A Boing 737 MAX 9 performs a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Boeing releases details on plans for new, mid-size 797

EVERETT — Boeing released more details Tuesday about a potential new airplane nestled between its workhorse 737 and its advanced, long-range 787.

The new plane, which company executives have unofficially dubbed the 797, will have composite material wings and fuselage, like the Dreamliner, Mike Delaney, head of airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters at the Paris Air Show.

The aircraft likely would fit between 220 and 270 passengers and be able to fly as far as 5,200 nautical miles — or about 10 hours, CNN reported.

Boeing announced Tuesday that United Air Lines ordered 100 737 MAX 10s. The airplane maker introduced the high-capacity, long-range single-aisle airplane only the day before. It says it has more than 320 orders and commitments for the MAX 10.

However, much of that demand comes from customers switching existing orders from the slightly smaller MAX 9 to the more fuel-efficient MAX 10. So far, Boeing has only added about 40 new orders for the MAX 10.

The newest and biggest 737 promises to have “the best economics of the family,” Gerry Laderman, United senior vice president, told Reuters.

Through Tuesday, Boeing has announced orders and interest in more than 500 jets, deals worth as much as $66 billion at list prices. The company has a comfortable lead over Airbus’ total so far of 227 jetliners worth about $24 billion.

Don’t count Airbus out, though. The Paris Air Show runs through Sunday, and Airbus sales chief John Leahy likely will be loath to let Boeing keep the spotlight during what is widely expected to be his final appearance at the aviation industry’s biggest gathering.

With the exception of United, airlines in the U.S. and Europe largely have kept a low profile so far during the show. Most of the orders and commitments have come from airplane leasing companies and air carriers in Asia, where demand for commercial air travel is expected to explode during the next couple decades.

“We have never seen a demographic shift like that ever in the world, in terms of the scale but also the purchasing power,” Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Avolon, said after that firm, which is the world’s third-largest lessor, ordered $8.4 billion of Boeing planes. “We’re backing that global trend.”

Boeing forecasts demand for 41,030 aircraft around the world over the next 20 years, a market worth more than $6 trillion.

State and local government officials and representatives of locally based companies are at the Paris Air Show, hoping to steer more of that work to the businesses located here. State officials are meeting with about 40 companies seen as likely candidates for moving to or expanding in Washington, said Brian Bonlender, head of the state’s Department of Commerce. They also are pursuing about 170 export opportunities for Washington firms, he said.

He and other members of the state’s delegation at the air show visited Airbus’ plant in Toulouse, France last week. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, is scheduled to meet with Airbus executives Thursday.

“We’re not a one (company) town,” Bonlender said.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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