Taking the 737 to the Max – Boeing 737 gets a makeover – USA Today

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Airlines, Aviation & Airports (General News), USA
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Boeing’s 737 gets a makeover to add fuel efficiency.

The Boeing’s 737, a commercial jet that made its debut in 1968 and the one you’ve most likely flown on is getting a makeover to fit with the new demands of air travel in the 21st century.

Boeing 737 makeover to add fuel efficiency

Boeing 737 makeover to add fuel efficiency: USA Today Article

The new version, the 737 Max, which is scheduled to make its debut in 2017, is designed with new engines to burn less fuel than its three predecessors, to help airlines pare costs and leave less of a carbon footprint on the global environment.

But at its most basic, the Max will be the same 737 stalwart the traveling public has come to know the last 44 years. It’s a single-aisle jet that will ferry up to 215 passengers on both short and cross-country trips, and offer efficiency that’s helped make the 737 the best-selling commercial jet in history, with 9,745 sold.

“They’re known as the workhorse of the industry,” says Mike Van de Ven, COO of Southwest Airlines, which has exclusively flown 737s since the airline’s birth in 1971.

“It really beats the competition on fuel burn. It really beats the competition on reliability, and it really had a very effective maintenance program. And they just made that airplane better and better over the last 20 or 30 years.”

Southwest, which has the largest fleet of 737s in the world, with more than 550, is reaffirming its faith in Boeing and the 737 by ordering 150 Max jets. American Airlines is sold, too, having ordered 100 Max planes in July before seeking bankruptcy protection in November.

“There’s a lot of interest in our industry and among our customers in the next generation of aircraft,” says Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer. “Customers see it as a better product and younger fleet, and airlines see it as an opportunity to lower our costs.”

A cheaper fuel bill could mean that rising airfares may not rise so quickly, say travel industry analysts.

“It hopefully will mean more stable pricing for consumers,” says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor flights. Lower costs for an airline, he says, “should transfer to the consumer pocketbook.”

Outfitted with new engines, the Max will use 10% to 12% less fuel than its most current Boeing peer, the Next-Generation 737, company officials say. That holds particular appeal for airlines, with jet fuel making up 25% to 40% of their costs, and whose profitability is threatened as the price of crude oil stays around $103 a barrel as it was on Friday…..

Read the full story at USA Today…..

By Charisse Jones

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