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SINGAPORE - Singapore-based aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation canceled an order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets that have been globally grounded for more than a year following two deadly crashes.

The lessor, which is based in Singapore and listed in Hong Kong, will also defer the delivery of some other Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, it said in a statement.

BOC is the latest lessor to strike deals with Boeing to cancel 737 MAX orders as the jet remains grounded pending regulatory approval following two crashes.

“We discussed with Boeing what is the best way to deploy our capital in a time like this because everyone realizes this is not a short term downturn, it is a long one,” 

BOC Aviation Chief Executive Robert Martin told Reuters.

BOC also recently carried out billions of dollars of purchases of new jetliners, including 737 MAXs, in the purchase-and-leaseback market, agreeing to rent them back to airlines.

“It became clear to us that the best way for us to support the MAX and other Boeing products is by us doing purchase-and-leasebacks during this period and these replaced a number of direct (Boeing) orders we had,” 

Martin said.

“This is not in any way a loss of confidence in the MAX. We are absolutely confident, otherwise we would never have done ... purchase-and-leasebacks.”

Norwegian Air said on Monday it had canceled orders for 92 737 MAXs and would claim compensation from the U.S. planemaker for the grounding of the jet.

Although Boeing appears keen to avoid a snowball effect of cancellations, analysts say the two sets of 737 MAX announcements are different.
Norwegian, which was struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the airline industry, has been forced to restructure its debt while lessors are mainly involved in compromise deals.

When lessors agree to buy future planes from airlines it can help Boeing shore up deliveries at a time when alternative finance for the MAX is uncertain. In return, Boeing is seen willing to let lessors lighten commitments amid the heightened risk of the coronavirus crisis.

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