First Boeing 737 MAX goes on assembly line

Assembly has started on the first Boeing 737 MAX, the latest version of an aircraft that first flew in April 1967, and of which 8,500 have been delivered.

First Boeing 737 MAX goes on assembly line

Assembly has started on the first Boeing 737 MAX, the latest version of an aircraft that first flew in April 1967, and of which 8,500 have been delivered. The initial aircraft is scheduled to be completed this year and begin flights tests in 2016.

Customers will start to receive aircraft in the third quarter of 2017.

Current production is 42 a month with a planned 52 a month in 2018 on a single line at the company’s Renton plant near Seattle. The units move 2″ every minute. Total orders for the new aircraft stand at 2,724. Boeing has a backlog of 4,201 for all 737 types.

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In 2010, Airbus launched the A320neo. Boeing followed with the MAX in August 2011, claiming a 4% lower fuel burn than its Toulouse designed competitor.

Airbus first flew a Pratt and Whitney powered neo on 25 September 2014 and last week one with the alternative CFM International LEAP-1A engine. First deliveries should be this year (ILFC) but no airline has been announced. The order book stands at 3,794. Boeing only offers the CFM engine.

Renton produces the 737 on a single automated production line. The A320 series is assembled at Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin (China). A plant at Mobile Alabama (USA) will come on stream in 2016.

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