Xiamen Air Said to Discuss Order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX Jets

Xiamen Airlines Co., China’s only all-Boeing Co. (BA) carrier, is in talks about ordering 30 737 MAX planes as it expands domestic and international services, an official at the airline said.

Negotiations are at an early stage and the carrier could instead opt for Airbus SAS (EAD) A320neo aircraft, said the official, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. The order would be worth as much as $3.2 billion at list prices. Carriers typically get discounts.

Xiamen Air, a unit of China Southern Airlines Co., agreed to order 40 737-800s earlier this month as China’s rising wages spur travel in the world’s most populous nation. The MAX and A320neo are revamped versions of Airbus and Boeing’s bestselling aircraft, featuring new engines and other improvements designed to help reduce fuel use.

Boeing doesn’t comment on discussions with customers, said Wang Yukui, a Beijing-based spokesman for the planemaker.

The 737 MAX is due to enter service in 2017, two years after the A320neo. Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China is also working on a new narrow-body plane, the C919, which is scheduled to begin test flights in 2014.

China Southern (1055), the nation’s biggest carrier by passenger numbers, fell 2.4 percent to HK$3.74 as of 2 p.m. in Hong Kong trading today. The stock has fallen 29 percent in the past year.

Xiamen Air operates six 757s and 77 737s, Boeing said in an Aug. 3 statement. The carrier plans to expand its fleet to 200 planes by the end of 2020, it said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at Jwang513@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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