Boeing (BA) surpassed 2,000 orders for the next-generation single-aisle 737 MAX this week, marking the fastest-ever it has reached that mark for a new aircraft.
The company also said Tuesday it is on track to begin final assembly of the jet in mid-2015, with plans to have it in the air by 2016. First deliveries are expected to get to launch customer Southwest Airlines (LUV) in the third quarter of 2017.
Boeing said the MAX reached the 2,000 mark faster than any other of its planes in history as carriers rush to replace dilapidated, gas-guzzling fleets.
“This unprecedented demand is fueled by air traffic growth and the need for more fuel-efficient airplanes,” Boeing said.
The Chicago-based jetmaker said it received another 30 orders from unidentified customers this week, pushing total orders for the new fuel-efficient jet to 2,010 from 39 customers worldwide, valued at $209 billion at list prices.
The aircraft will be 14% more fuel-efficient than today’s more efficient 737s. Boeing says it is also more efficient than the A320, manufactured by European rival Airbus, with airlines operating the MAX seeing an 8% operating cost per seat advantage over A320neo.