Boeing Co. unveiled a new series variant for its 737 commercial jet, with a new, fuel-efficient engine, and reports it has commitments for 496 new planes with this option, from five different airlines. Among the buyers is American Airlines, according to an announcement in July. The new 737 MAX series reportedly will provide a 7% operating cost advantage over its anticipated rival narrow-body jets based on the new engine variant, better structural design, and lower maintenance requirements.
The jet builder said the new model 737 will emit 277,000 fewer tons of CO2 and save nearly 175 million pounds of fuel per year, compared to a fleet of 100 of today's most fuel-efficient airplanes. It estimated those savings would conserve $85 million in operating costs.
"The 737 MAX offers airlines the right solution and the best choice for creating the most successful future with improved profitability," according to Boeing Commercial Airlines’ Nicole Piasecki, v.p. of Business Development and Strategic Integration.
The 737 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet and the best-selling commercial aircraft in history. More than 9,000 have been ordered since its introduction more than 40 years ago, and Boeing forecasts global demand for more than 23,000 planes in the 737's market segment over the next 20 years, estimating the value of that market at nearly $2 trillion.
The new 737 MAX is due to be available for delivery in 2017, according to Boeing.
The new LEAP-1B engine is being developed by CFM International, a joint venture of GE Aviation and the French engine manufacturer, Snecma. It is high-bypass turbofan engine designed with a high proportion of composite materials.
"The ‘re-engined’ 737 will allow Boeing to continue to deliver the most fuel-efficient, most capable airplane with the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle market," stated Joe Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO.