Jeff Haber ’79, regional director of Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing, speaks about designing the new Boeing 737 MAX. (Brittney Chew / Sun News Photography Editor)
The new Boeing 737 MAX, whose design began in 2012, is scheduled for its first delivery in 2017. While this might seem like a long time to most people, Jeff Haber ’79 said the timeline and significance of this project should not be underestimated.“That’s quick because you’ve got to make sure you do it right,” said Haber, the regional director of Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing. “You’ve got all these people who are going to be flying that you are responsible for, and you can’t screw anything up.”
Haber spoke to students Thursday on designing the new plane, which is set to be the fourth airplane of the Boeing 737 Next Generation family. The plane will feature large overhead bins and LED lights, in addition to being more fuel efficient, less noisy and having a longer flight capacity that its previous models and its competitor planes.
The early sales of the plane exceeded Haber’s and his coworkers’ expectations.
“When we built the plane, we didn’t think it would be a big hit,” he said. “Now, we’ve got over 3,000 orders for 58 customers around the world.”
Haber elaborated on the different aspects of the plane, including the details of the choice of the name “MAX.”
“We had to come up with a cool name,” he said. “The new name of our competition is the A320neo, which I think is really cool. My contribution was MVP, which stood for ‘max value package,’ because I thought everyone was familiar with MVP. It’s funny how things works because my boss just looked at me, then said to the group, ‘The name is going to be MAX,’ and that’s what it ended up being.”
Transitions to a more serious note, Haber went on to discuss the more pleasant experience the plane’s new sky interior would provide customers with.
“We changed the lighting, the bins, the reading lights and the seats, but everything else is the same,” he said.
In a survey conducted by a European outline, passengers flying in a sky interior plane said they had more leg room, wider seats, better food and nicer cabin attendants than passengers flying in planes without the sky interior.
“It was like a halo effect, even though we didn’t change any of these aspects,” Haber said.
In addition to discussing the new passenger appeal of the plane, Haber went on to explain that the new plane was now more efficient, more reliable and more environmentally friendly.
“The plane can now hold 12 more passengers and therefore delivers eight percent lower operating costs than its main competitor,” he said. “It has a 99.7 percent dispatch reliability, so it leaves within 15 minutes of its depart time 99.7 percent of time. The plane is also much more fuel efficient and much quieter.”
Though the 737 MAX has not been flown yet, Boeing is already designing future planes.
“This plane now fits about 180 passengers,” he said. “We are working towards making a plane that can 200 to 220 seat range, that’s what we’re working for next.”