737-MAX and A32x-neo

No, I don’t mean the Messianic figure from the Matrix movies, I am referring to Airbus’s denotation of improved engine performance and mileage: “New Engine Option”. These two narrow-body planes are reported to have an improved fuel efficiency estimated at 15% over their traditional counterparts, which will allow them to fly from the East Coast to Western Europe. This efficiency is due to a combination of new manufacturing technologies (and materials) leading to lighter planes , more efficient engines, and wingtip devices to help reduce drag.

Until now, we were limited to 757 variants when it came to narrow-body options to cross the Atlantic. While the 757 does offer lie-flat seats in certain configurations – Raleigh to Paris on Delta, for example, it is definitely aging and it shows. More fuel efficient options should translate to cheaper tickets for the passengers, and more options as well.

737-MAX

2016-09-17boeing_737-8_max_n8704q
From Flickr via Wikipedia

The 737-MAX family will use the CFM LEAP-1B engine, which is larger and more efficient than the older CFM56 engines found on the bulk of the 737 fleet. The estimated range is between 4,000 and 4,400 nautical miles for all but the ‘MAX 200’ variant, which is unique to RyanAir as a variant of the 737-8.

2016-09-17-cfm_leap-x
From Wikimedia via Wikipedia

Additionally, it will have new wingtip devices which further boost its fuel efficiency. This combination of wingtip technologies is referred to as a “split scimitar winglet” by Boeing.

From Wikimedia via Wikipedia
From Wikimedia via Wikipedia

Though Southwest will be the launch customer of the MAX 7 and MAX 8 variants (Lion Air will be the launch customer of the MAX 9 and RyanAir of the MAX 200), I fully expect other airlines to replace their aging 737 population with these, especially when it comes to profit margins and fuel costs.

A320neo & A321neo

2016-09-17-lufthansa_airbus_a320_neo_d-aina
From Flickr via Wikipedia
A321neo test-bed on a low gears-up departure from Toulouse.
From Flickr via Wikipedia

Both the A320 and A321 narrow-body aircraft from Airbus offer ‘neo’ options, and both are driven by CFM LEAP engines, though -1A.  As with the 737-MAX, these planes also have redesigned wingtip devices (referred to as ‘sharklets’ by Airbus).

By Julian Herzog via Wikipedia
By Julian Herzog via Wikipedia

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