By Alwyn Scott
SEATTLE May 30 Boeing Co said on
Thursday it is confident its new 737 MAX passenger jet will burn
13 percent less fuel than current 737 models, a figure that
exceeds earlier estimates.
At a press briefing, Boeing said its forecast is based on
computer models and wind tunnel tests. The plane is due to enter
production in 2015 and be delivered to customers in 2017. The
737 MAX is the latest narrow-body plane by Boeing and competes
with the A320neo made by Airbus.
Boeing said it expects to publish a "firm configuration" for
the MAX in July. The planemaker is already reorganizing the
massive 737 factory in Renton, Washington, to make room for
production of initial 737 MAX test planes in 2015. The first
flight and flight testing are scheduled to occur in 2016.
Airbus launched its aircraft about nine months before Boeing
and has about 2,125 firm orders for its A320neo family of
planes, compared with 1,376 firm orders for the 737 MAX.
"I think it's still early," said Keith Leverkuhn, vice
president and general manager of the 737 MAX program. "We're
very confident ... that the market share will actually reach
parity over time."