Boeing's newest version of the 737 Max makes first flight
Boeing's newest version of the 737 Max 10 jetliner made its first test flight on Friday, taking off near Seattle for an expected two-hour trip that the company hopes will signal improving fortunes for its most important plane. The Max 10 is a slightly larger version of Max jets that are already flying. Here are more details.
Max 10 is designed to seat up to 230 passengers
The event was kept low-key as Boeing tries to navigate overlapping crises caused previously. Chicago-based Boeing expects to begin delivering Max 10s to airlines in 2023. Boeing's 230-seat 737-10 is designed to close the gap between its 178-to-220-seat 737-9, and Airbus's 185-to-240-seat A321neo, which dominates the top end of the narrowbody jet market, worth some $3.5 trillion over 20 years.
Max jets were grounded after multiple crashes killed hundreds
Max jets get better fuel mileage than previous versions of Boeing's venerable 737. Airlines began using the plane in 2017, but Max 8 and Max 9 planes were grounded worldwide for nearly two years after crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 killed a total of 346 people. US regulators allowed Max jets to resume flying late last year after Boeing made changes.
Boeing suffered a loss of $8.4 billion last year
The changes also included overhauling flight-control software that played a role in the crashes. This spring, about 100 new Max jets were idled for several weeks because of an unrelated problem with an electrical grounding of cockpit instruments. The grounding of Max jets and reduced demand for planes because of the pandemic pushed Boeing Co. to an $8.4 billion loss last year.