Aircraft leasing firm SMBC Aviation Capital has concluded a purchase agreement with Boeing for 14 additional 737-8 aircraft.

When delivered, the new additions will take the number of 737 MAX aircraft with SMBC Aviation to 121.

In the first quarter of this year, the Ireland-headquartered company delivered 13 737-8s to various carriers, including 11 planes to Southwest Airlines in the US and two planes to TUI in Europe.

In 2018, the lessor also signed a sale and leaseback agreement with Indian carrier Jet Airways for 13 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

SMBC Aviation Capital CEO Peter Barrett said: “We are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 14 low-cost carrier-configured 737 MAX aircraft, which is an aircraft we are seeing increased customer demand for following its successful return to service.”

The new order comes as airlines are preparing to emerge from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and modernise their narrow body fleets with a more sustainable alternative.

this year, Alaska Airlines ordered 23 737-9 MAX aircraft as part of its fleet modernisation programme.

The 737-8, which is a member of the 737 MAX family, have a range of 3,550nm, which is approximately about 600 miles farther compared with its predecessor.

The aircraft also reduces fuel use and CO₂ emissions by 16% than its predecessor.

Boeing commercial sales and marketing senior vice-president Ihssane Mounir said: “SMBC has been actively managing its portfolio in a very dynamic market. With this new order for the fuel-efficient 737-8, the lessor is well-positioned to help its customers capture domestic travel demand in several countries and regions.”

SMBC Aviation owned and managed 496 aircraft until 31 March 2021. It has 85 airline customers in 36 countries.