Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) first announced its new, fuel-efficient 737 MAX family in 2011. At the introduction the plane was available in three versions: the 737-7 (MAX 7), 737-8 (MAX 8) and 737-9 (MAX 9). In the middle of last year the company said it would study the addition of a fourth variant, the 737-10 (MAX 10), which would be a stretched version of the 737-9.
Aviation Week reported Tuesday that Boeing has now decided on the length of the 737-10, which the company hopes will give it a competitor to the Airbus A321neo. Boeing has finalized a design based on a 66-inch fuselage stretch, half the length it said last year that it was considering.
At the proposed length, the 737-10 would seat 189 passengers in a two-class configuration, compared with 193 for the A321neo. In a single-class configuration, the plane would seat 230 passengers.
We detailed the issues that Boeing faced last September when the company was reported to be discussing a 737-10 with customers. The biggest issue was — and remains — getting the new plane to market in time to meet the 2019 delivery of the A321neo. That implied modest changes that did not require wing or engine changes.
According to Aviation Week, Boeing could achieve first delivery on the MAX 10 by 2020, a full year earlier than a larger version that would have required wing and engine changes.
Boeing is scheduled to begin customer deliveries of the 737 MAX 8 (737-8) later this year and flight testing of the 737 MAX 9 (737-9).
Boeing’s stock traded down about 0.4% Wednesday morning, at $158.42 in a 52-week range of $102.10 to $160.07.