Boeing celebrated this past week the completion of final assembly of the first 737 MAX 8, named the Spirit of Renton. The new single-aisle airplane will deliver 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s and have lower operating costs than the A320neo.
The 737 MAX 8 is the first member in Boeing’s new family of single-aisle airplanes – the 737 MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 200 and MAX 9 – to begin production, with nearly 3,000 orders from 60 customers worldwide.
“Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the rollout of the new 737 MAX – the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century – our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”
The production-complete airplane rolled out of the Renton factory and into the paint hangar on Nov. 30, the precise date determined when the MAX development schedule was defined more than four years ago. After celebrations are complete, the airplane will undergo pre-flight preparation in the factory before departing for Renton Field to continue flight test readiness. The airplane is on track for first flight in early 2016.
With the second and third 737 MAX 8 flight test airplanes currently in final assembly and the fourth (and final) in sub-assembly, it remains on track for first delivery to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017. Test flights for the aircraft are scheduled in early 2016
The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Boeing-designed Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.