American Airlines' First Boeing 737 MAX Rolls Off the Assembly Line
The first Boeing 737 took to the skies in April 9, 1967, and since then, it's been redesigned and relaunched quite a few times. The latest iterations are the long-range and fuel efficient 737 MAX aircraft models — which have racked up a combined 3,803 orders per Boeing's latest report. The first 737 MAX delivery was just a couple of months ago in mid-May to Asian low-cost carrier Malindo Air.
American Airlines accounts for exactly 100 of these new aircraft — with an option for 40 more — from an order placed way back in February 2013. And it looks like the first of these is nearing delivery. Yesterday, #AvGeek photographer Chris Edwards shared photos of American Airlines first 737 MAX just after it rolled off the assembly line:
This is an aircraft that has received more media attention than AA may have wanted. First, in January, the airline revealed that it wasn't going to install in-flight entertainment screens on these aircraft, which is especially peculiar as these are designed for longer flights — Norwegian is using its 737 MAX to fly across the Atlantic. Instead, AA is relying on streaming entertainment options to passengers' personal devices via Wi-Fi.
Then, back in early May, it was reported that its 737 MAXs would have as little as 29 inches of pitch in some rows of economy, prompting a backlash in the press and social media that led to the airline reversing this decision. Still, standard economy seats will have just 30 inches of pitch — down from the 31-inch pitch found on most of AA's aircraft. However, the airline thankfully chose to install ViaSat Wi-Fi rather than the standard (and sometimes miserably slow) Gogo Wi-Fi that's found on the carrier's other 737s.
We asked AA when it expects to take delivery of this aircraft and on which routes it may operate on. While there are no firm dates yet, an airline spokesperson confirmed that this is the airline's first of four 737 MAXs expected this year and that AA "will begin service on the MAX towards the end of the year."