History undermines Boeing claim of C Series impact: analysis


Dec. 22, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing blames a subsidized, price-dumped Bombardier C Series for the poor sales of the smallest member of the 737 family, the -700 and the 7 MAX, but history doesn’t support the claim.

The US Department of Commerce clearly ignored sales evidence that the 737-700 has been “done” for many years and the 737-7 MAX was an unattractive design

Boeing 737-7 MAX. Rendering via Google images.

that hasn’t been fixed with a redesign; airlines simply don’t want the airplane. Commerce levied tariffs amounting to 292% on C Series imported into the United States in the future.

The US International Trade Commission is currently awaiting post-hearing briefs from Dec. 18 testimony from Boeing, Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and other parties to determine whether Boeing suffered “harm” by the C Series deal with Delta and a near-miss with United Airlines.

If the ITC concludes Boeing suffered harm, the DOC tariffs stand. If not, the DOC action is moot. The loser at ITC is expected to appeal.

Commercial momentum

Boeing, which did not respond to questions for this article, advanced the theory of “commercial momentum” in its filings at the DOC and ITC. Officials argued that the Bombardier-Delta deal provided commercial momentum for the C Series. However, in the nearly a year between Delta’s deal and the filing of the complaint, Bombardier failed to record any new sale in the US—or anywhere else in the world.

Talks do not make commercial momentum; sales do, and there simply wasn’t any commercial momentum generated by the Delta transaction for the period in question.

Commercial momentum 2

On the other hand, commercial momentum was clear for Boeing—away from the 737-700 and 7 MAX to its own product line in the larger 737-8.

There are plenty of news articles discussing the up-gauging of the 737-700 to the 737-800, but this one nicely suffices, from the Motley Fool in May 2015: Southwest Airlines dropped its remaining backlog for the -700 and chose the -800. Southwest at the time had Boeing’s largest backlog for the 737-700. It swapped 31 orders for the larger -800, and paid more money to do so. Why? The -800 had 32 more seats in WN’s configuration and operating costs were about the same.

No demand for the 737-7

The same issue exists with the 737-7.

At first, the 737-7 was merely a reengined 737-700. The airplane was the same size. Ditto for the MAX 8.

Southwest, which in 2011 (as it does today) has the world’s largest fleet of 737-700s, more than 500, ordered only 30 MAX 7s because it needs the small airplane for difficult airports with short runways or hot/high issues (the latter was discussed by Delta and Boeing at the DOC and ITC).

It left the need for more than 500 replacements for the -700 on the table. Southwest instead opted to order 170 of the larger 737-8 MAXes. It’s also ordered more than 200 737800s, none of which will need replacement for at least 15-20 years. Clearly the MAX 7 won’t be replacing the larger MAX 8.

Southwest’s trend is up.

Other than an order for five 7 MAXes from a start-up airline, the only other identified customer is Canada’s WestJet, which ordered 25. Two of these orders were swapped for the larger MAX 8.

It’s believed there are about 70 orders in total for the 7 MAX.

Doubts about the MAX 7

Market interest was so poor for the MAX 7 that in 2014, observers, including LNC doubted whether the 7 MAX would ever be built. Boeing itself called the 100-150 seat sector a Bermuda Triangle, where airplanes in this sector simply disappeared.

An analysis by LNC indicated the airplanes “disappeared” because for the most part they were derivatives, typically “shrinks,” whose economics were questionable.

Boeing itself began efforts to prompt Southwest and WestJet to up-gauge to the MAX 8, sources told LNC. But by February 2016, Boeing switched strategies and decided to support the MAX 7 after all.

Redesigning the MAX 7

Boeing announced at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show it was redesigning the 7 MAX. It added two rows (12 seats) and made it a straight-forward shrink of the MAX 8, rather than a more individual design.

Flight International reported something that, today, has relevancy to the Boeing trade complaint.

“Boeing does not expect the addition of up to 12 more seats in a typical two-class seating configuration to significantly drive new demand into the low end of the single-aisle sector. The move appears to be driven by Boeing’s attempt to satisfy new requirements imposed by the 737-7’s two largest customers: Southwest and WestJet,” Flight wrote.

“We have now assessed the market. The customers have said that a bigger airplane is something we would like with that range,” says Keith Leverkuhn, vice-president and general manager for the 737, the magazine wrote.

