Boeing has delivered the first 737 Max 8 to launch operator Malindo, handing over the fourth generation of the 50-year-old single-aisle design to a customer.
As Boeing’s response to the re-engined Airbus A320neo family, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Kevin McAllister says the 737 Max is now ready to “change the face of the single-aisle market”.
The formal delivery was completed quietly at Boeing’s customer delivery centre in Seattle, with no public events or fanfare accompany the delivery.
As of 11 May, it wasn’t clear exactly when the long-awaited delivery milestone would come. With the first customer hand-over expected within days, Boeing was forced to ground the 737 Max fleet on 4 May to inspect a suspected manufacturing law in some engines delivered by CFM International.
The joint venture supplier of the Leap-1B engines had reported to Boeing that its supplier for low pressure turbine rotor discs may have delivered a batch of defective parts. Boeing paused the flight programme for the 737 Max fleet while CFM investigated.
The week-long hitch did not appear to delay the official handover long. Malindo, a Malaysia-based subsidiary of the Lion Air Group, still expects to launch the 737-8 on revenue flights by the end of June.
"We are thrilled to partner with Boeing to take the delivery of the world's first Boeing 737 Max," says Malindo CEO Chandran Rama Muthy. “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."
Boeing plans to deliver more than 500 737s this year, of which 10-15% will be the re-engined model. The 737 Max launch customer, Southwest Airlines, plans to take delivery of its first 737-8 in the fall.