Singapore Airlines First Boeing 737 MAX Spotted Flying In Seattle

Another Boeing 737 MAX has been spotted in its new livery. This time, the grounded MAX aircraft was decked in the livery of Singapore Airlines. The plane, registration 9V-MBN, was seen in Seattle as it was moved to a storage facility to wait for the all-clear to fly commercial flights.

Boeing 737 MAX 9
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been seen in Singapore Airlines Livery. Photo: Boeing

Earlier this month Boeing announced it would be suspending production of the infamous 737 MAX from January 2020. It stated that it would prioritize the delivery of the 400 jets which are already in production. As the jets are completed and painted with their new livery, we are seeing more and more jets ready to fly. However, they are currently unable to do so.

Yesterday, we got our first glimpse of what Ryanair’s polish subsidiary jets would look like once in the air. Today it was the turn of Singapore Airlines as a finished 737 MAX was flown a short distance over Seattle. The aircraft was returned to Boeing Field at King County International Airport where it will be stored until the MAX is certified to fly.

SilkAir

Singapore Airlines regional affiliate airline SilkAir grounded its six operational 737 MAX aircraft in March of this year. This was after the two fatal crashes involving the aircraft. This caused complications for Singapore Airlines they were forced to changes to flight schedules. Additionally, they were forced to delay a merger which would see SilkAir fully merged with Singapore Airlines in 2020.

The airline has 31 Boeing 737 MAX on order. It is also planning to move its older 737 NGs to Singapore Airlines’ low-cost carrier Scoot. The new 737 MAXs would facilitate the growth of SilkAir as it joined Singapore Airlines and would enable a restructuring of the airlines.

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX in Seatlle
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing Field in Seattle. Photo: SounderBruce via Wikimedia

In May of this year, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Pong told CNBC that the order for 31 was still “intact” and plans to restructure were still underway. The delay is returning the grounded 737 MAX to the air is complicating the airline’s growth plans.

On 11th December, Singapore Airlines released a statement regarding the ongoing issues warning passengers that some flights through December 2019 and January 2020 will be canceled or have reduced capacity. SilkAir recently moved its existing 737 MAX into storage in Australia as tropical storms and humidity in Singapore are less than ideal conditions for keeping static aircraft.

Compensation

SilkAir reported a $19million operating loss in the first half of this year. It has credited the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX as a main factor in the troubled performance. And SilkAir isn’t the only airline having a difficult time because of the MAX groundings.

Earlier this month, Business Insider reported that SouthWest airline had agreed on a compensation figure with Boeing for the damage the grounding had caused to the airline’s profit potential. Although the total figure was not agreed, it was released that $125 million would be shared between Southwest employees, so the total amount is no doubt significantly larger than this.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX
Southwest Airlines have agreed on compensation with Boeing for the MAX groundings. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Wikimedia

American Airlines has also said that the MAX groundings have significantly affected their profit. The Airline previously stated that the groundings had caused the airlines to cancel 9,475 flights in the third quarter of the year. This means it has missed out on a pre-tax income of approximately $140 million. A figure Boeing is no doubt expected to cover.

Quartz is reporting that the MAX groundings have cost Boeing an estimated $9.2 billion so far. At least $5 billion of this is due to compensation which Boeing has to pay to airlines to cover any losses airlines may have dealt with due to Boeing’s faulty MCAS system.

Into the new year

The groundings are set to continue into the new year. However, with production still suspended, we will no doubt be seeing more 737 MAX in new liveries. Boeing is still finishing, painting and storing the planes until they are able to get in the sky. Therefore, Singapore Airlines’ new jet will be joined by many more aircraft, all finished and ready to fly but all grounded for several more months to come.

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