Air India close to signing deal for 150 Boeing 737 Max jets, Economic Times reports

A bird flies over a logo of Air India airlines at the corporate headquarters in Mumbai, India, October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Air India is close to signing an order with Boeing Co to acquire up to 150 737 Max jets, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Saturday, citing sources.

The Tata Group-owned Indian carrier will likely place a firm order for 50 737 Max planes with an option to pick up as many as 150, the ET report said.

Industry sources had said in July that Air India was moving closer to a decision on a mega order worth $50 billion at list prices to be split between Airbus and Boeing, which included up to 300 narrowbody and 70 widebody jets.

The reported order would be a win for Boeing, which has said that it was looking to boost its capacity in India to keep pace with rising demand in the world's fastest-growing major aviation market.

Boeing's last mega order in India came in 2021 when low-cost airline Akasa struck a deal to buy 72 737 MAX jets, valued at nearly $9 billion at list prices.

Indian skies are dominated by low-cost carriers including IndiGo (INGL.NS), SpiceJet (SPJT.NS) and AirAsia India, with majority of them operating Airbus (AIR.PA) narrowbody planes. SpiceJet, Boeing's biggest customer in India, has 155 MAX planes on order.

Boeing declined to comment, saying it would "defer to Air India" for a response. Air India did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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