Caribbean Airlines has taken its inaugural flight with the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The aircraft is a new type to the airline, as it begins its journey of fleet renewals. Its re-fleeting comes as the airline celebrates its 15th birthday.
Caribbean Airlines flies the MAX for the first time
Caribbean Airlines has taken its shiny new 737 MAX 8 to the skies for its inaugural revenue service. The airline hosted a ceremony at Piarco International Airport to launch the new aircraft. Lucky passengers received bags of goodies, and some won a boost in air miles for flying on the service – 15,000 miles to celebrate the airline’s 15th year of operations.
The aircraft tasked with undertaking the celebrated flight was 9Y-CAL. It was delivered from Everett to Port of Spain on November 17th but has not operated any revenue flights since. Today, it took a two-hour and 58-minute hop from POS to Kingston, Jamaica, arriving at 09:42 ET this morning.
Caribbean Airlines’ CEO, Garvin Medera, commented,
“The introduction of this new aircraft into service, represents Caribbean Airlines’ initiative to ‘REset Expectations’ for 2022. The 737-8 is the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world and it brings a range of benefits for Caribbean Airlines, our customers, and the environment. Fuel and maintenance costs are lower, each plane has 10 more seats than its predecessor with a total of 160 seats and the aircraft offers state-of-the-art technology and an upgraded level of comfort in both the business class and economy cabin, including in seat power for mobile devices, a new sky interior, sleek modern seats and much more.”
“We’re really excited about the plans and improvements for the coming year, all done with you in mind. Be sure to stay informed via our social media channels and follow us on #REcalibrate as we REset Expectations in 2022.”
That predecessor is the Boeing 737-800, of which the airline operates eight. The eight aircraft have an average age of 19 years, according to ch-aviation, so are ripe for renewal. Caribbean Airlines has an outstanding order for 12 737 MAX 8s, originally placed with Boeing in November 2018. The next aircraft, 9Y-GUY, looks set to be delivered from Boeing imminently.
What’s onboard the 737 MAX?
The new aircraft is set to propel Caribbean Airlines into a more modern, fuel-efficient future, and the airline has embraced a more up-to-date livery to showcase its investment. As well as being a more contemporary aircraft than its NGs, the MAX has improved things on the inside too.
In total, the MAX features 16 business class seats, 36 extra-legroom economy seats, and 108 regular economy. Those business class seats are leather recliners with a pitch of 45”, while the extra legroom seats boast 35” of pitch. Back in economy, it’s a fairly standard 30 or so inches of space per person.
In business and ‘Caribbean Plus,’ passengers will find both AC and USB charging. Elsewhere, just USB is available. Free inflight entertainment is delivered via a 13.3” seatback screen, while LED mood lighting will create what the airline calls a ‘relaxing ambiance.’
Caribbean Airlines is moving to an all-737 MAX jet fleet by mid-2022. While it will retain its ATRs for regional service, for the longer trips it expects to have a complete fleet of 737 MAX potentially as soon as July this year.