Boeing’s first ever B737 MAX aircraft emerged from the factory this week.
The event, which was witness by thousands of Boeing employees, marks a major milestone in the aircraft programme, which will culminate with the first delivery to Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.
The B737 MAX is the successor to the popular single-aisle B737 series, which forms the backbone of many airlines’ fleets. It will be more efficient than its predecessor, burning 20% less fuel than existing B737s.
“Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president & general manager of the 737 MAX programme. “With the roll-out 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 aircraft will now undergo pre-flight checks ahead of its planned first test flight in early 2016.
To-date, Boeing has taken orders for more than 2,800 B737 MAXs, with major airline customers including Lion Air (201 aircraft), Southwest Airlines (200), Norwegian Air Shuttle, United Airlines, American Airlines and Ryanair (all 100).