A recent halt in flight testing of Boeing Co.’s (NYSE: BA) 737 MAX 8 (737-8) has focused attention once again on the company’s bread-and-butter passenger jet. Boeing lists seven models of its 737 family on its current price list, and it will add an eighth, which has yet to have a price attached. Most are priced at over $100 million.
Current models of the 737 are designated as Next Generation (NG) and they will be replaced by five models that have been identified as the MAX family. The first model that will be delivered is the 737-8, which is scheduled to be delivered to Indonesia’s Lion Air carrier Malindo Air later this month. The 737-8 has a list price of $112.4 million.
The 737 MAX family includes the 737-8, a smaller 737 MAX 7 (737-7, list price $92.2 million), the 737 MAX 200 (list price $115.4 million), the 737 MAX 9 (737-9, list price $119.2 million) and the still-to-be-formally-announced 737 MAX 10 (737-10).
The 737 is among the best-selling commercial aircraft of all time. Since it was first introduced in 1968, Boeing has sold 9,486 of them.
A report published on Wednesday in Aviation Week revealed that Boeing had halted test flights of the 737-8 due to a problem with a part in the engine’s low-pressure turbine. All the planes in the MAX family use the Leap-1B engine manufactured by CFM, a 50/50 joint venture between General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and French industrial giant Safran.
Boeing said the issue was a manufacturing quality control problem that is restricted to a specific batch of parts for the engine’s low-pressure turbine section, not a fundamental design flaw. Boeing and CFM say the issue is limited to fewer than 50 engines, and testing is expected to resume soon.
Also on Wednesday, Boeing announced an order from Latvia-based Primera Air, a low-cost carrier that already operates a fleet of nine 737-700 and 737-800 NG aircraft. Primera ordered eight 737-9s for an order total of more than $950 million at list prices. The airline also acquired purchase rights for another four 737-9s and a lease agreement for eight more from Air Lease Corporation.
In its announcement of the deal, Boeing noted that it has taken orders for more than 3,700 737 MAX aircraft, making it the fastest-selling passenger jet in the company’s history. Boeing expects to deliver about 75 of the new 737 MAX jets this year as production ramps up.
On April 13, Boeing completed the first flight test of its 737-9, which has 220 seats, 16 more than the 737-8. First customer delivery of the 737-9 is scheduled for later this year.