smooth flight of the new aircraft marks another step toward
scheduled delivery to airlines in 2017.
Live video supplied by Boeing showed the smooth take-off at 9:46
a.m. (1746 GMT) and landing at about 12:33 p.m. (2033 GMT)
The plane is the fourth version of the original 737, which made
its first flight in 1967 and has become one of Boeing's most
The 737 MAX features new engines from CFM International, a joint
venture of General Electric <GE.N> and Safran SA of France
<SAF.PA>, and other refinements that improve fuel efficiency by
14 percent compared with the current generation 737.
Boeing has sold 3,072 of the planes and is racing to sell more
as it battles for market share against rival Airbus's <AIR.PA>
competing A320neo, which earlier this month was delivered to its
first customer, Lufthansa <LHAG.DE>.
Boeing is expected to deliver its first 737 MAX to customers in
2017. Southwest Airlines Co <LUV.N> is scheduled to be the first
airline to add the 737 MAX to its fleet.
The first flight of the plane, which is filled with test
equipment, was expected to last about 2 1/2 hours. Tracking web
sites showed the aircraft cruising west over the Olympic
Peninsula, the western part of Washington State.
Boeing surprised analysts on Wednesday when it said the company
would slightly reduce output of current-generation 737s this
year to allow the factory to build the 737 MAX. Boeing stock
tumbled 8.9 percent that day, its biggest daily decline since
October 2001, to close at $116.58 on the New York Stock
Many analysts later said Boeing shares are likely to recover
because the company's outlook for cash flow remains strong, as
does its commitment to share buybacks and dividends.
On Friday, the stock was trading up 1.6 percent at $119.60.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Grant McCool and Bill
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