Airbus nears deal for 100 jets to Nigerian air carrier

European plane maker Airbus SE is close to securing a 100 aircraft order from a Nigerian startup airline that previously announced plans to buy Boeing Co. 737 MAX jets, according to people familiar with the plans.

The deal between Airbus and Green Africa Airways could be announced as soon as Thursday, one of the people said. The carrier would buy Airbus A220 planes, which seat about 130 passengers.

Boeing in December 2018 said it had a commitment from the carrier for 100 737 MAX jets. That agreement came before the 737 MAX fleet was grounded last March after two fatal crashes. The MAX fleet has been idled since, as Boeing works on fixes to the plane.

Now Green Africa Airways has decided to transfer the order to the Europeans, as it has doubts about the timely receipt of aircraft from Boeing, the newspaper said. The American company suspended the assembly of the Boeing 737 MAX last January following an investigation into the causes of the crash in Ethiopia in March 2019. The company has not yet announced the timing of the resumption of the release of the Boeing 737 MAX.

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