Boeing says the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified its new 737 Max 8 airplane for passenger airline service after more than a year of intensive tests. Chicago-based Boeing (NYSE: BA) said it’s now in the final stages of preparing the first 737 Max 8 for delivery to customers “in the coming months.”
The FAA certification for the 737 Max 8 follows a comprehensive test program that began more than one year ago with four airplanes, plus ground and laboratory testing, the company said.
The FAA granted Boeing what is known as an amended type certificate for the 737 Max 8, verifying the design complies with required U.S. aviation regulations and is safe and reliable.
Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ 737 Max program, praised the dedication and commitment of the entire Max team for its hard work throughout the process, from airplane design to flight testing.
“The Renton team looks forward to delivering superior efficiency, reliability and design to our customers as they start to receive their aircraft in the next few months,” Leverkuhn said in a news release.
The 737 Max 8 is the first in a new family of the 737, Boeing’s workhorse single-aisle jets.
Though Boeing says it’s the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,600 orders from 83 customers worldwide, analysts say it’s losing more sales battles to rival Airbus and its increasingly popular A321neo.
Boeing says the Max 8 reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by an additional 14 percent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes.
On a conference call with aerospace journalists this week, Leverkuhn said Boeing has already made 13 737 Max 8 aircraft in Renton.
Southwest is the official launch customer for the 737 Max, after placing the first firm order for the new jet back in 2011.
However, Norwegian Air Shuttle will take delivery of the first 737 Max in May and will put the plane into service not long afterwards.