Developing Boeing’s airplanes

June 21, 2017, © Leeham Co.: “It’s all about continuing the development strategy since thirty years” said Mike Delaney, VP of program development for Boeing. “It’s about continuing the development strategy for 30 years producing super efficient twins that support point-to-point networks.”

Delaney made the remarks at the Paris Air Show about developing the 737 MAX 10 and the NMA (New Medium size Airplane).

Figure 1. Boeing’s airliner lineup over  the years. Source: Boeing.

Figure 1 shows the Boeing products over the years, with the 737 MAX 10 and the NMA filling the gap between 180 and 270 two class seats (note the 748i is no longer part of the chart). The MAX 10 is in place and a tentative NMA is showing the way into the next decade.

Boeing’s development strategy

“We probably have the best lineup ever on the widebody side (Figure 2),” he said. “The 777, which I would say is the all-time best twin, will soon be followed by the even better 777X . The 787-10 complements the range with the best seat mile cost ever.”

Figure 2. Boeing’s present twin aisle lineup and their value propositions. Source: Boeing.

Delaney then talked about Boeing’s recent development execution, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Boeing’s development execution  Source: Boeing.

MAX milestones ahead of schedule

“The MAX milestones have continuously been passed ahead of schedule. We now introduce the MAX 10, which we expect to certify and deliver to the first customer by 2020,” said Delaney. “Our customers directed us to a simple stretch of the MAX 9 (rather than a more elaborate development, Figure 4). With the aid of a new semi-levered main landing gear and improvements to the wings low-speed aerodynamics, we could lift a longer and heavier MAX 10 off the runway with the MAX 9 wing and engines. By making the third door four inches wider we could raise the exit limit to 230 seats.”

Figure 4. Changes to 737 MAX 9 to create the MAX 10. Source: Boeing.

Delaney then showed the ubiquitous “it’s more economical” slide, Figure 5.

Figure 5. Slide showing fuel efficiency for MAX series and Airbus A320. Source: Boeing.

Better than the A321neo

“The MAX 10 is lighter and has a lower wetted area (due to a smaller diameter fuselage)” argues Delaney. (LNC’s own checks shows the MAX 10 and A321neo as pretty equal for seat mile fuel burn. The lower bypass CFM LEAP-1B eats up the airframe difference compared with the A321’s higher bypass CFM LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney GTF).

“We have great aircraft which cover the 3,000nm and the 7,000nm-8,000nm range. A new aircraft, specifically made for covering the 5,000nm range, would, by its economy, unleash new medium range city-pairs,” he said.

Figure 6. Served city pairs before NMA. Source: Boeing.

Figure 6 shows the situation before the availability of the NMA and Figure 7 after introduction of NMA.

Figure 7. Served city pairs after the availability of NMA. Source: Boeing.

The NMA aircraft was showed as a fuzzy background picture to its enabling technologies, Figure 7.

Figure 7. NMA enabling technologies with aircraft in the background. Source: Boeing.

“The aircraft would offer dual aisle comfort with single aisle economics in the mid-2020s, should we decide to develop it,” he said (Figure 8).

Figure 8. The tentative development plan for an NMA. Source: Boeing.

31 Comments on “Developing Boeing’s airplanes

  1. Considering the gross lapse in the single aisle by extending the 737 into dotage, I am not sure I get the 30 years thing.

    And the 737-10 can’t carry as many passengers in the same comfort as the A321.

    Sure you can stuff them in tighter (and so can the A321 and 10 more)

    Point is what us the real world say and use?

    Given I am surprised the -10 is doing that well. Interesting to see what AK Airlines does.

    And the big question looming is what engines and who on the 797?

    GE clearly said if its not sole source they aren’t playing.

    I don’t think its going to be single source.

    • Looks like a 757 if the graphics are supposed to be representative. Cant imagine otherwise. It will be analogous to the CS300’s competition with the low pax MAX:
      Boeing 757X : 767 :: CS300 : 737 MAX 8

      • My first thought as well.

        Maybe something along the lines of Keesje’s “Greenliner”?

        1-2-1 in the front and wider seats/aisle (3-3) at the back. Aerodynamically good and fits the 40K-lb concept.

        Lenght of aircraft beyond 220/240 seat (2+ class) a potential issue.

      • I would have thought another hint was in the range – 5,000 nm, which was mentioned several times now by Boeing. The 757 has 737 range. Thats where their clever tricks would have to come in for the NMA. It would have cutting edge materials.

