What happened

Boeing (BA -7.55%) stock took off in Friday trading and is up a solid 5% as of noon EST.

The move comes in response to a Boeing announcement this morning. Investment firm 777 Partners has placed an order to acquire 24 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes and has taken out "purchase rights" to acquire a further 60 airplanes at a future date.

Arrow angles pointing up on a green stock chart

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Boeing advises that 777 Partners "will place [i.e. lease] the single-aisle airplanes with its growing portfolio of low-cost carrier investments around the world."  

Expanding on the news, Reuters notes today that Boeing "is close to a multibillion-dollar deal to sell dozens of its 737 MAX 7 jets to Southwest Airlines Co.," and reminded that "Alaska Airlines agreed in December to buy 23 737 MAX 9 jets and European budget airline Ryanair bought 75 jets."  

And earlier this week, my fellow Fool and airlines-watcher Lou Whiteman noted that in February, "for the first time since November 2019," Boeing booked more new airplane orders than it lost through cancellations.

Now what

In short, things are looking up for the beleaguered airplane builder. And today's announcement provides another new clue for investors in the airline industry looking to capitalize on this trend.

According to 777 Partners founder Joshua Wander: "The retrenchment of traditional carriers globally has created an unprecedented market opportunity for more agile and cost-efficient operators. These aircraft will enable our operators to accelerate the recovery in the destinations they serve."

In short, if you're looking for the new growth engine in airlines, you might want to keep an especially close eye on the discount carriers. One industry insider, at least, sees this as the place to be.