Despite the suspension of test flights for its new B-737 MAX 8 aircraft over engine issues, Boeing does not foresee deliveries of the aircraft to Singapore Airlines' regional subsidiary SilkAir being affected.
Boeing's senior vice-president for sales for Asia-Pacific and India, Dr Dinesh A. Keskar, said on Thursday that SilkAir will receive the first of its order of 37 planes in September, as scheduled. "That was part of the plan and there's no change," Dr Keskar told reporters at Paine Field airport, where Boeing delivered a new B-787 to low-cost carrier Scoot.
The order of B-737 MAX 8s is part of SilkAir's plans to transit to an all-Boeing fleet, to replace its ageing Airbus 320s and 319s. It has also ordered and received 17 Boeing 737-800s, with the first plane arriving in 2014.
Dr Keskar said that Boeing is focused on delivering the B-737 MAX 8 this month to Malaysia-based carrier Malindo Air, which will be the first to operate the jetliner for a commercial revenue service.
"If we as a company are telling (people) we are going to deliver it this month, obviously, we think we feel pretty comfortable about what's going on," he said in response to a question by The Straits Times on the delivery timeline.
Malindo Air has pushed back the start date for flying the aircraft between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore from May 19 to May 22.
On Wednesday, Boeing said it was suspending test flights for the B-737 MAX 8 over a possible manufacturing defect in an engine component. Quality issues with the low pressure turbine discs in the Leap 1B engines were discovered by engine maker CFM International during inspections, Boeing said.