Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways expects to buy 12 Boeing 777X jumbo jets in the second quarter, according to Chairman Trinh Van Quyet, in what would be a multi-billion-dollar boost for the US plane-maker after it failed to win a single order for any of its aircraft in January.
A deal that size would be valued at almost $5 billion based on sticker prices, though discounts are common. Quyet, who was speaking by phone with Bloomberg News, didn’t provide any financial details for the deal.
Bamboo Airways, which only started operating a year ago, plans to expand its fleet to 30 aircraft this quarter and to 50 by the end of the year. The company currently operates Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus SE A321neos and A320s. Its first European route -- Hanoi to Prague -- is scheduled to start on March 29.
Boeing’s long-range, widebody 777x is capable of flying more than 400 passengers in a two-class configuration and will be critical for the company as it continues to battle with the grounding of its best-selling 737 Max. After an initial flurry of orders for the 777x, the pipeline started to dry up. January was the second month of no deals for Boeing since the 737 Max flying ban began in March following two deadly crashes.
Boeing forecasts that Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new aircraft worth $710 billion over the next two decades. At the Singapore Airshow last week, senior sales executive Ihssane Mounir said the company was in discussions with customers for widebody jets and that orders were expected soon. He didn’t provide any names though. A Boeing spokesperson said Monday the company doesn’t comment on discussions with customers.
Bamboo Airways is owned by FLC Group JSC and plans to list on either the Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi stock exchanges this year. Vietnam is one of the the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, though there’s concern about overcrowding. Conglomerate Vingroup JSC last month abandoned plans to launch Vinpearl Air, saying such a move could lead to oversupply.