Boeing has celebrated the debut of the first 737 MAX 7, the third and newest member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family, at the company’s Renton, Washington factory.

The jet is designed for up to 172 passengers and a maximum range of 3,850 nautical miles, the longest range of the MAX aircraft family.

The manufacturer said 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% lower fuel costs per seat.

In a statement, Boeing said the MAX 7 carries “12 more passengers 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7% lower operating costs per seat.”

“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 first MAX 7 will now undergo system checks, fuelling and engine runs on the flight line in Renton. This aircraft, the first of two MAX 7 flight test aircraft, will begin its testing programme in the coming weeks.

The 737 MAX 7 is scheduled to enter service in 2019, following delivery to its launch customer Southwest Airlines.