PARIS – Leisure carrier TUI Group became the European launch customer for the Boeing 737 MAX 10, converting 18 of its 70 existing 737 MAX orders to Boeing’s largest MAX family member.

TUI Group is the fourth-biggest European customer for Boeing’s re-engined jet, trailing ultra-low cost carriers (ULCCs) Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair, as well as global power Turkish Airlines. TUI Group also has 50 options for the 737 MAX family and has converted 10 of them to the 737 MAX 10.

“Being the first to fly the new larger 737 MAX 10 in Europe means we’ll be able to take more customers on holiday in the most advanced, most comfortable and most fuel-efficient aircraft,” said David Burling, Member of the Executive Board and responsible for TUI Group Airlines. “The continued modernization of our fleet and the delivery of the new 737 MAX, now including the 737 MAX 10, will support the delivery of TUI’s commitment to reducing the carbon intensity of our operations.”

“The 737 MAX 10 will provide TUI with the lowest seat costs of any single-aisle airplane in operation today,” added Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Global Sales & Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are honored that TUI Group is the first European customer to select the 737 MAX 10 and are confident it will play an integral part in its continued success.”

TUI Group’s model leverages the 737 MAX 10’s strengths

TUI Group consists of six member airlines, with the largest being UK-based Thomson Airways. It is by far the world’s largest charter and holiday package airline group, with combined fleet of 142 jets including 98 737 Next Generation (737NG) planes and 14 Boeing 757-200s flying for Thomson Airways.

In particular, our view is that the 737 MAX 10 will be used as a replacement for those 757-200s, which tend to fly medium haul missions for Thomson and have an average fleet age of 16.6 years.

The 737 MAX 10 is more or less a one-to-one replacement for the 757-200 as the latter seats 221 or 223 passengers in a single-class configuration for Thomson while the former is designed to seat up to 230.

Other TUI Group member airlines are less compelling candidates for the 737 MAX 10 save perhaps TUI fly Belgium, which has a mixed fleet of Boeing narrowbodies and widebodies and can use the added capacity on several medium-haul routes.

Our view is that the 737 MAX 10 will not find much success in Europe save for with ULCC Ryanair. The European market is dominated by and focused on frequency with lots of smaller point to point (p2p) routes to service.

And the big legacy carriers in the region all are major customers of the A321neo for political (continental solidarity) and economic (long and thin trans-Atlantic potential) reasons. But TUI group and the other charter players on the continent are an exception to that rule.