Miami-based leasing company 777 Partners has increased its commitment to new Boeing aircraft. However, rather than ordering the Boeing 777, with which it shares a name (though unrelated), the company is instead targeting the narrowbody 737 MAX, with additional commitments for 30 aircraft being revealed today.
Thursday will mark a year since the Boeing 737 MAX returned to the skies with paying passengers. The aircraft has clocked an impressive number of flights in that time, with more and more countries recertifying the plane. Orders of the narrowbody jet have also taken off once more, after remaining as good as non-existent while the aircraft remained grounded.
777 Partners wants the 737 MAX
Somewhat confusingly, 777 Partners has increased its commitments for the Boeing 737 MAX. 777 Partners first revealed that it was interested in the MAX during mid-March. At the time, the investment firm placed an order for 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with purchase rights for a further 60 aircraft.
Since then, the order has been increased, with 30 firm orders for Boeing’s narrowbody being placed today. This means that the company is now expecting a total of 68 aircraft, including both the 737 MAX 8, and its high capacity twin, the 737-8-200.
Who will fly the planes?
The aircraft will be delivered to 777 Partner affiliated carriers. In the portfolio on its website, the company lists two airlines, in particular, Flair Airlines in Canada and Australian startup Bonza. The 737-8-200 aircraft will likely be going to Bonza, will all of the airline’s concept art to date indicating as much.
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According to data from ch-aviation.com, 777 Partners has so far taken delivery of six 737 MAX aircraft, all of which have been placed with Canada’s Flair Airlines. Four further 737 MAX 8s are currently earmarked for the Canadian low-cost carrier.
The third 737 MAX 200 customer
With the order announced today, 777 Partners becomes the third customer of the 737 MAX 200. The aircraft is a special high-capacity version of the 737 MAX 8 that Boeing built with Ryanair in mind. The plane has an additional full-sized emergency exit on each side situated just behind the wing to accommodate more passengers.
As mentioned, the Ryanair Group was the launch customer of the type and has so far taken more than 30 of the kind across three subsidiaries Malta Air, Buzz, and Ryanair. Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet is also expecting to take delivery of the type, with ch-aviation.com reporting that the airline has 28 orders for the jet. So far, Boeing has taken over 270 orders just for the MAX 200.
777 Partners would be expected to feed the 737 MAX 200 into its Australian startup Bonza. The airline’s concept art shows that it is eyeing the high-capacity sub-type as an additional emergency exit is clearly visible behind the wing.
What do you make of 777 Partners’ increased order for the Boeing 737 MAX? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.