Singapore Airlines Set To Take Delivery Of 8 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

Singapore Airlines plans to take delivery of eight Boeing 737 MAXs during this financial year. In its quarterly results last week, the carrier announced plans to add more narrowbodies as part of its fleet diversification. These planes were originally meant for SilkAir but have since come to Singapore Airlines following the merger of the two.

SIngapore Airlines 737-800
Singapore Airlines began operating its first Boeing 737 earlier this year, its first narrowbody in three decades. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Expanding fleet

During its quarterly results last week, Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced its fleet plans for the upcoming fiscal year (through March 2022). The carrier plans to take delivery of eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s from Boeing this year, substantially increasing its narrowbody fleet.

These aircraft will likely be in addition to the six 737 MAXs previously flown by SilkAir. These aircraft are being progressively painted in Singapore Airlines’ livery, with one plane, 9V-MBA, already repainted. This likely means that the carrier is planning to operate a total of 14 737 MAX’s by early next year.

According to data from ch-aviation, the aircraft set for delivery are registered 9V-MBG through -MBN. Some of these aircraft have already been produced and undergone testing, which means they are likely to be delivered soon.

Meanwhile, the 9V-MBA through -MBF previously belonged to SilkAir and are being transferred over. Singapore Airlines has pulled one of these aircraft (9V-MBA) out of storage and is currently using some for test flights.

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Still banned

While SIA has big plans for its 737 MAX fleet, there is one problem: the aircraft remains grounded in Singapore. Despite one MAX aircraft returning from the desert for some test flights, the country has not given the green light to recertifying the jet. This means the fleet remains grounded and deliveries can commence for now.

Rocked by the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia, regulators in the Asia-Pacific region have been taking extra precautions before ungrounding the MAX. Currently, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and other major markets have not given the jet approval. Only Australia, which does not have any MAX operators, has approved the aircraft for use.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 Parked
Regulators in the Asia-Pacific region are taking a wait-and-see approach before reapproving the 737 MAX. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Dozens of MAX’s were once again grounded in late April due to electrical issues. While these were resolved a few weeks later, it seems the aircraft is not out of scrutiny just yet. Currently, there is no firm timeline of when Singapore or others will reapprove the MAX.

Big plans

Singapore Airlines operated its first Boeing 737 in March, over three decades after it last operated the type. The carrier is currently using 737-800s it integrated from SilkAir, deploying them on regional routes within Asia. The airline currently flies the narrowbody to Phuket, Malé, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Phnom Penh.

Singapore Airlines 737-800
SIA operates a small fleet of 737-800s on select routes in Asia. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Notably, these aircraft do not feature new Singapore Airlines cabins, instead offering the older SilkAir product. But there is excitement that SIA’s newest 737 MAXs will come equipped with lie-flat seats in business class, similar to those found on other airlines. However, the carrier has been quiet about its cabin plans, leaving us guessing!

What do you think about Singapore Airlines’ growing narrowbody fleet? Will it impact the carrier’s luxury status? Let us know in the comments!