Malindo Air will become the first airline to operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8 on a revenue flight. The aircraft will depart Boeing Field on May 15 and arrive in Kuala Lumpur on May 17.
The carrier took the title of the launch customer for the 737 MAX 8 after Southwest Airlines decided to wait until October 1 to enter the aircraft into service. Norwegian is also slated to receive 737 MAX 8 aircraft in May but will start service in late June.
Airways Magazine reports that Batik Air Malaysia, which is a rebrand of Malindo Air, plans on using the 737 MAX for international flights while Batik Air will fly domestically in Indonesia.
The first MAX 8 received by Batik Air Malaysia will fly the Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok route starting on May 18 after a welcoming ceremony for the aircraft.
According to Boeing, Lion Air, the parent airline of Malindo Air, purchased 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Gen 737-900ERs in 2011. The deal, worth $21.7 billion, marked Boeing’s largest commercial airplane order by value and aircraft total.
Lion Air is currently the world’s largest 737-900ER operator and will also be the launch customer for the 737 MAX 9.
“Malindo Air is very honoured and proud to be the world’s first carrier to fly passengers on this state-of-the-art innovation, “Malindo’s CEO Chandran Rama Muthy said.
“This new aircraft, which allows us to go to further destinations at a distance of 7 hours 30 min, will currently help attract tourist to our country. As tourism is a key revenue generator for the country, this new aircraft will play a key role in providing lower fares on air travel,” Muthy continued.
FlightGlobal reported that Lion Air will use the new MAX aircraft to replace some older 737 Next Generation series aircraft as well as for growth at Batik Air Malaysia and Thai Lion Air.