First Non-US Boeing 737 MAX Delivery Goes To Copa Airlines

The first Boeing 737 MAX delivery for a non-US customer since the type’s ungrounding is Copa Airlines. The Panamanian carrier, which is gearing up for MAX flights, added its seventh Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft on Tuesday. This plane is a significant part of the airline’s future fleet plans.

Copa 737 MAX
Copa has taken delivery of another Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: airbus777 via Flickr

Copa takes seventh Boeing 737 MAX 9

HP-9908CMP is the seventh 737 MAX aircraft to enter Copa’s fleet. The aircraft, which was sitting idle in Seattle for quite some time due to the global grounding, is now on its way to Panama, where the carrier will fly the aircraft near and far.

The aircraft departed Boeing Field (BFI) in Seattle en route to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO). According to Copa, the MAX 9 has a range of 3,000 nautical miles, and getting to Costa Rica is right at the edge of that.

The first non-US carrier to take the MAX

Thus far, Boeing has focused on delivering Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to US carriers. This started with United Airlines, then American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines came last. Alaska Airlines is the next US carrier expecting Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and it just significantly expanded its order book for the type.

Copa MAX
Copa also has Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft on order. Photo: Boeing

The MAX is only commercially flying in a few locations now, namely Mexico and Brazil. For Copa, getting the MAX back into commercial service is a high priority since the MAX offers the carrier unrivaled economics, a better passenger experience, which gives the carrier a competitive advantage, and the ability to efficiently run some of the airline’s long-haul operations.

Copa’s Boeing 737 MAX 9

Copa already has six Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in its fleet– all of which are currently out of commercial service. In the last few weeks, Copa has begun preparing for MAX commercial flights and is excitingly awaiting taking passengers near and far onboard the aircraft.

The airline offers 166 seats onboard the MAX 9. This includes 16 in business class, in a 2-2 configuration, 24 in extra-legroom economy, and 126 in standard economy. The latter two are in a 3-3 configuration.

The seating capacity onboard the 737 MAX 9 is marginally more than that of the 737-800s. This, however, is deliberate.

The MAX 9 is much better for Copa’s passengers – especially in business class. Only on the MAX 9 does Copa offer a lie-flat business class product. The 737-800s only feature recliner-style seats. Given how these aircraft can operate some long-haul missions, having a lie-flat business class product will up Copa’s game in the highly competitive connecting market between North and South America.

Boeing continues to deliver MAX jets

Boeing is making progress on delivering its nearly 450 undelivered 737 MAXes. The carrier hopes to deliver about 225 or so of these by the end of 2021 and has been making excellent movement on the mission.

737 MAX production
Copa is one of many carriers expecting already built Boeing 737 MAX jets. Photo: Getty Images

Starting from January and beyond, Boeing will likely be able to deliver MAX aircraft to customers in Canada, Europe, and other important markets. The planemaker is hoping that the reintroduction of these jets safely in commercial service will instill confidence in the jets in a bid to gain new aircraft orders.

Are you glad to see Copa take a new Boeing 737 MAX jet? Have you flown on Copa’s Boeing 737 MAX? Will you fly on Copa’s MAX? Let us know in the comments!