China Southern Airlines Co will be buying 55 Boeing B737 aircrafts to renew its fleet and meet increasing demand. China's largest airline will be purchasing a mix of B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft at a price 'significantly lower' than the list price, though the actual amount could not be revealed owing to confidentiality agreements.
At list price, the 55 aircraft cost between $3.1 billion and $4.3 billion. The airline will use a combination of cash and bank loans to pay for the planes.
Earlier, China Southern had bought 37 B737-800s, six Boeing B777F freighters and 20 Airbus A320s. These will arrive some time between May 2011 and October 2013.
News of the purchase came hours after a China Airlines B737-800 burst into flames on landing at Japan's Okinawa island. All 165 people onboard, including the pilot, were unhurt.
Taiwanese aviation authorities have ordered China Airlines and its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines to ground all their B737-800s for inspections. Japanese authorities have also started inspecting B737-800s and B737-700s in their country as well.