United Airlines' first 737 MAX 10

United Airlines removes the Boeing 737 MAX 10 from its fleet plans

US airline says program for largest 737 variant is five years behind schedule and likely to be influenced by issues affecting Boeing following door plug blow-out

The consequences of the door plug blow-out of the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 on January 5th continue to emerge.

While Boeing is still dealing with FAA restrictions and NTSB investigations into the incident, one of its customers has stated that it no longer considers the 737 MAX 10 in its fleet plans.

On Monday, January 22, Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, said that while the carrier is maintaining its orders for the aircraft, it has already removed the single-aisle jet from planning for the next few years.

The 737-10, as it is also called, is Boeing’s bet to contain the strong demand for Airbus’ A321neo. Developed with some tricks to overcome the limitations of its structure, the aircraft can carry up to 230 passengers, the largest capacity ever foreseen in the veteran series.

Although it does not have the same range and internal space as its rival, the 737 MAX 10 attracted several customers who have already ordered more than 1,000 aircraft and expected to receive the first examples from 2025.

United first A321neo (Airbus)

230 737 MAX 10 ordered

But Kirby was realistic in assessing that the model’s timeline is five years behind schedule. The aircraft is still waiting for the FAA to begin the type certification procedure, but the US civil aviation authority remains focused on the 737 MAX 7, the smallest variant of the family and which was expected to be approved at the end of 2023.

United, which is currently the largest operator of the 737 MAX 9, has a firm order for 230 737-10s in addition to 200 purchase options.

From the airline’s perspective, Boeing will have difficulty resuming deliveries of the 737 MAX 9 during 2024, pushing other variants behind.

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The situation is not worse because Airbus has not been able to fulfill so many orders for the A321neo. United itself surrendered to the model and received its first new aircraft from the European planemaker in 2023 after many years.