Breaking: Boeing launches 737-7, -8 and -9 New Engine Family

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It’s official, Boeing has launched the 737-7, -8 and -9 under the banner of the 737 New Engine Family, with a planned 2017 entry into service. Along with the board approval, which came yesterday, Boeing has announced 496 commitments from five customers. Only American Airlines has announced its intention to purchase 100 of the CFM LEAP-1B-powered jets.

The other four customers are yet unknown, though the balance are likely to be found among the airframer’s most stalwart customers:Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Ryanair, GOL, Copa, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Lion Air, FlyDubai, TUI Travel and Malaysia Airlines

The airlines are likely found – at least partially – among the type’s previous upgrade launch customers. Of that stalwart group, all but one – Ryanair – has committed to taking deliveries of 737s with Sky Interiors, and GOL, Copa, Norwegian, Lion Air, FlyDubai, United and TUI all served as launch customers for the update in April 2009.

Boeing has also unveiled the first rendering of the aircraft, which confirms the aircraft-maker’s use of noise-reducing chevrons, as well as a re-lofted 787-style tail cone for drag reduction. The wing flap fairings have also been “sharpened” for drag reduction as well.

Rendering Credit Boeing

24 Responses to Breaking: Boeing launches 737-7, -8 and -9 New Engine Family

  1. Todd Cohen (Philadelphia) August 30, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    The press release says 496 planes! WHO are those airlines! Tell us Jon..my guess would be WN as a start as part of deal to give up the 717′s.

  2. Lee August 30, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Too bad they aren’t offering a version of the P&W GTF as an alternative option. That might have brought them some additional sales.

  3. RobH August 30, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    It’s too bad the Boeing pencil pushers totally blew the 787 program budget. This shows they’re in reaction mode now and the gun-shy board unfortunately wasn’t about to fund the much needed 737RS. (What, disrupt the revenue stream even worse?). C’mon guys, the stock’s already on the sell side of hold!

    An unbold move! Not red or blue: I’ll call it brownish taupe.

    Airbus, savor the moment. You’re so lucky Alan Mullaly took that job with Ford.

  4. Todd Cohen (Philadelphia) August 30, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    I agree with the Alan Mullaly comment..I have to wonder what would have been under his leadership rather than the current regime.

    Mullaly would have gotten the 787 out in a MUCH better way and would have energized the company around new products and he would have NOT allowed AA to make that deal.

  5. Konstantin August 30, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    With the new designation -7 / -8 / -9, how will the designation with the customer code be different from NG models, i.e. how do you differentiate between let’s say a 737-823 and a 737-823(NEF)?
    Note: a 787-8 is still a 787-823 in the AA case.

  6. John in CA August 30, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    It’s a logical move. It gives Boeing more time to develope the replacement……maybe they should have done it a bit sooner….but most of us don’t have the insite of seeing what is going on behind those Boeing doors….

    I personally suspect that part of the problem was getting airlines to commit to exactly what they wanted in a new plane….and I think there are a couple of hinge technologies being developed that are just not quite there yet….

    5 Years from now? I think the tone will be much different….and so will the future of comercial aircraft.

  7. Mark T. August 30, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    +1 for Konstantin’s question. I’ve been wondering the same thing ever since the -7, -8, and -9 designations were made public.

  8. Patrick August 30, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I guess it was really the only way for them to go. They need the plane fast, they can’t screw up their backlog or revenue… and it actually seems like what the customers want!

    I’m beginning to get the impression the 5-abreast/125 seat offerings really will be as much as a commercial flop as the 717. Boeing may have wanted to drag out their announcement to screw up rivals outside the duopoly.

  9. rick August 30, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    The artist’s concept shows a cone at the tail rather than the boat tail on the NG and earlier versions. A new APU as well?

  10. AirShowFan August 30, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Like Konstantin, I’m wondering what the new designations will look like… not just as customer codes, but also as the model/type on a flight plan. Is a “B738″ a 737-800 or a 737 “Dash 8″?