        The 767-200 ER has a range of 6,500 nm and theres no talk of variants or anything in that range for the NMA. Maybe Im very wrong but all of you might be typing with your desires rather than econinic reality. Some very big budget carriers have explicitly said they see this plane as a 757 type aircraft.

        If its not possible to build a 757X with a range of 5,000 nm in 5-10 years then it simply won’t be built, not by Boeing at least imo. Its all idle speculation anyway but I bet you!

  2. If Boeing believe their own graphs (Figure 5) they don’t need to do anything with the 737 for some long time. Airbus has given it their best shot with the NEO and come up short.

    • Many believe a clean sheet replacement won’t take to the skies until 2025-30 so yeah with that huge backlog and the fact that they are still selling more the 737 will be their cash cow for a long time.
      Airbus is making even more off the neo with an even bigger backlog so they have no desire to rock the status quo.

    • Indeed. It seems the A321neo can only beat the 737-7. I would be mad as a Boeing shareholder for my company to squander money on vanity projects like 10MAX.

  3. So the “hybrid” cross-section will feature a design without belly cargo? I believe so and imagine an aircraft similar in width and length to the A330 but with an oval fuselage that holds the baggage at the rear of the aircraft (much like the MRJ).

    Depending on the comfort of the cabin service (smaller galleys, less toilets), it might be a bit shorter. Given it is Boeing, a fuselage of the width of the 787 with 9 abreast might be more likely to maximize the efficiency.

    • A little extrem – especially regarding pressure stresses on the cabin floor – isn’t it?

      It will be SLIGHTLY horizontal oval or double-bubble with LD3/45 capability underfloor (like A320).

      It definitely won’t store the luggage of up to 270 pax on a 5000 nm trip at the aft like the MRJ – this would be a logistical nightmare.

      • I don’t have a sophisticated graphics program to draw perfect ovals. Make it a bit rounder. The A380 is not that much different. And one would assume that with new composite materials the shape can be adjusted too.

        Why would it be a logistical nightmare? You unload containers from the belly or from the back. That doesn’t change much, or would it?

        • Incorrect re the baggage. There are typical underfloor holds. Dare100m is onto something…

        • Bulk loading of luggage is allready a serious challenge on the 737-900(ER) and time consuming.

          I don’t get how this will get better with a 50% higher cappacity plane.

          But more importand is the fact that in typical non-reginal planes the floor area is extendet nearly to the end of the plane, even the room left in the tail is used for catering/toilets/crew-stuff. I don’t get how you will bulk the luggage of 250+ pax there if you don’t have significant belly space.

          Won’t happen for sure. The 797 will already have comperatively less belly space than typical by using only the belly space of an A320 while having a 767 main deck. Only a small fraction of belly space will be left for cargo.

        • “The A380 is not that much different..”

          A380 carries the hoop “deviation from circular” deformation stresses via _tension_ in the floors.

          A flat oval has to to have the floor(s) under compression.
          That is the worst Euler stress failure scenario.

      • a round belly 767 (rather than the current double bubble profile) would easily support LD3-45s and a moderate horizontal oval would still have plenty of belly space for those (767 can give up 19 vertical inches and 27 horizontal inches of belly space and still fit LD3-45s)

  4. Boeing analysis (and other companies) indicates that single aisles will make up ~70% (by number) of airliner orders up 2035.

    As per Mr. Akbar al Bakar (Quatar) I would agree Boeing should develop an NMA based on the 787 fuselage. It will be low risk, relatively low cost, have production line benefits and could be done in shorter time. Smaller fanned updated variants of current GE or RR engines should also be low risk to develop and be reliable.

    Revenue from freight could be important for airlines in the target market and not seat mile cost only?

    This will leave money and time in the bank to get to the development of the NSA quicker where the big demand is but also strong competition from Airbus and new manufacturers.

  5. With regard to the 737/A320 debate, the airlines are voting with their money. The A320/A321 juggernaut will contine until Boeing come up with something much better

    This brings me to the NMA. Boeing looks as though they have got the message. Many pundits have suggested something cheap would do. For example a carbon wing with metal fuselage and new engines. Such a cheap solution would be easy to counter. Boeing need to make it hard for Airbus, not easy or airlines will continue to vote with their money. Boeing need to suck it up and do best in class, and I think they know it!

    • Boeing doesn’t need to be the largest or even to “beat Airbus” – it just needs to have sufficient orders to be in the game, pay for itself, and keep Embraer and Comac out of the top tier. With 3700 orders for the Max those needs are fulfilled.

