Indonesian airline announces order for 50 Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners

A major Southeast Asian airline announced this week it has ordered 50 of Boeing’s newest single-aisle jetliners, the 737 Max 8.

Garuda Indonesia Airlines said it has entered a new order for 46 of the twin-engine jets and converted orders for four 737-8 jets to the more advanced aircraft. At list prices, the deal is worth some $4.9 billion.

Boeing’s latest update of the world’s best selling commercial jetliner, the 737 Max, will first enter commercial service in 2017. The Max series of 737s will be 14 percent more fuel efficient than today’s best single-aisle jets, Boeing says. It will incorporate new engines, aerodynamic improvements and new split wing tips that will cut fuel usage and extend the plane’s range, the aerospace company said.

The 50-plane order was previously listed on Boeing’s orders and deliveries web site as coming from an unidentified customer. With the Garuda order, Boeing has received 2,295 orders for the Max line of planes.

All 737s are built in Boeing’s Renton plant. That plant now builds a record 42 airliners a month. Boeing has announced the monthly production will jump to 47 a month in 2017 and 52 monthly in 2018. Boeing has a backlog of 4,333 orders for 737s.

Meanwhile, Boeing announced Monday that it has begun production of the first 737 Max stringers at its Auburn plant. Stringers are large metal pieces that run the length of the plane’s fuselage to give it shape and strength.

From Auburn, the company will ship the stringers to Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita where they will be used in the construction of 737 Max fuselages. Those fuselages are shipped by rail to Renton where they are joined with the wings and other systems to create a complete 737.