The first completed plane in Boeing's new MAX series rolled out of the hanger today amid cheers from thousands of employees in Renton, Washington. Factory construction of the Boeing MAX 8, dubbed the Spirit of Renton, was completed on November 30, the exact date specified in Boeing's development schedule created four years ago. The new plane has spent the past week in the paint hanger getting a custom teal version of Boeing's recognizable trappings.
The Boeing 737 MAX has significant upgrades over previous models of the 737, which is one of the best-selling passenger jets in history with almost 9,000 built since production began in 1966. The MAX series will upgrade the engines to , which require a new wing design by Boeing to support the increased weight. The new engines and other design improvements will allow the 737 MAX 8 to burn 20 percent less fuel and lower operating costs by up to 14 percent compared to current 737's.
The Spirit of Renton will receive pre-flight preparation work in the factory before it is transported to Renton field to complete its flight test readiness inspection. First flight is scheduled for early 2016, and Southwest Airlines is expected to receive the first 737 MAX aircraft for commercial use in late 2017.