Boeing’s 737 MAX program (earlier post) has selected a 68-inch fan diameter for the optimized engine design that will provide what the company projects will be the lowest fuel burn and operating costs in the single-aisle market. The new 737 family will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines (earlier post); the new engine variant will have 10-12% lower fuel burn than current 737s and a 7% operating cost advantage over the competition, Boeing said.
The 737 is a more efficient, lighter design and requires less thrust than other airplanes in this class, which is important because weight and thrust have a significant effect on fuel efficiency and operating costs. With airlines facing rising fuel costs and weight-based costs equating to nearly 30 percent of an airline’s operating costs, this optimized 68-inch fan design will offer a smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient engine to ensure we maintain the current advantage we have over the competition.—John Hamilton, 737 Chief Program Engineer
The airplane will have the capacity for increased range while providing better fuel efficiency. When compared to a fleet of 100 of today’s most fuel-efficient airplanes, this new model will emit 277,000 fewer tons of CO2 and save nearly 175 million pounds of fuel per year, which translates into $85 million in cost savings. Boeing expects the 737 MAX fuel burn to be 16% than Airbus’s current offering and 4% lower than their future offering in this space. Airbus will also be using LEAP engines in its A320neo. COMAC also intends to apply LEAP engines in its C919.
Boeing has received more than 600 order commitments received to date from eight airlines, up from 496 airplanes from five airlines when the program launched in August.
The program is on schedule with internal configuration milestones of the new jet, with a continued focus on engagement with customers and partners to optimize the engine core architecture. Firm configuration for the airplane is scheduled for 2013. First flight for the 737 MAX is scheduled in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017.