The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 a Type Certificate, allowing the first-developed and first-certified 737 MAX version to enter commercial service.
Boeing is now in the final stages of preparing for the first 737 MAX 8 delivery to customers in the coming months.
One early-delivery customer is due to be Norwegian Air Shuttle subsidiary Norwegian Airlines International, which plans to launch transatlantic services with 737 MAX 8s in June from four Irish, one Scottish and at least one Norwegian destination to three airports in the Northeastern U.S.
To earn type certification for the 737 MAX 8, Boeing began a comprehensive flight-test program just over a year ago. The 737 MAX 8 type-certification test program including flight-testing four aircraft, plus ground and laboratory testing.
After reviewing the enormous amounts of 737 MAX 8 performance and function data collected by Boeing in the certification-testing process, the FAA has granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate for the 737 MAX 8, verifying that the design complies with required aviation regulations and is safe and reliable.
According to Boeing, the 737 MAX 8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by an additional 14 per cent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
However, this Boeing claim does not apply to the Airbus A320neo, which entered service early in 2016 and offers a fuel-burn and emissions performance which is comparable to that of the 737 MAX 8.
Boeing expects to follow type-certification of the 737 MAX 8 and longer 737 MAX 9 (which it rolled out for the first time on March 7) in 2019 with certification of the smaller 737 MAX 7 and the 737 MAX 200.
The 737 MAX 200 is a 200-passenger, higher-density seating version of the 737 MAX 8 and has been ordered to date only by Ryanair.
Meanwhile, Boeing continues to study and discuss with customers possibly adding to the 737 MAX family a 737 MAX 10 version, which would be longer and have an even higher seat capacity than the 737 MAX 9, which will be able to seat a maximum of 220 passengers.
The Boeing 737 MAX family is powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines, the highest-selling version of CFM’s LEAP-1 family, the fastest-selling commercial-aircraft turbofan engine family in history.
All Boeing 737 MAX jets also will have Advanced Technology winglets and other fuel burn-reducing improvements installed.
The 737 MAX family is the fastest-selling commercial-aircraft family in Boeing history, accumulating orders for more than 3,600 aircraft to date from 83 customers.
By the end of February, the rival Airbus A320neo-family, which Airbus began selling about 10 months before Boeing began selling the 737 MAX family, had accumulated firm order for 5,063 aircraft