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Big savings? Turn to the Boeing 737 Max

New aircraft promises to be 20% more fuel-efficient than current 737.



By Abdul Basit (chief Reporter)

Published: Sun 28 Jun 2015, 11:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:46 PM

Southwest Airlines will get the first delivery of the 737 Max in 2017 while flydubai may be the second or third airline to take its first 737 Max 8 same year. Photo by Abdul Basit
Southwest Airlines will get the first delivery of the 737 Max in 2017 while flydubai may be the second or third airline to take its first 737 Max 8 same year. Photo by Abdul Basit

The 737 Max will deliver the big savings in fuel that airlines require for the future, according to top executives of Boeing Company.

The 737 Max promises to be 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than the current 737, and to have operating costs that are eight per cent lower than its nearest competitor, Boeing says.

When compared to a fleet of 100 of today’s most fuel-efficient airplanes, this new model will emit 305,000 fewer metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and save more than 215 million pounds of fuel per year, which translates into more than $112 million in cost savings. The 737 Max 8’s fuel use is expected to be eight per cent lower than the A320neo per seat.

US aeroplane makers have started building its first 737 Max single-aisle jetliner on schedule, which is an important milestone for a new plane model that accounts for nearly half of the Boeing’s plane orders.

“The first 737 Max is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and begin flights tests next year. Customers will begin receiving the aircraft in the third quarter of 2017,” Marty Bentrott, senior vice-president of sales for the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, told Khaleej Times recently.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines will get the first delivery of the 737 Max in the third quarter of 2017, according to Bentrott.

Flydubai will be probably the second or third airline to take the delivery of the 737 Max 8. The Dubai-based carrier will get five 737 Max in 2017.

The first wing spars, large structural pieces that run perpendicular to the fuselage, were loaded into drilling and riveting machines on May 29, beginning the building process, according to Keith Leverkuhn, vice-president and general manager of the 737 Max programme.

The US company is adding more automated machines as it begins assembly of the Max, and as it prepares to increase production to 52 of its 737s a month in 2018, from 42 a month now.

Some of the newest machines, which began making wings for current generation 737s in March, automate about 90 per cent of the wing assembly process, up from 70 per cent on older, legacy machines that Boeing has used for decades, Boeing said.

Boeing’s newest family of single-aisle aeroplanes — 737 Max 7, 737 Max 8 and 737 Max 9 — will build on the Next-Generation 737’s popularity and reliability while delivering customers unsurpassed fuel-efficiency in the single-aisle market.

Last year the programme launched the 737 Max 200, a new variant based on the 737 Max 8 that can accommodate up to 200 seats, increasing revenue potential and providing customers up to 20 per cent better fuel efficiency per seat than today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes.

Maximum efficiency

The 737 Max 8 is the first in the family to be developed and represents the heart of the demand in the single-aisle market. The 737 Max 8 reduces fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 14 per cent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes — and 20 per cent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service.

The 737 Max family is powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines and include design updates such as Boeing’s Advanced Technology winglet, that will result in less drag and further optimise the 737 Max performance especially on longer-range missions.

The 737 Max will extend the Next-Generation 737 range advantage with the capability to fly more than 3,600 nautical miles (6,667km), an increase of 405-580 nmi over the Next-Generation 737. With a lower operating empty weight than the competition but higher maximum takeoff weights, customers can fly further or carry more payload.

The 737 Max’s more efficient structural design, less engine thrust and less required maintenance add up to substantial cost advantages for customers. The 737 Max 8 will have the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle segment with an 8 percent per-seat advantage over the A320neo.

The 737 Max will incorporate the latest quiet engine technology to reduce the operational noise footprint of the airplane by up to 40 percent. Emissions will be approximately 50 percent below the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection/6 limits for nitrogen oxides.

Maximum reliability

The 737 Max will build on the best reliability record of any airplane, with 99.7 per cent of Next-Generation 737 flights ready to depart within 15 minutes of schedule (based on industry data). On-time performance is the major positive influence on passengers’ perception of their experience on short flights and saves operators maintenance, flight and crew costs.

The design superiority of the 737 translates into fewer passengers being inconvenienced every year when flying on a Boeing 737 versus the competition. For a fleet of 100 Next-Generation 737 airplanes flying five to six flights a day — common for many single-aisle operators and particularly low-cost carriers — the 737s will have on average 590 fewer delays and therefore avoid disrupting 65,000 fewer passengers when compared to a fleet of A320s.

While Boeing is making the upgrades necessary to give customers the fuel savings they need for the future, the 737 Max will continue the superior design reliability of the Next-Generation 737.

abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com


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