MIAMI — Boeing announced today that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified the 737 MAX 8 for commercial service, clearing the airframer to start preparing the initial customer deliveries in the coming months.
The certification was granted just over one year after the first flight, which marked the start of a comprehensive test program with four aircraft, plus ground and laboratory testing and route proving runs with Southwest Airlines. According to Boeing, the FAA granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate for the 737 MAX 8, “verifying the design complies with required aviation regulations and that it is safe and reliable.”
The maturity of the basic platform on which the 737 MAX relies, and the uneventful evolving of the flight test campaign, were the key factors to showcase the MAX in the 2016 Farnborugh Airshow, just 13 months since the assembly of the wings of the first aircraft.
“This certification is a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our entire MAX team throughout the process, from airplane design to flight testing,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The milestone in the MAX program took place days after rollout of the first 737 MAX 9, the largest member —to date— of the family aircraft, and the announcement of plans for a stretched variant, dubbed the MAX 10X.
Norwegian is expected to become the launch customer for the 737 MAX 8, overtaking Dallas-based Southwest. The carrier expects to take delivery of the aircraft in May and start revenue service in June.
The 737 MAX 8 is now expected to be delivered to customers in the second quarter of 2017, while the 737 MAX 9 will enter service in 2018 followed by the 737 MAX 7 and its high-density variant, the MAX 200, a year later, Boeing moves ahead with studies as discussions with customers continue on an eventual MAX 10 X.
To date, the 737 MAX has reaped over 3,600 orders from 83 customers worldwide, making it the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history.