Boeing gained a measure of redemption at the Dubai Airshow Monday afternoon when Turkish and German leisure carrier SunExpress converted options on ten 737 Max 8s to firm order status. The deal, worth $1.2 billion at list prices, adds to a previous SunExpress order for 32 Max jets.
Appearing together at a signing ceremony in the show hall, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal and SunExpress CEO Jens Bischof celebrated the significance of the contract, which marked the only firm order of the Max since its grounding in March. Although Boeing continued to target re-certification by the end of the year, Deal and Bischof declined to identify the timing of deliveries.
"We have a long-standing, strong, and trustful relationship with Boeing and thus we decided to turn our option into an order,” explained Bischof. “We stand behind our strategic decision to phase the 737 MAX into our fleet for all of its economic and ecological advantages, mid- and long-term. We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable, and efficient aircraft. However, it goes without saying that this requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model, granted by all relevant authorities. Our utmost priority at SunExpress is and has always been safety."
The airline, which specializes in offering direct connections between Europe, Turkey, and several leisure destinations, has grown significantly in recent years with the expansion of its fleet of mainly Boeing 737s. Last year, SunExpress's passenger count climbed to nearly 10 million across roughly 100 destinations.