Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2011 Contents B
oeing is reporting “overwhelming
demand” for its re-engined 737 MAX
development, launched at the end of
Aug ust after months of apparent
indecision. Before the go-ahead
for the programme was granted by
Boeing directors, five operators made undefined
“commitments” for 496 units of the ne w variant,
which the manufacturer claims will offer 4 percent
lower fuel-burn than the rival Airbus A320neo.
Powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines,
the 737 MAX is exp ected to enter ser vice in 2017.
The re-engined 737-700, -800 and -900 models
will be dubbed 737-7, -8 and -9, following the style
adopted for the 787.
A major consideration for Boeing had been
whether to accept the high engineering and financial
burden of an all-new single-aisle aircraft development,
or to g o for incremental improvements in efficiency
of the current design. Ultimately, the company’s
decision was revealed only in a reference by American
Airlines to its fleet plans (which have seen the US
manufacturer lose out heavily to Airbus [see feature
in September 2011 issue of Asian Aviation]).
Boeing has set aside 64 to 76 months for
development of the aircraft, scheduled for first
delivery in 2017. That is markedly longer than the 48
months initially planned for the all-new 787.
“ We want to make sure that any date that we quote
is [one] we can meet. And I’d rather under-promise
and over-deliver than over-promise and under-
deliver,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief
Executive Officer Jim Albaugh.
The 737 MAX features significant modifications from
current variants. These include : larger engine nacelles,
incorporating noise-reducing chevrons such as those
found on the 747-8; a 787-style tail cone and tail
lights; and elimination of the 737-700’s aft-body join.
The stronger wing , which may offer reduced drag , will
feature trailing edges with reshaped flap -rail fairings.
“Clearly with the heavier engine, you’ll have to
do some changes to the wing , some changes to the
side- of-body join, some localised stiffening of the
airplane,” Albaugh says.
According to Jeff Turner, chief executive of Spirit
Aero Systems, Boeing’s largest single 737 structures
supplier, the new 737 variant will require “a pylon
[and] a new nacelle for a ne w engine. I ’m sure it’s
going to have some upgrades to parts of the fuselage
to handle loads”.
Albaugh adds: “ There are a couple of [very minimal]
things we’re g oing to make more fly-by-wire.” Detailed
Boeing assessments are under way to incorporate a
laminar-flow engine nacelle and a hybrid laminar flow
tailfin for improved operating economics.
Boeing is ke en to avoid the “mission creep” that
afflicted the 747-8 GEnx-2B re-engining programme.
“ We want to limit the scope of work [espe cially]
associated with the engine,” Albaugh says. He has told
development engineers that he doesn’t want “to hear
‘simple’ and ‘re-engine’ in the same phrase. But we’re
going to make this the simplest re-engine possible”.
“ We want to make sure we have compatibility
with airplanes we’ve already delivered,” the executive
says. For example, customers have asked Boeing to
36 AsianAviation | OCTOBER 2011
Boeing’s 737 MAX
The 737MAX will be available in three models – the -7, -8 and -9.
After months of hesitation, Boeing has finally committed to a re-engined 737
in response to the massive success of Airbus’s A320neo. Ian Goold examines
What’s in a name?
Why did Boeing marketers choose MAX as a
name for the Leap-1B -powered 737? According
to Nicole Piasecki, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’
vice-president for business development and
strategic integration: “We wanted to capture how
exceptional the 737 is in performance [and] to
differentiate the -7 , - 8, and -9 [variants].
“We wanted to make sure the name was easily
identifiable and represented the best – the ‘gold
standard’. We wanted to make sure it ‘talked’
about what it was going to bring: maximum
benefit, maximum competitive advantage,
maximum value, and maximum in what [it] could
deliver to our customers.”
30/09/11 9:33 PM
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