Boeing have announced today that South Korean low cost carrier, Jeju Air, have placed an order for up to 50 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The order is the largest from any South Korean carrier and is worth $5.9bn.
Not only is this the largest order for the 737 MAX 8 from a South Korean carrier, it’s also the largest order of a single aircraft model in numbers from that nation too. It’s a clear reflection of the rising demand for air travel in the country.
President and CEO of Juju Air, Seok-Joo Lee, commented on the ‘superior performance and economics’ of the 787 MAX 8, saying it was integral to their plans to expand beyond Asia.
“With Korea’s growing commercial aviation market, we are excited to take the next step in expanding our business with the 737 MAX, a world-class airplane that will allow us to improve our operation and continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our passengers.”
Who are Jeju Air?
Based on the South Korean Jeju Island, the airline launched in 2005 as the first low cost carrier in the country. Currently operating a fleet of 39 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, they run routes between several cities in South Korea, including to Japan, China, Russia and various Southeast Asian countries.
They are a founder member of the Value Alliance, the second alliance in the world to consist only of low cost carriers. Other members include Scoot, Nok Air, Cebu Pacific and Tigerair Australia. Moving around 92 million passengers a year, they are the fourth largest alliance in the world after the big three.
Over the past decade, Jeju Air have expanded rapidly, achieving 25% sales growth over the past five years and recording 17 consecutive profitable quarters. They currently serve 60 different routes both domestically and internationally and operate around 200 flights per day.
The Jeju Air 787 MAX 8 order
Boeing have said Jeju have confirmed an order for 40 aircraft, with an additional 10 retained as options. The initial order of 40 is valued at $4.4bn, with the total order including options coming in at $5.9bn.
The 787 MAX 8 provides better fuel efficiency, up 14% according to Boeing. This is thanks, in part, to a more aerodynamic construction, including the Advanced Technology winglets, as well as the more efficiency CFM International LEAP-1B engines.
Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company, commented,
“We are extremely proud that Jeju Air has become a leader in the vibrant LCC market by flying the Boeing 737. And we are delighted that the airline has chosen to build their future fleet with this major order for the 737 MAX”
The 737 MAX is the fastest swelling aircraft to come out of the Boeing stable. In fact, it’s so popular Boeing are struggling to keep up with production. They say there have been around 4,800 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide to date.
From a passenger point of view, they are not the most popular aircraft to fly on, particularly if you like to fly a higher tier than economy.
Recent bad press following the Lion Air crash pointed to Boeing leaving crucial information out of training and manuals, for which they have now issued guidance.
This doesn’t seem to be putting off carriers from ordering though, as today’s massive order from Juju Air just goes to show.