The Boeing 737 MAX 9 on April 13, 2017 completed its first flight in the skies above Puget Sound. The 737 MAX program achieved the milestone on schedule, beginning a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery.
The airplane completed a successful 2 hour, 42-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:52 a.m. local time and landing at 1:34 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
Piloted by Boeing Test & Evaluation Capts. Christine Walsh and Ed Wilson, the airplane performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities. The MAX 9 will now undergo comprehensive flight testing before customer deliveries begin in 2018.
The 737 MAX 9 is the second member of Boeing’s industry leading 737 MAX family, with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers and a range of 3,515 nautical miles.
Copa Airlines (Panama City) has entered into a historic landmark order with Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) for 61 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airliners (previously listed as unidentified). Boeing issued this statement and image:
Panama President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez and U.S. President Barack Obama witnessed a historic agreement in which Copa Airlines and Boeing announced an order for 61 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes. The order, valued at $6.6 billion at list prices, is the largest commercial transaction ever between a Panamanian and a U.S.-based company.
The signing ceremony took place in Panama City as leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere gathered for the seventh Summit of the Americas.
Presidents Varela and Obama were on hand as Copa Chairman Stanley Motta, Copa CEO Pedro Heilbron and Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney signed documents recognizing the agreement. The airplanes were previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries web site.
Copa Airlines will use the airplanes to replace existing airplanes and support the carrier’s plans for strategic growth. Copa will be the first airline in the region to operate the 737 MAX 9 on deep South American routes. The 737 MAX 9’s range and passenger comfort are ideally suited to Copa’s long-haul route network.
The 737 MAX also features the Boeing Sky Interior, which Copa helped launch in Latin America on its Next-Generation 737 fleet. The sleek interior boasts modern lines, a spacious cabin with more headroom and LED lighting that offers vibrant color options.
To date, the 737 MAX has accumulated 2,715 orders from 57 customers around the world.
Randy Tinseth, the vice president of marketing for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle responded to claims airline customers are still waiting for a true Boeing 757 replacement. Randy also countered Airbus’ claims the proposed A321neo is a 757 replacement.
Randy wrote the following on his Randy’s Journal:
There’s been a lot of talk lately about a replacement for the 757. The fact is, today’s 737 and other airplanes its size already fly 90 percent of flights that used to be operated with a 757. And in the future, that number will jump to 95 percent thanks to airplanes like the 737 MAX.
For example, take Norwegian. They recently announced plans to use the 737 MAX 8 on transatlantic routes beginning in 2017. Other large 757 operators have publicly noted their continued discussions with Boeing around airplanes for trans-Atlantic missions.
Meanwhile, Airbus claims its proposed long ranger version of the A321neo is a true 757 replacement. In reality, it falls short in two big ways. It can’t match the 757’s range, and it can’t carry as many passengers.
The 737 MAX 9 and the A321neoLR are both capable of North Atlantic range by adding auxiliary tanks, with the 737 MAX 9 flying the mission more efficiently. The A321neoLR needs three auxiliary tanks and increased takeoff weight— while the 737 MAX 9 could do the mission with just one auxiliary tank, allowing for more cargo space.
The 737 MAX is a great airplane that’s sized right for the heart of the single-aisle market— along with the right range capabilities. It’s a key part of our overall product development strategy, that along with the 777X and 787-10, is set for the next decade.
As for that space in between the upper end of the 737 and the 787-8, we continue to talk with our customers to better understand their needs in the future.
Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) and Avolon (Ireland) have announced the leasing company’s commitment for six 787-9 Dreamliners and five additional 737 MAX 9 airplanes, valued at more than $2 billion at current list prices.
This commitment marks Avolon’s first order for the efficient 787 Dreamliner and will increase the lessor’s 737 MAX portfolio to 20 airplanes. When finalized, the order will be posted on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website.
According to Boeing, “The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is the second member of the super-efficient 787 family. Both the 787-8 and 787-9 bring the economics of large jets to the middle of the market, with 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes and passenger-pleasing features. At 20 feet (6 meters) longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 extends the family in capacity and range, flying more passengers and more cargo farther.”
Air Canada (Montreal) has announced its mainline narrowbody fleet renewal plan that includes commitments, options and rights to purchase up to 109 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The new aircraft will replace Air Canada’s existing mainline fleet of Airbus narrowbody aircraft, creating one of the world’s youngest, most fuel efficient and simplified airline fleets.