“The redesign also happens to answer Boeing Business Jets’ long-term search in the VIP market for an answer to the 7,500nm (13,900km) capability of the Gulfstream G650ER, which dwarfs the 6,100nm range of the 737-700-derived BBJ1. The launch of the BBJ Max 7 at the Farnborough air show fills that need,” the magazine wrote.

By Boeing’s own admission, the 737-7 MAX redesign is driven by niche requirements of its two principal customers and it won’t stimulate demand.

No sales from 2013

Boeing told the DOC and the ITC that it had no sales of the 7 MAX from 2013 through 2016, when Bombardier sold its airplane to Delta. Since then a Chinese airline announced a LOI for 10 and lessor Air Lease Corp. ordered a handful. The LOI apparently hasn’t been converted to a firm order, or at least identified as such. Officials blamed the existence of the C Series.

This is disingenuous.

The original 7 MAX design, as noted, was merely a reengine of the 737-700. In the same Flight International article cited above, Boeing officials noted.

“In some ways, the stretched 737-7 restores a balance lost with the arrival of the 737NG series in 1998. At that time, Boeing lengthened the 737-800 by two rows compared to the 737-400, but left the 737-700 identical in length to the 737-300, says Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice-president of marketing,” Flight wrote. “As much as airlines have prized fuel efficiency in new models, extra seats rank as a close runner up.”

More to the point, there were just 87 C Series firm worldwide and none in the US during the same period. Twenty of these were to Russia’s Ilyushin Finance Corp., five to Iraqi Airways and 17 to start-up carrier SaudiGulf. None of these is an “A” list customer. Forty of the remaining sales were to Australia’s Macquarie Airfinance, a lessor.

Boeing hasn’t sold a MAX 7 since 2013. Bombardier hadn’t sold a C Series in the US from 2008 to 2016. If the MAX 7 was such an attractive airplane, why weren’t there any sales absent any C Series sales during this period?

Boeing didn’t answer this question.

737-700 operators take a pass

The original MAX 7 design had a two-class capacity of 126 and economics that were analyzed by many to be significantly worse than the CS300. Irrespective, the trend was for up-gauging to the 737-800 from the -700 and to the MAX 8 instead of the MAX 7.

Alaska Airlines, Aviation Capital Group, ILFC/AerCap, Air Lease Corp, and non-US customers bypassed the 737-700 and the MAX 7 (and the C Series) for the larger airplanes. American Airlines selected the A319ceo/neo instead of the 700/MAX 7 when it launched the MAX program in July 2011.

As noted, United ordered 65 737-700s in early 2016, but within months swapped these to the larger 737-800 and MAX 8.

The lack of interest by these customers in Boeing’s small airplane speaks to the lack of interest/market demand.

Boeing didn’t comment about this, either.

No interest, unattractive design

Other questions Boeing didn’t answer:

  • Southwest had a significant backlog of 737-700s, but up-gauged them to 737-800s (largely at Boeing’s urging). It had a large fleet of 737-700s when the MAX program was launched in 2011, but chose to order only 30 MAX 7s. It has not ordered more MAX 7s to this day, including the “dry spell” in which Bombardier didn’t sell a single C Series in the US. How can Boeing argue there wasn’t an issue with the market demand for the MAX 7?
  • Boeing redesigned the MAX 7 to be a “shrink” of the MAX 8. It is a well-known axiom in the industry that shrinks are generally not attractive airplanes. Might this be a factor in poor sales?
  • Boeing is spending between $6bn and $7bn in stock buybacks. Two years of redirecting this commitment would enable Boeing to develop an entirely new airplane (or a two-member family) in the 100-150 seat sector. Or, spread over a normal 6-7 year launch-to-EIS period, in which $36bn-$49bn in cash devoted to share buybacks at the present rate, this commitment could be reduced by somewhat more than $1bn/yr to develop a two-member airplane family, still leaving plenty of shareholder return while developing a new aircraft. How can Boeing claim it cannot afford to develop new, clean-sheet airplanes that would in fact be direct, head-to-head competitors with C Series?

Boeing was maneuvered into launching the MAX program when Airbus was on the verge of capturing a huge order from American Airlines for the A320neo family. The 7 MAX and 9 MAX were ill-suited cheap (by R&D standards) derivatives, neither of which were well received in the market. (Nor was Airbus A319neo, competitor to the 7 MAX.)

