The Lion Air Group took the very first delivery of Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 on March 21, 2018. The airplane will go into service with Thai Lion Air, where its added capacity will help the airline launch several new international routes.

"The 737 MAX 9 is a perfect fit for our growing business in Thailand," said Darsito Hendro Seputro, CEO and Chairman of Thai Lion Air in an official statement released on March 21, 2018.

The Thailand-based budget carrier already operates the 737-900ER and the 737-800, as well as the A330-300. According to Seputro, the 737 has been “the backbone” of their business since the launch of the airline several years ago.

The Lion Air Group – parent company of Lion Air, Wings Air, Batik Air, Lion Bizjet, Malindo Air, and Thai Lion Air – is the launch customer for the MAX 9.

On February 16, 2018 the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officially certified Boeing 737 MAX 9 for commercial use by issuing it an amended type certificate (ATC). The certificate confirms that overall aircraft performance, as well as its handling and systems, comply with required aviation regulations.

The Group was also the first operator to put the MAX 8 into service, and has announced a commitment for 50 MAX 10, with an additional 200 737 MAX on order.

The Lion Air Group is one of the world's largest operators of the 737. With total fleet of 112 aircraft, its airlines operate the 747-400, the 737-800, the 737-900 ER, and the A330-300.

"The Lion Air Group is the perfect example of how the 737 MAX family provides a common fleet solution across the single-aisle spectrum," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister.

Both Boeing and Thai Lion Air agree the airline will benefit from the MAX's range and capacity. “We will use the added capacity the airplane provides to expand our network and start additional routes to Bangladesh, China and India," Seputro stated in the press release.

According to Boeing, the 737 MAX 9 is designed for a capacity of up to 220 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,550 nautical miles. The aircraft provides operators added capacity with three additional seat rows compared to the 737 MAX 8.

The aircraft incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features.

It is the fastest-selling airplane in the company’s history, with more than 4,300 orders from 95 customers worldwide.