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Boeing 737 MAX completes successful first flight

Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft successfully completed its first flight on January 29, 2016. The Aircraft took off from a rainy tarmac in Renton, Washington and proceeded to take part in flight tests for about three hours before landing at Boeing Field in Seattle. This issue-less flight of the new aircraft marks a step toward the company’s scheduled delivery of approximately 12 737 MAX aircraft by the end of 2017.

The 737 MAX aircraft is the fourth version of the original 737, which made its first flight in 1967 and has since become one of the company’s most profitable aircraft. It features new engines manufactured by CFM International and offers other refinements that improve fuel efficiency by 14 percent. The 737 Max is meant to compete with Airbus’ A320neo which had its first delivery to Lufthansa Airline earlier this month. The first customer schedule to receive Boeing’s 737 MAX is Southwest Airlines and Boeing is expecting to deliver this first 737 MAX aircraft in 2017.

Analysts were surprised on Wednesday when Boeing said in a statement that the company was planning on reducing production of the current generation 737 to focus on the production of 737 MAX. This announcement led to a drop in value of the company’s stock by 8.9 percent and on the day of the announcement the company’s stock closed at $116.58. This was the company’s biggest daily decline in the value of its stock since October 2001. However, many analysts believe that Boeing’s shares are likely to recover as long as the company’s outlook on having a positive cash flow remains strong, as well as its commitment to dividends and share buybacks.

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