There are several stories of note today:
Aviation Week: China’s turboprops exports lead the way.
Aviation Week: Plan for C919 hits snags.
FlightGlobal: Caution welcomed on Boeing’s 737 MAX.
FlightGlobal: Emirates presses Boeing for better 777.
Seattle Times: WA State has to keep 737 MAX.
Thanks for bring us up to date Scott. I had not been following the MA-60/-600 very closely. It seems to have slipped in orders under the radar.
RE. the FlightGlobal comments on the 737MAX:
I am amazed about the lack of recent memory in the above article and other
comments re. the 737MAX, because this is what I believe led up the sudden
Boeing decision to launch a re-engined a/p, instead of an all new airplane:
1. As the article points out, Boeing management publicly announced up until the
June PAS, that they were NOT going to be driven by their competition and
decide between a re-engined and all new airplane, by the end of the year.
2. Airbus John Leahy, was crowing that they had Boeing over a barrel, based on
their conclusion that a) either of new engines could NOT be installed on the
737 without major and thus unacceptable costs and b) that an all new a/p
from Boeing would be much to late and leave the A320NEO unchallenged!
3. I supported the new a/p, because I assumed that Boeing had no choice, being
stuck with two new large-diameter engines on offer and that it would be much
more efficient than the NEO by definition and would cause many airlines to
wait for it and thus drastically reduce the prospects for the NEO!
4. It wasn’t until AFTER the PAS, where Airbus chalked up 700+ additional NEO
orders for a total of 1200+ and the AA Board meeting in August, where they
were going to sign up for 400 A320NEO’s, when both Boeing and GE/SNECMA
finally woke up to the disaster in the making for them and GE/SNEC’A suddenly
and in desperation, came up with the reduced-fan version of the LEAPX engine.
5. AA management than gracefully agreed to hold up the order for 100 a/p’s, to
give Boeing/GE the opportunity to put their 737MAX act together before the
end of the year, which may still go either way, for commonality reasons!
6. Therefore, if it had NOT been for GE/SN’A hurriedly agreeing to reduce the fan
diameter on their engine, Boeing may well have missed the boat on this
massive market for medium-range aircraft for this decade!
The big question I have, is why GE/SN AND BOEING waited so long to come up
with the reduced -fan diameter engine, having gone thru the same process in
1981, when they reduced the fan diameter on the CFM-5 engine to the -3, which
not only saved the 737 program, but caused the 737 to become the most
successful a/p ever built!
The 737MAX, I am convinced, will now continue that success story, against ALL
expectations, especially at Airbus!
The problem with your summary is it’s missing key bits of information, and that’s led you to several wrong conclusions. Boeing did not “suddenly and in desperation” come up with a re-engine plan for the 737 as a result of the AA order. Boeing has been showing BOTH the NSA and a re-engined 737 to airlines for more than 9 months. Remember the leaked photo in the FAA presentation? That photo was leaked last December, and showed that Boeing had a re-engined 737 model in the wind tunnel around or before when the NEO was launched.
It’s hard for me to believe Boeing would go through the expense and effort of wind tunnel testing new configurations, with a known fan diameter (the photo showed an extended NLG), if some engine manufacturer wasn’t feeding them info on what engine could be made available for the project. And besides, your belief CFM wasn’t offering the LEAP for the 737 doesn’t even make sense; on the NEO, they will capture only around half of the market, on a re-engined 737 they get 100%. CFMI was likely begging Boeing to re-engine, as it positions them to capture 75% of the total single aisle market.
I don’t know the status of the MAX program, but I would not assume for a minute Boeing is way behind in development and scrapping together some plan as a result of the AA order. Based on the leaked photos, Boeing likely completed high speed wing tunnel testing of a re-engined 737 sometime last year.
Rudy, I don’t know what press you had been reading but…
1. ” Boeing management publicly announced up until the June PAS, that they were NOT going to be driven by their competition”
Actually, they have been saying that the *customers* were not interested in a re-engined aircraft and on top of that Jim McNerney said in February that “We’re gonna do a new airplane”.
2. “Airbus John Leahy, was crowing that they had Boeing over a barrel, based on
their conclusion that…”
Leahy had been very consistent that, in his view, Boeing WILL launch a re-engined aircraft! Can you please provide a source of the conclusions in “a)” and “b)”???
3. “I supported the new a/p, because I assumed that Boeing had no choice, being
stuck with two new large-diameter engines on offer…”
You had even less faith in Boeing than Leahy, according to you 🙂
4. A well put summary of the Boeing strategy with regards to the whole concept of the RE – hope the competition fails, so we don’t have to worry about NEO.
“The big question I have, is why GE/SN AND BOEING waited so long to come up
with the reduced -fan diameter engine”
It all has to do with their strategy, see above.
