Monday, June 19, 2017

MAX 8 doing well with launch customer Malindo Air

Boeing said June 18 it was “very satisfied” with the early in-service performance of the 737 MAX 8 with its lead customer, Malaysia’s Malindo Air.

The aircraft has only been in service for a matter of weeks, but there have been “no issues so far,” Boeing VP and GM-737 MAX program Keith Leverkuhn said.

“We have 3,700 to build and deliver, as one [aircraft] isn’t a data point we can hang our hat on, but first indications are that our preparations have paid off.”

Speaking on the eve of the 2017 Paris Air Show, he said that on the long delivery flight from Seattle, “the pilots were specifically struck by how much less fuel was being burned than they expected.”

While that was a very early snapshot of the aircraft’s performance, and Malindo was initially using the aircraft on short sectors, fuel consumption was as expected, “or slightly better. We’ll get more information as we stretch our legs on longer flights,” he said.

The second MAX 8 customer, Norwegian, had its first delivery delayed by a few weeks until the end of June when Boeing halted all MAX flights for several days after being informed by engine manufacturer CFM of a potential manufacturing quality escape with low pressure turbine (LPT) discs in LEAP-1B engines.

The problem was resolved within a few days and Leverkuhn said he regarded the incident as a “one-off.” It had been satisfied with the way CFM had reacted to the problem, “and it’s just a matter of catching up. We will be doing that through the summer.”

The larger MAX 9 began flight testing earlier this year and the smallest aircraft in the range—the 150- to 172-seat MAX 7—will begin production at Boeing’s Renton, Washington state, plant in November.

MAX models will make up 10%-15% of all 737s built this year. “We currently have a separate line for MAXs and NGs, but we’re getting ready to merge the MAX and NG on to one line,” Leverkuhn said.

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

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