The Boeing Company has secured $20.7 billion in commitments from Chinese state-owned airlines and private leasing firms, according to an exclusive Reuters report. The deal represents China’s first orders for Boeing’s upgraded short-haul aircraft, the 737 Max. According to multiple sources, Boeing expects about 200 orders from the confidential deal.

Although details of the Chinese parties are still unknown, likely buyers include the country’s national procurement agency, China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, and leasing firms associated with Chinese banks. Before commitments are finalized, they must be approved by the Chinese government. However, buyers are getting in now in order to secure early delivery slots.

China’s aviation market is the fasted growing in the world. Boeing predicts that the country’s airlines will need more than 6,000 new airplanes worth $780 billion over the next two decades. Orders for single-aisle aircraft like the 737 will likely account for 70 percent of those new deliveries.

Posted by Catherine Matacic