Kunming Airlines takes delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX

Photo: © Boeing

The Chinese carrier Kunming Airlines has received its first Boeing 737 MAX 8. The brand new aircraft departed from Seattle on October 18 and arrived in Tianjin, China three days later. Its delivery flight included fuel stops in Honolulu and Guam. The airline’s first 737 MAX is expected to arrive in Kunming in the coming days.

Kunming Airlines, based at Changshui International Airport in the capital city of Yunnan province, commenced operations in 2009. The airline, which is 80% owned by Shenzhen Airlines, is currently operating an all-Boeing fleet of 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft. The 737 MAX 8 will allow the airline to extend its network with the MAX’s longer range capabilities.

Kunming Airlines’ network consists of destinations in China and Thailand. A new connection between Kunming and Bangkok is scheduled to start on October 28.

At the Farnborough International Airshow 2016, Boeing and Kunming Airlines announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of ten 737 MAX 7 airplanes. The airline would become the launch customer in China for the improved 737 MAX 7 airliner, which has not been certified yet. According to multiple sources, the airline’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8 was originally ordered by its parent company Shenzhen Airlines.