Boeing is proceeding growing its fleet of test planes with the roll out of the Boeing 737 MAX 7.
The plane was unveiled yesterday at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington State.
This is third version of the Boeing 737 MAX that has rolled out (with the MAX 8 and MAX 9 rolled out).
The plane itself is the shortest of the family, with it designed for up to 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles – making it the longest range version of the 737 MAX family.
On the launch Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program states
“For our airline customers serving airports at high altitudes or remote locations, the MAX 7 is the ideal complement to their fleet. We look forward to demonstrating the incredible flexibility and range of this airplane,”
“This is the third 737 MAX family member our team has successfully introduced in just three years. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment and a testament to the dedication of the entire 737 team.”
So you’d expect airlines are lining up to buy this aircraft – except they aren’t.
Except – compared to their larger cousins, the order book looks rather empty. Currently, three customers are listed:
- Southwest Airlines (launch customer) – 30
- WestJet – 23
- Canada Jetlines – 5
- … and that’s it.
A rather less than impressive book of 58 orders.
- the MAX 8 has 2,105 orders
- the MAX 9 has 65 orders (doing slightly better than the MAX 7)
- the MAX 10 274 orders
Something isn’t drawing customers to the type. In some cases, they’ve up-scaled to the 737 MAX 8, whilst in other cases (such as Delta), the 737 MAX 7 is too big of a plane – and they’ve chosen to go with the Bombardier C Series instead.
In the case of the MAX 7, it may be restricted to specific missions – but not as wide as Boeing would like one would suspect.
The first aircraft will undergo ground tests and system tests. It will be joined by another aircraft that will form test fleet.
First flight is expected in the coming weeks for the Boeing 737 MAX 7.
However the bigger problem the type will have – is to sell the aircraft and identity how it can fit into a fleet.
Therein is the real challenge.
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