HONG KONG – China’s biggest airline said Thursday it’s buying more than a hundred Boeing 737 jets in a deal worth about $10 billion that comes just months after the U.S. plane maker announced plans to build a Chinese finishing plant for the aircraft type.
China Southern Airlines is buying 30 Boeing 737 Next Generation jets and 50 737 Max aircraft, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Its Xiamen Airlines unit is buying 30 of Boeing’s 737 Max jets.
The Next Generation planes have a list price of $81.2 million while the Max series aircraft sells for $96.1 million.
However, airlines usually negotiate discounts on such deals and the airline said it’s paying a “significantly lower” price.
The order comes nearly three months after Boeing Co. signed a deal with state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China to build its first final assembly plant in China, for 737 aircraft. The company also said at the time that it landed orders for 300 jets from Chinese companies.
Boeing is battling with Airbus to win market share in China, which is forecast to become the world’s biggest market for air travel and passenger airplanes thanks to booming demand from China’s rising middle class.
The Chicago-based company forecasts the country will need 6,330 new airplanes worth an estimated $950 billion over the next two decades.
The International Air Transport Association, an airline industry group, said last month that China would overtake the United States as the world’s top passenger market by 2029.
State-owned China Southern is the country’s biggest airline by passengers and fleet size.