Boeing Considers New Variants Of The 737 Max
Boeing is considering options for augmenting the largest and smallest versions of the 737 Max with more competitive offerings that could be made ready long before more ambitious projects, such as the so-called Middle of the Market (MoM) concept, reports Flightglobal.
The 180-seat 737 Max 9 is being outsold by a five-to-one margin to the Airbus A321neo. The 126-seat 737 Max 7 has attracted only 60 total orders by three customers and faces a re-energised challenge from the 135-seat Bombardier CS300, which is scheduled to enter service in the third quarter.
Both ends of the 737 Max portfolio could be expanded within the current product development cycle with larger and more capable versions, but so far no decisions have been made.
“The jury is still out,” says Leverkuhn, speaking to Flightglobal in his office over-looking the 737 assembly line in Renton, Washington.
The 737 Max 9 has been under severe pressure since it became clear that the market prefers the 2.4m-longer A321neo, with greater capacity to offer more seats and range than the Boeing alternative. Airbus has recorded 4,510 orders for all three variants of the A320neo family, including 1,108 for the A321. That compares to 3,090 firm orders overall for the 737 Max family, but only 223 firm orders for the 737 Max 9, according to Flightglobal Fleets Analyzer.
As sales pressure rose, Boeing started talking up the MoM concept, a clean-sheet aircraft with the range and seating capacity of a 767 and the operating economics of a 737-800. But the MoM would not be available until the mid-2020s. Now, Boeing’s product development teams are looking for option that could enter service much more quickly.