Boeing has surprised the aviation world by launching a brand-new commercial aircraft not previously known to have been in development. The company hosted a low-key official launch of the new plane yesterday. The Bug was invited to the launch held in these COVID-safe times via an online news conference with Boeing’s director of aircraft development, Con Trail.
Con Trail: Good morning. I’d like to welcome media representatives from around the world to this virtual news conference broadcast from the Boeing plant in Seattle. Today we are launching our latest commercial jet aircraft the Boeing 737 XAM. You’ll note the correct pronunciation of the model designation is “exam”.
The Bug: Isn’t it just the Boeing 737 MAX but…..
CT: I’m sorry, I’ll take questions after I’ve outlined the features of the new plane. The all-new 737 XAM is available in four different models with total seating capacity ranging from 172 up to 230, it can…..
The Bug: Hang on, doesn’t the 737 MAX also come in four variants with seating….
CT: Please, let me finish. Then I’ll take questions. The four models range in length from 35.56 metres up to 43.8 metres but the wingspan on all variants is the same at …..
The Bug: This is just the 737 MAX.
CT: Quiet. The wingspan on all variants is the same at 35.9 metres. Naturally, because of the different loading capacities and passenger numbers, the maximum range varies from 3,300 kilometres to …..
The Bug: This is bullshit.
CT: ….3,850 kilometres. Right. Now, any questions?
The Bug: Yes, isn’t the XAM just the 737 MAX with the model designation reversed?
CT: No. It’s a totally new aircraft.
The Bug: So what makes the 737 XAM different to the 737 MAX?
CT: There, that’s it. You’ve hit the nail on the head.
The Bug: What?
CT: It’s a totally different plane. It’s got a different name entirely.
The Bug: So how much does each of the four supposedly “new” models of the aircraft cost?
CT: Look, actual pricing is subject to a new confidentiality agreement to be signed by airlines that buy the new XAM, but I can say prices are about the same as the old 737 MAX.
The Bug: I thought so. But what’s with the confidentiality agreement?
CT: Yes, you suggest there’s nothing new with the 737 XAM. But the confidentiality agreement is brand new.
The Bug: So it covers more than just price for an individual 737 XAM?
CT: Absolutely it does. It covers other issues too.
The Bug: Such as?
CT: Well, crashes. Mainly crashes. If a 737 XAM crashes you can’t tell anyone. I think I’ll take questions from someone else now….
At this point the connection between The Bug’s newsroom and Boeing’s plant in Seattle failed.