Boeing has started final assembly of the third and smallest variant in the re-engined 737 Max family.
The first Max 7 flight-test aircraft is now loaded into a final-assembly position inside Boeing's single-aisle production centre in Renton, Washington, the airframer confirmed in a Twitter posting on 22 November.
Final assembly begins after a completed fuselage arrives from Spirit AeroSystems. Boeing manufactures the wings for the 737 Max in a building adjacent to the final assembly hangars in Renton. CFM International ships Leap-1B engines which are installed at the end of the final assembly process.
The 737-7 – with 138-153 seats in a two-class layout – enters final assembly three years after Boeing achieved a similar milestone with the 162-189-seat Max 8. That variant entered service in May.
In December 2016, Boeing started final assembly of the first 178-193-seat Max 9, which is on track to enter service next year. The airframer is also designing the 188-204-seat Max 10.
Though the smallest of the four major Max variants, the 737-7 has the longest range: 3,825nm (7,080km).