“The 737MAX, I am convinced, will now continue that success story, against ALL
expectations, especially at Airbus!”
How did you manage to come up with that Rudy?? Airbus always expected them to launch ‘MAX’ and share the NB market with Boeing!!!
The first thing to come out of one’s head when reading comment like this is to disqualify the commenter as someone with any clues of what he/she is really talking about. A company as big as Boeing and with the experience (for better or worse) that they have acting in panic or desperation mode for an airplane they have sold more than 7000 of is just funny. In reality, this makes many of us loose the desire to keep reading the comments to see if someone can provide logical thoughts for a change. Thanks to “CM” and perhaps a couple of other that a least bring some sense to the discussions at hand.
Long time observation has brought me to the conclusion that
for states and corporations the likening to persons with a variety character faults is quite adequate to explain behaviour 😉
Same with large groups of people that never reflect the
possibly high intelligence of their individual elements.
Intelligence is just like resistors: the more you set up in parallel
the smaller the resultant resistance gets.
Why does your link “Emirates presses Boeing for better 777” lead to a story titled “Emirates helps Boeing devise new 777”?
I thought that kind of twist was limited to Briganti 🙂
Semantics. Emirates has been pressing Boeing for a Dubai-LAX airplane (748, 777) for a long time. “Pressing.” “Devising.” Two sides of the same coin.
It looks like Emirates is in the driver’s seat for the update, much like Southwest was on the 737NG or Lufthansa on the 748i.
Just as much as they are on the A380…
CM and Ukair, pls. read my comments again and you will see that:
1. Yes, I knew that B. was working on both a re-engined and an all
new a/p, but the re-engined model they had in the wind-tunnel
was the full-sized fan-version of each of the available new eng’s
from P&W and GE/SN’A!.
2. That is also the reason why Leahy was crowing, in the believe
that he had Boeing over a barrel, knowing that a) installing either
of the two new full-sized engines on the existing 737 airframe,
would be much more costly to do than for them on the A320,
requiring major structural changes to the 737 wing and fuselage
and thus too costly to be able to compete with the NEO and b) that
an all new Boeing a/p would either be too late, or that the Boeing
Board would/could not approve such big new venture, before the
787 & 747-8 a/p’s had been certified and delivered to customers!
3, I repeat, it was NOT UNTILL AFTER GE/SN’A, in desperation and
just before or during the AA Board meeting, offered the smaller-fan
version of the LEAPX eng.!
P&W had secured all NEO orders and Boeing was unable to offer
a 737RE and offered the only other option they had until that time,
the all new but late 737 replacement a/p which would be too late
for AA and the reason AA would and could not make a selection
between the A320NEO an the 737MAX, because Boeing had NOT
DONE ANY WORK on that a/p until AFTER GE/SN’A came up with
the reduced-fan version of the LEAPX eng.AT THAT AA Board
If they had, Boeing instead of Airbus, would have secured the whole
AA order for 400 a/p’s, I am sure, while now AA may go all NEO
anyway, for commonality reasons! What a shame!
Again, why did GE/SN’A AND Boeing not look into reducing the fan-
diameter of the LAEPX engine BEFORE they looked at the all-new
737 as their only realistic option, as I also thought they only had, in
particular because they were also the same Co.’s which came up at
the last minute with almost the same solution for the CFM-5 eng.,
to come up with the -3 version to be able to fit underneath the 737
wing without major mods, which saved the 737 program at that time!
GE was put aside by consistent Boeing signals an upgrade wasn’t what the market was asking for & a new design was the appropiate responds. Reducing fansize of the LEAP was an unlikely development direction with everyone going for bigger BPR’s / lower sfc, including Boeing. I guess Boeings sudden 180 took CFMI by surprize.
I don’t think even CFMI was surprised.
If surprised then only that Boeing took longer than expected to fold.
Nobody except Boeing believed that customers could be held
in the “stern wash” of another “fantastic plastic” campaign for
all the years (8..12 to an initial offer and another decade to EIS)
needed for Boeing to get there.
Airlines are burnt and they really feel it. The Dreamliner experience
asisted by the 748 vagaries make this unrepeatable.
Keesje and Uwe,
It was NOT CFMI that was surprised but Boeing, when CFMI at the last minute
pulled the “rabbit out of the hat,” in the form of the reduced-fan version of the
LEAPX engine, which enabled Boeing to offer the 737MAX to AA, without
having to make major mods to the 737 wing/airframe!
That’s also the reason why Boeing could NOT offer a re-engined version of the
a/p with the original full-fan sized LEAPX engine and offered the all new a/p
instead, before CFMI AT THE LAST MINUTE offered the reduced-fan-size
version of the engine.
Had they done so earlier, I strongly believe AA would have gone all 737MAX,
instead of a 3-1 split in favor of the A320NEO, which may well end up to be a
100% NEO order, for commonality reasons!
