New Boeing twin-engine jet flies places

Efficiency gains:The Max 8 offers 14% savings in fuel consumption over the 737.P. Jacob

Efficiency gains:The Max 8 offers 14% savings in fuel consumption over the 737.P. Jacob  

There is a new bird on the aviation horizon that could make a potential difference to airlines when it comes to medium-haul strategies. It’s the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the company’s newest and largest twin-engine aircraft that has evolved from its workhorse, the 737.

Fuel and operating efficiencies as well as design features that enable longer-range flights, and significant noise reduction inside the cabin, are two of the points the company holds out. Boeing speaks of a six-hour flying range.

The MAX gives long-haul comforts compared to the earlier 737, said Sudhir Sreedharan, senior vice president, FlyDubai, explaining the features at the Dubai Air Show on Monday, inside one of the six aircraft Boeing is delivering this season to FlyDubai. The Dubai-based airline is deploying it on a Dubai-Bangkok route by the end of this month. He spoke of a 14% saving in fuel consumption for MAX 8 over the existing 737.

Orders 76 planes

The aircraft is the first of 76 that FlyDubai ordered at the 2013 Dubai Air Show, all of which will be delivered by 2023. It was the largest order for MAX 8 in the Gulf region.

Other airlines are following. Dinesh Keskar, president, Boeing India, confirmed to The Hindu at the Air Show that SpiceJet had placed an order for 175 MAX 8s and Jet Airways, 75 of them. Malaysia-based Malindo Airways and Indonesia-based Lion Air are already operating the aircraft.

“The 737 MAX family is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing’s history with about 3,950 orders from 93 customers worldwide,” said Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s vice-president, Sales.

FlyDubai, which operates from multiple points in India including Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai, offers economical rates but seeks to stay away from the ‘budget airline’ tag.

It wants to stress on an “exceptional on-board experience” for its passengers, both in business class and economy, not without a touch of hype.

FlyDubai expects the new aircraft would improve its fleet performance, bring more flexibility and efficiency to its operations and start flying to new destinations. FlyDubai chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum sees this as a milestone in Dubai’s aviation success story.

(The author attended the Dubai Air Show on an invitation from FlyDubai)

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