Boeing’s new 737 MAX jet takes off on first flight with new engines & high hopes (Video)

The Boeing 737 MAX has just completed its first test flight, a journey of close to three hours that puts it closer to being certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. About 4,000 people were at Renton, Washington’s Renton Field to watch the Boeing 737 MAX make its first-ever trip, as it took off from the airport at 9:48 a.m., which was a bit sooner than expected. The MAX eventually made a smooth landing at Boeing Field in Seattle at 12:32 p.m., or two hours and 44 minutes after takeoff.

“Today’s first flight of the 737 MAX carries us across the threshold of a new century of innovation – one driven by the same passion and ingenuity that have made this company great for 100 years,” said Boeing President and CEO Ray Conner in a statement prepared for the occasion. According to Boeing, the 737 MAX is designed to be a quieter and more economical plane, with an all-new CFM LEAP-1B engine capable of saving up to 15 percent in terms of fuel consumption. This was evident in Friday’s test flight, said the plane’s pilot, Captain Ed Wilson in an interview after the flight. “We were amazed at how quiet the cabin was,” Wilson said. “I took a walk mid-flight through the cabin and was impressed.”

Currently, Boeing has over 2,827 orders for the 737 MAX, with more than 40 customers lining up to add the new jet to their fleets. These customers include the likes of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines in the U.S., Ryanair in Ireland, and Norwegian Air Shuttle.

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