The Boeing Company signed a contract—announced Monday—to provide Chinese budget airline Ruili Airlines with 60 new 737 Max jets within the next 10 years, although the exact delivery schedule has not been released. The $6.1 billion contract was brokered by Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. Ltd and AVIC International Leasing Co. Ltd.
One-year-old Ruili—based in Yunan Province—joins the boom in Chinese airlines beginning operations last year in response to loosened regulations in the industry, such as the moratorium on private airlines entering the market. Meanwhile, the increasing demand for travel by Chinese consumers gives companies like Ruili incentive to expand its current fleet of five planes.
China’s orders for new planes are being met by foreign companies like Boeing and the European Airbus Group NV, but Boeing China president Ian Thomas stated last year that Boeing will not be the only party to benefit from its transactions. “Boeing’s strategy in China will serve China’s national strategy as well as the demand from Chinese customers,” he said. “We not only sell aircraft in China, but we also support the future development of safety and efficiency in China’s aviation industry.”
According to Thomas, Boeing invested more than $800 million in China in 2014. They also sold 60 737s to Air China this past December. Its largest order to date from a Chinese carrier comes from a $7.4 million deal for 80 jets with China Eastern Airlines, signed in 2014.