By Alexander Cornwell and Tim Hepher
DUBAI (Reuters) - Boeing Co. reached a preliminary deal for 175 of its 737 MAX jets with flydubai on Wednesday, potentially committing the budget airline's fleet to the U. S. planemaker for another decade.
The Dubai-based carrier wants more than 50 of Boeing's largest narrowbody jet, the 737-10, as well as to-be-determined numbers of its 737-9s and 737-8s, Boeing said in a statement at the Dubai Airshow.
It is flydubai's third aircraft deal.
"We try to grow as fast as we want," Chief Executive Ghaith al-Ghaith told reporters.
Delivery of flydubai's 175 planes will begin in 2019 and be spread across 10 years with some overlap with the delivery of its 2013 order, al-Ghaith said.
The current fleet of flydubai, which started flights in 2009, is all Boeing. It currently only operates 737-8s.
The provisional deal is worth $27 billion, including purchasing options for an additional 50 planes.
Boeing is looking at potentially filling a market gap between narrow and widebody jets with a new aircraft that could seat 220 to 270 passengers.
Gulf customers are keen to stress the importance of their orders for U. S. jobs as they are locked in a trade dispute with three major American carriers.
Sheikh Ahmed said the airline had picked the 737s after also looking at Airbus' similar-sized A320s, echoing comments he made this week in his role as Emirates chairman when he said the 787 had been chosen over the Airbus A350.
Dubai-based Emirates this week committed to buying 40 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
Also on Wednesday, Airbus reached a preliminary deal for a record 430 of its A320neo-family jets from U. S. investor Bill Franke's Indigo Partners.
(Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)