Boeing has defined its range and payload increase predictions for the 737 MAX, which will enter service in 2017.

The figures emerge as the design firms up and initial wind tunnel tests are conducted. The increases also reflect recent work with CFM to define the performance characteristics of the 737 MAX’s Leap-1B engine.

The 737 MAX will have the capability to fly up to 540 nmn farther than the existing model. This translates into a range capability of more than 3,500 nm.

Until recently. Boeing was reluctant to disclose estimates of either the estimated MAX range or payload figures, but hinted that relative increases in range in particular would be relatively modest with most operators likely to focus on using the MAX to fly existing routes--but burning less fuel to do so.

The new numbers, however, indicate Boeing is also pushing the potential of the MAX models to open up new, longer range routes.

Based on the existing, standard two-class seating configuration outlined for current and MAX models. Boeing says the 737-7 variant will have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 159,000 lb., a 5,000-lb. increase over the current -700. Range will be boosted by 400 nms to 3,800 nm. The -8 MTOW similarly grows to 181,200 lbs. while range is extended by more than 500 nm to 3,620 nm.

The largest member of the family, the -9, will have almost the same range and an MTOW of 194,700 lb. or 7,000 lb. more than the current -900ER.