Two fatal crashes in less than five months that have killed a total of 346 people have raised some serious questions about the safety of the 737 MAX 8 (737-8), the most popular member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family. Sunday’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight just six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa seems eerily similar to the October crash of a Lion Air 737-8 just eight minutes after it took off.
Regulators in Ethiopia, Indonesia and China have grounded 737-8s belonging to their country’s fleets while the causes of the accidents are investigated. The AP reported Monday morning that the Ethiopian Airlines plane’s flight recorders have been found but that one of the recorders was damaged.
Boeing’s 737 MAX family is the company’s bread-and-butter plane. Orders for the plane top 5,000, and 350 of the 737-8 models have been delivered to customers since Lion Air received the first one in May 2017.
There are four members of Boeing’s 737 MAX family, with maximum seating ranging from 172 to 230. All are powered by a LEAP-1B engine from CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and French engine-maker Safran.
According to Boeing’s price list, the 737 MAX 7 (737-7) has a list price of $99.7 million, will carry a maximum of 172 passengers (standard 2-class capacity of 138 to 153) and has a flight range of 3,850 nautical miles (nm). This version of the 737 MAX remains in development.
The 737-8 is the most popular model of the MAX family and has a list price of $121.6 million, with a maximum seating capacity of 210 (standard 2-class capacity of 162 to 178) and a flight range of 3,550 nautical miles.
The 737 MAX 9 (737-9) carries a list price of $128.9 million and has a maximum seating capacity of 220 (standard 2-class capacity of 178 to 193) and a range of 3,550 nm. United Airlines flew the first 737-9 commercial flight from Houston to Orlando last June.
The 737 MAX 10 (737-10) is the largest of this family and has a list price of $134.9 million. The plane seats a maximum of 230 passengers (standard 2-class capacity of 188 to 204) for flights of distances up 3,300 nm. The first 737-10 is on-track for delivery in 2020.
Boeing also offers a 737 MAX 200 (737-8-200) aircraft at a list price of $124.8 million. This version is a 737-8 modified to seat 210 passengers for Europe’s Ryanair, which has ordered 135 of the planes.
U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines had ordered 280 737-8s and GE’s aircraft leasing business has ordered 150 as of January 2018. Ryanair’s order for 135 737-8-200s is the third largest order from any carrier, and FlyDubai has ordered 131 of the planes. American Airlines has ordered 100 of the planes. More than 40 airlines worldwide fly the 737-8.