Blue Air’s First Boeing 737 MAX Enters Commercial Service

Romanian low-cost carrier Blue Air has welcomed its first Boeing 737 MAX. The 737 MAX 8 operated a commercial flight from Bucharest to Lisbon on April 2nd. The airline welcomed the aircraft operating a one-off flight to nowhere from its Bucharest hub the previous day.

Blue Air’s First Boeing 737 MAX Enters Commercial Service
Blue Air received its first Boeing 737 MAX. The aircraft is being used to operate flights across Europe. Photo: Blue Air

The airline’s brand new 737 MAX, registration YR-MXA, left Seattle on the morning of March 31st and landed in Reykjavik in the early hours of April 1st. Just over an hour later, it headed to Bucharest, departing Iceland at 05:53 in the morning. Upon arrival in Bucharest, the MAX 8 was welcomed to the airline by performing a flight to nowhere.

Data shows that the aircraft departed Bucharest at 16:39, performing flight BLA1M4X. It took the scenic route over the snowy Carpathian Mountains before returning to Bucharest’s Otopeni airport. The inaugural flight was only available to partners, agencies, officials, and a few of the airline’s most loyal customers.

Upon receiving the aircraft Oana Petrescu, CEO of Blue Air said,

Blue Air received in its fleet the first new Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft of the latest generation, marking a decisive moment in the reconstruction and development of the company. We are glad that, despite the complicated situation generated by the pandemic, we have managed to accelerate the fleet renewal program. We hope that the new Blue Air comes to mark a new beginning for us and for the entire travel industry.

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Blue Air 737 MAX
The airline is excited about its fleet renewal program. Photo: Luka Cvetkovic | @euro_spotter

Where will the aircraft be used now?

After the ceremonial flight to nowhere, the aircraft was swiftly put into action operating commercial flights. It flew its first commercial operation on April 2nd to Lisbon. Since then, it has flown every day to destinations such as Frankfurt, Valencia, Malaga, Amsterdam, and Dublin. According to the airline, the new MAX will also head to London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle very soon.

The airline hopes its new MAX aircraft will operate flights to destinations across Europe regularly. The airline will receive nine more Boeing MAX aircraft over the next year and a half.  The MAX offers brand new technology, a lower fuel burn, and an improved customer experience. The airline will remain a low-cost carrier and hopes its new flagship aircraft will mark a new beginning for the airline.

Blue Air’s First Boeing 737 MAX Enters Commercial Service
The new MAX 8 is actually on a long-term lease from the Air Lease Corporation. Photo: Blue Air

Previously canceled order

The new MAX hasn’t been bought out-right by the Romanian airline; it is actually on a long-term lease from Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The remaining nine aircraft, which will be delivered before the end of 2022, are also on long-term leases.

The airline actually had its own order for six of the aircraft. Blue Air placed an order for six MAX 8 jets during the Paris Airshow in 2017. Following the well-publicized grounding of the MAX, in June 2020, Blue Air canceled its order with Boeing.

However, the original agreement with ALC was six aircraft, so although the airline canceled its order with Boeing, it upped the number it would lease from ALC. This suggests that the decision to cancel the order was more based on financial struggles dealing with the pandemic than a loss of confidence in the aircraft.

Are you excited to see more European carriers operating the MAX? Let us know in the comments.