How good is a MAX 7X and why would it replace the original?

By Bjorn Fehrm Subscription required Introduction May 9, 2016, © Leeham Co: Boeing is considering changing the 737 MAX 7 in a rather drastic way. The present model would be hitting the market as the last of the MAX models in 2019.  It hasn’t been selling well. In fact, there are only two legacy airlines and a start-up that have ordered the MAX 7. Right now, there are just 60 orders for an aircraft series which has garnered 3,100 orders in total.

Figure 1. Boeing’s 737 MAX 7 as presently defined. Source: Boeing

Sources have long told LNC that Boeing doesn’t really want to build the MAX 7. But Southwest Airlines needs the airplane for short-runway airports like Chicago Midway and Burbank (CA) and has resisted suggestions to up-gauge.  The other airline that has ordered the MAX 7 is WestJet, which has thin markets in Canada that don’t justify a MAX 8. And there is a third customer, a start-up in Canada that has yet to begin operations. With the C Series gaining momentum, the cancellation of the MAX 7 now seems off the table. Instead, Boeing is thinking about making it better, the MAX 7X project. What is it, and why would it be better than the original MAX 7? We use our aircraft model to answer the questions. Summary
  • The 737-700, and therefore MAX 7, was defined a continuation of the 737-300 at 126 passengers in a domestic two class configuration.
  • Bombardier is offering 135 seats in a similar, but more comfortable, CS300 cabin with an aircraft which is lighter and more economical than the MAX 7.
  • The already meager order book for the MAX 7 is therefore getting more pressure from a resurging C Series line.
  • Boeing is now attempting to convince its customers that a larger MAX 7, based on MAX 8, would be a better aircraft for the customers (and for Boeing). We reveal why.

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