% more fuel efficient than their predecessor, from mid 2024, the person said.
A representative for Greater Bay Air declined to comment. Boeing didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greater Bay Air, which started flying in July last year, has three current-generation 737 jets operating between Hong Kong and four Asian cities including Tokyo and Bangkok. It plans to launch mainland Chinese flights to Beijing and Shanghai and to Osaka in central Japan, according to the company’s website.
Each 737-9 Max jet is valued at $52.3 million based on 2022 prices, according to figures from aircraft appraiser Avitas Inc., meaning the transaction would be worth around $785 million, although airlines typically negotiate steep discounts on large orders.
Greater Bay Air’s founder, property magnate Bill Wong, also set up Donghai Airlines Co., which is based in Shenzhen and operates a fleet of 23 Boeing 737 jets.
Greater Bay Air is attempting to be a challenger to Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., as well as Cathay’s budget unit HK Express, for flights around Asia.
Shares of Boeing were little changed in early trading, down 0.1% to $214.60 as of 9:45 a.m. in New York.