The back story to a Chinese lessor sale of 737 MAX orders

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By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 28, 2023, © Leeham News: The order in February by Air India for 190 737 MAXes involves a backstory involving China that until now hasn’t been told. A subsequent sale by a Chinese lessor of all 737 MAX orders to a Middle Eastern lessor further reduces Boeing’s exposure to China.

The Air India was finalized at the June Paris Air Show. When Boeing announced its second quarter financial results the following month, the MAX inventory accumulated during the 21 month grounding of the type was reduced by 55 aircraft. These 55 MAXes were part of the inventory of 140 737s that were built for Chinese airlines and lessors.

Subsequently, the Chinese lessor CALC announced a deal to sell its entire MAX backlog of 54 to the Emirates lessor, DAE. Purchase rights to some 50 more MAXes were also transferred to DAE. This transaction left CALC with no 737s on its order books.

In its 2022 annual report, the most recent CALC financial statements available, the lessor wrote, “As at 31 December 2022, CALC had 226 aircraft on its orderbook, including 131 Airbus, 66 Boeing and 29 COMAC aircraft.”

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