Why didn’t CFMI want to produce a reduced fan LEAP? They must have had some reason.
It will be interesting to see how American’s order actually pans out because as you say, commonality would favor not taking classic A320s or the MAX.
IF CFMI doesn’t like to do it : My guess is it is a terrible ( result, effort) compromise.
On the other hand P&W was outspoken in being able to provide.
My money still is on Boeing being the coy part in this.
Commonality: LH says subfleets of 20 work well. Especially with the engine only difference the A320 Classic/NEO buquet
shouldn’t be problematic and even help efficient dispatching.
classics for the shorter runs the NEO for the longer connections.
From where do you have that CFM nixed 66″-68″ engine up to that point? From my memory there were discussions about what size with nothing nixed.
I cannot say with absolute certainty you are wrong, but your story flies in the face of logic and (as far as I can tell) introduces facts not in evidence. Do you have a source for your belief CFMI withheld a reduced fan LEAP from Boeing until the 11th hour of the AA campaign?
I work with the airlines, and have talked with people at Boeing and CFMI about the MAX’s seemingly painful birth (and I agree it was painful), but your comments are the only place I have heard the LEAP was not available to Boeing with a workable fan diameter. Everyone I have talked with has the same story; both Boeing and the airlines wanted to make the NSA work, because it addressed there issues:
1. NSA would provide a needed up-gauge in size from what the A320 and 737 can offer.
2. NSA would provide true TATL capability (10+ hr sectors), without payload restrictions.
3. NSA would obsolete the A320neo very early in the product life-cycle.
Launching the MAX meant letting go of all three, which came only with great reluctance from Boeing and the airlines (#3 only being of interest for Boeing and deeply entrenched 737 operators).
“3 points ”
That is expected from any new offering build on future technology.
“Launching the MAX meant letting go of all three, which came only with great reluctance from Boeing and the airlines (#3 only being of interest for Boeing and deeply entrenched 737 operators).”
Certainly, airlines would like to have a new and shiny toy.
Only Boeing omitted to tell them that BCA would not be able
to build that as performant prototypes in the insinuated timeframe ( nor produce them ).
There just is no Boeing only Wunder Tech available.
( I would even wager that Airbus is the “more leading” effective integrator of technology from the innovative edge.
With the Dreamliner Boeing has scraped together “flashy things” more for the sake of difference than any other real advantage. Only exception : the engines which again bolsters Airbus comment that currently advances are nearly exclusively engine derived )
I think that if the NSA was able to do 10 hrs unrestricted and was to be an up-gauge in size form teh 737/A320, it would have been bad performer 140-150 seats up to 100 minutes, were the bulk of narrowbody flights is. I expected Boeing to maybe close a deal with Bombardier or Embraer to cover that segment. That’s off te table with the current MAX spec. However it leaves open the 200-270 seats high density up to 4000NM segment..
Uwe and TC
Boeing stated loud and clear until after the PAS, that they would decide between
a re-engined 737 or an all new a/p BY THE END OF THE YEAR!
This position was driven by the fact that a) the BOARD wanted to wait until the
787 & 747-8 started delivering and b) the tight Boeing cash position until that
Until that time the re-engined a/p they were talking about, was the full-sized fan
version of the LEAP-X engine!
Only the shock of potentially loosing the 400 a/p order from AA, WITH P&W eng’s,
caused CFMI AND BOEING to put their heads together and come up with the
reduced-fan version of the LEAP-X engine for the 737MAX!
This was the only solution short of GIVING UP on a 737 replacement a/p, both
the new a/p AND the re-engined 737 with the full-sized fan, being too costly and
or too late for many airlines!
This because the NEO already having chalked up 1200+ sales by that time and
the airline industry NOT being in any mood to wait for Boeing to make up their
Don’t forget that AA was major 737 carrier and in my opinion, would have been
much happier to go with an all 737MAX fleet, than getting most if not all NEO’s!
How was it possible that Boeing was NOT aware of the fact until after Airbus sold
1200+ NEO’s, that so many operators worldwide were in urgent need to get more
fuel efficient a/p’s ASAP and NOT in “the never never land,” after Boeing would
have made up it’s mind at the end of the year?
Rudy, I think most airlines were willing to wait until the end of the year, afterall they’ll get re-engined aircraft from 2015-16. They weren’t willing to wait until 2020-2022. And they told Boeing.
Delta told them the same.
I was chocked by the persistent Boeing claims the airlines would wait for a game changer in 10 yrs, when everyone saw the technology was not there and the airlines got increasingly vocal about it in public. It took AA showing an Airbus contract for 260 jets + 365 options to see the light & ignore their own predictions.
Good thing is it seems e.g. Piasecki has since become more moderate and realistic in the communication about the 777X and A350-1000. No more “w’ll beat them by x% whatever happens” type of arrogance.