Vietnam's Bamboo Airways and VietJet Aviation signed deals to buy 110 aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing Co. during President Donald Trump's visit to Hanoi for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Bamboo agreed to purchase 10 787-9 Dreamliners worth about $3 billion, while VietJet's order is for 100 737 Max planes valued at $12.7 billion, Boeing said Wednesday. VietJet's 100-plane commitment was unveiled at the Farnborough air show last year. The accords were signed in the presence of Trump and Vietnam's President Nguyen Phu Trong.
Vietnam's airlines are expanding their fleets as rising incomes and the region's growing economies are spurring many to fly for the first time, boosting demand in the Asia Pacific, whose air-travel market is projected to surpass that of North America and Europe combined. Demand in Vietnam is also expected to climb after U.S. regulators last month gave their approval to the nation's air-safety system, making its airlines eligible to begin direct flights to the U.S. and codeshare with American carriers.
The planemaker had been involved in the effort to get the safety rating, which would allow state-owned Vietnam Airlines to launch nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and proceed with a long-planned order for either Boeing 777-8 or Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
Vietnam Airlines is considering purchasing as many as 100 737 Max planes this year to replace its aging fleet of Airbus SE single-aisle jets, with the new aircraft due for delivery between 2020 and 2030, Chief Executive Officer Duong Tri Thanh said in an interview last week. It may also buy long-range aircraft in preparation for flights to California.
Bamboo plans to order as many as 25 narrow- and wide-body Boeing aircraft this year, on top of the 10 Dreamliners it agreed to buy Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter. The carrier has said it plans to fly to the U.S. later this year or early 2020, with possible routes to Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Separately, General Electric Co. signed a $5.3 billion deal with VietJet to service engines for 200 Boeing 737 Max aircraft on order.