UPDATE 2-Air Canada to buy up to 109 Boeing 737 MAX planes

Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:28pm EST
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By Tim Hepher and Susan Taylor

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Air Canada said on Wednesday it will purchase up to 109 of Boeing Co's 737 MAX under its narrow-body fleet renewal plan, a major win for the aircraft maker and significant shift in supplier for Canada's largest carrier.

The agreement, which includes 61 firm orders, will replace Air Canada's existing mainline fleet of Airbus narrow-body aircraft, the carrier said, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

The deal marks a substantial competitive victory for Boeing over Airbus and a rebound on its home turf after Airbus displaced it at low-cost Mexican airline VivaAerobus in a fierce contest earlier this year.

Boeing said once finalized, the firm order for the 61 737 MAX aircraft is expected to be worth $6.5 billion at list prices.

Aircraft are typically sold below the list price, especially when manufacturers are trying to persuade an airline to switch suppliers. But major plane makers also have the firepower to cut attractive deals when necessary on their best-selling aircraft and still make money.

The deal includes commitments, options and rights on another 48 planes as well as an agreement for Boeing to purchase up to 20 of Air Canada's fleet of 45 Embraer E190 aircraft.

Montreal-based Air Canada's mainline fleet of single-aisle aircraft includes 41 Airbus A320, 35 A319 and 10 A321 jets, according to its website, leaving only a handful of Airbus planes once completed.   Continued...