Meet the MAX

It may have been one of the best kept secrets in Boeing history. I’m still amazed we managed to keep the name 737 MAX under wraps until our official unveiling at today’s press conference. The members of our new family of aircraft, the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 (for the record, there’s no dash), made their debut. While the name MAX and the new Boeing livery are grabbing headlines, it’s the performance we expect from this airplane that has me excited.

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The 737 MAX is unveiled at today’s press conference.

We’re offering our customers an airplane that will have a 7% lower operating cost than the A320 neo. The 737 MAX’s fuel burn is also expected be 16% lower than what the competition is offering right now— and 4% lower than what they’ll be selling in a few years.

Combine the MAX fuel savings with MAX reliability and MAX passenger appeal with the Boeing Sky Interior—and you have a triple threat that simply won’t be beat in its single-aisle market segment.

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Posing with the newest member of our airplane family.

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An interview inside the 737 Boeing Sky Interior mockup with aviation reporter Glenn Farley from Seattle’s KING 5 TV.

Our decision to go with a new engine family of airplanes instead of an all-new small airplane actually benefits Boeing in several ways. With a smaller work statement on the 737 MAX, it opens up more opportunities to do things around the wide-body market—whether it be a new version of the 787 or to make improvements with the 777.

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The 737 MAX 9.

Today’s Next-Generation 737 is already heads above the competition and getting better almost every day. With the 737 MAX, we’ve set the bar much higher. Order commitments for 496 airplanes from five airlines speak louder than any words today.

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A 737 MAX family portrait.

By the way, the name 737 MAX has definitely created a buzz out there in the world of social media. It reminds me of the feedback we got after unveiling the new livery for the 747-8 Intercontinental. While some people loved the Sunrise red and orange colors, others wished we’d stuck to something more traditional. So, here’s your chance to weigh in on the MAX—the name, the livery, the performance benefits, its market position—whatever you like. Feel free to leave your thoughts in our comments section below, and also check out a video I took part in showcasing our new family member.

Comments (42)

Tony Dominguez (San Antonio, Tx):

How is Boeing going to handle customer codes for the new MAX since the NG fleet is Boeing 737-724, Boeing 737-824 etc. ?

V V (Montréal, Québec):

I am still wondering whether Boeing will offer a retrofitability to for the 737 that will be delivered starting in 2015.
It must be important to offer a good market value retention for the airframes delivered during the transition period from NG to MAX.

Thomas V. Horstmann, Jr. (Portland, Oregon):

While I was at first skeptical, I am now a supporter of the MAX as it will deliver far better economics and reliability than Airbus. GREAT JOB!

The one question I have is if Boeing is planning to come out with a longer range version, as there are thousands of 757 that will need to be replace. Perhaps it makes sense to come out with yet another expanded version of the 737 which would match or surpass the capacity of the 757, with the economics closer to that of the Dreamliner.

Just an idea....

Resplendent:

For what looks like an announcement for a potentially huge program for Boeing, one would think you'd lead off with something better than how well you kept the name a secret. It's a name, who cares!

That said, I wish Boeing success on executing a new(ish) airplane program better than their last few have been. As a WA resident, we need you big employers succeeding!!

Justin (Sacramento):

Not crazy about the name but I do like the livery . As Randy says the orders speak for themselves so that's the most important thing . Very interesting times !!

Tim K (Ont Canada):

Speaking of Max, I am somewhat maxed out by the numbers game. It really is interesting to see both Airbus and Boeing go back and forth playing the numbers game. You guys do it with every model segment and you know what, it is impossible for us everyday aviation enthusiast to believe who is right anymore. If you listen to Airbus their numbers say they are god’s gift to aviation and if we listen to Boeing we are lead to belive they lead the way in all areas. What is really interesting and very puzzling is that both Airbus and Boeing can make these very accurate performance claims when they haven’t flown, built or even finalized any designs yet!

How do you guys do that?

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The new 737 MAX looks quite distinguishable from the 737NG in particular the shape of the rear of the fuselage which looks similar to the 787 and the vertical fin which looks to be of a thicker chord than that of the 737NG. I look forward to seeing more of the 737 7,8 and 9 in the future.

