On Tuesday the 16th of May, the first passenger certified Boeing 737 MAX 8 departed the manufacturer’s Seattle Boeing Field facility bound for launch customer Batik Air Malaysia, part of the Lion Air Group.
Avolon leased 737 MAX 8, 9M-LRC (MSN 42985), took part in a formal delivery ceremony at the Seattle delivery centre before setting off on them 8,235 mile delivery flight to the launch customer’s base.
The aircraft departed Seattle – Boeing Field King County International (BFI/KBFI) on 16th May, before continuing on to Anchorage – Ted Stevens International (ANC/PANC), Tokyo – Narita International (NRT/RJAA) and then arriving at Kuala Lumpur International (KUL/WMKK) the following day.
Commenting on the event, CEO of Batik Air Malaysia Chandran Rama Muthy said:
“We are thrilled to partner with Boeing to take the delivery of the world’s first Boeing 737 MAX. The Boeing 737NG fleet has served Malindo well in its growth and we believe that the 737 MAX will become the centrepiece of our fleet. These new aircraft will allow us to go to further destinations and will play a key role in providing lower air fares to our customers.”
The delivery marks the first of over 3,700 deliveries to come for the MAX family, the 4th generation of Boeing’s 50 year old best selling airliner. The aircraft features CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines, Boeing Sky Interior LED lighting and larger pivoting overhead bins.
Commenting on the aircraft, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister said:
“This airplane will change the face of the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX 8 is the best in its class, providing unmatched performance and economics for our airline customers.”
Avalon Leasing were also present to the event. John Higgins, Avolon President and CCO said:
“Avolon was one of the first lessors to order the Boeing 737 MAX when it launched in 2011 and we are proud to deliver the world’s first 737 MAX to Malindo Air. Our commitment to our customers is to have a product offering built around the latest and most technically advanced aircraft available in the market.”
As of 11th May, it wasn’t clear whether the long-awaited delivery milestone would come. On 4th May, with the first customer hand-over expected within days, Boeing was forced to ground the 737 MAX fleet to inspect a suspected manufacturing flaw in some engines, after an uncontained engine failure on one of Boeing’s flight test vehicles. The company reported that some of the low pressure turbine rotor discs were faulty.
Southwest, one of the world’s largest operators of the 737, officially remains the “launch customer” for the 737 MAX, though it’s not expected to take delivery of its first model of the variant until this summer.
The next airline to take delivery of the MAX will be fast-growing Norwegian Air, which will likely receive its first 737 MAX by early June.
The 737 MAX is the fastest selling aeroplane in Boeing’s history having recorded 3,700 orders from 87 customers around the world.