The latest version of Boeing’s 737 Max airliner made its maiden test flight on Friday, taking off near Seattle for a two-hour run that the company hopes is a sign that the fortunes of its most important jet will improve.

The Max 10 is a slightly larger version of the Max planes already in flight. It is designed to accommodate 230 passengers and compete with the A321neo from its European rival Airbus.

Chicago-based Boeing plans to begin delivering the Max 10 to airlines in 2023.

Max jets have better fuel economy than previous versions of Boeing’s respected 737. Airlines began using the Max in 2017, but the Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft were ordered to remain grounded worldwide for nearly two years after a total of 346 people were killed in two crashes, one in October 2018 and one in October 2018. another in March 2019.

Late last year, regulators in the United States cleared the way for Max jets to resume flights after Boeing made changes, including a revamp of the flight control software that was involved in the crashes.

This spring, approximately 100 new Max aircraft were idle for several weeks due to another problem related to the electrical grounding of the cockpit instruments.

The fact that the Maxs were not authorized to fly, and a decrease in demand for aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, caused the Boeing Co. to lose $ 8.4 billion last year.

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