Boeing says India's Jet Airways signs firm order for 75 737 MAX jets

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Boeing BA.N said on Wednesday it has won a binding order from Jet Airways JET.NS for 75 of its 737 MAX narrowbody jets, as the Indian carrier expands to meet domestic passenger demand that has shown no sign of abating despite years of growth.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

Jet Airways, in a regulatory filing late on Tuesday, said it had entered an agreement to buy the aircraft, but it did not say whether the agreement was a formal order or a non-binding memorandum of understanding.

Boeing said in a statement that Jet Airways will be the first Indian airline to take delivery of the new and improved 737 jet.

Based on Boeing’s list prices, the deal could be worth between $7.2 billion and $9.7 billion depending on which 737 MAX variants the airline chooses. Airlines usually get significant discounts from manufacturers though, bringing costs well below list prices.

The 737 MAX can seat between 130 and 230 passengers, depending on the variant.

Shares of Jet Airways, which rose as much as 3.2 percent in Wednesday morning trade, closed 1.5 percent lower, as the wider Indian market pulled back late in the trading day.

The latest agreement comes as Indian airlines rush to expand fleets to meet ever-increasing demand for domestic as well as international flights, making it one of the most targeted sales markets for Boeing and European rival Airbus SE AIR.PA.

Boeing said in July it expected Indian airlines to order up to 2,100 aircraft worth $290 billion over the next 20 years, calling it the highest-ever forecast for Asia’s third-largest economy.

Domestic passenger traffic increased 17.9 percent in January from a year earlier for the 41st consecutive month of double-digit growth, according to data from the International Air Transport Association.

Jet Airways Chief Executive Vinay Dube last month told reporters the airline was hoping to close the latest deal by the end of March.

The airline finalised a separate deal to buy 75 other Boeing 737 MAX aircraft last year.

Reporting by Jamie Freed in SINGAPORE and Aditi Shah in NEW DELHI; Writing by Euan Rocha Editing by Christopher Cushing and Alexandra Hudson