Boeing has indicated that most of the airlines that have placed orders for its re-engined Boeing 737 MAX announced today are based outside the USA.
The airframer said this morning that it has order commitments for 496 aircraft from five airlines for the re-engined narrowbody, which has been approved by the company's board. First delivery of the 737 MAX is scheduled for 2017.
While Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh declined to name the airlines, he noted that 85% of Boeing's backlog is outside of the USA, adding: "And I will tell you that many of these customers we referenced this morning are outside of the US. Are they major carriers? They are the top airlines in the world that have committed to these airplanes."
On 20 July, American Airlines announced its intention to purchase 200 Boeing narrowbodies, split between current 737 Next Generation aircraft and the re-engined version.
Albaugh said that while American will be one of the launch 737 MAX customers, the chances of another airline taking delivery of the re-engined narrowbody before American gets its first in 2018 is "very very high".
He did not rule out customers with existing 737 orders switching to the 737 MAX, saying that while most of them will stick with the 737NG, they might want to "take a hard look" at the 737 MAX.