The Boeing 737 Max—once the darling of the aviation industry—has come under scrutiny since Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018. That was followed by the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 in March.
The Lion Air accident, which killed all 189 on board, was the first for the 737 Max 8, and involved a plane in use for just two months. The aircraft, which was inducted into fleets in 2017, was supposed to be a “game changer” and the “short-haul plane of the future,” but investigators uncovered problems with the plane as they try to unravel what went wrong.
After the crash, they learned that the airspeed indicators on the Lion Air plane had malfunctioned for its last four flights, and that an “angle of attack” sensor feeding data to a new flight-control system meant to help prevent the plane from stalling was also replaced the day before the crash. The sensor helps gauge whether the plane’s nose is pointed too high for its current speed.
As Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration issued safety directives on the feature, pilots and airline regulators responded to say the automated stall-prevention system wasn’t adequately publicized and that flight crews thus weren’t prepared on how to handle it. Boeing and the FAA began working on a software update to change how the stall-prevention system operated.
The Ethiopian crash, just four months after the crash in Indonesia, killed 157 people. The plane has since been grounded globally, and Boeing has paused deliveries, as satellite data appear to show similarities in the flight paths of both planes, which crashed just minutes after take-off.
As of the end of February, Boeing had received 5,012 orders for its 737 Max planes, and had delivered 376 of them, according to the aviation firm’s data. The model accounts for about 80% of its unfilled commercial airplane orders. Here’s what we know about the inventory:
At least 70 airlines have ordered a 737 Max (Boeing didn’t break down the models), and 40 have received them. Its data also included 942 unidentified customers.
Boeing’s first order for the 737 Max came from Southwest, which received its first delivery on Aug. 26, 2017. Overall, Southwest has placed and received the most orders of any airline.
But it was Lion Air that got the honor of receiving the first-ever delivery on May 16, 2017. Its subsidiary Malindo Air was the first to fly the Max 8 on a commercial flight a week later on May 22, 2017. Among identified customers, Lion Air has the third-most number of orders at 201.
(Data as of February 2019)
(Data as of October 2018)
The 737 Max is especially appealing to budget airlines because of its fuel efficiency and capacity for up to 210 seats, depending on the configuration.
While the orders are largely dominated by the likes of Southwest and Lion Air, a number of full-service airlines have also been eager customers. United Airlines, for example, placed 137 orders—on par with budget airliner Ryanair—while American Airlines wanted 100 of the planes. Outside the US, Air Canada put in 61 orders and Korean Air wanted 30.
(Data below as of October 2018)
China has more firms—12, and two others in Hong Kong—ordering the 737 Max than any other country. The US is the only other country with more than 10 airlines or leasing companies placing orders. Following that, there’s a steep drop off with five companies in Ireland and three airlines in Canada. The rest each have only one or two airlines that want the Max.
That said, there are orders from single airlines that easily dwarf China’s overall demand. The United Arab Emirates’s flydubai budget airline, for example, accounts for 251 orders. The following data is as of October 2018:
Update: This story was first published on Nov. 15, 2018. The text and table of 737 Max airline orders was updated on March 15, 2019.
Read Quartz’s complete coverage of the Boeing 737 Max crashes.