The “godfather of leasing,” Steven Udvar-Hazy, the CEO of Air Lease Corp., weighed in on the 737RE and the prospective improvements to the 777 during ALC’s earning’s call. And when Hazy speaks, the industry listens.
Hazy, who favored a new airplane in the 737 class, wasn’t too happy about the 737RE decision and thinks Boeing has a ways to go on developing this aircraft. We’ll have more about this in a separate post.
As for the prospective improvements of the 777, Hazy had this to say:
We have been spending a lot of time with Boeing since the Paris Air Show. We have looked at different scenarios on an improved version of the 777. There are multiple variations. Some involve minor changes, some involve completely new wings, some involve aerodynamic improvements, some involve a brand new engine which GE would have to develop as a follow-on to the GE90.
Some of those options are extremely costly in terms of development cost and would involve significant redesign of the airplane. Others are more what I call band aid solutions to be competitive with the A350-1000. But everything is still on the table and I don’t think Boeing is going to come to any quick decisions on any of those programs because they involve tremendous amount of resources both financial and engineering design resources and I think, first Boeing have to grips with getting 787 flying. I think that’s really the number one goal right now of the company. (Transcript excerpt via Aspire Aviation. See Aspire’s new post on the 747-8.)
Although Hazy’s remarks quickly received press attention, these are possibilities we’ve written about as far back as the Farnborough Air Show in 2010.
We also briefly wrote about 777 enhancements as part of Boeing’s Paris Air Show briefing this year, in which Nicole Piaskeci, VP of Business Development and Strategic Integration, said Boeing was looking at enhancements to the GE90-115B engine and to the wing span of the 777.
One of the reasons Boeing began to lean toward a re-engined 737, even before the Paris Air Show, and by July 18 the odds had shifted from a New Small Airplane to the 737RE. In a post we had on that date, we detailed one of the reasons was a shifting emphasis to twin-aisle development of the 787-10 and enhancements to the 777. Although Boeing made a last-ditch effort to launch the NSA with American Airlines, instead Boeing decided to offer the 737RE to American.
With this as background, we recap the prospective 777 upgrades:
With Airbus putting off the A350-1000 for two years, and a challenge remaining for the timely entry-into-service for the launch -900 model, Boeing feels it has more time to decide what to do on the 777. At the Farnborough Air Show, Boeing indicated an answer for the 777 by the end of 2010 (as it had with the 737 future). As with the 737, the answer for the 777 keeps sliding to the right. Given the rescheduling of the -1000, we don’t expect Boeing to decide the 777’s future this year.