Boeing Now Has 214 Confirmed 737 MAX Orders From India

After years of drought and shrinking order books, Boeing has turned a page in the Indian domestic market. The American giant now has 214 confirmed 737 MAX orders from India, helping it claw back lost ground from rival Airbus. As narrowbodies remain the focus of the market, let’s look at Boeing’s recent successes.

SpiceJet 737 MAX
SpiceJet is the biggest operator of the 737 family in the country and has 155 MAXs on order from Boeing. Photo: Jonathan Payne via Flickr

Catching up

A few months ago, we discussed the dominance of Airbus over Boeing in the Indian market. Fast forward to this week and the American giant has made significant progress in India. From having its signature MAX jets not flying to clocking a new order to reaching a settlement with its biggest customer, the tide is turning.

Today, the manufacturer has firm orders for 214 737 MAX 8s from two customers, Akasa Air and SpiceJet. The former is Boeing’s newest client, having secured an order for 72 737 MAX jets at the Dubai Air Show this week. The latter is Boeing’s largest operator, with an order for 155 MAX 8s and 50 options. Of that, 13 aircraft were delivered before the grounding in March 2019, bringing outstanding orders to 132.

Boeing 737 MAX Getty
The 737 MAX has won approval from the DGCA, but SpiceJet is yet to reactivate its fleet. Photo: Getty Images

Including options, 264 is not an insignificant number, and Boeing has the potential to rack up more orders from airlines like Jet Airways in the future. While Airbus’ dominance is not broken yet, there is another shift taking place.

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How they stack up

For comparison, Airbus currently has orders for over 650 A320 family aircraft in India. A bulk of these come from market leader IndiGo, which has another 550 A320neo, A321neos, and A321XLRs on order from the European manufacturer. Go First and Vistara comes in at the second and third place respectively.

Air India is another major Airbus client but has no aircraft on order as of today. However, with Tata buying the carrier, there is a chance of a large order in the coming years as the airline modernizes its fleet.

Air India A320
Airbus has a diverse set of airlines that it serves in India, preventing another Jet Airways fall for the planemaker. Photo: Airbus

The large order book and diverse clients mean that Airbus will be more resilient to shocks in the market. The fall of Jet Airways set Boeing back years in its India growth, with over half of all narrowbody orders wiped out. However, the planemaker is back now, and it is looking to make a splash.

All could go well

If all goes well for Boeing, SpiceJet will start to take deliveries and fly the 737 MAX by the end of 2021, its current timeline. Meanwhile, Akasa Air’s success could mean subsequent orders for Boeing, setting up another IndiGo-like relationship in the market. However, all of this hinges on several variables, and nothing is set in stone.

For now, Boeing will be happy with its progress this week. With two airlines both flying the MAX in India, there is a chance it can regain a larger chunk of the vast South Asian market and continue its growth.

What do you think about Boeing’s presence in India? Let us know in the comment.

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