Unlike the automotive industry where hundreds of manufacturers are competing to take the sweet spot, aviation business is largely dominated by two companies – Boeing from the U.S and Airbus from France. There is a long standing tussle between the two brands to dominate the global aviation industry. Boeing is slowly moving ahead with their goal of providing more efficient and comfortable small airplanes to the aircraft carriers.
FlyDubai, the Gulf based carrier recently inducted the new Boeing 737 Max 8 to its fleet, making it the 1st company in the Middle East to have this plane. We got in touch with Captain Alex Fecteau, Director of Marketing, Boeing Business Jets on the sideline of the 2017 Dubai Airshow to know more about the Boeing 737 Max 8, its benefits, rivalry between Airbus and Boeing and the future of Aviation and Boeing. Here’s an excerpt-
Cars18 – What is your relation with FlyDubai?
Captain Alex – We are the manufacturer of the FlyDubai’s latest family of Max aircrafts. FlyDubai recently added a Boeing 737 Max8 plane to its fleet, which is more aerodynamic, efficient, comfortable and age proof.
Cars 18 – Tell us about the aerodynamics of the new Boeing 737 Max8
Captain Alex – The aerodynamics of the Boeing 737 Max8 is improved to have 14% increased efficiency, which means a 14% reduction in fuel use. This has been achieved via new advanced technology winglets, sculpted tail and few other aerodynamic changes. The engine is also reposition to achieve better aerodynamics. We have also made other important changes that make the Max the most efficient single-aisle aircraft in the market today.FlyDubai's latest Boeing 737 Max 8. (Image: FlyDubai)
Cars 18 – Tell us about the cabin of the new Boeing 737 Max8
Captain Alex – 14% increased efficiency of new Max8 means the aircraft can fly longer missions. So the 737 can fly at least 7-9 hour longer missions. In such cases, business travelers desire more comfortable first class seats. In case of FlyDubai they are offering full flatbed seats to the business customers, making it the only single-aisle aircraft in the world to offer such a facility. These lay flat seats were previously seen only on twin-aisle aircrafts.
We have improved the flight deck as well, by installing Boeing 787 styled 15” screens that are intuitive to operate. These displays are never to be replaced. The cockpit is also made future proof, which means no system has to be replaced in the lifetime, which in other aircrafts, can take at least a million dollars to replace.
Cars 18 – Aircraft emits a lot of CO2 and NOX. Is Boeing 737 Max8 environment friendly?
Captain Alex – The Max is a much more environmentally friendly airplane. With the 14% reduction in fuel use, you get a 14% reduction in emission, which is a big number for aircrafts. The noise is also reduced by full 14%. This is a pretty significant step as we increase air traffic around the world.
Cars 18 – The big question now – which one is better – Boeing or Airbus?
Captain Alex – Our competitors make good airplanes, we make good airplanes. There is some difference in how we do business. We think we have an exceptionally competitive product that is more efficient, they weigh less, they are quite lighter. Case in point, when you compare an Airbus A321 vs Boeing 737 Max 10, our aircraft carrying the same number of passengers will weight 3.5 tonnes less in shirt missions and in very long missions, as much as 7 tonnes less. So when we negotiate for prices for airplanes, our airplanes do cost more, but that’s for a reason.
Cars 18 – What is the future of aviation?
Captain Alex – The way I see the future of aviation is that it will continue to outpace the GDP growth of every nation in the world. The GDP is growing between 2-4% depending on the region of the world, whereas the aviation business is growing at 5-7% at the same time. This has a lot to do with the growing middle-class in some of the largest population centers such as India and China.
Cars 18 – What is Boeing working on next?
Captain Alex – We are studying a new middle of the market airplane, that would fill, what we see as a fairly significant and important gap between the current single aisle airplanes such as the Boeing 737 family and Airbus A320 family and the bottom of the large twin-aisle airplanes such as the Boeing 787. There is a significant demand from a number of customers to have an aircraft that carries 200-250 passengers for around 5000 miles. So not necessarily the space where the Boeing 757 has vacated, but something that’s about 20% larger and flies about 20% further.