Boeing made its first delivery of a 737 MAX 9 jet to Lion Air Group today — less than a year after the same holding group got in on the debut of the plane’s smaller sibling, the MAX 8.
Last year’s first-ever 737 MAX delivery went to Malaysia’s Malindo Air, a low-fare airline that’s now known as Batik Air Malaysia and is under the wing of Lion Air Group. The jet that took the spotlight today at Boeing’s Seattle Delivery Center went to a different Lion Air Group carrier, Thai Lion Air.
“The 737 MAX 9 is a perfect fit for our growing business in Thailand,” Capt. Darsito Hendro Seputro, CEO and chairman of Thai Lion Air, said in a Boeing news release. “The 737 has been the backbone of our business since we began and we will use the added capacity the airplane provides to expand our network and start additional routes to Bangladesh, China and India.”
Indonesia-based Lion Air Group has 200 MAX jets on order, and has committed to buy 50 of Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 airplanes. The single-aisle jets in the fuel-efficient 737 MAX family offer seating capacities ranging from 138 to 230: The MAX 9 is designed for up to 220 passenger seats and a maximum range of 3,550 nautical miles (4,085 statute miles).
Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the Lion Air Group serves as the “perfect example of how the 737 MAX family provides a common fleet solution across the single-aisle spectrum.”
The 737 MAX is the latest incarnation of a 50-year-old model that’s been recognized as the world’s top-selling commercial jet. Last week, the 10,000th 737 rolled off Boeing’s production line in Renton, Wash., and the 737 MAX 7 jet variant had its first test flight.