Pete (Chicago):

What's with the exposed wheels while in-flight? Reminds me of the early retractable wheels from the 1930s. If reducing aerodynamic drag is an objective of modern designs, wouldn't a smooth cover over the landing gear make sense? Boeing just spent a tidy sum squeezing out a fraction of a percent in fuel efficiency by streamlining a light fixture on the belly of the 737, so adding two massive sources of turbulence on the belly seems inexplicable.

james w (tulsa, ok):

i like how the chinese tail fin has become the logo. maybe the whole plane will be the logo some day.

Ted Costopoulos (W,Roxbury, Ma):

I do think that BOEING is on the right page with the 737 because, hey, it is lo cost to operate and maintain. Pluss, the 737 has a very,very, good safety record. Another plus !!!!

Jun Leido (Manila, Philippines):

Boeing 737. To the MAX. Congratulations Team 737. It's a legacy continued. A legend in flight.

John Renavitz (North Brunswick, NJ USA):

While I really like the livery, I'm only neutral about the name. I was an engineer in a past life so I don't fully appreciate all of the market analysis that must have been undertaken to come up with the MAX designation. Echoing Tim K's comment, I am also curious as to the basis of performance claims made by both manufacturers. Isn't there only one "best?" However, I strongly suspect that the conditions of the analysis and corresponding assumptions play heavily into arriving at a set of numbers. Too bad I can't find additional data on how the numbers are structured, but I would have to believe that in the selling process the airlines KNOW how the numbers have been arrived at so they can do an apples-to-apples comparision before making a buy decision. As Justin says these are interesting times. Congratulations and good luck to Boeing as they embark on this important program.

M W (Seattle - Duamish):

Looks great, just need to close up the wheel wells on the underbelly. The turbulence from not closing up the wheels will cause a lot of noise and increase drag.

James Voyk (Ravenna, Ohio):

I just wish the MAX would have been born LONG BEFORE the A320neo...we could be talking 1000+ orders from many more airlines. Congrats to Boeing with the newly certified 787, 747-8 programs and now the 737 MAX.

Casey C. Regan ((Everett, WA)):

The livery looks great! The name, however, was initially a disappointment to me. Within our group we work with every Boeing model, so often we get confused when referring to the "dash 8". Are we talking about the 787-8, or the 747-8? I worried that with the 737 MAX we would have yet another -8 to be confused by. But the more I think about the name, the more it makes sense to me. As Randy said, there's no dash in the name. Therefore I believe that we will refer to these aircraft as the "max 8" (along with the max 7, max 9). That has a nice ring to it, so upon further reflection, I am indeed pleased with the name!

Randall (Los Angeles, CA):

@james w, MW
Wheel covers were removed from earlier 737 designs. I'm not exactly sure when they did it, but the current NG line (-7, -8, -9) have the same exposed wheels.

While it adds turbulence and noise, that has to be traded off with the added weight of covers and whatever additional mechanisms are required. I'm sure the analysis has been done that shows it's better without the covers.

ffrench:

What impact will this announcement have, where Airbus captured all those orders from numerous Boeing customers during the Farnborough Air show, also will previous delivered Aircraft be able to retrofit with new engines without extensive modification?

Cristiano (Campo Grande, MS, Brazil):

Just one valuable word: "CON-GRA-TU-LA-TIONS!!!!!"

It is the ideal 737 version ever! What shapes it gets!

Yes, a retrofit kit shall be of demand. If I were operating some 737NGs now, I would plan to purchase the kits until we could replace the fleet with 737MAXs.

In regards to the video, I did love it. I count the days to see the first prototype in mint aluminum just performing the first tests on the ground.

KEVIN PROHN (Everett, Wa):

I'm really surprised by the comments from Airbus.
why do they always say such negative comments about
Boeing.
I guess we must be doing something right.

Eduardo deRivas (Seattle):

I have two suggestions: How about using Alcoa's new aluminum alloy that is 10% lighter than the current aluminum alloy that is being used? How about using a generator for power instead of bleed air?

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Yeah! Another long-term item for newairplane.com. Very Red, Red-Blue Piepenbrock.

@Pete (Chicago) - The 737 has always had uncovered main gear.

@Randy - Just the same that doing the 737 MAX means smaller work statement for Boeing, doing the CSeries, the C919, SSJ100, etc., etc., gives the respective manufacturers of those jets altitude to dream up bigger jets further downstream. Especially if they turn out even moderately successful.

So, the 737 MAX - for Boeing, and the A320 NEO - for Airbus, represent the first line of defence for the duopoly beyond 150-200 seats. (I know, very cheesy way of looking at it.) They better be good, but the two of you won't delay emerging challengers forever.

