UPDATE 2-Boeing mulls new 737 jet variant, airlines interested
(Recasts to confirm that Boeing is considering new design; adds detail)
By Alwyn Scott and Jeffrey Dastin
April 21 (Reuters) - Boeing Co is studying whether to revise one version of its best-selling 737 aircraft in a bid to fend off competition, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. planemaker's concept of a slightly larger version of its 737 MAX 7 jet with more seats and range drew airline interest on Thursday.
The plans are preliminary, without many specifics, the sources said. But Boeing has a product study underway to determine if such a jet would make sense, they added.
The plane could perk up relatively slow sales for the 737 MAX 7 and help Boeing's market share battle with Airbus Group SE , which has outsold it with its competing A320 jet.
Boeing's tweaked 737 also would help fight back competition from Bombardier Inc's fledgling CSeries aircraft, which appears poised to win a large order from Delta Air Lines Inc.
Chicago-based Boeing declined to comment on the plan, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Boeing needs to win support for the proposed plane from Southwest Airlines, which has ordered the smallest model 737s, as well as United Continental Holdings Inc, the Journal reported. Continued...