Boeing says today that the 737 Max will be slightly more efficient than expected when it enters service in the third quarter of 2017.
The re-engined and updated 737 will be 14% more fuel efficient than the current model, or 1 percentage point higher than previously forecast, the company says.
Keith Leverkuhn, Boeing’s vice-president and general manager of the 737 Max, says the update should “re-inforce the 737 Max’s position as the value leader”.
While Boeing claims a fuel efficiency advantage to the Airbus A320neo, airlines still seem to prefer the latter. The A320neo leads with firm orders for 2,452 aircraft, versus 1,567 for the 737 Max.
Boeing is upgrading the 737NG by replacing the CFM56 engine with the more efficient CFM International Leap-1B. It is also adding a split-tip winglet and re-lofting the tail cone to improve the aerodynamics of the 1960s-vintage design.
Boeing also suggests that the 737 Max performance expectations could continue to evolve over the development cycle.
“Throughout the design process we’ll continue to look for opportunities to improve operational performance, schedule and cost for our customers,” Leverkuhn says.