Boeing workers are now building components for the 737 Max 7, the third of five major variants planned for the re-engined narrowbody, the company announces on 4 October.
The first 19.8m (65ft) wing spar for the 737-7 entered Boeing’s production system this week at the Renton, Washington, factory complex. Entry into service is expected in January 2019 with launch operator Southwest Airlines, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.
“The MAX 7 is an important piece of the MAX family, especially since it provides airlines with the most range of any new single-aisle airplane on the market,” says Keith Leverkuhn, Boeing’s vice-president and general manager for the 737 Max.
Featuring CFM International Leap-1B engines and Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing lists the 737-7 with a maximum range of 3,825nm (7,080km). With a list price of $90 million, seating capacity for the 737-7 ranges between 138 in a typical, two-class layout or up to 172 in a high-density, single-class configuration.
Although the 737 Max family overall has attracted more than 3,900 firm orders, demand for the 737-7 is significantly weaker despite a minor redesign last year that lengthened the fuselage.
The 737-7 has collected 65 firm orders from four customers, but Southwest and WestJet combine for 55. Canadian start-up Jetlines and Air Lease Corp split the orders for the remaining 10.
In addition to the 737-7, Boeing has already started delivering the 737-8. The 737-9 is scheduled to enter service next year, followed by the 737 Max 200 in 2019. The 737-10 is now scheduled to enter service in 2020.
CORRECTION: The article has been updated to show the correct year for entry into service of the 737 Max 7 and 737 Max 200.