Aviation giant Boeing has shaken hands on its biggest deal to date, supplying 230 planes to a little known Indonesian airline.

According to WBez.org, the deal with Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, costs an eye-watering $22.4 billion (£14.28bn). The majority of the planes will be from Boeing’s fuel-efficient 737 MAX range, with 201 units ordered.

Lion Air has also invested in 29 next-generation 737-900ERs; Boeing’s answer to Airbus’s A321.

Commenting on the deal, aviation consultant Scott Hamilton says that the order will guarantee life in the 737 range: “What this does for Boeing – it solidifies the future of the 737 line. It gives them a good tough competitor against Airbus and its A320.”

However, it isn’t all plain sailing for Boeing. European manufacturer Airbus has been one step ahead of the Chicago-based firm ever since it introduced its A320 plane in 1988.

“So this is a real horse race that Boeing is still behind,” adds Hamilton. “But Boeing is going to be catching up and as we go forward, I think you’ll see roughly about a 50/50 market share split.”

It’s likely that 787 MAX will fair well in Asia because of the country’s need for shorter trips, which can be funded cheaper with more efficient aircraft.

Plane Finder experts may already be aware that the 737 MAX has a 10-12 per cent fuel burn improvement over the most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes today. This enables them to offer a seven per cent operating cost per seat advantage over the competition.

Speaking of the aircraft’s efficiency, Dinesh Keskar, vice president of Asia-Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “Lion Air has been a leader in Indonesia from the very beginning. Today more people are flying in Asia at lower fares because of the 737 and this historic 737 MAX order will help connect more people in the future.”

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