China Eastern Airlines Corp. (670), the nation’s third-largest carrier, agreed to buy 80 Boeing Co. 737 jets valued at $7.4 billion to meet travel demand in a country set to become the world’s biggest aircraft market.
The planes will be delivered from 2016 to 2020, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange today. China Eastern will get a discount to the published purchase rate, according to the statement.
The order follows a $6.4 billion contract the airline gave to Airbus Group NV (AIR) in March for 70 aircraft. Shanghai-based China Eastern is among carriers in the country buying more planes as travel demand surges in the world’s second-largest economy.
Airbus has forecast that China will supplant the U.S. as the world’s largest market for aircraft by 2032. In January, Boeing Co. (BA:US) said it delivered a record number of jets to China last year and expects to hand over a similar number of aircraft in 2014 as economic growth spurs demand for air travel.
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