The Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, a narrow-body airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), a division of American company Boeing. It succeeds the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) and competes with the Airbus A320neo family. The new series was announced on August 30, 2011. It took its maiden flight on January 29, 2016 and was certified by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March 2017. The first delivery was a MAX 8 in May 2017 to Malindo Air, with whom it commenced service on May 22, 2017.
The 737 MAX is based on earlier 737 designs, with more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B engines, aerodynamic changes, including distinctive split-tip winglets, and airframe modifications. The 737 MAX series has been offered in four variants, offering 138 to 204 seats in typical two-class configuration, and a range of 3,300 to 3,850 nautical miles (6,110 to 7,130 km). The 737 MAX 7, MAX 8 (including the 200–seat MAX 200), and MAX 9 are intended to replace the 737-700, -800, and -900 respectively, and a further-stretched 737 MAX 10 is available. As of July 2022, the 737 MAX has 4,174 unfilled orders and 863 deliveries.
The 737 MAX suffered a recurring failure in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) causing two fatal crashes, Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, in which 346 people total died. It was subsequently grounded worldwide from March 2019 to November 2020. Investigations faulted a Boeing cover-up of a defect and lapses in the FAA's certification of the aircraft for flight. After being charged with fraud, Boeing settled to pay over US$2.5 billion in penalties and compensation.
The FAA cleared the return to service on November 18, 2020, subject to mandated design and training changes. Canadian and European authorities followed in late January 2021, and Chinese authorities in early December, as over 180 countries out of 195 had lifted the grounding. Over 450 MAX aircraft were awaiting delivery in November 2020; 335 remained by January 2022. Boeing estimated that the backlog would be largely cleared by the end of 2023.
Between March 2017 and March 2019, the global fleet of 387 aircraft operated 500,000 flights and experienced two fatal crashes