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Malindo Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8
Malindo Air’s first 737 MAX 8 jet is already painted in livery that reflects the airline’s future rebranding as Batik Air Malaysia. (Boeing Photo)

Boeing today marked the first delivery of a new-generation 737 MAX jet with an official handover to Malaysia-based Malindo Air at the Seattle Delivery Center.

The delivery came after Boeing sent about 30 of the engines for its 737 MAX planes back to their manufacturer due to concerns about potentially defective turbine disks.

Those concerns cropped up last week. and forced Boeing to ground its MAX fleet for several days. Inspectors found that the plane Malindo received was unaffected by the flaw, and Boeing says it’s now gotten the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration to resume all flight activities.

Malindo, which is changing its name to Batik Air Malaysia later this year, will be the first airline to fly the 737 MAX 8 commercially.

“This airplane will change the face of the single-aisle market,” Kevin McAllister, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. “The 737 MAX 8 is the best in its class, providing unmatched performance and economics for our airline customers.”

Malindo CEO Chandran Rama Muthy said “we believe that the 737 MAX will become the centerpiece of our fleet.”

Technically speaking, the jet was purchased by Avolon, an Irish-based subsidiary of China’s HNA Group, and leased to Malindo, which is part of Indonesia’s Lion Air Group. Lion Air has ordered 201 of the 737 MAXs in all.

The MAX line is expected to be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous generation of single-aisle 737s, thanks to its CFM LEAP-1B engines and tweaks to the plane’s aerodynamic design. In addition to the MAX 8, Boeing is working on variants known as the MAX 7, MAX 9, MAX 10X and MAX 200.

Boeing has almost 3,700 orders for the MAX series to fill over the years to come. The next airline expected to take delivery is Norwegian Air.

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