DALLAS, Texas — 15 May 2013 — Southwest Airlines today formally launched the Boeing 737 MAX 7 airplane powered by the advanced LEAP-1B engine. The airline converted an existing order for 30 Next-Generation 737s to the MAX 7 variant.
Southwest originally launched the LEAP-1B engine on the 737 MAX in 2011 with an order for 150 firm aircraft. This new order takes the airlines total firm fleet to 360 engines. The new airplanes are scheduled to begin delivery in 2019. Southwest also has options for 150 additional LEAP-1B-powered 737 MAX airplanes.
The LEAP-1B engine incorporates revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment. The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology.
The engine achieved a major milestone in April when CFM concluded design freeze. This milestone is effectively the point at which the engine configuration is set, or frozen. This now allows CFM to finalize and release detailed engine design drawings, which it will do over the next six months. Parts manufacturing for the LEAP-1B engine will then accelerate through year end, leading to build-up of the first engine in early 2014. The LEAP-1B is on schedule for CFM flight testing in 2015 and engine certification in 2016. The 737 MAX is scheduled to enter service in 2017.
In 1981, Southwest Airlines played a pivotal role in CFM’s history by launching the CFM56-3 engine as the sole powerplant for what is now called the Boeing 737 Classic. In 1993, the airline launched the CFM56-7B as the sole powerplant on the Boeing Next-Generation 737. Today, the airline is CFM’s largest commercial customer, operating a fleet of more than 600 CFM56-powered 737s.
About Southwest Airlines:
In its 42nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its people and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet.
The LEAP engine family is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE. CFM is the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine supplier, and the company has delivered nearly 25,000 engines to more than 530 operators around the globe. The CFM56 fleet has logged more than 630 million flight hours in the past 30 years as the most reliable engines in the air.