Boeing is hoping that airlines agree that good things come in small packages.
Boeing’s first 737 MAX 7 aircraft (sometimes referred to as the miniMAX) made its maiden voyage last week from the factory in Renton, Washington. The plane is the smallest in the 737 MAX family, designed specifically for “flying out of airports at high altitudes and hot climates.”
The aircraft took off and circled the state of Washington for about three hours. During the flight, pilots tested flight controls and checked the 737 MAX 7’s systems and handling qualities, according to the company.
“It’s smaller, but mighty,” Boeing chief pilot Jim Webb said upon landing. “Everything about it was clean. We completed the entire test profile and we couldn’t be happier.”
Boeing unveiled the aircraft in a ceremony in February, and last week’s flight was the first time the aircraft left the ground.
Of Boeing’s 737 MAX family, the 7 aircraft will have the longest range, capable of flying up to 3,850 nautical miles. The single-aisle plane can carry up to 172 passengers (depending on the seat configuration). Boeing is hoping airlines launching new routes will be interested in the smaller aircraft.
Although the new aircraft follows industry trends of increased fuel efficiency, demand has so far been low. There are fewer than 100 orders currently placed for the aircraft. Earlier this year, Southwest switched some of its MAX 7 orders to a different variant of the family.
The aircraft is on track to receive certification and be delivered to its first customer, Southwest, in 2019.