Brandon F (California):

I quite like the name and livery! Looking forward to hearing more about the Max. The thing that gets me is that deliveries are not scheduled for 2017, which is quite a ways away. From then to now is about the time that it took to design, built, fly, and certify the 787-8, a whole new plane. Seems like the Max could be more than a re-engined 737NG with Sky interior and new APU exhuast design with how long it will be before it enters service. Can't wait to see if this is true or not!

Good luck to Boeing on this expansion to the most successful airliner in history!

David Balton (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.):

Just from an appearance standpoint if nothing else - on the belly of the aircraft, I was a bit disappointed to see that the main gears still will not be fully covered when retracted. Is it still a possibility to design in new main gear bay doors? Just seems kinda backwards that, for such an advanced version of the plane that this would not be the case on what is essentially the 4th generation.

Jon L (Orlando, FL):

Nice improvements. Now if only Boeing would update the cockpit with a 787 type overhead, get rid of the 1960 trim wheels and lower the landing speeds, then i'd fly it.

James (Honolulu):

I'm disappointed that Boeing chose not to do an all-new airplane --it would be cool if the Sonic Cruiser were scaled-down to 737 size-- but I understand the reasons why. I'm echoing Brandon F's comment that the Max could be a little more aggressive than merely a re-engined 737NG.

As for the name, shrug. I prefer the more traditional 737-7, -8, -9 nomenclature.

Bottom line: just deliver a superior product and airlines should be lining around the block to order the plane.

Daniel Tsang (Hong Kong):

Randy,

Is the 10%-12% fuel burn saving of 737 MAX against the NG NOT including any additional fuel burn saving brought by aerodynamic changes which reduce drag, as well as weight reduction?

As aerodynamic changes and weight reduction can deliver significant fuel burn saving, I hope Boeing would finalise them this fall or so.

My ultimate wish: the 737 MAX 8 will be a full 15% more fuel efficient than the existing 737 NG.

Thanks,
Daniel.

Jeff Smith (Huntsville, AL, USA):

I was really hoping for a composite body airplane, to really crush the competition; but there is lots to be said about a much shorter time to market. Especially since a more modest upgrade is all you need to place an already excellent airplane well ahead of the pack.

The new 737 looks so good in the video: like it belongs in the air and never on the ground. Exciting times!

Freddy Hagens (Everett, WA):

I would humbly suggest not to use the name MAX. It seems kind of weird. I would stick to a more Boeing Legacy type name with numbers and dash numbers. It is how the airplanes are traditionally defined and built to the last detail part. Also introducing no dash but a blank space might lead to confusion and mess up many computer systems of our customers (and us). How about 797-100/-200/-300. Or do we like to reserve that for the next twin aisle airplane?

DennisJ (Washington, DC):

The engineers who designed the Boeing 737 really did an excellent job in designing the plane. It has demonstrated the ability to go through 4 generations of design enhancements: Original (with P&W engines), Classic (with CFM engines), Next-Generation, and now the MAX. Constant improvements and enhancements have kept the old gal competitive.

John Frey (Everett, Washington, U.S.A.):

Another late night in the executive suite, agonizing over whether the name will make it to the Internet before the official announcement. You're serious, right?

You may recall the flourish of trumpets accompanying the announcement that the model names of the new 787 airliner would be "The Three," "The Eight," and "The Nine." That lasted about fourteen hours. All I've heard on the program for the last 5 years is "Dash this" and Dash that." Bonne chance with that.

You may recall that Boeing used to build a "Dash 8" up in Downsview, Ontario, Canada. Pretty little twin-jetprop developed by deHavilland of Canada. R.I.P., dHC.

I suppose you were in a bind about what to call the Next Generation after the Next Generation of another derivative airplane. Don't blame you. Following the pattern set by the 787 and 747 and clipping off the non-significant zeroes of the series number might have been edgy back in 2004, but it's surely run its course by now.

After Airbus settled on "neo," which in addition to standing for "new engine option" (very chic in all lower case letters), I pointed out that the prefix neo- also means "almost" or "sort of like," as in "neo-Impressionist" or "neo-Realist." If the prefix is now a suffix, where does that leave you? Is that like reversing the less than () sign? Not sure.