To address the clear weakness of the 7 MAX and 9 MAX, Boeing by April 2016 was studying the stretch of both airplanes to make them more attractive.

Boeing’s problem was not the C Series: it was an outdated product strategy and reliance on derivatives of a fundamental 1960s aircraft design. Bombardier passed the small 737 with a clean-sheet design in a sector Boeing had long-since abandoned when it dropped the 737-600 and when the market moved beyond the 737-700. The 7 MAX simply was a plane whose time had passed.

The MAX 9 was no more competitive with the Airbus A321neo than the 737-900ER had been with A321ceo. Hence, the development of the 737-10.

Faced with an out-dated 737 product strategy and unwilling to invest in a new single-aisle airplane, Boeing resorts to trade complaints to block competitors with more advanced designs.

79 Comments on “History undermines Boeing claim of C Series impact: analysis

    • Boeing has reported to the media that the Embraer talks have been happening even before the Airbus-Bombardier deal. Perhaps Boeing went after the CSeries in order to have a regional airliner monopoly with Embraer after they acquire them.

  1. I have this awkward impression of being lucked up in an old theatre, sitting in a worn-out seat with my feet resting on a sticky ciment floor, bathing in a strong popcorn smell, and forced to watch a B-rated movie. B as in Boeing. 🙁

  2. Behind all Boeing’s arguments, it appears greed is the primary motivation to attack Delta’s CSeries order, but I think it is more complicated than even that. Forgetting the new tax plan inspired bonuses to all Boeing employees (that’s just politicking) I think it is possible that Boeing executives and the Board of Directors do not trust their engineers and designers to use all the new technologies, and create new technologies, to build a plane better than the CSeries. Hence, they are trying to kill it. They probably could have had the same deal that Airbus got from Bombardier. They needed the plane worse than them. This is not rational. Now they think they have to buy Embraer. For four billion. And their plane will probably not be as prolific as the CSeries.

    • Perhaps Boeing was already in talks with Embraer before being approached by Bombardier, so Boeing would have passed on a CSeries deal. Boeing has told some media outlets that they started negotiations with Embraer before the Airbus-Bombardier deal was even announced.

      • Few year back it was Airbus who was looking to buy Embraer.

        The fish story repeated ”Big fish eat small fish”!

        • Sam:

          Having lived to a riper old age than a few times I thought I was going to, I have realized you need to take the emotion out of the equation as much as possible.

          Attributing greed to Boeing is like saying a shark should not eat.

          Its been part of the Corporate DNA for some time, to expect otherwise would be to expect someone like Trump to be introspective.

          There are possible ways to bring the Tiger under control, its a matter of will.

    • I also ad to your comment, no Embraer can compete with the C Series technical quality and versatility; the C Series on the same architecture of construction, it was planed to get the CS100, CS300 and the CS500 (that one is an extension on the CS300).
      Before Boeing and Embraer built a competitor to C Series, it could take +10 years.
      I don’t thing Brazil will sell their industrial jewel; but maybe a cooperation with Embraer. Today Dec, 22, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft today celebrated the delivery of a first CS300 aircraft to Seoul-based Korean Air Lines.
      Long live C Series/Airbus.

      • Agreed, a nice second best but still second best.

        Quite a mess when you let someone else go with the Prom Queen and you wind up sitting in the barn yard talking to the cows.

        • Well, when the Prom Queen is borrowing money from everyone around her in order to keep up her pretty and popular facade, its sometimes better to stay home.

          The smart girl across the tracks might be the better date.

          • Boeing is biggest corporate bum in the world its so heavily subsidized but goes crying to the government. Its the biggest cry baby in the school yard when things don’t go their way. All their action shows that Bombardier Series is a plane they can’t compete because of its efficiency and technology.

    • I have lived in Renton for the last four decades and now retired for the last 2 decades, walk my dogs along the Cedar River trail every day(Boeing owns 2 bridges that cross the river)—for most of this decade, most everything coming out of the factory has been -800’s and not -700’s or -900’s. Recently with the -900ER’s there are more but not -700’s.

  3. Absent the c series Boeing would have likely won with the 737 family available. This seems to be a reasonable conclusion.

