The first Boeing 737 MAX 7 made its debut on February 5, 2018 at the company's Renton (Washington, U.S.) factory. The airplane, the first of two MAX 7 flight test airplanes, will begin its flight testing program in the coming weeks.

The first MAX 7 will now undergo system checks, fueling and engine runs on the flight line in Renton. The 737 MAX 7 is scheduled to enter service in 2019, following delivery to launch customer Southwest Airlines.

"For our airline customers serving airports at high altitudes or remote locations, the MAX 7 is the ideal complement to their fleet. We look forward to demonstrating the incredible flexibility and range of this airplane," said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This is the third 737 MAX family member our team has successfully introduced in just three years. That's a phenomenal accomplishment and a testament to the dedication of the entire 737 team."

The MAX 7 is the third and newest member of Boeing's 737 MAX family to come down the assembly line. The jet is designed for up to 172 passengers and a maximum range of 3,850 nautical miles, which is the longest range of the MAX airplane family.

Technology improvements allow the MAX 7 to fly 1,000 nautical miles farther and carry more passengers than its predecessor, the 737-700, while having 18 percent lower fuel costs per seat, Boeing notes in a statement, also using the opportunity to bite the rival airbus, by saying that its newest jet is “superior to the competition, carrying 12 more passengers 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7% lower operating costs per seat.”