Last month, Boeing announced some of the design decisions for their new Boeing 737 MAX. However, there was no news on what their plans were for the winglets. Would they stay similar to those found on the 737 NG or would they go a more radical direction? Turns out somewhere in the middle.
Boeing is planning to go with a dual feather design that they are calling the “Advanced Technology” winglet (more on the name later). They are expecting the new winglet will save an additional 1.5% fuel burn versus the one currently on the 737.
737 MAX winglet video from Boeing
Boeing states in their press release, that the 737 MAX will provide an 18% fuel burn advantage over the current Airbus A320. Unfortunately, they fail to compare the MAX to the new Airbus A320neo.
According to Airbus, the A320neo will have a 15% better fuel burn advantage over the current A320, so it appears the 737 MAX and A320neo will most likely be quite competitive to one another. I expect that these numbers, for both aircraft, will continue to change during development, so don’t get attached to them. It is safe to say that the 737 and A320 will continue to be direct competitors.
I am all for improving the 737 and I love following the changes, but I have to say that I am not too happy with the names that Boeing is coming up with. Although the MAX name has grown on me a bit since when I first heard about it (I was really not a fan), can’t Boeing come up with a better (and cooler) name than “Advanced Technology winglet?” I almost fell asleep just typing out that name.
Airbus has already stated that they are putting new winglets on the A320s and are calling them “sharklets.” That is a great name.
Yes, I know an airline is not going to choose the A320neo vs the 737 MAX based on the names (at least they better not), but the 737 and its new winglet are products that are deserving of creative names. Boeing has a history of coming up with classic names (Stratocruiser, Clipper, Dreamliner, etc). I just don’t see “MAX” and “Advanced Technology winglet” going down in the history books quite in the same way.