    And I agree with Patrick. All the manufacturers are apparently feeling pretty uncertain about the narrowbody market. As Jon humorously pointed out in May, Embraer (the current leader in 100-120 seaters) has been unable to decide what course to pursue (Stretch? New model? How big?) and has spent years in a “seemingly never-ending search for narrowbody clarity”. Bombardier made the bold dive and started developing the CSeries, and then it didn’t sell as well as it should have. I think in part because of the CSeries’ surprisingly lukewarm reception, the two big manufacturers are afraid to develop new narrowbodies… especially since Russia and China and Japan might start building competitively-priced alternatives. Boeing and Airbus played a game of chicken for years, neither firmly committing to a decision (New model or re-engine) until the other one did… and Airbus was the first to give up and make a gamble. Boeing followed. That having been said, I agree with Patrick: Boeing probably did the right thing, and chose a near-optimal option in a very tricky situation.

  11. Rpx August 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    The press release on the launch doesn’t mention the new designations. Has Boeing officially confirmed the new numbering system?

  12. Skies and Seas HD August 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    The tail cone of the new 737NE looks better than on the current NG Family. It will help you to identify the NE from the NG.

  13. Skies and Seas HD August 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Love the colours on this new Boeing Livery. Looks smart.

  14. Hank August 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    How about sneaking the 787 windows in there also while your at it BA???

    Any reason why they are staying with traditional winglets instead of the raked tips ala 787/747-8? Or do you need more flex-y wings to take advantage of those?

  15. deanosity August 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Hank: The 787 windows can be the size they are due to the greater strength of the monolithic carbon fiber fuselage of the 787 vs the aluminum frame and panel fuselage of the 737.

  16. PMS August 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Hank, I see some reasons:
    1. The raked tips would have lengthened the wings,
    2. Winglets are already proven and tested. Moreover,
    3. Introducing (now abandoned) the 787-3 version, Boeing stated that winglets were better for short/medium haul airplanes.

  17. Mark T. August 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    @deanosity Hank might have been talking about electrically dimmed window shades, not larger windows. Then again, I don’t know, so I won’t speak for him.

    I have a sense that carriers would prefer standard, mechanical shades on the short/medium-haul routes for high-cycle aircraft, since it’s one less gewgaw to break. The 737 doesn’t use an all-electric architecture like the 787, so it’s hard to say how much hotel electricity is available for that kind of added load. Pax probably prefer that any extra electrons get used for IFE or internet connectivity anyway.

    I’ve not seen the Dreamliner window shading technology in person, but where you have so much glass, I imagine the aesthetic effect is dramatic.

  18. Bob August 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Is that a drag reducing strakelet I spy at the root of the horizontal tail?

    Jon: any word on maybe making this airplane more electric in some small way to a) save weight, and b) bring the airplane into the 21st century?

  19. 7K7 August 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Bob,

    Nay, that be the shadow of the tail fin cast on the starboard tail plane :-)

  20. Jay August 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    i think boeing might have a winner with this. i also think that southwest airlines may become the first customer to receive a new 737-7 or -8 because some of their purchase rights and options are for 737′s between 2011 and 2021. american airlines will be the second or third customer to receive theirs. lufthansa may order some -7′s because they are the original 737 customer. i also think that alaska airlines might be a third customer as well. its speculation at best, but i think boeing will probably have more orders by the end of the year

  21. DaveJS August 31, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Hank, re wingtips, it is all about efficiency (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingtip_device ). Basically it seems that the raked wing tip is best for longer sectors and blended wing tips for the shorter ones.

  22. Frank S August 31, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    I still have plenty of reservations on CFM’s intent to use a “Blisk” design in their new engine.

    What it save’s inoperation costs may well be eaten by maintenance costs.

  23. AirShowFan August 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Independently of whether winglets or raked-wingtips are less draggy (which, yes, is a function of the speed and altitude where the airplanes spends most of its time), the fact is, you can’t make the 737 wing any bigger and still fit the airplane into the terminals at the small airports where 737s operate. So given this effective wingspan restriction, it has to be winglets. Like city growth, when you run out of room to grow horizontally, you make use of vertical space!

    That having been said, the P-8 has raked wingtips, so it would probably be relatively straightforward to slap those onto one of the 737MAX flight-test airplanes and get them FAA-certified, for the sake of operators who do longer flights and don’t operate from small airports.

  24. Hank August 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    thanks guys. actually I wanted the larger windows. the electrical darkening would be nice also. guess the question may be which is lighter? traditional shades and required framing, or new fangled gizmo?