The first business jet version of the Boeing 737 Max took off from the airframer's facility in Seattle on 16 April, on the first stage of its journey to becoming a fully outfitted BBJ Max 8.

According to online flight tracking tool FlightAware, the re-engined narrowbody – serial number 61329, bearing registration N329BJ – lifted off from Boeing Field at 09:33 local time and landed at Delaware Coastal airport, in the east of the USA, 4h 42min later.

Local company Aloft AeroArchitects will now install its PATS auxiliary fuel tank, which will boost the aircraft's range to 6,640nm (12,300km) – some 3,000nm more than the standard Max 8, which entered airline service in 2017, and 800nm more than the BBJ2 which it replaces.

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The green BBJ Max 8 is scheduled to arrive for outfitting in the fourth quarter at Comlux Completions in Indianapolis. The finished aircraft will be handed over to its undisclosed customer in the second half of 2019.

"We are excited to see the first BBJ Max come to life and fly through the development milestone," says Boeing Business Jets president Greg Laxton. "In the past few weeks, the airplane has achieved factory roll-out, first flight, multiple certifications, and now flyaway," he adds.

The BBJ Max 8 was launched in 2014 as the first member of the re-engined BBJ family, which features new CFM International Leap-1B powerplants.

This will be followed by the BBJ Max 7 and BBJ Max 9 – the next-generation versions of the BBJ and BBJ3 – which are earmarked for green delivery in 2022 and 2020, respectively.

Boeing says it has secured 20 orders for the trio to date, with the bulk of sales for the Max 8 variant.

Source: Flight International