31-Aug-2011 9:10 AM

Boeing launches 737 MAX with 496 commitments

Boeing's board formally approved (30-Aug-2011) the launch of the new engine variant of the B737, based on order commitments for 496 aircraft from five airlines and a "strong business case". The aircraft will be named the '737 MAX' and will be offered in three variants: 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9. Deliveries are tentatively scheduled from 2017. The aircraft will use CFM International LEAP-1B engines. Boeing and CFM are considering engine fan diameters of 66 to 68 inches and will make a final decision in the next few weeks. The current engine for the B737 is 61 inches. Boeing said neither option is likely to require lengthening of the existing nose gear to provide necessary ground clearance. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO, Jim Albaugh said the company is “going to make this the simplest re-engine possible” and will minimise engineering changes and programme expenses. Boeing stated 737 MAX users will benefit from a 7% advantage in operating costs over future competing aircraft as a result of the new engines, more efficient structural design and lower maintenance requirements. The aircraft will feature the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior. The 737 MAX will command a "premium" over the 737NG, but Boeing did not comment further.

Boeing forecasts global demand for more than 23,000 aircraft in the narrowbody market segment over the next 20 years, at a value of nearly USD2 trillion. The company expects the 737 MAX will allow it to grow its narrowbody marketshare. Boeing expects to finalise these and other agreements "in the weeks and months ahead".

Boeing stated the new aircraft's fuel burn is expected to be 16% lower "than our competitor's current offering" and 4% lower "than their future offering". The aircraft will also be "slightly" more efficient than Bombardier's CSeries. Boeing named Bob Feldmann as VP and general manager of the new engine 737 family. Michael Teal has been named as VP, chief project engineer and deputy programme manager. A decision on where the aircraft will be manufactured will be made in six to eight months. The 737NG is manufactured at Renton in Washington State. [more - Boeing] [more - Boeing Commercial Airplanes]

Boeing Commercial Airplanes: "The re-engined B737 will allow Boeing to continue to deliver the most fuel efficient, most capable airplane with the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle market. This... is what customers have told us they want. As a result, we are seeing overwhelming demand for this new and improved version of the B737. We are working with our customers to finalise these and other agreements in the weeks and months ahead," Jim Albaugh, President and CEO. Source: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, 30-Aug-2011.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes: "The B737 MAX offers airlines the right solution and the best choice for creating the most successful future with improved profitability," Nicole Piasecki, VP of Business Development and Strategic Integration. Source: Boeing, 30-Aug-2011.

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