Jet Airways – first operator of the B737 MAX8 aircraft in India will receive the aircraft later this month. This will be the first of the 75 aircraft which the airline ordered in 2013 and confirmed in 2015. The airline has subsequently placed an order for additional 75 aircraft and is rumored to be in talks for one more order. The initial lot will replace the older aircraft of the airline and will provide the much needed cost reduction, product revamp and possibly income from Sale and Leaseback. The deal which the airline signed with GECAS for 6 B737 MAX8 could be additional aircraft and not part of the 75 aircraft order.
This morning, Routes Online has published a list of flights which the airline will operate with the B737 MAX8 with the inaugural service on 1st of July 2018 between Mumbai & Hyderabad. The first aircraft will be registered as VT-JXA and sees additional row of seats in Economy class taking the total seats to 174 from existing 168. Three aircraft are expected in quick succession and about one per month until 2021. The induction plan is subject to change.
The airline will fly this aircraft to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Goa, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Tiruchirapally, Mangaluru and Dubai in phases and these are likely to change going forward when firm rotations will be in place. The aircraft are being based at Mumbai, the airlines engineering hub.
The existing B737-800 aircraft which seat 168 passengers, has 26 rows of economy class seats. A while ago the airline moved to a standardized numbering of rows, keeping the emergency exit rows same its entire fleet of -700,-800,-900. The MAX8 will feature row number 18 as the additional row, which will be preceded by row 17 and will have row 22 after it.
The airline has not yet updated its fleet page with the new aircraft type and seating configuration.
Low cost carrier Spicejet is likely to take delivery of its first B737 MAX8 later this year in August. I had an opportunity to fly the B737 MAX8 of Lion Air in Indonesia last year. The trip report can be found here.