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Boeing rolls out 737 MAX, books nearly 500 commitments

By Hpanchal on August 31, 2011

Boeing's introduction of a new fuel-efficient engine family for its 737 aircraft — dubbed the 737 MAX — has resulted in 496 commitments from five undisclosed carriers. Deliveries of the new planes are set for 2017.

Boeing will manufacture three variants — 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9.

According to a company release, a fleet of 100 of the new planes will save 175 million pounds of fuel each year, while emitting 277,000 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide. In addition to outpacing current competition, the new MAX planes are said to have an operating cost that's 7-percent less than the company's future competition; future fuel-burn numbers are expected to outpace competition by 4 percent.

"This is an airplane that will continue to have a competitive advantage not only to our competition today, but competition in the future," Boeing's Randy Tinseth said.

On his company blog, Tinseth wrote about the strategy behind the decision to introduce a new engine model instead of all-new airplanes. "With a smaller work statement on the 737 MAX," he wrote, "it opens up more opportunities to do things around the wide-body market — whether it be a new version of the 787 or to make improvements with the 777."

Bob Feldmann, a 35-year aerospace veteran, will be in charge of the new engine family project. Boeing has also named Michael Teal vice president, chief project engineer and deputy program manager. Teal served in the same role on the 747-8 program.

With a new staff in place and negotiations underway with a number of carriers, Boeing officials are sure this new engine offering will give them a step up in the fuel-efficiency debate.

"Our product strategy," said Nicole Piasecki, the company's vice president of business development and strategic integration, "is to have the most capable airplane in every segment of the commercial airplane market."

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