Order up! More 737s for Korean Air. Image source: Boeing.

All of a sudden, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is hot again. Red-hot.

Earlier this week, we told you about Boeing's (then) latest big airplane sales announcement -- a $2.2 billion deal to sell Boeing 787 Dreamliners to El Al Israel Airlines, which the Israelis called "the largest aircraft acquisition program in the history of El Al."

Remember that one? Well, this latest news is nearly twice as big.

According to a press release issued Thursday, Boeing has just booked a firm order from Korean Air to sell it two 777-300ER jetliners, and no fewer than 30 new 737 MAX single-aisle jets -- with the option to buy as many as 20 more MAXes at a later date. In total, Boeing says the Koreans have signed up to buy as many as 52 aircraft from it. The contract's value is stated at "nearly $4 billion at current list prices." But if the 20 extra MAXes are eventually added, this contract could easily top $6 billion.

Interestingly, this new order from Korean Air will also weight the Korean carrier even more heavily in Boeing's favor than it has historically been. According to data from Planespotters.net, Korean Air currently boasts an air fleet that's nearly three-quarters Boeing -- a mix of 737s, 747s, and 777s.

The carrier also has 29 A330 jets from Airbus (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) in stock, and 10 A380s. But if you add 52 new Boeings to the fleet, pretty soon those Airbuses are going to look like an afterthought, as the proportion of Boeing-built vehicles shoots up to 82%. At that point, you have to begin to wonder whether Korean Air will see an argument in favor of going all-Boeing, to streamline its fleet and help keep its maintenance costs down. That argument's going to look all the more attractive over time, as the 29 A330s -- already the second-oldest aircraft in Korean Air's fleet -- begin to look a bit long in the tooth.

The update
Although Boeing says its new orders from Korean Air are now "firm," and thus ready for addition to its official order book of planes ordered by customers this year, the firming of the order apparently didn't take place in time for inclusion of these planes in Boeing's Thursday update on orders received through the end of October. (Three of the El Al 787s did, however, make the cut, along with a pair of 737s ordered by "unidentified customer(s).")

Factoring this handful of planes into the picture, here's how Boeing's order book stands as of very early November:

  • 381 single-aisle 737s
  • 79 Dreamliner 787s
  • 54 widebody 777s
  • 48 Boeing 767s
  • four 747s

In total, that makes for 566 Boeing gross plane orders. Subtract 77 cancellations (including two this week), and Boeing's net order tally for the year is now 489 planes.

Once the Korean Air order enters the order book, though, Boeing will be within a whisker of 600 gross plane orders received, and leapfrog past 500 planes net. We'll update you on the hard numbers, including any new orders received from other sources, next week.

Tune back in then. Same Fool time. Same Fool channel.

Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 299 out of more than 75,000 rated members.

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