Malindo Air, the launch operator of B737MAX family took delivery of its first aircraft on 16thMay 2017. The 737MAX program was launched by Boeing in August 2011 to counter the A320neo (New Engine Option) family of rival Airbus in December 2010.
The aircraft, a B737 MAX 8, operating as OD1 reached Kuala Lumpur via Anchorage and Tokyo.
The 737 MAX family is powered by CFM International LEAP – 1B engines and sports the split scimitar winglets. The aircraft features new Boeing Sky Interiors, modern sculpted sidewalls, LED lighting and spacious overhead stowage bins.
The airline has registered the aircraft 9M-LRC. Malindo, part of the Lion Air group, changed its branding to Batik Air Malaysia and all the new aircraft it inducts will be with the new branding. The airline which started as a low cost carrier and operated from KLIA2 moved to KLIA in March 2016. Batik Air Malaysia interlines with Turkish Airlines and is looking for more partnerships over the next year when the branding should be complete.
Batik Air Malaysia has opted for 180 seats single class configuration for its Boeing 737 MAX 8s at a time when it tries to counter Malaysian Airlines with a premium shift. The current B737-800/900s of the airline are all in dual class configuration. The launch of commercial operations is planned for 22nd May with flight between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The airline is widely expected to use the aircraft on routes which see lesser premium demand and long block times.
The B737 MAX has 3714 aircraft on order as of end of April while the rival A320neo family has 5054 aircraft on order of which only 104 have been delivered, primarily due to engine issue with one of the two suppliers.