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DUBAI: Boeing announced its first big order at a major air show in Dubai on Tuesday, saying India’s new carrier Akasa Air ordered 72 737 MAX aircraft.

“The new Indian carrier has ordered (72) 737 MAX airplanes to build its fleet,” the US aerospace giant said in a statement, adding that it was valued at nearly $9 billion at list prices.

Akasa Air has ordered two variants of the 737 MAX family, including the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200.
“We are delighted to partner with Boeing for our first airplane order and thank them for their trust and confidence in Akasa Air business plan and leadership team,” the airlines CEO Vinay Dube said, according to the statement.

“India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential. We are already witnessing a strong recovery in the air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us.”

Boeing had said on Sunday that it would fulfil an order to convert 11 single-aisle 737s into cargo aircraft, as the aviation industry slowly recovers from a Covid-induced downturn.

Boeing’s 737 MAX returned to the skies last year after the entire fleet was grounded for 20 months; following two crashes, in Ethiopia and Indonesia, that left 346 people dead.

“We are honoured that Akasa Air… has placed its trust in the 737 family to drive affordable passenger service in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation regions,” Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, according to the statement.

Almost 370 of the planes remain in inventory and Boeing chief executive David Calhoun has said that it will take two years to sell them all.

The 737 MAX has also yet to be recertified in China, a major market for aircraft makers. Boeing’s production plans will depend on access to the Chinese market, Calhoun said.

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