Boeing’s next twin-aisle strategy: Aspire Aviation has this long article looking at when Boeing will launch the 787-10 and 777X.
Our thoughts on the topic: We are hearing EIS for the 787-10, as Aspire reports, will be 2018 or beyond and that EIS for the 777X will likely be 2020 or beyond. As always, the situation is fluid and things could change. Aspire’s projection of a formal 787-10 launch in June is timed, probably not so coincidentally, for the Paris Air Show. (Unlike the boring Farnborough Air Show, Paris already is shaping up as a prospectively exciting show. Bombardier announced first flight of the CSeries is now expected in June [before, during or after the Show?] and Airbus would like to fly the A350 before the show–something that will likely be a challenge.)
We know Boeing continues to wait as long as it can in hopes Airbus will commit to a final design of the A350-1000 before launching the 777X, but time may be running out unless Boeing is willing to extend the gap between EIS of the -1000 and EIS of the 777X.
A 2018 or later EIS of the 787-10 means Boeing will avoid the EIS of two airplanes (the MAX and the -10) simultaneously, which could be a lesson-learned from the 787/747-8 programs. Readers may recall that Jim Albaugh, former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said Boeing would avoid this in the future after experiencing the problems of the two programs.
Perhaps, and this is speculation, extending the time between EIS of the 787-10 and the 777X is partly driven by the same concern.
Given program history, at least some Wall Street analysts we’ve talked with are already raising the prospect that the 737 MAX EIS (4Q2017) might slip. Why? They are concerned about the broadening design creep as well as development of the CFM LEAP-1B. Can they point to anything concrete? Not yet. Chalk the conversation up to Boeing’s poor performance on the 787 and 747-8 programs and the fact that there are still industrial issues with the 787 suppliers, according to the chatter.