    The c Series was “unfairly” subsidized in their bid, in the limited definition of their bid price vs the cost to build/deliver these planes for delta. The loss of delta as a narrow body customer has harmed Boeing, no argument.

    Events don’t happen in a vacuum. Legal analyses on websites are pretty limited. We will see, but I doubt either side has an open and shut case.

    • Delta testified that absent a C Series, it wouldn’t have bought the 737-700 or the 737-7. DL has only 10 -700s in its fleet, for difficult airports. The alternative to the C Series would have been the E190, and if any were found, the 717s.

      • Interestingly, Delta decided not to bring on the 20 used E190s from Boeing Capital (tied to the 739er extension order), coincident with ordering the CS100s.
        I’m sure this wasn’t a major blow to Boeing, but where did the E190s go?

        • Gone to scrap heaps everyone, when will they ever learn?

          Good question, I did not really get that whole part of the transaction and then disappearing.

          • Still researching, can’t find anything on them if they exist anymore.

            “All Delta’s E190 are being transferred to a Nortic leasing company. The E190’s where a add on to a Delta 738 Boeing order. Boeing had them as part of getting an Air Canada order for 737 MAX aircraft.”

          • Regarding the fate of the 20 ex Air Canada E190’s that Boeing sold to Delta, their current status, according to planespotters.net, is as follows.

            9 are flying with Aeromexico connect.
            2 are flying with Airzena Georgian Airlines
            6 are in storage.
            3 have been scrapped.

    • The fact is that the 737 family is too large for the segment of their route structure that DAL intends for the CSseries. In these days when seat mile cost of just a couple percent makes all the difference between profit or loss, having an aircraft that is excess capacity to the market is a killer. DAL learned this oversized lesson in spades with their 747operations in the 1970’s.

  4. Regarding the following in Mr. Hamilton’s post – “Southwest, which in 2011 (as it does today) has the world’s largest fleet of 737-700s, more than 500, ordered only 30 MAX 7s because it needs the small airplane for difficult airports with short runways or hot/high issues.”

    Putting aside trade case politics for a moment, and focusing only on Southwest’s fleet plans, I think one significant fact missing from the discussion of the status of the 737-700 in Southwest’s fleet in Mr. Hamilton’s post was that Southwest has been inducting used 737-700’s into its fleet in recent years in numbers comparable to its intake of factory new 737’s. When and if the supply of good used 737-700’s is exhausted, will Southwest continue to order 737 MAX’s in the ratio of 170 MAX 8’s to 30 MAX 7’s of its first order, or switch to something closer to the 510 737-700 to 179 737-800 ratio of its NG fleet (plus 12 737-8’s presently in service)?

    See the excerpts below from a May 2016 Bloomberg/Chicago Business journal story about Southwest’s purchase of 83 used Boeing 737-700’s. See the link after the excerpts for the full story.

    “Two Boeing Co. 737 jetliners swooped onto a factory airfield near Seattle in March, the last of the models once flown by a collapsed Russian carrier. They were headed for makeovers to erase the Cyrillic logos and any other trace of Transaero Airlines. Next stop: Dallas’s Love Field, where hometown carrier Southwest Airlines Co. is on a record shopping spree.

    The imports are integral to what Jon Stephens, Southwest’s director of fleet transactions, describes as a “beautiful plan” to swap out some of its oldest models without spending lavishly. The carrier’s in the middle of acquiring 83 used Boeing 737-700s from around the world, the largest such haul in its more than four-decade history.”

    “If the economics don’t work, we’ll go new,” Stephens, the Southwest fleet executive, said of the airline’s jet strategy. “That’s the trump card we hold. The leasing community knows that and knows what the Southwest deal is.”

    “The airline bought used planes as far back as the 1970s, the decade in which it began flights. But the low-cost carrier never thought seriously about making older planes a competitive weapon until about three years ago. Stephens’s team saw a glut of deeply discounted Boeing 737-700s as the perfect replacement for smaller Boeing 717s that Southwest planned to offload to Delta.”


    • Southwest bought all those used 700s only because its pilot’s union agreement required it to replace all its old 300s before putting the max 8 in operation. Southwest has never owned 717s.

      • Hello Dan F,

        Regarding – “Southwest has never owned 717’s.”

