Here’s a look at the biggest customers for Boeing’s latest narrowbody

Lukas Souza United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 landing at LAX
Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying

The Boeing 737 MAX has managed to survive the storm and come out the other side as a high-demand aircraft again. The American giant has managed to bag some significant orders in the last few years and is in talks to make sure its largest operators come back for more. Here’s a look at the top five biggest orders for the 737 MAX ever.

We’ll take a look at the largest customers, so totaling all orders over the years (if there are multiple). To know the largest single aircraft orders, read more here. You can also check out Boeing’s 2023 order book here!

United Airlines leads

In recent years, United Airlines has emerged as the biggest supporter of the 737 MAX, knocking Southwest off the top of the podium. Data from Boeing shows the carrier has ordered 544 aircraft, 300 of which have come in the past two years alone. This has been a huge vote of confidence, including in the yet-to-certified MAX 10, of which it has ordered 150 jets.

The airline’s order for 200 737 MAXs in 2021 is also the largest single order for the type currently too. Currently, United operates 96 MAX jets, meaning it has hundreds more set to arrive in the coming years.

Southwest right behind

Close on the heels is iconic 737 operator Southwest Airlines. The budget carrier has ordered a total of 514 units over the years, including 150 units back in 2011, followed by another 100 a decade later. Given the airline’s reliance on the type, it will likely be a return customer and could overtake United in the future once more.

However, Southwest remains the largest current operator of the MAX, with a massive 163 planes flying today.

Southwest Airlines' 737 MAX 8 and Snow at Spokane International Airport (GEG)

Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

Tied for third: flydubai and Lion Air

In shared third place, the next LCC betting heavily on the many benefits of the 737 MAX is flydubai. The UAE-based budget airline has orders for 251 of the model – 131 of the MAX 8, 70 of the MAX 9, and 50 of the MAX 10 with its additional fuel tank allowing for greater range. flydubai currently operates 47 MAX jets, four MAX 9s and 43 MAX 8s.

Indonesia budget carrier Lion Air has made the same bet, ordering 251 units currently. Despite the fatal crash in 2018, the airline has chosen to stand by its massive order and the MAX has passed all regulatory scrutiny to return to service. Lion Air currently operates 19 of the type, three MAX 9s and 16 MAX 8s.

flydubai Boeing 737 MAX 8

Photo: Photomatika | Shutterstock

Ryanair in fourth

In fifth place, we find another all-Boeing 737 carrier operating on a different continent. Ryanair has been loyal to the 737 family for decades now (but is more than happy to voice its criticism too) and the MAX is no exception. The carrier currently ordered 210 MAX jets, of which 96 are already in service, all MAX 8s. Notably, the airline was negotiating a new order since late 2021 but called off talks, which have restarted in recent days.

When Ryanair ordered the 737 MAX it created the MAX8200, which is configured to carry 197 passengers in a dense layout. This has been adopted by other low-cost carriers too, and with the MAX 10 potentially on order next, we can only imagine how many will sit in the jet!

A Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 taxiing in Prague

Photo: kamilpetran/Shutterstock

Many more customers

With over 6,500 customers around the world, the 737 MAX is constantly seeing new orders. Just recently, Air India became the newest customer for the type after ordering 150 jets in February, while VietJet Air is another major operator with 200 units. Keep an eye out as this list continues growing and Boeing tries to secure more record-breaking orders for its flagship narrowbody.

Have you flown the 737 MAX yet? Let us know in the comments.


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