Vietnamese startup Bamboo Airways said Monday it will buy 20 of Boeing Co.'s 787-9 Dreamliner commercial planes as part of a plan to launch long-haul operations to international markets.
Boeing, which builds the passenger jet in North Charleston and Everett, Wash., said it plans to deliver the wide-body jets from April 2020 through the end of 2021.
The planes have a combined list price of $5.6 billion, although airlines typically negotiate discounts.
"Our long-term vision is to connect Vietnam to key markets within Asia, Europe and North America and the capabilities of these new, state-of-the-art Dreamliners will help us achieve our goals," said Trinh Van Quyet, chairman of FLC Group, which owns Bamboo Airways.
He said the planes "will help us grow our business while enabling us to better serve our customers."
Monday's announcement was made during a signing ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce office in Washington, D.C. It was witnessed by Voung Dinh Hue, Vietnam's deputy prime minister, and Nazak Nikakhtar, assistant secretary for industry and analysis with the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Commerce Department.
Bamboo Airways plans to begin commercial operations in 2019 out of Hanoi, starting with in-country flights before an expansion to China, Korea and Japan.
"We are confident that the 787 will help launch Bamboo's long-haul operations and serve as the foundation of their success for many years to come," said Dinesh Keskar, Boeing's senior vice president for Asia Pacific and India sales.
The 787-9 is the middle-sized member of the twin-aisle Dreamliner family, able to carry 290 passengers and fly 7,635 nautical miles. Boeing also makes the smaller 787-8 and the 787-10 — the largest Dreamliner that's built exclusively in North Charleston.
Bamboo Airways' parent company a Vietnamese multi-industry company that focuses on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming and golf.