Malaysia’s Malindo Air continued to expand and modernise its fleet this week with the delivery of its first ever Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The new jet, a 737 MAX 8 model, was handed over to Malindo at Boeing’s factory in Seattle. This will make the Asian carrier the first airline in the world to put the 737 MAX into commercial service.
The 737 MAX is the fuel-efficient successor to the popular single-aisle 737 series, which is the backbone of many airlines’ fleets. The Malindo delivery marks the first from a huge order for 201 737 MAXs placed by the Lion Air Group in 2012. Malindo will initially welcome eight of these new aircraft, painted with the airline’s new livery and brand name, Batik Malaysia.
“This airplane will change the face of the single-aisle market,” said Boeing’s commercial president & CEO, Kevin McAllister. “The 737 MAX 8 is the best in its class, providing unmatched performance and economics for our airline customers.”
Malindo currently operates a fleet of 43 aircraft, including 20 standard 737-800s and six larger 737-900s.
“We are thrilled to partner with Boeing to take the delivery of the world’s first Boeing 737 MAX,” said Chandran Rama Muthy, CEO of Malindo Air. “The Boeing 737 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 737 MAX series incorporates new engines and a series of aerodynamic enhancements, the most noticeable of which are the “split tip” wing extensions. These will make the aircraft more fuel-efficient and therefore cheaper to operate than the standard 737, and will allow Boeing to compete with Airbus’ new A320neo, which entered service in early 2016.
The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing’s history, having racked up 3,700 orders. Aside from Lion Air, major airline customers include India’s SpiceJet (205 aircraft), US-based Southwest Airlines (200) and Norwegian (108).