        Southwest Airlines purchased Air Tran Airways in September 2010, which had a fleet of 717-200’s and 737-700’s. Southwest inducted AirTran’s 52 737-700’s into its fleet when it shut down AirTrans in 2014 but AirTran’s 88 7i7-200’s were leased to Delta instead of being inducted into the Southwest fleet. According to the article at the link below, as of May 2012, the Southwest/Delta 717 deal involved Delta leasing Southwest owned 717’s from Southwest.


        See link below for information on Southwest’s purchase and assimilation of AirTrans.


        • Different strokes for different folks?

          Delta likes their 717’s but says that 737-700’s are uneconomic and non-competitive; however, when Southwest acquired a fleet of 717’s and 737-700’s from Air Trans, it kept the 737-700’s and happily offloaded the 717’s to Delta.

          Southwest has had positive net income for 44 consecutive years during which time Delta has had many years of losses and spent time in bankruptcy. Think how much better Southwest could have done if it wasn’t stuck with 510 uneconomic and uncompetitive 737-700’s!


          • An extra type of plane didnt fit SW operating model, while Delta has had the DC/MD types and added the B717 to that by buying used jets.
            While Southwest has been snapping up used 737-700s ( largely to replace the 717s) United has been doing the same with A319s

          • AP: Nice information.

            I think you are leaving out the economics aspect in a couple regards.

            1. The 700s are true 700, ala a lightened 737, not a shortened one.
            Someplace in their is a cross over of purchase, efficiency of the 700 vs the wondrous heavier -7 and just how much more efficient the -7 is vs the 700.
            It may well be that it works to run that fleet of older aircraft for a long time.

            2. Danged if I can remember what the other one was!

            As mentioned there was the Pilots Bargaining agreement and how that played in.

            Also of note is Delta has its Tech Ops and that plays a role in all this that it does not at S.W.

            SW was a clean sheet approach and has benefited from it.

            But also as one who is fond of American jobs I kind of like that American, United, Delta all fly overseas.

      • Southwest likes common “type rating” for ALL their pilots through out their fleet. The FAA would not approve a common type rating of -300, etc. with the MAX family. They didn’t start MAX operations until the last -300 was retired.

    • Aircraft Deliveries to Southwest Airlines in 2016, and year to date in 2017, according to planespotters.net.

      Used 737-700: 18
      New 737-800: 36

      2017 to Date
      Used 737-700: 17
      New 737-800: 38
      New 737-8: 12

      • And how many SW 737-300/500s have been retired in last 2 years ?
        As others have pointed out, they needed to completely replace that generation to run a mixed fleet of 737NG and Max

  5. AP_Robert
    Different strokes for different folks?
    well, if you were talking “apples for apples” it would be a good point. But Delta got SW to pay for the 717 mods, then lease them for a song. Much like SW is getting the used 737-7’s for a song. But all the SW 700’s of before…? Well, they paid retail for those….

    • Everything is easy in hindsight but if Boeing continued with the 717 (with upgrades) things could have looked very different for Boeing in the 100-140 seat category?

      Bottom line, it was their own decision and they should not run to courts now for covering their own mistakes.

      • If Boeing put a new wing omnto the 717 (like a Gulfstream G650 generation wing) and kept improving its economics it might have survived as it is the first MD aircraft that survives 12-15 cycles/day, still the cost of keeping Long Beach running just making 717’s might have been hard all depending on selling price, cost reductions and volumes sold, most likely they needed +30/month to keep going and the improved version needed everything that is in the C-series,ERJ and MRJ: fly by wire, carbon brakes, composites and new engines. Keeping up with the competition could have forced Boeing to fairly easy replace the 737 with the “NSA” New Small Aircraft series of similar technology and keeping the efficient 3+3 seating in Y-class. Now maybe th ERJ E2 series will do the job instead of pushing the NSA fwd.

        • 717 NEO?

          That’s where a big improvement can come in.

          Then add in a few tweaks like Winglets.

          Or, heaven forbid, ALL NEW!

          • The 717 is “Tod und begraben” still it could have evolved to a bigger succes if Boeing had cared for it. Today no other aircraft in that size is as durable and reliable hence the present owners keep them.

          • Anton:

            I don’t know a lot about the rest of the world in regards to stifling competition but running to the courts is a time honored American tradition.

            Short term gain sometime, usually long term failure.

