Consultations with 737 Max 7 customers Southwest Airlines and Westjet have convinced Boeing to insert a pair of fuselage plugs in the airplane to add another two rows of seats to today’s 737-700. Scheduled to deliver the first of the smallest of the three-member Max family in the second quarter, Boeing detailed the principle changes Tuesday in a product briefing by vice president of airplane development Mike Delaney.
Apart from the 12 more seats the extra two rows will add, primary changes include the incorporation of the 737 Max 8’s wing and landing gear; a pair of overwing exits rather than the single-door configuration of the -700NG; a 46-inch-longer aft fuselage; a 30-inch-longer forward fuselage; structural re-gauging and strengthening; and systems and interior modifications to accommodate a longer body length.
Compared with the -700NG, maximum takeoff weight increases from 155,000 pounds to 177,000 pounds, maximum landing weight increases from 128,000 pounds to 145,600 pounds and maximum zero fuel weight rises from 120,500 pounds to 138,700 pounds. It also will use 5 percent less fuel per seat and fly 500 nautical miles farther.
“The thing that’s great about this airplane is that it really gives customers that want high-hot capability a little more seat count,” said Delaney. “We spent a lot of time with our customers about what seat count and what capability they would want, and you just saw an order today that reflected that.”
Earlier in the day Boeing and China’s Kunming Airlines announced a memorandum of understanding calling for the purchase of 10 Max 7s, making Kunming the model’s Chinese launch customer.
Separately, Qatar Airways on Tuesday signed as the launch customer for a Performance Improvement Package (PIP) under development for the 777 twinjet. Boeing will introduce a series of design enhancements intended to reduce fuel burn and improve payload and range. Qatar will have the package retrofitted to its fleet of thirty-four 777-300ERs and nine 777-200LRs.