Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent company of oneworld alliance carrier Malaysia Airlines, earlier this week commemorated the arrival of its first Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft with a launch ceremony held at MAG’s engineering complex at Kuala Lumpur airport.

The national carrier thus far has placed orders for 25 737 Max 8s, all on lease from US-based Air Lease Corp (ALC).

The 25 new Max 8s will be delivered gradually through 2026.

The first Malaysia Airlines Max 8 aircraft is currently plying the Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu route for crew familiarization.

The maiden Max 8 will service destinations across domestic Malaysia, before expanding to other destinations across ASEAN as more 737 Max 8s arrive.

“With the induction of our new Boeing 737-8, it will allow us to enhance customer experience, improve operational and fuel efficiency, and meet our future network growth requirements to support our vision for the national carrier.

The inclusion of the 737-8 in our fleet holds more significance than just refreshing our ageing aircraft. It acts as a meaningful bridge, connecting our history with a new era, aligning with our Long-Term Business Plan 2.0 goals as we work towards becoming Asia’s leading travel and aviation services group,” said Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, group chairman of MAG.

Similar to Malaysia Airlines’ refreshed 737-800 aircraft, the 737 Max 8 will seat 12 passengers in business class and 162 in economy class.

As part of its fleet modernisation plan, MAG is currently refurbishing 39 of its 47 737-800 aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines recently also acquired an additional long-haul A350-900 aircraft to support its growth, and the carrier will be receiving 20 Airbus A330neo aircraft from September 2024.

MAG currently operates 102 aircraft spread across Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, MASwings and MASkargo.