Air Canada finalizes order for Boeing 737 MAXs

TORONTO, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 11:08am EDT

TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - Air Canada, Canada's largest airline, finalized its order for 61 Boeing Co 737 Max single-aisle jets, the companies said on Tuesday, completing the first phase of the carrier's narrow-body fleet renewal plan.

The order for the 737 MAX planes, valued at $6.5 billion at list prices, was first announced in December and is a major win for the U.S. aircraft maker. It also marks a significant supplier shift for the Montreal-based airline.

The deal includes commitments, options and rights on another 48 planes, as well as an agreement for Boeing to purchase up to 20 of Air Canada's fleet of 45 Embraer SA E190 aircraft.

It will review its options for the remaining 25 Embraer planes and Bombardier Inc's brand new CSeries planes could be a replacement contender for Air Canada, analysts have said.

Airlines rarely switch between different aircraft suppliers due to the high costs associated with training, maintenance and parts. Air Canada currently operates a mainline fleet of single-aisle planes that include 41 Airbus A320, 35 A319 and 10 A321 jets, according to its website.

The 737 MAX is expected to see its maiden flight in 2016 and be delivered to customers starting the third quarter of 2017, Boeing said. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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