The start of revenue flights of the 737 MAX 10, the largest version of the jet ever developed, should only occur in 2024, but Boeing decided to foresee the future by painting an aircraft of the model with the colors of United Airlines.
With registration number N6055X, the 737 MAX 10 made its maiden flight on Friday, November 18th. It is the third aircraft completed so far and will join the two prototypes that participated in the test program aimed at certification.
United Airlines is one of the largest customers of the MAX 10 variant, with capacity for up to 230 passengers. In June 2021, the US carrier closed an order for 150 aircraft of the model, in addition to another 50 units of the MAX 8 version.
Despite Boeing’s gesture of optimism, the 737 MAX 10 is at serious risk of having its approval by the FAA, the US civil aviation agency, postponed. The reason is that new safety legislation requiring new commercial aircraft to be equipped with a crew alert will come into effect from December 28th.
Both the 737 MAX 7, the smallest of the family, and the MAX 10 are behind schedule for certification programs and will miss the deadline for not meeting the new requirements.
If an exception is not approved by the US Congress, Boeing will have to redesign both to accommodate the new system, which would delay development by several months. In addition, it will make the two new planes have different equipment from the MAX 8 and MAX 9, already in service.
Perhaps United Airlines’ 737 MAX 10 could be a common sight just around Boeing in Washington State for some time to come.