Boeing delivered its newest single-aisle jet, the Renton-built 737 MAX, on Tuesday to Malaysia-based Malindo Air, which will be the first customer to put the MAX into commercial service.
Kevin McAllister, Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, said the 737 MAX 8’s exceptional performance and flexibility provides the value customers have come to expect. “Today is the beginning of a new era in the single-aisle airplane market,” McAllister said. “I continue to be incredibly proud of the entire team that supports the 737 production system.”
About 100 Commercial Airplanes employees were at the Seattle Delivery Center to witness the ceremony. Keith Leverkuhn, 737 MAX vice president and general manager, presented a ceremonial key to the Malindo Air pilots who will fly the airplane to Kuala Lumpur to prepare the MAX 8 for its first commercial flight.
Malindo Air, which is in the process of rebranding as Batik Air Malaysia, is a subsidiary of the Lion Air Group, which was the launch customer of both the 737-900 ER (extended range) and the 737 MAX 9. “Today, we are able to deliver on our commitments, thanks to the amazing dedication of the entire 737 production team,” Leverkuhn said. “As we execute on additional milestones this year, this Renton-based team will be the one to help our 737 legacy continue to grow.”
Despite being sidelined for several days last week because of an engine quality issue, the first 737 MAX delivery took place weeks ahead of the original, third-quarter target date.
The 737 MAX program has more than 3,700 orders to-date from 87 customers worldwide and is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history.
By Cecelia Goodnow and Jordan Longacre