The Biggest Boeing 737 MAX Customers

With Boeing’s 737 MAX still grounded following two fatal crashes, we thought we would take a look and see who the biggest Boeing 737 MAX customers are.

Southwest 737 MAX
Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and a further 276 on order. Photo: Southwest Airlines.

Despite months of effort, aviation regulators are still unable to say when the aircraft will be allowed to fly again. Now into its fifth month of being grounded, airlines are starting to feel the pain. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is the busiest travel season and the airlines are having to cancel thousands of flights.

Boeings biggest 737 MAX customer, Southwest Airlines, which has 34 737 MAX in its fleet, has joined United and American taking the 737 MAX off its schedule until early November.

Ryanair is still calling the 737 MAX a “Game-Changer”

European low-cost carrier Ryanair announced that, due to all the uncertainty surrounding the 737 MAX, it would now have to put expansion plans on hold. They noted that some airport hubs might have to close.

Featured Video:

Ryanair 737-800s
Ryanair has ordered 135 Boeing 737 MAX jetliners. Photo: Ryanair

Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said to The Guardian newspaper that he remained committed to the 737 MAX: “We’ve described them as game-changers – and they remain game-changers.”

Ryanair is one of Boeings biggest 737 MAX customers with 135 aircraft on order. While O’Leary remains committed to the MAX he also said: “We’re still operating in the realms of considerable uncertainty … there are no guarantees.”

Ryanair does not currently operate the Boeing 737 MAX, but was hoping to take delivery of the first five of 135 aircraft this year and then another 58 before next summer.

Which airlines have the most Boeing 737 MAX aircraft?

In the United States, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines all operate flights using the 737 MAX. American and Southwest both fly the 737 MAX 8 while United uses the larger 737 MAX 9.

Norwegain 737 MAX
Norwegian uses the 737 MAX on long-haul flights to North America and the Middle East. Photo: Norwegian

In Europe, Norwegian Air Shuttle is the biggest operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, using the jet on long-haul flights to North America and the Middle East. Below is a list of airlines that were flying the Boeing 737 MAX before the grounding came into effect. The list is in reverse order starting with the 12th biggest operator.

Turkish Airlines

The Istanbul based national flag carrier of Turkey has 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in their fleet. The airline also has orders with Boeing for 40 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 9s

WestJet Airlines

Canada’s Calgary based WestJet Airlines operates 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 21 on order.

Spicejet

Indian low-cost carrier Spicejet operates 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 193 on order.

Flydubai

Dubai based low-cost airline Flydubai operates 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 236 on order.

United Airlines

Chicago based United Airlines operates 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 100 on order.

TUI

Anglo-German leisure travel airline TUI operates 15 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 60 on order.

Air China

Beijing based Air China operates 16 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 29 on order.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle operates 18 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 92 on order.

China Southern Airlines

Guangzhou based China Southern Airlines operates 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 56 on order.

American Airlines

Dallas based American Airlines operates 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 100 on order plus 60 options.

Air Canada

Canadian national flag carrier Air Canada operates 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has 37 on order.

Southwest Airlines

American budget airline Southwest Airlines operates the world’s biggest fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with 34 planes. The all-Boeing airline has an order in place for a further 276 of the model.

Here is a  list of all airlines that fly the Boeing 737 MAX and their orders for the aircraft.

list of ailines that fly 737 MAX
List of airlines that fly the 737 MAX and future orders. Image: Wikipedia

Conclusion

Since the 737 MAX grounding Garuda Indonesia has canceled its order with Boeing for the MAX as has Saudi Arabia Airlines. Others meanwhile remain committed, expecting the jetliner to be given the all-clear by the FAA.

I, however, remain skeptical that the public can be convinced to fly the 737 MAX and have a suspicion that Boeing will come out with some sort of re-branding.

What are your opinions on the 737 MAX and when do you think it will fly again?

13 comments
  1. I really wonder if the 737MAX is going to be as much of a “game changer” as Michael O’Leary expects.
    Case in point is the Dreamliner. Although this is a very nice aircraft in terms of innovations such as cabin pressure, cabin humidity, cabin lighting and engines with a reduced noise footprint, it actually has very disappointing fuel economy in real life situations. It was designed by Boeing for 2-4-2 economy seating; however, if configured in this way, its seat mile costs are no better than a legacy 777. This would explain why airlines instead operate it in a 3-3-3 configuration — in which case the seat mile costs become attractive.
    Going back now to the 737MAX, although it has new, more fuel-efficient engines, one wonders to what extent its wing adaptations will be enough to make it a stellar performer. It may be that only the MAX200 will be a “game changer”, since it manages to carry 198 passengers instead of 189 in Ryanair’s current 737-800 NGs.