            Bjorn has been going through the Wright Flyer.

            Not mentioned was they spend the rest of their lives sui9ng people over the patent violations.

            Curtis came up with a solution to the wing warping that was the default in design and still is (ailerons)

            They put the control surfaces in the back.

            so it goes but as noted, asking Boeing not to use the courts is like asking a shark not to eat a seal.

          • Very true, point taken. In my part of the world we however resolve issues in the Pub.

  6. If the “New” McDonnell Douglas that is the “Boeing” of now business “plan” is to follow in the footsteps of the FAILED legacy company that is McDonnell Douglas…

    …by taking the cheapest way possible to sell “new”, but really not much more than stale, warmed over, “a few tweaks here, a few tweaks there” DERIVATIVES of refreshed and renovated into oblivion airplanes…

    …as McDonnell Douglas did by extending the DC-9 from the early/mid-1960s until past the turn of the century before the MD-95, later rechristened the Boeing 717, (finally) ended its production run approximately 12 or so years ago…

    …and therefore proving once and for all, and already for everyone to see, the risks of becoming an also ran, and ultimately, a FAILED COMPANY as is what happened to the OG/legacy McDonnell Douglas as a result of its failed (as in empty, lazy, greedy, bankrupt) business strategy to keep “updating” 1960s vintage designed aircraft for its single AND twin aisle models into oblivion as that company did for BOTH OF ITS SINGLE AISLE, AND TWIN/WIDE-BODY lines, the DC-9 and DC-10 after the DC-8 passed into history…

    Just consider for a moment the history of the DC-9, an early 1960s design and engineered airplane (that was excellent for its era) that was extended through multiple derivative models ending with the MD-95/Boeing 717 which ceased production nearly 12 years ago in May, 2006…

    ….with what’s now being done by the “New” McDonnell Douglas and its 737s…

    …a 1960s vintage design, long ago past its prime even if “refreshed, renovated and updated” to prolong a platform that itself was already obsolete when the last “tweaks” were done 20-years ago for the previous iteration of the 737NG series…

    …featuring the long ago extinct -600 that one can practically count with their fingers how many of these “double shrink” from the -800 total flops were (not) sold…in fact, so few were sold, it’s as if these -600s are rarer than Unicorns, Big Foot, the Lochness Monster, or more apropos, Fly Pigs…

    …then there’s the -700, later -7…no, wait…7.5MAX as Scott discussed so well…

    …of course, the -800, now -8, later 200MAX series, despite their designs being based on the now practically pre-historic (in aviation years, that is) stone age era dating back to the dawn of the jet age in the 1950s fuselage widths based on the 707 (a plane that went out of production so long ago most passengers who remember flying that plane are having grandchildren and great grandchildren now…), is soldiering on, if only because it’s vintage design is lighter and therefore cheaper using certain operating metrics to fly than its’ only competitor in the aircraft manufacturing duopoly, Airbus, and its comparably sized, but heavier A320s are to operate…

    So, for the one and only bona fide success in this otherwise dismal selling product line that is the 737, the -800, and now, -8MAX, -200MAX is managing to proudly build on the McDonnell Douglas “vision”/“tradition” of prolonging the production lives of otherwise long ago obsolete aircraft designs…

    Needless to say, the -900, -900ER, -9MAX… -9.5… -9.75… er… -10MAX is a discussion unto itself that a decade or so from now in future Harvard MBA case studies, or really, already here in LNC’s excellent discussions/analysis, is a case study of a failed strategy born out of desperation attempting to get a machine, any machine really, but in this case, a very complex flying machine that is subject to engineering miracles and feats that until only very recently in the thousands of years of human history were believed to be impossible, to do something it simply cannot do properly or efficiently based on the designs, engineering, and even many of the mechanical properties of its underlying design platform…

    …simply put, the largest versions of the 737, be they the NG series of the -900/900ER, anything other than the -200MAX (which is based on the -8 model, or I guess something one could nickname the -8.5…), and certainly the -9 and -10MAXes cannot do efficiently what’s needed for them to do to keep up with their far better selling, as in slaughterfest proportions, Airbus A321 series, be they ceos vs -900s/900ERs, or now neos/neoLRs (aka the long sought after “757 replacements” that are not quite full replacements, but close enough to slaughter the “New” McoDonnell Douglas…er “Boeing” NOT EVEN CLOSE to replacing the 757) vs Boeing 737-9/-10MAXes…

    …that’s all there is to it..

