Inside Boeing’s Smallest New Airliner, the 737 MAX 7

Jul 25, 2018

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Boeing’s latest narrow-body jet is now flying with a handful of airlines, from Norwegian to FlyDubai, but the 737 MAX made its public debut just two years ago, at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show.

Since then, the mid-range MAX 8 has carried countless passengers around the world, as Boeing has continued to roll out other variants — from the longer 737 MAX 9, which debuted at the Paris Air Show and is now flying with United Airlines within the US, to the smaller MAX 7, which popped up for the first time at Farnborough just last week.

Given that you’re by now probably well acquainted with the larger MAX variants — the MAX 8 and MAX 9 — I’m going to keep things short with the “little guy” today:

While it offers nearly 400 miles more range, the MAX 7 is considerably smaller than the workhorse MAX 8, which can accommodate nearly 40 more passengers in a high-density configuration. In fact, the smallest MAX fits roughly the same number of passengers as the new Airbus A220-300a far more popular aircraft.

737 MAX 7 737 MAX 8 737 MAX 9 737 MAX 10
Max Seats 172 210 220 230
Length 116 ft., 8 in. 129 ft., 8 in. 138 ft., 4 in. 143 ft., 8 in.
Range (miles) 4,430 4,080 4,080 3,800

There’s no question that the MAX 7 is a beaut, but sadly the plane’s good looks haven’t helped boost its popularity. Southwest is currently the 7’s largest customer, with orders for 30 planes, but there’s always a chance the airline could choose to add more MAX 8s to the fleet, instead.

Hopefully, if airlines do eventually take delivery of the smallest MAX, they also decide to abandon those awful lavatories flying with the larger planes today.

Sadly the small lav and sink is present on Boeing’s test plane, as I saw at the Farnborough Air Show. But for better or worse, it appears that pilots and engineers don’t have to deal with those horrendous sinks — the rear lav sink was inoperable during my tour, having been replaced with a bottle of hand sanitizer, instead.

For more from the Farnborough Air Show, see:

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