Two years after Boeing officially announced the 737 MAX 7 at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, the jetliner has finally taken shape. At this year’s Airshow in the UK, the Chicago-based plane maker seized the opportunity to showcase this newest member of the 737 MAX Family, which also includes the MAX 8, MAX 9, and MAX 10. The AeroTime team was there and had the chance to get on board the new aircraft to see what it looks and feels like in person.
Since the start of production on the first Boeing 737 MAX 7, it took four years until the aircraft finally rolled out of Boeing’s Renton facility in the U.S. in February 2018. Not long after, on March 16, 2018, the MAX 7 successfully completed its first flight and will now start several months of flight trials leading to certification and delivery. The jet’s entry into service with Southwest Airlines is scheduled for early 2019.
Boeing’s 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of the company’s upgraded narrow-body twin-engine jetliner range, was redesigned to fit two more seat rows, accommodating 12 more seats than the 737-700, which the new aircraft was originally based on.
The MAX 7 can carry up to 153 passengers in a two-class configuration, with maximum capacity of 172 seats. The aircraft has a range of 3,850 nautical miles (7,130 km), which is the longest of all other 737 MAX Family aircraft. By the way, the upgraded 737 MAX 7, MAX 8, and MAX 9 replace, respectively, the 737-700, 737-800, and 737-900.
According to Boeing, the shortened 737 aircraft is designed for flying at high altitudes and hot climates or on longer journeys than larger narrow-body jets. “The MAX 7 will provide airlines an efficient product for opening and flying thinner markets and accessing challenging airports,” says Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 737 MAX Family incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features. It is a direct competitor to Airbus A320 family.
As for the long-standing Airbus vs Boeing rivalry, the MAX 7 competes with Airbus A319neo in the single-aisle market. But the A319neo, compared to Boeing’s MAX 7 features, can carry only 140 passengers in a two-class configuration, with a maximum capacity of 160 passengers. The A319neo also has a shorter range, 3,750 nautical miles (6,945 km).
Boeing says the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in the company’s history. According to the plane maker’s orders and deliveries summary for the model through June 2018, the 737 MAX has accumulated 4,649 orders, but with only 162 jets delivered. It does not specify which variant gained which orders.
According to Reuters, the MAX 7 has posted relatively modest sales with fewer than 100 estimated orders. Boeing declined to say how many MAX 7s it had sold but confirmed it had eight customers including the two largest – Southwest and WestJet.