Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. completed configuration plans for new engines on the 737 MAX, the upgraded version of the world’s most widely flown plane, an important step toward eventual production, a GE executive said.
“It’s nailed down,” David Joyce, head of Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE’s aviation unit, told reporters at an event near Boeing’s wide-body jet plant in suburban Seattle today. “We’ve finished all the installation studies, and for all practical purposes, it’s done.”
Boeing, based in Chicago, is targeting greater fuel efficiency for its single-aisle plane that competes with Airbus SAS’s plans for the A320neo. The 737 MAX, due to enter service in 2017, will have bigger GE engines and fans to save fuel, which is requiring refinements to the plane’s body, built by Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc.
“It’s going to be a very unique installation for the 737 MAX,” Joyce said. “We’re going to take full advantage of the integration we do with Boeing and with Spirit to make sure the overall engine-airplane combination is incredibly efficient from an integrated propulsion system and the engine is really optimized for this airplane.”
GE also plans to have a new engine ready in 2018 or 2019 for the next version of the 777 that Boeing is developing, Joyce said. The company has been working on the design for almost three years and aims to make it 6 percent to 8 percent more efficient than the power plants used on the 777-300ER, which is the most fuel-efficient airliner flying today, he said.
“I’m spending over $50 million on technology development on it in 2012,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”
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