Boeing is set to launch the 23rd major derivative of the 737 family at the Paris air show on 19 June with the potential unveiling of the 737 Max 10X.
After rumours of the 737 Max 10X’s pending go-ahead have swirled for weeks, Boeing has scheduled a press conference at 10 am on 19 June in the auditorium of the Air and Space museum at Le Bourget, a more spacious venue than Boeing’s media chalet.
Boeing executives remained coy about confirming the launch on the eve of the show. “I won’t say anything today other than the [737 Max 10X] looks great,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Kevin McAlister.
Keith Leverkuhn, Boeing’s vice-president and general manager for 737 programmes, hinted at the possibility of a launch in a meeting with journalists on 18 June.
“It’s going to be an interesting couple of days for us,” Leverkuhn says. “And you’re going to be hearing more about the Max 10 in the days to come.”
Boeing started shopping around the concept of a 737 Max 10 with up to 188 seats in a two-class layout and up to 230 seats with a single-class cabin.
The further stretch should help Boeing recover from a rough start selling the 220-seat 737 Max 9, which has about one-fifth of the firm order backlog amassed by the Airbus A321neo.
Boeing initially looked at a 737 Max 10X with larger engines, a redesigned wing and new landing gear, but settled for a simple stretch with the same CFM International Leap-1B engines, the same wing and tweaked landing gear to avoid tail strike.
Boeing counts 18 major derivatives of the 737 before the 737 Max family on the company’s orders and deliveries web site, but there are scores of additional minor variations.
Since 2011, Boeing has added four major versions of the 737 Max family, including the Max 7, Max 8, Max 200 and Max 9. The 737 Max 10, if launched, would represent the 23rd major derivative, which would be confirmed 50 years after the first flight of the 737-100.