At the Paris Air Show this year, Boeing unveiled the latest aircraft in its fastest-selling line in history, the B737 Max 10.
Boeing’s latest model in the B737 Max series didn’t seem to disappoint. By the end of the event, the airline had secured more than 361 orders and commitments from some 16 customers across the world for its new B737 Max 10 aircraft, a number of which included airlines in Asia-Pacific.
Yet the Max 10 is just one of many in the new and still largely to-be-launched B737 Max line. To date, only one in the series has actually entered service – Boeing delivered its first B737 Max 8 to Malaysia-based Malindo Air (which is rebranding as Batik Air Malaysia) in May this year. The Max 9 completed its first flight in April ahead of its expected deployment in 2018, while the smaller Max 7 and higher-capacity Max 200 (a 200-seat variation of the Max 8) are expected to roll out in 2019.
So just where does the Max 10 fit in?
The Max 10 offers airlines a larger single-aisle aircraft than its counterparts
The key difference between the Max 10 and the other Max aircraft is the size, it coming in 66 inches longer than the Max 9. This makes it the highest-capacity 737 Max aircraft to date with space for 230 passengers (single class), about 10 more than the Max 9, and places it as a competitor to the A321neo, which has a typical capacity of 185 passengers in a two-class variation, and a max capacity of 236.
The Max 10 also has “the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle passenger airplane ever produced” according to the manufacturer, about five per cent lower than competing models. However, it also has the shortest range of the other 737 Max aircraft, coming in at about 3,215 nautical miles, or 5,960 km.
That said, there are still notable commonalities with Boeing’s other 737 Max aircraft, such as the CFM International LEAP-1B engines that power it, and advanced technology winglets, among others.
“Airlines wanted a larger, better option in the large single-aisle segment with the operating advantages of the 737 MAX family,” said Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Adding the 737 MAX 10 gives our customers the most flexibility in the market, providing their fleets the range capability, fuel efficiency and unsurpassed reliability that the 737 MAX family is widely known for.”
Passengers also see benefits
The 737 Max family features the roomier Boeing Sky Interior, which has features such as modern-sculpted sidewalls, larger overhead bins and customisable LED lighting.
The Max 10 will also be equipped with in-flight wifi capabilities, though other technical details such as entertainment systems have yet to be fully detailed.
Improved fuel efficiency, meanwhile, gives the 737 Max reduced carbon emissions, while noise levels are claimed to be 40 per cent lower compared with other modern single-aisle vessels.
For a look at the evolution of Boeing’s B737 aircraft, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, see Snapshot in the July / August edition of Business Traveller.
The Max 10 currently has 16 customers, ranging from full-service airlines to budget carriers. Many of these are located in Asia-Pacific.
United already had an existing order for some 100 aircraft in the 737 Max family when it opted to convert these into Max 10 orders, making it the single-largest customer of the newly announced aircraft. Delivery is expected in late 2020.
Malaysia Airlines similarly converted an existing order of 737 Max aircraft, though this time for a far more modest 10 aircraft. Valued at about US$1.25 billion, the order will add to Malaysia Airlines’ 737 fleet, which currently includes more than 50 next-generation 737s.
Lion Air Group
As the launch customer of the Max 8 (Malindo Air is a subsidiary of Lion Air Group) and first to order the Max 9, it comes as little surprise that Lion Air would also invest heavily in the Max 10 as one of the launch customers. The group confirmed an order for 50 Max 10s, adding to its position as one of the largest next-generation 737 operators in the world.
One of three mainland Chinese airlines to place orders for Boeing’s newest aircraft, Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines is arguably one of the youngest carriers awaiting delivery of the aircraft. Established as a freighter airline in 2006 and only launching passenger services in 2014, the carrier currently has a fleet of 15 B737-800s operating on domestic routes.
The Max 10 is expected to help the carrier launch international long-haul flights between 2021 and 2023 and expand its fleet to encompass a total of about 100 aircraft by 2025. Donghai Airlines has 10 of the aircraft on order.
Having taken delivery of its first B787-8 Dreamliner in 2015, Xiamen Airlines has been able to do what Donghai Airlines is currently aiming towards – expanding beyond the local and regional market. The carrier now has ambitions of growing its fleet to 268 aircraft by 2020 – it currently has an all-Boeing fleet of more than 160 aircraft – and the Max 10 is set to be among them. Ordering a total of 10 aircraft, the carrier is planning to use the new airlines with its subsidiaries, namely Hebei Airlines and Jiangxi Airlines.
Another mainland Chinese carrier currently operating an all-Boeing fleet, Okay Airways is expecting delivery of a total of 15 new 737 Max aircraft, among them eight Max 10s and seven Max 8s. This was also accompanied by a memorandum of understanding for five B787-9 Dreamliners.
Okay Airways is headquartered at Beijing’s secondary airport, Tianjin Binhai International Airport.