NEW YORK Nov 15 Boeing Co said on
Thursday it had locked down a basic design for its new 737 MAX
jet, choosing suppliers for key components and moving the
project a step closer to production in 2015.
Boeing gave Honeywell International Inc and Rockwell
Collins Inc valuable new contracts to provide systems
for the plane.
Honeywell will supply an electronic bleed air system, which
controls cabin pressure and helps with getting ice off the
wings. Rockwell Collins will provide large-format display
screens for the new jet's flight deck.
"It's very material to us," said Kent Statler, executive
vice president and chief operating officer of commercial systems
for Rockwell Collins. "We see it stretched over 4,500 aircraft.
It is a sizeable opportunity."
The size of the market for single-aisle jets such as the 787
and the rival Airbus's A320 is expected to continue to
grow, and Boeing said this likely would drive up production
rates for its planes.
Boeing, based in Chicago, said its "firm concept" calls for
the 737 MAX to use 13 percent less fuel than current 737s. The
plane will include new LEAP-1B engines from CFM International,
which combines resources from Snecma, a unit of the Safran Group
of France, and General Electric Co.
Rockwell's deal takes the display contract away from
Honeywell, which supplies six smaller, six-by-eight-inch screens
standard on the current 737.
Four of the new, 15.1-inch color displays will be standard
on the 737 MAX, a similar size and configuration to ones that
Rockwell Collins supplies for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
The 15.1-inch Rockwell display is also used on Boeing's
KC-46 aerial refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force, and
available on the 747-8 and as a retrofit on 757 and 767 models,
"This is a continuation of a strategy and relationship that
has been building over the last decade" between Boeing and
Rockwell, Statler said.
The configuration will offer a significantly larger area to
display data to pilots, and will handle more advanced air
traffic control and awareness technology as it comes into use,
Airbus uses smaller-format screens on its A320 jets, and
plans larger displays, supplied by Thales SA, on the
Honeywell said it is the largest single supplier for the
737MAX, with systems including environmental controls, avionics
and an auxiliary power supply.
Boeing said the 737 MAX remains on track for first delivery
Boeing is currently producing 35 737 jets a month. The
company said it likely would increase the production rate beyond
its current forecast that calls for 38 a month in the second
quarter of 2013, and 42 a month, starting in the second quarter
The company is currently building a third production line at
its factory in Renton, Washington, to accommodate the 737 MAX,
which will enter production in 2015.
"Eventually, we'll use the third line for future rate
increases," Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of
the 737 program, said on a conference call with reporters.
She said Boeing officials "expect to see significant growth"
in orders for single-aisle planes. "We don't have any specific
plans when that next rate increase will be, but we're pretty
sure it's coming."
Boeing shares rose 0.5 percent to $71.63 in afternoon trade.
Rockwell Collins was up 1.7 percent at $54.61.