Boeing is considering a plan to put a larger engine on its biggest narrowbody airliner in an effort to blunt the runaway success of a rival Airbus jet that outsells it by four to one, industry sources said.
The U.S. planemaker would substitute a modified version of the larger and more powerful LEAP-1A engine used on Airbus's A321neo rather than the LEAP-1B used on the 737 MAX 9, they said.
That would enable Boeing to add range while lengthening the 178-seat jet to fit 12 or more extra passengers and gain a capacity advantage over the 185-seat A321neo, the sources said.
Such plan however will introduce several issues that needs to be addressed:
However, the new plane, nicknamed 737 MAX 10 by some in the industry, would bring significant headaches.
Adding the larger engine would mean raising and possibly repositioning the landing gear and recertifying parts, costing an estimated $1-2 billion, according to industry experts.
Having a different engine on the largest 737 could weaken the advantage of commonality with the smaller LEAP engine used on the rest of the 737 MAX fleet, but reflects a growing pragmatism in the face of lost sales.
[Edited 2016-05-29 15:10:18]