Boeing has completed the firm configuration of the 737 MAX 8, a milestone which the manufacturer says marks completion of the major trade studies to define the capabilities of the 737 MAX family.
“We have defined the design requirements for the 737 MAX that provide our customers with the most value in the single-aisle market,” says Michael Teal, chief project engineer, 737 MAX for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We continue to follow our disciplined process to ensure that we have completed all the requirements for the development stage of the program and are ready to begin the detailed design phase.”
As detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin. Final assembly of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is scheduled to begin in 2015, with first delivery of a 737 MAX 8 to a customer scheduled for the third quarter of 2017.
Boeing is maintaining its oft-repeated claim that the 737 MAX family will be 13 per cent more fuel-efficient than today’s most efficient single-aisle jets and 8 per cent more fuel-efficient per seat than tomorrow’s competition.
This is likely primarily to consist of the Airbus A320neo family, the Bombardier CSeries and the Embraer E-Jets-E2 family.
Including the 737 MAX, only the Bombardier CSeries among the four aircraft families is an all-new design optimized aerodynamically from the outset for the new-generation turbofan engines which will power it.
Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that the 180-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8 will be 8 per cent more fuel-efficient per seat than the 160-seat Bombardier CS300ECS (the ‘ECS’ stands for ‘extra capacity seating’, an option Bombardier is offering for the CS300). Bombardier has said as much publicly, going on record as saying that the CS300ECS with 160 seats will offer the same seat-mile costs as the 737 MAX and other new-generation jets at 180 seats.
The finalized Boeing 737 MAX 8 configuration includes new LEAP-1B engines from CFM International that are optimized for the 737 MAX, a redesigned tail cone and the Boeing-designed Advanced Technology Winglet to reduce fuel use. Other changes incorporated include upgrades to the flight deck displays, an electronic bleed air system and fly-by-wire spoiler flight controls.
“The 737 MAX will not only be the most fuel-efficient airplane, it will maintain the 737’s industry-leading reliability,” said . “We are working closely with our customers and industry partners to ensure that the airplane we deliver will perform as promised.”
Additionally, the MAX will take advantage of advancements in connectivity, according to Boeing.
“As we continue to improve connectivity on the 737 platform, the 737 MAX will offer customers the capability to use real-time data to make operational decisions around maintenance on the ground during flight,” says Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and program manager, 737 MAX program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This will allow airlines to more efficiently manage their fleets.”
Adds Leverkuhn: “Enhanced connectivity also will benefit passengers as the demand for more wireless access to information and entertainment in flight continues to grow.”
The Boeing 737 MAX family includes the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 and will serve the 100- to-over-200-seat market.
According to Boeing, the 737 MAX will offer the capability to fly more than 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 kilometers), an increase of 400-540nm (741-1,000km) over the Boeing 737NG family.
First delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX 9 is planned for 2018, followed by first delivery of the MAX 7 in 2019.
To date, the Boeing 737 MAX family has won orders for 1,495 aircraft.