Boeing delivered its first 737-8 MAX May 16 to Lion Air’s Malindo Air subsidiary.
Keith Leverkuhn, VP and GM of the MAX program, said the long-range delivery flight of Malindo’s first MAX impressed the pilots with how little fuel was burned, but the in-service, short-haul operation is too young to draw any definitive conclusions about fuel consumption.
However, early indications are that fuel burn is better than forecast. The engines are the new CFM LEAP-1B.
Dispatch reliability is also meeting plan, he said.
Leverkuhn made the remarks in advance of a media tour of the new MAX 9 and the Boeing 787-10, both on display for the first time at the Paris Air Show.
Delivery of the first 737-8 to Norwegian Air Shuttle, with which NAS was to launch its first 737 trans-Atlantic service, was delayed following discovery by CFM of a potential defective part from one of two suppliers. Thirty engines were affected.
Leverkuhn said CFM’s discovery of the problem, its prompt notification to Boeing and quick response serves to make the NAS situation a “one-off.”
He also said the production ramp-up by CFM, which is at an unprecedented rate, is going well.
A CFM spokesperson who was present later told LNC that CFM prepared for the ramp up in part through a $1bn investment in refurbishing existing facilities and building new ones. Additionally, CFM executed “run-rate” (production rates) a year in advance to be sure the actual rate was ready to go.
For example, 2018 production rate targets were run in 2017.
The engines being delivered to Boeing, and to Airbus, which uses the 1A version of the LEAP, are delivered on one day and going into service the next, she said.
CFM has orders for 12,500 LEAP engines across the 737, A320 and COMAC C919 lines. During the last five years, CFM delivered 7,000 CFM56 and the first LEAP engines, which the spokesperson said is more than double all the other engine programs combined.
Leverkuhn said production of the 31st MAX has just begun at the Boeing Renton Plant. Production of the MAX 7 begins in November and of the MAX 200 next year.
It’s expected that Boeing will announce the launch of the MAX 10 tomorrow morning at the Air Show.
The MAX 10 means Boeing will have five sub-types. Integrating the MAX 10, which is five feet longer than the MAX 9, into the production line requires some new “choreography.” The plant is ramping up to produce 57 airplanes a month by 2019, with the MAX feathered into the current NG assembly.
The MAX 10 means extra maneuvering the longest 737 as it if lifted by cranes around the factory will be required.