Boeing said Thursday it had received more than 1,000 orders and commitments for its new 737 MAX aircraft from 16 customers in just eight months since its launch and was in talks with potential customers in Korea.
The aircraft manufacturer expects single-aisle planes with 90 to 200 seats like the 737 MAX to account for about half of new aircraft deliveries to the Asia Pacific region over the next 20 years.
“Market deregulation combined with rapid economic growth has removed many traditional barriers to growth and is driving passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific region,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of marketing, said in a press conference here on Thursday.
Boeing’s vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth gives a presentation on the 737 MAX to reporters on Thursday in Seoul. (Boeing)
“Seoul is a major hub and gateway city in Asia and with Korea positioned geographically between Japan and China, the new Boeing 737 MAX will play a major role in serving intra-Asian travelers.”
The growth of low-cost carriers, which take up half of domestic air traffic, will also drive up demand for single-aisle planes, he said.
“Since the launch of the 737 MAX in August, the airplane has garnered more than 1,000 orders and commitments from 16 airlines, including some of the world’s most successful single-aisle airplane operators such as Lion Air, Southwest Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle,” Tinseth said.
“With volatility in fuel prices likely to continue, we expect the fuel savings offered on the 737 MAX to spur additional orders in 2012.”
The 737 MAX, priced between $77.7 million and $101.7 million, will be powered by new engines that have 10-12 percent lower fuel burn compared to today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes, the Next-Generation 737, according to Boeing.
Every 2 percent of improvement in fuel efficiency translates into savings of about $1 million in value to airliners. With new engines and other minor improvements, the 737 MAX will also trim operating costs.
“The 737 MAX will have the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle segment with a 7 percent advantage per seat over our future competition, the A320neo,” said Tinseth.
The development of the 737 MAX is on schedule to reach firm configuration of the airplane in 2013, the first flight in 2016 and deliveries to customers beginning in 2017.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com