The first aircraft destined for Boeing’s new 737 completion and delivery center in China—a MAX 8—left Seattle, Washington state Nov. 6.

Boeing expects the center in Zhoushan in eastern China to quickly reach its planned capacity of 100 deliveries a year, Boeing China president John Bruns said.

Work on the first aircraft will be limited to such tasks as installing seats as workers familiarize themselves with the MAX, Bruns said.

The center is jointly owned by Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC).

Initial customers will be Chinese airlines, Bruns said, with aircraft purchased by lessors on behalf of Chinese airlines to be accommodated later.

The rate of 100 aircraft per year will not be reached in 2019, Bruns said, but, “I would imagine it won’t be too long after that.”

China buys about a third of the company’s 737s. The country received 201 Boeing aircraft last year, about three-quarters of them 737s.

Bradley Perrett, perrett@aviationweek.com