BOC Aviation is leasing the milestone 50th-delivery Boeing 737-800 to Canadian carrier WestJet.

Boeing has delivered leasing company BOC Aviation’s 50th Next-Generation 737 purchased directly from the manufacturer.

BOC Aviation is leasing the milestone 50th-delivery Boeing 737-800 to Canadian carrier WestJet, which operates scheduled services to 70 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean with a fleet of 96 Boeing 737NG-series aircraft.

“We are pleased to take delivery of our 50th Next-Generation 737 aircraft directly ordered from Boeing,” said Robert Martin, managing director and chief executive officer of BOC Aviation, which is headquartered in Singapore.

Canadian carrier WestJet was the lessee for the 50th Next-Generation 737 purchased by leasing company BOC Aviation directly from the manufacturer. BOC Aviation took delivery of the aircraft, a 737-800, on December 13, 2011

“We have committed to acquire 100 of this popular aircraft type, including commitments we have made to support our customers under purchase-and-leaseback transactions, since our company was established 18 years ago,” added Martin. “Boeing has been and will continue to be a key supplier and partner to BOC Aviation.”

BOC Aviation has ordered 74 Boeing aircraft and acquired another 65 Boeing aircraft on purchase-and-leaseback transactions from airlines around the world.

The single-aisle Boeing 737-800 can seat between 162 to 189 passengers. Boeing claims the model can fly 260 nautical miles farther and consume 7 per cent less fuel, while carrying 12 more passengers, than the competing Airbus A320.

However, the public should view with caution the two major aircraft manufacturers’ publicly quoted fuel-burn, operating-cost and trip-cost comparisons for their aircraft models.

Industry analysts have noted that Boeing tends to base its single-aisle 737-family comparisons against the competing Airbus A320 family on the basis of short, 500-nautical-mile sectors, over which the Boeing aircraft are generally regarded as having a slight operating-cost advantage.

Airbus tends to base its claims on somewhat longer sectors, over which its aircraft are regarded by the industry as being very competitive with Boeing’s models in terms of performance. On longer sectors, also, the fact that A320-family jets have wider cabins – and wider seats – than Boeing 737NGs becomes a passenger-preference advantage.

Additionally, the two manufacturers do not charge the same prices for their aircraft models, the 737-800 (for instance) often being a little more expensive in terms of net price than the A320 because of the former model’s slightly higher passenger capacity.

Ease of pilot type-conversion training is also an issue for airlines, with Airbus offering a common cockpit across all its aircraft models, up to and including the A380.

Ultimately, these reasons are why the Boeing 737NG and the Airbus A320 family have raced neck-and-neck in terms of sales over the past decade. Depending on the purchase deal offered and the airline’s particular network, an airline may find either a model in the Boeing 737 family or the Airbus A320 family to be the aircraft best-suited for its needs.