    1. Regarding the 787 Dreamliner, it was marketed as 8-abreast, using a 3-2-3 layout (not 2-4-2). I know it sounds strange, but have a look at this:

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB114834305413160120
      http://archive.today/2019.07.22-024815/https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB114834305413160120

      “But a big part of the game-changing design [of the 787] was built around the 3-2-3 seating and a wider-than-normal coach seat. [..] At up to 19 inches wide, a 787 coach seat in eight-across seating would be a half-inch wider than the seating on the popular Boeing 777.”

  2. Given the way this aircraft was rushed into the market place and its tragic history, as an experienced long haul/short haul passenger I would avoid flying on a 737 Max at any cost. There are so many other safer and green choices. Surely there are others who think this way. Additionally I believe the IAG intended order of 200 is utter madness. Please think again Mr Walsh.

    1. Anthony – I think the IAG letter of intent is nothing more then a ploy by Boeing to appease the investors. No one even knew that IAG needed the aircraft and no demand was made from Airbus for a competing bid. Even if an airline is married to a particular manufacturer, they still approach the other for a bid, just to play one off against the other for discounts and to see what’s out there.

      The IAG ‘order’ will never get filled – they just did Boeing a solid.

  3. I swear you guys post articles like this as clickbait, literally not one piece of new information, or anything we don’t already know was shared in it.

    1. Hey Chris,
      Thanks for your feedback. The article is not intended to be clickbait, but simply a summary of the largest Boeing 737 MAX customers.

  4. Reality, there are no opt out options for carriers. As to rebranding the MAX, call it anything they want, If it looks like a MAX, flies like a MAX, and quacks like a MAX, then it probably is a MAX in any color scheme the carrier chooses.

  5. @Nigel”I really wonder if the 737MAX is going to be as much of a “game changer” as Michael O’Leary expects.”
    Yes the 737 MAx will be a “game changer “for the Budget Airlines RyanAir because everyone in Western Europe will fly with its competitor EasyJet… lol

    1. I’d like to think I’d trust Ryanair’s decision to fly with the MAX once it returns to service. A crash like the ones that have happened would be devastating to the airline, and I personally don’t believe that they would compromise on safety in that regard.

  6. It’s fine for Michael O’Leary to consider the Max as a ‘game changer’ but that applies to his company’s profit prospects relating to the improvement in fuel economy and low purchase price of the aircraft. The saving on training also played a big part in the decision to operate the Max. O’Leary has stated that Ryanair do not intend to advise passengers when they are likely to travel on a Max due to operational requirements. That makes the consumer decision fairly straightforward in my opinion, if you don’t want to risk the Boeing 737 Max’s ancient design and known deficiencies don’t book with Ryanair. There are plenty of alternatives to most of the routes that Ryanair operate and the cost factor pales into insignificance when the history of this rushed to market design and the loss of human lives is considered. Sorry Mr O’Leary but the game has changed for me and I won’t be travelling with Ryanair when it starts to operate the 737 Max/8200 or whatever they choose to call it.

  7. Many of the comments here are premature with regard to getting the public to fly the MAX. Where are the final reports from Indonesian investigators, from Ethiopian investigators on the cause(s) of the respective crashes? All I have seen are fingerpointing at Boeing. The critical questions of what happened to the AOA sensors and why the stabilizer trim were driving nose to dive has never been answered.
    Continued fingerpointing at the MAX software and AOA alerts does NOT address what actually happened. Until root cause of the accidents are determined and published, then the public will never be reassured.

    One has to suspect now that this delay of publishing the root cause of the accident is meant to drive sales of the MAX down. Guess who benefits from that? Airbus.

    1. AS…you want to know what really happened?…Here’s a precis of what I reckon happened: The leadership at Boeing responded in short-term thinking fashion to a request from American Airlines for a more economical version of the B737. One that could compete with the more modern A320neo. Critically, leadership chose to add LEAP engines to the B737 (thus changing the wing characteristics), against advice from senior aeronautical engineers within the company. Thus Boeing created an aeroplane that’s tricky to fly in some circumstances; fundamentally a poor design. In an effort to get to ‘market’ quickly, safety was given a back seat, and software engineers were called in to try to remove the ‘trickiness’ by patching the control such that it would hopefully behave more like its predecessor. It didn’t work, as we now know. It was always only going to be a matter of time before a tragedy would occur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like