Greetings from Singapore, where I’m here this week attending the air show. Earlier today, I had the chance to brief the media on the progress of our airplane development programs—including the news that we’ve now reached firm configuration on the 737 MAX 10. It’s a very busy week back in Renton, Washington. And I’ve asked Keith Leverkuhn, the vice president and general manager of the MAX program, to guest blog in my absence.
As Randy said, things at our Renton site have indeed been action packed to start the year. Just this week alone, we’ve shared two major milestones for the 737 MAX program.
On Monday, we rolled out the first 737 MAX 7 – the third member of the MAX family to come down the line here in Renton. It was a day-long celebration, with a special unveiling event for all three shifts to congratulate our employees for the work they’ve done.
I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team has worked together to execute on the commitments we’ve made to our airline customers. We’ve now debuted three new airplanes in three years here in Renton. That’s a remarkable feat.
The MAX 7 is slightly stretched compared to the 737-700, giving our customers the capacity to fly 12 more passengers even farther than our competition. This airplane will also have the longest range of any member of the MAX family at 3,850 nm.
But what’s perhaps most impressive about the MAX 7 is its ability to offer exceptional performance at high altitude airports and hot climates. We’re excited to put the airplane into flight test in the coming weeks, and into the hands of launch customer Southwest Airlines next year.
Randy broke the news today that we’ve reached firm configuration for the MAX 10, what will be the fourth and largest member of the MAX family. We’ve spent time with our customers and supplier base to make sure we’ve optimized the configuration before we dive into the detailed design phase.
The MAX 10 will be the most efficient machine anyone has ever offered on the single-aisle side of the market. With a stretched fuselage 66 inches longer than the MAX 9, the MAX 10 will carry up to 230 passengers while giving airlines both lower trip and seat mile costs than the competition. The huge success we had in Paris with the launch of this airplane gives us great confidence going forward.
There’s no time to rest here in Renton. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be working with regulators to certify the MAX 9 before that airplane is delivered to our first customer. And we’re also getting close to seeing the 10,000th 737 come down the assembly line, setting another world record for the most popular airplane in aviation history.
All of this comes as we prepare to increase our production rate again later this year, going from 47 airplanes per month to 52 per month—and eventually to 57 per month in 2019. We’ve now incorporated the MAX into two of our three final assembly lines. If you haven’t already, be sure check out our interactive website that lets you tour the Renton factory.
None of this would be possible without the continuous improvement being made in our factory. Employee teams are coming up with new ways to do things more efficiently every day. All of this is key as we work to capture more market share, introduce the MAX 10 to the production system and continue to climb in rate.
I appreciate Randy allowing me the chance to fill in. I look forward to sharing more MAX news in the future. Learn more about the 737 MAX family here.