Boeing and SMBC Aviation Capital have signed a deal for 14 additional 737-8 jets, with the lessor growing its 737 Max portfolio.

The new order comes as airlines prepare for a robust return to air travel and modernise their narrow-body fleets to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

“We are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 14 low-cost carrier configured 737 Max aircraft which is an aircraft we are seeing increased customer demand for following its successful return to service,” said Peter Barrett, chief executive of SMBC Aviation Capital.

The new purchase builds SMBC Aviation Capital’s 737 Max portfolio to 121 jets.

The company also continues to incorporate new 737 Max airplanes into the global fleet.

In the first quarter of 2021, the lessor delivered 13 737-8s to customers, including 11 planes to Southwest Airlines in the United States and two planes to TUI in Europe.

“SMBC has been actively managing its portfolio in a very dynamic market.

“With this new order for the fuel-efficient 737-8, the lessor is well positioned to help its customers capture domestic travel demand in several countries and regions,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing.

The SMBC Aviation Capital purchase follows recent orders and commitments from Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

The total number of gross orders and commitments for the 737 Max this year now exceeds 250 airplanes.