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Boeing's Troubled 737 Max Gets a Big Buyer

International Airlines Group seeks 200, at a discount
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2019 8:33 AM CDT
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In this May 8, 2019, file photo, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner being built for Turkish Airlines takes off on a test flight in Renton, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – The owner of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus plans to buy 200 of Boeing's troubled 737 Max jets—the first inkling of an order since the planes were grounded three months ago. Boeing revealed the plan by International Airlines Group, spelled out in a letter of intent, at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. It's "a huge vote of confidence" for the jets involved in two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people, per CNN. As a result of those crashes—which prompted Boeing to work on fixing an automatic safety feature—the order is likely to be heavily discounted from a list price of $24 billion.

"We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months," said IAG CEO Willie Walsh. The move marks a change for IAG, which almost exclusively operates planes from Airbus' A320 series. "We can't thank you enough for the confidence you placed in the Boeing family," the company's head of commercial airplanes, Kevin McAllister, told Walsh, per Reuters. With Boeing facing a backlog of orders for nearly 5,000 737 Max jets, IAG isn't expected to take delivery until 2023 at the earliest. (Boeing's CEO thinks the jet will be back in the air this year.)

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