Boeing board approves new engine variant for Renton-built 737
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
August 31, 2011 · Updated 9:33 AM
There's a new family in Renton, the 737 MAX.
That's the name of the new highly fuel-efficient engine that The Boeing Co. launched Tuesday.
The MAX family has three members – 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9, all building on the world's most-popular airplane, the Next-Generation 737. Boeing will need to do some redesigning of its venerable 737 to make the new engine fit under the wing.
Boeing already has orders for 496 airplanes from five airlines for the new 737.
"We call it the 737 MAX because it optimizes everything we and our customers have learned about designing, building, maintaining and operating the world's best single-aisle airplane," said Nicole Piasecki, vice president of Business Development and Strategic Integration of the Renton-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a news release.
The still unanswered question is where the new version of the 737 will be built. The Renton plant is an obvious choice, but Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO James Albaugh says the company has options.
Renton's government and business leaders make the case to build the new 737 in Renton.
"That's been an incredibly productive plant," said Bill Taylor, president and CEO of the Renton Chamber of Commerce. The chamber's office has overlooked the Renton production plant for 50 years.
Where to build a new version of the 737 will come up at the sixth annual Governor's Aerospace Summit Sept. 14-15 at the ShoWare Center in Kent. One of the workshops is called "What Can We Do to Secure the Next Generation 737?"
The summit is sponsored by the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington.
And Renton's connection goes beyond just the place where all 9,000 737s ordered were built or will be built.
Boeing also announced that Michael Teal of Renton is the 737 MAX vice president, chief project engineer and deputy program manager.
Most recently, Teal was vice president chief project engineer on the 747-8 program, where he was instrumental in managing the airplane's configuration and integration, performance, safety, test and certification.
Boeing also named Bob Feldmann vice president and general manager of the new engine 737 family.
With 35 years of aerospace experience, Feldmann most recently led the Surveillance and Engagement division within Boeing Military Aircraft, a unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security that includes several commercial derivative programs based on the 737 platform, according to a Boeing press release. He has been instrumental in leading the development of the EA-18G Growler and the P-8A Poseidon, according to Boeing.
The Boeing Co.'s board of directors Tuesday approved the launch of the new engine variant for the Renton-built 737.
"The re-engined 737 will allow Boeing to continue to deliver the most fuel- efficient, most capable airplane with the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle market," said Albaugh in the press release.
"This, coupled with industry-leading reliability and maintainability, is what customers have told us they want. As a result, we are seeing overwhelming demand for this new and improved version of the 737. We are working with our customers to finalize these and other agreements in the weeks and months ahead."
The new 737 family will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines optimized for the 737. It will have the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle segment with a 7 percent advantage over the competition, according to Boeing.
Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2017.
"Customers tell us they want to improve profitability and fuel efficiency while reducing their environmental footprint," said Albaugh. "This solution meets all three of those needs."
When compared to a fleet of 100 of today's most fuel-efficient airplanes, this new model will emit 277,000 fewer tons of CO2 and save nearly 175 million pounds of fuel per year, which translates into $85 million in cost savings, according to Boeing.
The airplane's fuel burn is expected to be 16 percent lower than our competitor's current offering and 4 percent lower than their future offering.
Boeing forecasts global demand for more than 23,000 airplanes in the 737's market segment over the next 20 years at a value of nearly $2 trillion.Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at email@example.com or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).