Boeing announces delivery of first 737 MAX 8 aircraft to Indian budget airline

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U.S. top aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company Friday delivered the first 737 MAX 8 airplane to Indian budget airline SpiceJet to expand the fast-growing commercial market in the country.

With the new aircraft, the Indian carrier will operate up to 205 Boeing MAX jets on regional and international routes, and the airplane's fuel-efficient feature will help SpiceJet save 1.5 million U.S. dollars per plane every year, Boeing said in a statement.

The new plane is part of a 22 billion-dollar purchase deal that SpiceJet has signed with the U.S. aircraft manufacturer, according to the Indian airline.

SpiceJet signed an agreement with Boeing in 2017 to buy up to 205 aircraft worth about 22 billion dollars, the Indian carrier said, adding that Friday's delivery is the first plane from that order.

"The induction of our first MAX is a huge milestone in SpiceJet's journey. These new airplanes will enable us to open new routes, while reducing fuel and engineering costs, as well as emissions," said SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.

The 737 MAX will dramatically reduce noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and passengers will have access to in-flight broadband internet service for the first time in India during their travel, Singh added.

Boeing said SpiceJet has also signed up for its flight simulator and maintenance training programs, which will help train the Indian airlines' world-class pilots and mechanics in all areas of 737 MAX flight operations.

The fuel-efficient 737 MAX 8, which offers about 130 to 230 seats, can fly up to 7,130 km or nearly eight hours of flight, and SpiceJet's full fleet of 205 airplanes will save more than 317 million dollars in cost savings annually for the Indian budget airlines, Boeing said.

Headquartered in Gurgaon, India as a low-cost airline, SpiceJet is the fourth largest air carrier in the country by number of domestic passengers carried, which has grabbed a market share of 13.3 percent as of October 2017. 

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