Samoa Airways signed a MOU agreement with US-lessor Air Lease Corporation (ALC) to lease one B737 MAX 9, with delivery from March 2019.

Samoa Airways is set to become the first airline in the South Pacific Region including New Zealand and Australia to operate the new B737 MAX 9.

ALC executive chairman Steven Hazy commented, "This aircraft in an all economy configuration can accommodate 220 passengers so it is almost as big as the B767-200. Therefore it not only carries more passengers, but has about a 20% greater cargo and belly capacity."

Samoa plans to return its current B737-800, serial 32733, on lease from NEOS, once the MAX 9 arrives. A second aircraft is expected to follow in June 2019, but the type and lessor were not disclosed.

The new aircraft will be configured with 16 Business Class seats and 173 seats in Economy Class, and will operate between Apia, Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.