CHICAGO (REUTERS) - Boeing is close to launching the 737 MAX 10X to counter strong sales of the Airbus A321neo, sources told Reuters.
The plan is to unveil the new jet at the Paris Airshow in June.
Reuters sources said that Boeing is talking to airlines and expects to sell 1,000 of the fuel-efficient, long-range planes.
It could begin delivery in 2020 if airlines start ordering this year.
But asked for comment, Boeing said no decision has been taken, and it's too early to talk about the launch.
"It's a long-haul airplane. It's not designed to be short-haul flying. And Boeing wants this to be competitive, both for defensive reasons to get sales that would otherwise go to Airbus, but also it's a stop-gap in the Boeing product mix," said Mr Henry Harteveldt, president and travel industry analyst for Atmosphere Research Group.
He added: "Right now, the largest plane that Boeing has is the 737 MAX 9, which can carry approximately 189 - 200 people, and, while that's good, some airlines want more capacity."
The 737 jetliner has been Boeing's best selling product for the past fifty years.
The company is making four new 737 versions, including MAX 10X.
But the new planes are coming to market just as demand for aircraft has slowed.