Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced today that first delivery of the 737 MAX 8 to launch customer Southwest Airlines will be a quarter earlier than originally scheduled – in the third quarter of 2017 instead of fourth quarter.
“Through our disciplined development on the 737 MAX program, the team has retired key technology risks,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager, Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, during a briefing at the 2013 Paris Air Show. “We have informed our customers and they are pleased they will be able to put these more fuel-efficient airplanes in their fleets sooner than planned.”
Since launch in August 2011, the 737 MAX team has worked to define the final configuration of the airplane including new LEAP-1B engines from CFM International, a redesigned tail cone and the Advanced Technology winglet. Testing in the wind tunnel and data analysis prove that the 737 MAX configuration, set to be final in July, will give customers a 13 percent fuel-burn improvement over today’s most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes.
The work done by Boeing has enabled the program to accelerate the 737 MAX schedule. “We continue to follow our knowledge points through the development process and we have an executable plan. Testing, improvement workshops, and solid early data have allowed us to validate the airplane’s performance and move the schedule forward,” said Fancher.
Joe Ozimek, vice president of Marketing, 737 MAX, emphasized during the briefing that the 737 MAX will be the best single-aisle airplane in its class. “We know that the 737 MAX will be 8 percent more fuel efficient than the A320neo, fly farther and offer our customers more value,” he said.
Next, after firm configuration is achieved, the 737 MAX team will begin detailed design of the airplane, scheduled for completion in 2014.