  6. Dont get the numbers in the ‘efficency graphic’ – Fig 5 where the Max 10 is 188 passengers but seems to be 200 + passengers in Fig 1

    As Boeing seems to be so slow and painstaking even doing something like a Max 10- things like Uber have come from nothing in the time Boeing takes to add 2 seat rows to a slow selling plane- that I think a NMA that breaks all the existing rules is beyond Boeing inside the next 15 years.

    But the intent is to occupy the marketing space preventing anyone else from moving . in the IT industry it used to be called ‘vapourware.’

  7. Will the 7M7 use the LD 3 -45 container, similar to the A320, or will they develop a new wider special container for the dimensions of the 7M7?

  8. You know if a mark was hit or not by the comments coming from the competition. When NEO was introduced Boeing made small comments about its viability. The sales announcements were not of concern. Airbus put it on Boeing. This airshow, Mr. Leahy’s last was to be a big exit for the man who put Airbus on the market. Mr. Leahy’s comments, and comments from others at Airbus – the MAX-10 is consuming other MAX sales, and its not of concern. Boeing came into the Airbus backyard and walked away with the show’s biggest noise. And this comment about losing share internally- Airbus might want to check out its own programs because it appears there has been a nice movement upward from the A320 to the A321? But hey, when you thought the competition’s offer was going to die on the vine you’ve got to say something (right Scott?).

    The winner – the airlines. No one wanted Airbus to have the upper hand in the single aisle A321 space. Why do you think the leasing companies are buying up the Boeing production positions? Access. Although the A321NEO is a wonderfully sound aircraft, the airlines (through the leasing companies) will keep Boeing there so the price structure for the A321 remains competitive. United may have made the deal for the MAX-9s knowing Boeing would offer the -10 in the future. They’ve been vocal about wanting a larger 737, so that deal made sense. Now American, we’ll see because they were the drivers of the whole MAX line.

    Another thought that has been overlooked. Airbus has sold quite a few CEOs this show. Appears the end of the CEO line is further out than once thought? Gather that the NEO engines are not coming off the line as well as they should for either producer? Last show should have been the last CEO sales, and then we see Delta come in with another low ball win for a few A321CEOs. Don’t think Delta is not willing to listen to Boeing about a few more 737-900ERs at the same prices they picked up the A321s. Come on engine manufacturers, let’s get the new program production lines performing better or we’ll see more CEO and -800 and -900 sales.

    There was an interesting takeaway for me about the Airbus widebody program. The A350 program can be stretched further but there is no reason to approach that option today. Let’s get this straight no reason to do the A350 stretch but there is a business case to do a A380PLUS? Also, there were comments about a heavier focus on the A350. If that is true, please pull the plug on that whole A330 and do the right thing with backing the A350-800 and the A350-1100. If the A330 sales were in the A350 bucket the A350 program would be well over 1,100 frames. Rationalize the Airbus widebody program so you can develop a new single aisle and middle market product. Build airplanes please and let’s move on from the NEO concepts.

    Now let’s see if Mr Leahy has anything up his sleeve for a Friday BIG send off announcement. Hopefully it does not come at a point where Boeing pulls something else out of their hat to pour water of the party. Thanks John for the memories, you have truly been an outstanding asset to the commercial aerospace industry. Whether Boeing liked it or not, you made the industry an interesting place to watch, support, and work in. Thanks for making the last 30 years fun for aerospace suppliers. You will be missed.

    • Quite a lot to chew on, some credible thoughts there.

      JL, well like Cossell, I don’t think I will miss him.

    • “When NEO was introduced Boeing made small comments about its viability. ”

      IMU Boeing at the time tried to activate their Tier 2 forces: Bankers, lenders, leasers, … to colour the NEO a “designed to fail” product that also will destroy immense value in the A320CEO domain. Narry a word that the NG would struggle the strongest.

  9. Boeing with their MAX 10 is like work-out sex with viagra, it gets you there OK but what is the pleasure ? And airlines’ response goes like the faithful partner : well done old boy, you’re still impressive, now relax or you’ll have a fit ?!

      • Certainly I adhere to that proposition, GEO ! But as an AvGeek, I’d have welcomed something a bit more sophisticated from Boeing, something we can admire … there is pleasure in discovering all the refinements in a new aircraft programme, be it a single aisle … but with the Max 10 we’re a bit frustrated : what’s new, Pussycat ?

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