Browsing Tag: Boeing 737 MAX

Computer mock up of what Alaska Airline's Boeing 737 MAX will look like. Check out those winglets. Image from Boeing.

Computer mock up of what Alaska Airline’s Boeing 737 MAX will look like. Check out those winglets. Image from Boeing.

Alaska Airlines has confirmed an order for 50 new Boeing 737s, worth more than $5billion, at list prices. The order was for 20 737 MAX 8s, 17 MAX 9s and 13 737-900ER.

“This order positions us for growth and ensures that we’ll continue to operate the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft available for the foreseeable future. That means our customers will continue to enjoy a comfortable in-flight experience, low fares and excellent on-time performance,” Alaska Airlines President and CEO Brad Tilden said. “We value our longstanding relationship with Boeing and look forward to painting ‘Proudly All Boeing’ on the nose of our aircraft for many, many years into the future.”

The aircraft are slated to begin deliveries in 2015, with the first 737 MAX 8 expected to enter service in 2018, with the MAX 9 joining in 2019.

This historical order was announced yesterday at Alaska’s yearly meeting. Alaska posted a video showing the announcement, which also highlights the new Boeing Sky Interior (seen below).

Although the announcement is huge, it is not a huge surprise that Alaska would continue with their strong relationship with Boeing and look to replace their fleet of older Boeing 737-400s.

What United's Boeing 737 MAX 9 will look like. Image from United.

What United’s Boeing 737 MAX 9 will look like. Image from United.

Today in a joint press conference in Chicago, United Airlines has announced that they will order 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 and 50 737-900ERs. The order is worth $14.7 billion.

“This order is a major step in building the world’s leading airline, and we look forward to offering our customers the modern features and reliability of new Boeing airplanes, while also making our fleet more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s President and CEO. “New aircraft deliveries support our flexible fleet plan, permitting us to tailor future capacity up or down, based on changes in demand or other market conditions.”

This order is huge. Although United got rid of its last Boeing 737 before the recent merger with Continental, the new (post-merger) United has a large fleet of both Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. The fact that they have operated both aircraft and have chosen the 737. United stated that they had intensive discussions with both Boeing and Airbus about which aircraft to go with and chose to go with the 737.

Since July 5th, Boeing has received 243 orders for the 737 MAX and NG (Next Generation), not counting the new order announced today. Over all, Boeing has more than 1200 orders and commitments from 18 customers for the MAX.

VIDEO: B-roll material of the United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9

GALLERY: United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER and 737 MAX 9
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The new Advance Technology Winglet that will go on the Boeing 737 MAX.

The new Advance Technology Winglet that will go on the Boeing 737 MAX.

There are tons of eye candy here at the Farnborough Airshow and I will be sharing more of it soon. For now, I wanted to show off the new Advanced Technology Winglet for the Boeing 737 MAX in the flesh. The thing is huge and looks quite impressive in person.

The new winglet is 9′ 7″ tall and extends about 4′ out from the wing. This is done on purpose, since it increases the effective span of the wing. The new winglet increases the lift of the 737, without adding weight,making it more efficient.

With four additional feet on each side of the 737, this could cause some issues with manufacturing at the Boeing Renton plant, where the NG’s are currently made. Boeing tells me that this is not currently a concern, since they plan to build the MAX on an additional line and will have room for the additional size of the winglet.

As I stated previously, I am not a big fan of the boring name for the winglet, but I am a fan on how it looks. And really, an airline isn’t going to be choosing the new 737 MAX for the look or name of the winglet, but more for the 1.5% increase of fuel efficiency.

Words of Note: For those of you fans who read Jon Ostrower’s Flight Blogger site, the “Photo of Note” statement might look familiar. I have always loved his usage of that statement. Now that he doesn’t use it anymore after moving to the Wall Street Journal, I received permission to use the terminology — thanks Jon!

Southwest Airlines has announced orders for the new Boeing 737 MAX. Image from Boeing.

Southwest Airlines has announced orders for the new Boeing 737 MAX. Image from Boeing.

Not that long ago, Boeing announced that they will make improvements on the 737 NextGen to create a new version; the Boeing 737 MAX. Although I am still not a fan of the new name, I am starting to become a fan of the changes that the MAX will bring to Boeing and their customers.

“The 737 MAX is on-track to deliver substantial fuel-savings to customers starting in 2017,” said Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager, 737 program. “We’ve made several design decisions that support the performance targets for the MAX and evolve the Next-Generation 737’s design within the scope of the 737 MAX program.”

From Boeing’s press release, those design decisions include:

  • Aft body aerodynamic improvements: The tail cone will be extended and the section above the elevator thickened to improve steadiness of air flow. This eliminates the need for vortex generators on the tail. These improvements will result in less drag, giving the airplane better performance.
  • Engine installation: The new CFM International LEAP-1B engines will be integrated with the wing similar to the aerodynamic lines of the 787 Dreamliner engine with its wing. A new pylon and strut, along with an 8-inch nose gear extension, will maintain similar ground clearance to today’s 737 while accommodating the larger engine fan. The nose gear door design is altered to fit with this revision.
  • Flight control and system updates: The flight controls will include fly-by-wire spoilers, which will save weight by replacing a mechanical system. The MAX also will feature an electronic bleed air system, allowing for increased optimization of the cabin pressurization and ice protection systems, resulting in better fuel burn.

“We also continue to do work in the wind tunnel to affirm the low- and high-speed performance of the 737 MAX design,” said Michael Teal, chief project engineer and deputy program manager, 737 MAX program. “Based on design work and preliminary testing results, we have even more confidence in our ability to give our customers the fuel savings they need while minimizing the development risk on this program.”

Could the 737 MAX have radical winglets like this? Image from Aviation Partners Inc.

Could the 737 MAX have radical winglets like this? Image from Aviation Partners Inc.

It is still uncertain how the new winglet on the 737 will be configured. It could be something very similar to the winglet on the 737NG or as Flight International points out, it could be something more similar to the raked winglets found on the 737-based P-8 Poseidon.

I am kind of hoping fro something even a bit more radical; like Spiroid, Scimitar Blended or Blended Split-Tip Scimitar winglets. These would offer an obvious visual cue that the MAX is a new aircraft and possibly provide further fuel cost savings.

Boeing states that customers should see a 10-12% fuel consumption increase over “today’s’ most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes,” (aka the 737NG or Airbus A320) and a 7% increase operating cost per-seat advantage, “over tomorrow’s competition,” (aka the Airbus A320NEO).

Already, the 737 MAX has more than 1000 orders and commitments from 16 different airlines and once additional aspects of the aircraft are confirmed, those numbers should continue to increase.