The value of a B737-9 has failed to advance sufficiently such that the value of a new -9 is only slightly higher than a -8.
The market for the B737-9 is nearly as difficult as for the B737-900ER versus the B737-800. The value of a 2018 B737-900ER is fortunate to be $28 million whereas a similar vintage B737-800 has a value in excess of $32 million. While the -900ER may be larger than the -800 this does not translate into higher values. With the success of the A321neo, the larger B737MAX variants have seen some difficulty. Boeing may be charging more for the B737-9 but this is not reflected in some values. Ryanair and Boeing recently ended negotiations over an order for the B737-10 as Boeing was seeking a sizeable premium over the -8 whereas Ryanair likely considered that there should be some similarity as it costs Boeing only slightly more to build the -10. Most appraisers only assign a $1-2 million premium to the B737-9 over the low gross weight B737-8 while there is at least a $5 million differential between the A320neo and A321neo. Moreover, any premium that the -9 can extract is lost going forward with future values falling below those of the -8 as the years progress, following the trend experienced by the B737-900ER versus the B737-800.
The inability for values of the -9 to attract a major premium over the -8 lies with the orderbook. When launching the B737-900ER, Boeing may have considered that it would diverted most orders away from the A321 but this was not be the case. As such, the operator base of the -900ER is severely restricted when compared to the A321 and the same issues are being experienced with the B737-9, perhaps more so.
While orders for the A321neo abound those for the -9 are all but stagnant. While Boeing clearly differentiated orders for the various B737NG variants, thus far there has been no public acknowledgement of the breakdown of orders for the B737MAX. However, reviewing the order announcements the B737-9 orderbook could amount to just under 300 aircraft. This compares with over 3,400 for the A321neo. Even the B737-900ER secured just over 500 orders indicating that the market for the B737-9 in terms of orders, customers and operators is limited. The apparent absence of orders from the lessors is particularly telling as the lessors usually only order aircraft types that have residual value potential although it is noted that ALC has an order for some -9 aircraft that are destined for Aeromexico and Alaska.
The value of a new low gross weight B737-8 approximates $42 million although some appraisers indicated in excess of $46 million. This compares with $43.3 million and $47 million respectively for the range of values for the B737-9. Boeing has had to deal with a large number of actual B737 MAX whitetails over the last eighteen months. With the extensive grounding of the B737MAX which has now been lifted in many countries, customers for the MAX were contractually able to cancel orders. This led to some 100 or more B737 MAX aircraft that had been built but for which no end customer was assigned. Boeing has been able to sell most of these whitetails such that some 25 remain to be sold. Pricing of some of these whitetails was reportedly less than $44 million. Combined with the overall sporadic recovery from the Covid Event, some appraisers remain cautious over values even as the B737-8 shows every possibility of redeeming itself. As Boeing grapples with the B797 amidst the need to compete more effectively with the A321neo, the B737-9 would appear to have little opportunity to see further advancement in terms of orders. With a limited customer and operator base, the residual values of the -9 will decline at a faster rate than for the -8.