The Boeing 737 MAX 8, the first variant of the re-engined 737 exclusively powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines, has gained FAA certification.
The 737 Max 9 has been developed with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers - 16 more than its precursor - and has an operational range of 3,515 nautical miles (6,510km) that Boeing says "will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market". Once completed, the aircraft will begin flight testing in the coming weeks - the final phase of verification of the operational characteristics and overall performance.
The skies may have been gray at Boeing's Renton plant today, but the mood was sunny - thanks to the rollout of Boeing's first 737 MAX 9 jet.
However, the most successful model had been the 162-seater 737 MAX 8, the successor to Boeing's hugely successful 737-800.
The 737 MAX 8 is on track to deliver to customers in the second quarter of 2017.
The 737 MAX's major rival, the Airbus A320 neo had achieved its joint FAA and EASA certification in November 2015 and began commercial flight operations in January 2016.
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It says that by stretching the 737 MAX 9 fuselage and adding 12 seats, it would match capacity of the A3212neo which carries 185 people or over 200 in denser configurations.
Boeing's first 747 MAX 9 jet makes a splash at the company's Renton plant.
Boeing will later produce a smaller MAX 7 and then the MAX 200, a high-density version of the MAX 8 that has an extra exit door and is created to seat 200 passengers in one class.
All Boeing 737 MAX jets also will have Advanced Technology winglets and other fuel burn-reducing improvements installed.
According to the company, "The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,600 orders to date from 83 customers worldwide".
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