Boeing debuts newest long-range 737 MAX amid fanfare

The first Boeing 737 MAX 7 rolls off the assembly line. (Boeing Co. photo)

RENTON, Wash. - Thousands of employees celebrated the debut of the Boeing Co.'s newest jetliner Monday at the Renton assembly plant as the first Boeing 737 MAX 7 came down the assembly line.

The MAX 7 is the third and newest member of Boeing's 737 MAX family. The jet is designed for up to 172 passengers and a maximum range of 3,850 nautical miles, which is the longest range of the MAX airplane family.

The 737 MAX 7 is scheduled to enter service in 2019, with the first delivery to Southwest Airlines.

Technology improvements allow the MAX 7 to fly 1,000 nautical miles farther and carry more passengers than its predecessor, the 737-700, while having 18 percent lower fuel costs per seat.

Boeing says the MAX 7 is also superior to the competition, carrying more passengers farther than the Airbus A319neo, with 7 percent lower operating costs per seat.

"For our airline customers serving airports at high altitudes or remote locations, the MAX 7 is the ideal complement to their fleet," said Keith Leverkuhn, Boeing's vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program

The first MAX 7 will now undergo system checks, fueling and engine runs on the flight line in Renton. The airplane, the first of two MAX 7 flight test airplanes, will begin its flight testing program in the coming weeks.

Boeing says the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,300 orders from 92 customers worldwide.

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