Scandinavian leisure carrier Primera Air has placed an order for eight Boeing 737 MAX 9s, has taken purchase rights on four more, and will lease another eight from US lessor Air Lease Corp.

Announcing the agreement May 11, Boeing valued the firm order at over $950 million at list prices.

Primera Air is part of Primera Travel Group, which has travel agencies and tour operating companies in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The airline currently operates nine 737-700s and -800s to more than 70 European airports. It will use the 737 MAX 9s, equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, to launch flights between Europe and the US east coast.

“The 737 MAX 9 will allow Primera Air to open up nonstop, long-haul routes from Europe to the US with unmatched economics. This aircraft has a lower per-seat cost than the current widebody aircraft servicing the transatlantic, and the capabilities of this aircraft type will change the economics of the industry. This will open up fantastic possibilities for growth,” Primera Air president Andri Ingolfsson said.

Boeing said the MAX 9 will form the backbone of Primera Air’s fleet, joining more than 3,700 MAX orders from 87 customers that it has accumulated to date.

“The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and customer discussions continue on further growing the family,” Boeing said.

On May 10, Boeing suspended 737 MAX flights after being informed by CFM International of a potential issue with the aircraft’s LEAP-1B engine, although Boeing says MAX 8 deliveries will begin this month as planned.

Victoria Moores