OK. I knew you were going to ask. "All right, smart guy; what would YOU call it?" Since it is a derivative, you have to stick with "737" somewhere, so that has to be the family name. My vote: "MAX" is OK, but "737 Eagle 7" rings nicely to my ear and is evocative of the power and glory of flight. And it does give an indication of where this bird comes from.

Kinbin (Taiwan):

First we had Mad MAX, then we had Pepsi MAX, and now 737MAX.

Both Mad MAX and Pepsi MAX did great to "mow" down the competition.

Let's make the 737MAX live up to that reputation.

Cathy Doser (Seattle, WA):

What is the difference with and without the wheel covers for the Main Gear? That would be interesting to know!

Arex (Oregon):

Eh, it's a stop-gap while Boeing recovers from the 787 testing and starts working on the 797. I'm willing to bet half the 737 Diet ....er...Zero ....er...MAX orders will end up being converted to whatever the 797 becomes once Boeing figures out what they actually want to build. If Airbus hadn't pushed so hard to market a re-engined plane from the 80's, Boeing wouldn't have been forced into re-engining a plane from the 60's before they were ready for an all-new plane.

Again, this is only a stop-gap.

Brian (Tukwila, WA):

I'm pleased we've made the decision and things are moving along ... but ...

I'm curious about the name as well. I understand the "MAX" idea and perhaps the desire but application system wise there is going to be a LOT of work (read cost) involved. Not only because of the new name, that it goes from dash three characters (-###) to space MAX space character ( MAX 8), but because it has spaces in it as well.

In order to have the least amount of impact across the companies myriad of applications and systems I would have liked to see something more along the line of the NG. So we'd get 737-FE7, 737-FE8, and 737-FE9 (FE meaning Fuel Efficient)!! Not only would it make sense but it'd have quite a bit less impact to applications and systems (less cost).

Hope that makes sense ... cheers! :)

- B

Andrew Boydston:

My Dream Color scheme for Max goes from leading edge components of Boeing Blue mid scheme surfaces to Sunset Orange (midScheme) and transitioning to florescent greens on trailing edges. It symbolises the Transformation Boeing gives its customer.

Todd Cohen (Philadelphia):

I think I like the program - the name is not as exciting nor does it speak to Boeing's abilities. It makes you sound like a B2C company. Did actual clients participate in the naming process or was it decided by another MBA?

Oscar Carl (Boca Raton, Florida, USA):

I'm excited to see how the new 737 MAX family will look like from computer renders to the first production models. I do hope your data really reflects a true advantage over the neo, and isn't just a marketing pitch to gain orders and make a case for the re-engined airplane. The use of a different livery is refreshing. I like the level of improvements put into the MAX to remain competitive. I would love to see that the team further tweaks the aircraft with as many external/internal improvements as possible to get the greatest performance out of this new generation of the 737. Not going to lie Randy, I wanted to see Boeing announce a new airplane type to replace the 737! In the past few months I would constantly sketch what I thought a new 737-sized aircraft could look like, including what a re-engine option could look like as well. Understandably it makes sense to get as much out of the current, profitable 737 model rather than shifting to a radical, different, and uncertain aircraft model that could and/or would lose customers to more short-term, feasible competition. Yet I am humbly surprised about news of the 737 MAX and I am ecstatic to follow the progress of this new addition to the 737 family.

- Oscar

Oliver (Vienna, Austria):

An outstanding name and a beautiful livery for an excellent airplane! Good move from Boeing.

Azhan Hasan (Malaysia and Germany):

Congratulations to the Boeing team on the birth of 737 Max. Wish you all the best

Bonario (Singapore):

Somehow the naming reminds me of Pepsi MAX.. more benefits with same taste and also the same "MAX" naming.

Well done Boeing!

Thomas V. Horstmann, Jr. (Portland, Oregon):

Just today I was reading that US Airlines was in discussions with Airbus about replacements for their 757, which they don't offer. Nor does Boeing. Perhaps should address that by coming up with a 737-LR, as that is a missing link in the line-up of both Airbus and Boeing.

With countless thousands of 757 quickly coming to the end of their useful life with the major airlines, Boeing has a great opportunity to again, fill the nitch for a longer range NB aircraft. But timing is important, as airlines figure out what to do with old 757's.

Felix Pernett (West Palm Beach Florida, ):

If I ever get the funding that is needed to start an airline, my Loyalty would be to AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS.Boeing is a far better Airplane than any other. I would want a 737-Max extended range and a 737- 700 extended range Combi.

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