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US aircraft giant Boeing got a welcome vote of confidence in its beleaguered 737 MAX plane on Tuesday when International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, said it wanted to by 200 of the planes.
The companies said they had signed a letter of intent for the purchase, the first since the 737 MAXs were grounded in March after two of them crashed within six months of each other, killing 346 people.
List - Prices - Order - IAG - Airlines
At list prices the order would be worth $24 billion, but IAG, whose airlines also include Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, noted that it had negotiated "a substantial discount."
It was a coup for Boeing since up to now IAG has been a longtime client of Airbus for its single-aisle jets, used on some of its most popular routes.
Confidence - Boeing - Aircraft - Return - Service
"We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators," IAG's chief Willie Walsh said in a statement.
Walsh isn't a stranger to Boeing, however, having started his career as a pilot flying 737-200s, the precursor to the MAX.
Deal - Surprise - Executives - Paris - Air
The deal came as a surprise to aviation executives at the Paris Air Show this week, where many firms are still reeling from the industry-wide fallout of the accidents.
Boeing is battling to regain the trust of passengers, pilots and regulators after a 737 operated by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed last October, followed by an Ethiopian Airlines jet in March.
Executives - Air - Show - Monday - Handling
Executives apologised again as the air show opened Monday for its handling of the disasters, vowing a thorough...
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