April 20, 2020 / 1:34 AM / 2 months ago

China's CDB Financial scraps purchase of 29 Boeing 737 MAX jets

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 Max aircraft is seen parked in a storage area at the company's production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

SYDNEY (Reuters) - China Development Bank (CDB) Financial Leasing Co (1606.HK) said on Monday it had agreed with Boeing Co (BA.N) to cancel the purchase of 29 undelivered 737 MAX jets, adding to a string of recent cancellations of the grounded airplane.

The model has been grounded globally for more than a year following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“In light of evolving aviation market dynamics, we’ve been working together with Boeing over many months to re-calibrate our MAX orderbook to be in line with our long-term view of the market and related opportunities,” Xuedong Wang, chairman of CDB Financial unit CDB Aviation, said in a statement.

The lessor said it retained an order for another 70 of the planes that also have yet to be delivered.

Boeing recorded a total of 150 MAX cancellations in March, including 75 from Irish leasing company Avolon. Boeing remains in talks with regulators seeking approval to return the plane to service, but its customers have also seen a sharp fall-off in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing said in a statement it continued to partner with leasing company customers to help them balance their portfolios in a challenging market.

“As we work to return the 737 MAX to service, our focus remains on addressing our customers’ fleet needs while optimising the delivery of the more than 4,000 airplanes in our 737 backlog,” it said.

“As market conditions normalise, Boeing anticipates that lessors who have restructured or reduced their orderbooks will continue to add MAX aircraft to their portfolios through sale leaseback agreements with airlines,” the planemaker said. “Longer term we expect these lessors will again place orders for direct MAX purchases.”

CDB Financial Leasing said that all 737 MAX 10 jets still on order will be switched to the smaller 737 MAX 8 model, and 20 deliveries will be deferred to dates in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Editing by Tom Hogue and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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