Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), paving the way for first delivery to launch customer Indonesia-based Lion Air Group.
The 737 MAX 9 received its amended type certificate from the FAA following an 10-month flight test program that began in April 2017 and featured two test aircraft, Boeing said on Friday (US time).
The amended type certificate means the aircraft has been cleared to commence commercial service. Further, it means the aircraft’s handling, systems and overall performance have been determined to comply with required aviation regulations.
The aircraft, a stretch of the 737 MAX 8, is designed to seat up to 220 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,550nm.
Twitter user SonicStar817 posted an image of a 737 MAX 9 being prepared for delivery to Lion Air Group on the social media website from April 2017.
— Yvan (@SonicStar817) April 25, 2017
“We’re looking forward to bringing this airplane to market for our valued customers,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program Keith Leverkuhn said.
Boeing said it was in the “final stages” of preparing the first MAX 9 for delivery Lion Air Group.
The 737 MAX 9 is one of five variants of the MAX program alongside the 737 MAX 7 (172 seats maximum, 3,850nm), MAX 8 (210 seats maximum, 3,550nm) MAX 200 (200 seats maximum, 2,700nm) and MAX 10 (230 seats maxiumu, 3,300nm).
The MAX family of aircraft features a new flightdeck, fly-by-wire spoilers and new technology winglets compared with the current model 737 NG. It is powered by two CFM International LEAP 1B 176cm fan diameter engines, compared with the CFM56 155cm fan diameter on the NG.
To accommodate the larger diameter engine, the MAX incorporates a taller nose wheel landing gear leg, while the engine nacelles’ trailing edges feature noise-reducing chevron shaping, as also seen on the 787.
Boeing has received 4,304 orders for the 737 MAX, according to its website. It does not break down the orders by variant.
Lion Air Group carrier Malindo Air, which is based in Malaysia, was the launch customer of the 737 MAX 8.
It has so far delivered 80 MAX 8s, which was certified in March 2017. Silkair was the first airline to operate MAX equipment to Australia when it upgauged its Singapore-Darwin and Singapore-Cairns nonstop flights to the next generation narrowbody in early 2018.