Boeing has completed the first flight of its next-generation B737 Max 8 aircraft, ahead of its scheduled launch next year.
The aircraft flew from Renton Field in Washington to Seattle’s Boeing Field, completing a two-hour 47-minute flight and reaching a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.
The B737 Max 8 is due to be delivered to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017, with other customers of the B737 Max family including Norwegian, Virgin Australia, United, American Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Air Canada.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair has also ordered 100 of Boeing's B737 Max 200 aircraft, which the airline intends to configure with 197 slimline seats (see news September 2014).
Boeing says the B737 Max 8 aircraft will deliver “the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market with 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s – and 8 percent per seat lower operating costs than the A320neo”.
Lufthansa took delivery of the first Airbus A320 neo aircraft last week – for a report from the scheduled first flight between Frankfurt and Minich, click here.