This is a new step for the Boeing 737 MAX. After manufacturing the first parts of the aircraft last October, the assembly of the first test unit’s wing has just begun at the Renton plant in the northwestern United States. A long and complex process because the wings are made up of numerous components. With the help of these huge machines, the operators must assemble the aluminum wing surfaces, and the primary structural internal components such as stringers and spars, which ensure, inter alia, the strength of the wing. Once established, the 737 MAX’s first wings will be attached to the American twin-jet’s fuselage; a step expected "later this year" according to the aircraft manufacturer, after which the test aircraft will have a wingspan of 36 metres (over 118 feet).
The maiden flight of the remotorised single-aisle is expected early next year, to enter service in 2017. Thanks in part to its LEAP engines developed by CFM International, the successor to the 737 NG, will consume 20% less fuel compared to the latter. To date, Boeing’s 737 MAX has gained more than 2,700 firm orders from 57 airlines.