Boeing’s first 737 MAX 10 narrowbody has emerged from the company’s Renton final assembly line in Washington State.
The rollout of the largest member of the 737 MAX family was held on Friday (US time) and attended by company employees.
While Boeing released a single image of the 737 MAX 10 with staff, some employees and aviation enthusiasts posted additional images of the aircraft on social media:
— Paul Lewis (@hitchin1066) November 22, 2019
The 737 MAX 10 makes its debut in Renton. Thanks to our Renton team for a commitment to safety and quality as we reach this milestone for the 737 program. pic.twitter.com/4dQZeUDKYp
— Doug Alder (@SeattleVolFan) November 22, 2019
— Craig Paul (@craigpaulplanes) November 23, 2019
Boeing vice president and general manager of the 737 program Mark Jenks paid tribute to the work of all the staff responsible for designing, building and supporting the aircraft.
“This team’s relentless focus on safety and quality shows the commitment we have to our airline customers and every person who flies on a Boeing airplane,” Jenks said in a statement.
Boeing has said previously it hoped to begin the flight test program for the 737 MAX 10 before the end of calendar 2019, with entry into service slated to occur in 2020.
However, it was unclear when the aircraft might fly given the ongoing grounding of the 737 MAX fleet following two fatal crashes involving the 737 MAX 8.
In this part of the world, Virgin Australia has ordered 25 737 MAX 10 aircraft to be delivered from July 2021. The airline group also has 23 737 MAX 8 on order that were due to start arriving from February 2025.
Boeing has been working on software improvements and changes to pilot training procedures following the two fatal crashes involving the 737 MAX 8.
The company has also stopped deliveries of the 737 MAX since April, with completed aircraft parked at various airfields across the US.
The first accident involving a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 occurred in October 2018. This was followed less than six months later with an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 in March 2019. The two tragedies killed 346 people. There were no survivors.
An anti-stall software on the 737 MAX, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), has been implicated in both incidents.
Earlier in November, Boeing said it was “possible” regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could give the all clear to resume deliveries of the grounded 737 MAX in December 2019.
“While the FAA and other regulatory authorities will determine the timing of certification and return to commercial service, Boeing continues to target FAA certification of the MAX flight control software updates during this quarter,” the Boeing statement said.
“Based on this schedule, it is possible that the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order.
“In parallel, we are working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service, and which we now expect to begin in January.”
Further, Boeing said the return to service “may include a phased approach and timing may vary by jurisdiction”.
Launched at the Paris Airshow in 2017, the MAX 10 was the fifth and largest variant of the 737 MAX family of aircraft. It will have a range of 3,300nm (with one auxiliary tank) and can carry up to 230 passengers in a single-class layout, or between 188 and 204 passengers in a two-class configuration, according to figures from the Boeing website.
The 737 MAX 10 is a 1.68m stretch of the MAX 9, with 1.17m forward of the wing and the remainder aft of the wing, for a total length of 43.8 metres.
“I’m honored to take this airplane on its first flight and show the world what you’ve put your heart and soul into,” 737 chief pilot Jennifer Henderson said in the Boeing statement.
Boeing said it had received more than 550 orders and commitments for the 737 MAX 10.