Thai Lion Air's first 737 MAX 9 (HS-LSH) takes to the skies on its delivery flight. Image courtesy of Boeing.
Indonesia-based Lion Air Group certainly takes the lion's share of new 737 MAX deliveries. Last year, the first-ever 737 MAX (9M-LRC, now registered PK-LQK) was delivered to Malaysian subsidiary Batik Air Malaysia (also known as Malindo Air), and it was subsequently transferred to Lion Air itself. As the launch customer of the Boeing 737-900ER, Lion Air Group is well-regarded within the Boeing community; it currently has 243 737 MAX aircraft on order.
The first-ever 737 MAX 9, with the Thai registration HS-LSH, was delivered to Thai Lion Air, another one of Lion Air Group's subsidiaries. To date, both the first 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 have gone to Lion-affiliated airlines, displaying their significance to the success of the 737 MAX family.
Infographic about the 737 MAX 9. Courtesy of Boeing.
Captain Darsito Hendro Seputro, CEO of Thai Lion Air, attended the jet's delivery ceremony in Seattle. "The 737 MAX 9 is a perfect fit for our growing business in Thailand. 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," he said.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes' CEO Kevin McAllister also joined in on the excitement. "The Lion Air Group is the perfect example of how the 737 MAX family provides a common fleet solution across the single-aisle spectrum. Not only will Lion Air Group benefit from the MAX's range and capacity, they will enjoy the best economics and reliability in the industry."
With a range of 3,550 nautical miles, the 737 MAX 9 has a maximum capacity of 220 passengers. It is based off of the highly-successful 737-900ER, and features aerodynamic enhancements, fuel-efficient CFM LEAP-1B engines, etc. To date, over 95 customers worldwide have placed orders for more than 4,300 of the jets, making it the fastest-selling aircraft family in Boeing's history.