The agreement with Boeing, which is subject to completion of final documentation and other conditions, includes firm orders for 33 737 MAX 8 and 28 737 MAX 9 aircraft with substitution rights between them as well as for the 737 MAX 7 aircraft. It also provides for options for 18 aircraft and rights to purchase an additional 30. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2017 with 2 aircraft, 16 aircraft in 2018, 18 aircraft in 2019, 16 aircraft in 2020 and 9 aircraft in 2021, subject to deferral and acceleration rights.
“We are pleased to announce our agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 737 MAX aircraft as part of the ongoing modernization of Air Canada’s fleet,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “Renewal of our North American narrowbody fleet with more fuel efficient aircraft is a key element of our ongoing cost transformation program and the enhanced passenger cabin comfort provided by the Boeing MAX will help us to retain Air Canada’s competitive position as the Best Airline in North America. Our narrowbody fleet renewal program is expected to yield significant cost savings. We have estimated that the projected fuel burn and maintenance cost savings on a per seat basis of greater than 20 per cent will generate an estimated CASM reduction of approximately 10 per cent as compared to our existing narrowbody fleet.”
Air Canada continues to evaluate the potential replacement of its Embraer ERJ 190 fleet with more cost efficient, larger narrowbody aircraft that are better suited to its current and future network strategy. Consistent with this strategy, the agreement with Boeing provides for Boeing to purchase up to 20 of the 45 Embraer ERJ 190 aircraft currently in Air Canada’s fleet. The E190 aircraft exiting the fleet will be initially replaced with larger narrowbody leased aircraft until the airline takes delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The company will be reviewing various options over the next six months for the remaining 25 Embraer E190 aircraft including continuing to operate them or replacing them with a yet to be determined number of aircraft in the 100 to 150 seat range.
Air Canada’s plan is for its total fleet including Air Canada rouge™, excluding aircraft flown by its contracted regional carriers, to grow from 192 aircraft as at September 30, 2013 to approximately 214 by the end of 2019, on a pro forma basis. Additionally, for further growth flexibility, Air Canada has 13 options and rights to purchase 10 Boeing 787 aircraft, rights to purchase 13 Boeing 777 aircraft as well as the 18 options and 30 purchase rights for Boeing MAX aircraft.
Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today announced an order for 50 Boeing aircraft, including the 737 MAX—the new engine variant of the world’s best-selling airliner. The aircraft, which will be delivered between 2015 and 2022, represent the largest order in Alaska Airlines’ history and are worth $5 billion at manufacturer’s list prices.
The agreement includes firm orders for 13 Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs, 20 737 MAX 8s and 17 737 MAX 9s.
Alaska Airlines currently operates 120 Boeing 737s. The new firm aircraft order, plus 25 existing firm delivery positions, give the carrier the flexibility to manage its fleet size to meet air travel demand over the next decade. Two-thirds of the aircraft are expected to replace older airplanes. The remaining firm orders and options will enable Alaska Airlines to grow assuming sufficient customer demand and that the company continues to achieve its profit and return on invested capital goals.
Existing and new orders for the 737-900ER will be delivered starting in late October 2012 and continue through 2017. The first 737 MAX 8 is scheduled to enter Alaska’s fleet in 2018 followed by the first 737 MAX 9 in 2019. Alaska is the third U.S. airline to order the MAX.
All of Alaska’s new aircraft will feature the Boeing Sky Interior, with overhead bins that provide more storage and passenger headroom, variable ambient cabin lighting and, on the 737-900ER, Recaro leather seats with an innovative design that provides more legroom.
The 737 MAX will be equipped with the new LEAP-1B engine under development by CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation in Ohio and France-based Snecma (Safran group). The MAX will also feature raked “dual feather” winglets and a more aerodynamic tail cone. The aircraft is expected to be 13 percent more fuel efficient than today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
737 MAX Quick Facts
Length: The 737 MAX 8 is 129 feet long and the 737 MAX 9 is slightly larger at 138 feet.
Wingspan: The wingspan on the 737 MAX 8 and 9 measures 117 feet, 10 inches.
Cruising speed: Both planes have a cruising speed of Mach 0.79 or 586 mph.
Range: The 737 MAX 8 can fly up to 4,080 miles and the MAX 9 3,850 miles.
Fuel economy: The 737 MAX is expected to be 13 percent more fuel efficient than today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
Image: PRNewsFoto/Alaska Airlines. The order includes the 737-8 MAX.