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SpiceJet places firm order for 100 737 Max 8s

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has placed a firm order for 100 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, and revealed itself as the airline behind 13 Max 8's previously attributed to an unidentified customer.

The deal was announced today in New Delhi, says Boeing in a statement. In addition, SpiceJet has taken purchase rights for 50 additional aircraft of unspecified type.

When these transactions are added to SpiceJet's existing orderbook for 42 Max 8s, SpiceJet could receive up to 205 aircraft altogether.

The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered from 2018 to 2024.

In a press briefing with Indian media, SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh said that the 50 purchase rights include widebody aircraft, which SpiceJet could potentially use for a long-haul, low-cost operation.

"The Boeing 737 class of aircraft has been the backbone of our fleet since SpiceJet began, with its high reliability, low operation economies and comfort," says Singh. "With the next generation of 737 and the 737-8 we are sure that we can be competitive and grow profitably."

The -8s will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines.

In a series of tweets, the carrier says that the Boeing order “marks the beginning of a growth story for the next decade” for the company. It adds that it has achieved a record load factor of over 90% every month for 20 months in a row, as well as seven consecutive quarters of profit.

“The new planes will help capitalize on the robust demand forecast in the world’s fastest growing aviation market,” adds Singh. “SpiceJet's turnaround has been one which has very few parallels in the world today and we are proud of it.”

The massive order represents a successful turnaround of the carrier, following several days of shutdown in 2014 after severe cashflow problems. It also the largest ever Boeing aircraft order by an Indian carrier.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that SpiceJet currently operates a fleet of 47 aircraft, comprising 24 737-800s, two 737-700s, four 737-900ERs, and 17 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s.

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