Posted on: 15 September 2015 by Mark Howells
Boeing’s employees at the OEM’s facilities in Renton, Washington, have begun the final assembly of the first 737 MAX 8 on schedule.
“We continue to meet our plan on the 737 MAX programme thanks to the dedication of our employee team and our suppliers,” commented Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX programme at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We have a lot more work still ahead of us but we’re very pleased with our progress to date.”
After the first fuselage arrived from Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit Aerosystems on 21 August, mechanics began installing flight systems and insulation blankets. Following this, crews moved the fuselage to the wing-to-body join position on the new production line to attach the wings to the body of the aircraft.
The wings feature Boeing’s new Advanced Technology winglets. Designed exclusively for the 737 MAX, they offer up to 1.8% more fuel-efficiency than current inline winglet designs.
“Seeing the new winglet design we validated in the wind tunnel years ago now on the first new airplane is incredible,” continued Leverkuhn. “It’s just one of the features that differentiates the 737 MAX and makes it an amazingly fuel-efficient machine.”
Boeing will build the first 737 MAXs exclusively on the new production line in the Renton factory. Once mechanics prove out the production process, the team will extend MAX production to Renton’s other two final assembly lines.
“The opening of a brand new production line in Renton increases our flexibility and capacity, allowing this incredible team to continue to meet our customers’ need for the world’s most reliable single-aisle airplanes, well into the future,” added Scott Campbell, vice president and general manager of the 737 programme and Renton site leader for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The team remains on track to roll out the first completed 737 MAX by the end of the year and fly it in early 2016. Launch customer Southwest Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of the first 737 MAX in the third quarter of 2017. In total, the 737 MAX family has 2,869 orders from 58 customers worldwide.