BOC Aviation, an aircraft leasing company controlled by the Bank of China, has placed an order with Boeing Commercial Airplanes for 82 new jets, an order projected to be worth $8.8 billion. The OEM noted it is the largest order in BOC Aviation’s history, and comes as part of its effort to expand its portfolio of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Aircraft-leasing companies buy jets and lease them to airlines, or buy them from airlines and lease them back, an arrangement that allows airlines to keep the cost of ownership off their balance sheets.

The new order calls for Boeing to deliver 50 of its new 737 MAX 8 jets; 30 Next-Generation 737-800s; and two 777-300ERs (Extended Range).

"BOC Aviation has established a proven track record in the airplane leasing industry," noted Boeing’s Dinesh Keskar, SVP for Asia Pacific and India Sales. "They have played an important role in the success of the Next-Generation 737 and the 777-300ER in the leasing market by helping place the airplanes with airlines worldwide."

The Next-Generation 737 and the 777-300 series jets are current models, but the 737 MAX series will not be introduced until 2017. The 737 MAX 8 is one of three variants of the new 737 MAX narrow-body aircraft, powered by the new CFM International Leap-1B engine, and is seen as the replacement for the current 737-800.

"Following the successful placement of the 50 Next Generation 737 aircraft that we ordered in 2006, this is a continuation of our commitment to be responsive to airline customers which are expanding or replacing older fleets," stated Robert Martin, managing director and CEO of Singapore-based BOC Aviation.

"The 737 is known for its operational and fuel efficiency, and BOC Aviation expects healthy demand for the Next Generation 737 and 737 MAX variants in the next seven years," he added.