Vietnam Airlines has chosen Boeing’s 737 MAX to expand its single-aisle fleet with a multi-billion-dollar commitment to order 50 of the 737-8 aeroplanes, announced as part of a partnership between the US and Vietnam.

The announcement was designed to coincide with US President Joe Biden’s visit to Vietnam as the two countries look to build closer diplomatic ties.

Dang Ngoc Hoa, chairman of the board of directors for Vietnam Airlines, said: “In line with Vietnam Airlines’ 2025–2030 fleet strategy and a vision to 2035, aircraft investment is a crucial project that underpins positive recovery momentum and a prosperous outlook for the airline. 

“The new narrow-body fleet will allow us to foster our overall development and extend our high-quality service on Vietnam Airlines’ domestic and Asian routes, as well as modernising our fuel-efficient fleet.”

According to Boeing, the 737 MAX aircraft offers a 20% reduction in emissions and a smaller noise footprint than similar planes.

The expansion of the Vietnam Airlines fleet continues work on its home country’s goal of becoming an international aviation hub and will significantly expand its existing Boeing fleet, which includes 15 787 Dreamliner planes.

The airline has been building on a growing need for single-aisle aircraft, with current orders seeing its fleet grow by 60 aircraft by 2030 and 100 aircraft by 2035. It currently has a total fleet of 100 aircraft, including 65 narrow-bodies.

Boeing’s senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing Brad McMullen celebrated the manufacturer’s 28-year relationship with the airline, adding: “Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets and the 737 MAX is the perfect aeroplane for Vietnam Airlines to efficiently meet that regional demand.”

The latest order continues a successful year for the 737 family, which has seen large orders from Air India and Ryanair with Boeing’s Q2 2023 report highlighting a ramping up of 737 production up to 38 completions a month.