Farnborough Flight,

The Boeing 737 MAX is an American aircraft series being developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the successor to the Boeing 737 Next Generation series. The 737 MAX is the fourth generation of the 737 family, with the primary change being the use of the larger and more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B engines and modifications to the airframe. As of 31 March 2016, Boeing has 3,090 firm orders for the aircraft. The 737 MAX first flew on January 29, 2016, nearly 49 years after the maiden flight of the 737 on April 9, 1967; the MAX is scheduled for first delivery in 2017 with launch customer Southwest Airlines.

Since 2006, Boeing has discussed replacing the 737 with a “clean-sheet” design (internally named “Boeing Y1”) that could follow the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.[8] A decision on this replacement was postponed, and delayed into 2011. In November 2014, it was reported that Boeing intends to replace the 737 by 2030 with a new airplane, possibly with a composite airframe, dubbed as the Boeing Y1.

In 2010, Boeing’s competitor, Airbus, launched the Airbus A320neo, which boasted new engines which improve fuel burn and operating efficiency. The decision was met with positive reaction by many airlines and they began making major orders for the aircraft. Pressure from airlines for more fuel efficient aircraft forced Boeing to shelve plans for developing a replacement aircraft, the Boeing Y1, and instead focus on upgrading the 737.

On August 30, 2011, the company’s board of directors approved the 737 MAX project. Boeing predicted that the 737 MAX will provide a 16% lower fuel burn than the current Airbus A320, and 4% lower than the Airbus A320neo. Boeing expects the 737 MAX to meet or exceed the range of the Airbus A320neo.[16] The first 737 MAX aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

There are three main variants of the new family, the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 which are based on the 737-700, -800 and -900ER, respectively, the best-selling versions of the 737 Next Generation family. Boeing has stated that the fuselage lengths and door configurations from the Boeing 737 Next Generation family will be retained on the first three 737 MAX variants. On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8. In December 2013, Boeing stated that a recent internal audit forecasts a 14% lower fuel burn than current 737NG series aircraft.

In September 2014, Boeing launched a high density version of the 737 MAX 8, named the 737 MAX 200. The MAX 200 is named for its seating for up to 200 passengers in a single-class high-density configuration with slimline seats. An extra exit door is required because of the higher passenger capacity. Three of eight galley trolleys are removed to accommodate more passenger space. Boeing states that this version will be 20% more cost efficient per seat than current 737 models, and will be the most efficient narrow body on the market when delivered, including 5% lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8.

Boeing has increased 737 production to 42 per month in 2014, and plans to increase rates to 47 per month in 2017 and 52 per month in 2018.

Spirit Aerosystems manufactures the 737 MAX’s thrust reversers. A shortage of a critical component for the thrust reverser has developed; supplier GKN PLC has had difficulty producing the titanium honeycomb inner wall. While early test components met Boeing’s specifications, GKN is unable to ramp up production, threatening Boeing’s goal of producing up to 52 MAX versions per month by 2020.

The first 737 MAX fuselage completed assembly at Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas, on August 13, 2015. It will be a test aircraft and eventually be delivered to launch customer Southwest Airlines.[26] On December 8, 2015, the first 737 MAX was rolled out at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, factory; this 737 MAX 8 is named “Spirit of Renton”. The first flight took place on January 29, 2016.

In 2016, Boeing is considering replacing the Max 7 with a larger airplane derived from the Max 8, internally dubbed the Boeing 737 Max 7X, seating 150 passengers in two classes. On the other side of the family, the MAX 9 is outsold five-to-one by the Airbus A321neo; Boeing is studying the feasibility of a further MAX 10 stretch, but this would need a larger engine, stronger wing, and telescoping landing gear.