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Boeing Shares Gain as United Airlines Places New 737 MAX Jet Order, Sees Improving Travel Demand

United Airlines says its new 737 MAX order, which includes 25 new planes, will help it capture 'growth opportunities that we know will exist in the COVID-19 recovery period.'

Boeing Co  (BA)  shared bumped higher Monday after United Airlines Holdings Inc.  (UAL)  said it placed an order for new 737 MAX jets from the planemaker, and moved forward delivery on a previous purchase, in anticipation of renewed travel demand. 

United said it would buy 25 new 737 MAX jets, which were cleared to return to service by the Federal Aviation Administration late last year, and moved up the delivery of 40 of the previously-ordered planes to 2022, according to a company memo. 

The fleet additions, United said, which also include another 24 MAX aircraft for 2023, will enable the carrier to manage the surge in travel demand it expects to see over the next two years.

"With a number of our aircraft nearing the end of their lifecycle and the growth opportunities that we know will exist in the COVID-19 recovery period, this agreement will help us to grow as demand returns," said United's chief commercial Andrew Nocella.  

Boeing shares were marked 6.5% higher in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $225.80 each. United Airlines shares, meanwhile, surged 5.25% to $55.45 each. 

Travel and leisure stocks have been rising sharply alongside gains for Boeing and United Airlines following the weekend approval of Johnson & Johnson's  (JNJ)  single-shot coronavirus vaccine, which could add more than 100 million doses to the U.S. rollout strategy by the end of June. 

The International Air Transport Association, a global industry lobby group, said las week that it would launch a so-called 'COVID-19 travel pass' by the end of the month, and urged national governments to issue digital vaccine certifications that would facilitate international travel.