SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, has signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 68 new aircraft from Boeing. The order is the largest in SilkAir’s history and remains subject to the negotiation of a final purchase agreement. It will comprise firm orders for 54 aircraft and purchase rights for another 14. Firm orders will comprise 23 Boeing 737-800s and 31 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. SilkAir will have the flexibility to switch to other variants within the B737 product range. The firm-ordered aircraft are valued at US$4.9 billion based on current Boeing list prices. Deliveries are due to begin in 2014 and continue to 2021, by which time the airline’s fleet will have more than doubled in size. SilkAir currently operates 21 A319s and A320s, with three more A320s due for delivery by the end of 2013. The new aircraft will cater for both growth and fleet renewal. SilkAir chief executive Marvin Tan said the size of the order reflects the airline’s confidence in the Asia-Pacific air travel market, helping the carrier maintain annual double-digit percentage growth rates through the end of this decade and beyond. “We continue to see very strong growth within the region and these new aircraft will position SilkAir well. They will enable us to spread our wings to even more destinations and increase capacity on existing routes, contributing to the overall SIA Group network,” said Tan.