    Only the -8MAX and to a lesser extent, -8 based “-200 MAX” can be deemed commerical successes, while the -7, as Scott points out is about as successful now, as the -600 (or rarer than Unicorns or Flying Pigs) was the last time the 737 line was renovated, refreshed and updated 20 years ago…

    …and the larger (than -800s, -8/“200 MAX”) capacity 737 models are like a comic soap opera in desperation to make machines do things they never were designed to do, can’t do, and NEVER WILL DO…no matter how many times one tries to push the envelope far enough to find the needle in a haystack to make it all work, when thus far, everything suggests there isn’t even a needle in the haystack to begin with…


    If this is exasperating to read, just imagine being a 737-900/-9/-10MAX and relentlessly being poked and prodded to get off the ground, fully loaded, for a 3,000+ NM mission on a hot summers (Satur)day (the only day currently when the 1,500 miles perimeter rule does not apply) from LaGuardia Airport’s barely 7,000 foot runways, or Chicago’s Midway Airport where the take-off and landing strips there are even shorter than LaGuardia’s…

    …it’s practically an exercise in futility!

    And yet, just as the FAILED McDonnell Douglas did with its:

    DC-9-10 (entered service late 1965)
    MD-95 (later renamed Boeing 717 and ended production 2006)


    It’s DC-10, and then the MD-11 derivative tri-jet…

    So, too, is the “New” McDonnell Douglas (aka “Boeing”) doing now with the 737…

    Because, ‘ya know…this strategy worked so well the last time at legacy McDonnell Douglas…


    PS: two other notations!

    Another Boeing product life extension one generation too many in the MCD tradtion: the passenger 747-8i. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me a 747 and its like watching a beloved family member or friend die while being unable to do anything to stop it seeing this beloved plane fade into oblivion…

    And separately, just a brief thought about the reported discussions of some sort of Boeing/Embraer “deal”:

    The ink ain’t even dry on President Small Hands Corporate Welfare/Even More Welfare for Billionaires (and $10+ millionaires) shameless/immoral greed grab, and what is Boeing proposing to do with its publicly funded/subsidized windfall of free money its neither paying in taxes, or having to pay interest to borrow from banks?

    Yep, you guessed it: going on a SHOPPING SPREE in BRAZIL and reportedly offering an exorbitant premium to do a deal with Embraer.


    Well spank my butt and call me darling!

    Talk about shameless hypocrisy!

    For USA-taxpaying readers, that’s right…that YYYUUUUUGGGGEEEE Xmas gift courtesy of the US Treasury that President Small Hands gave Boeing, and that Boeing is already showing is really and truly going to be gigantic lumps of coal in most of our stockings for many Xmas’ to come (oh, right, now I see how coal is coming back…😜) is…

    …wait for it…

    …a very nice SUBSIDY Boeing is not just exploiting fully already as Small Hands promised…

    ….it’s taking this taxpayer funded windfall to go shopping in Brazil, where no doubt, if this deal actually comes to fruition, it can just so happen to also find a YUUUUUUGGGGGEEEE pool of cheap hires available, especially engineers, apparently, too, that Boeing can then either pit against its US-based engineers for future concessions and give backs, or simply offshore those jobs altogether…

    Ah, yes, that giant sucking sound of nice, high paying jobs in the pacific northwest in the future just might be all those jobs Boeing can offshore to Embraer in Brazil…

    Hello! Why else would they be so eager to use their newly found “free cash” windfall to overpay for Embraer if they didn’t have an ulterior motive?

    As always…just sayin’ 😉

    Yeah, sometimes one just can’t make this…”stuff”…up!

    Imgaine that, big fat corporate welfare gets invested where and how…

    $300 mil for window dressing in and around Seattle…

    …while how many BILLIONS of that taxpayer funded giveaway is already planned to be sent on a one way ticket offshore to Brazil???

    Freakin’ Amazing…freakin’ A-MAY-ZZZZIIINNNNNGGGG!

    Merry Xmas! 😉

    • Fun article, but the US corporate tax/captial gains tax need to be somewhat near its western competition. The money to run the goverment then most likely will come from increased VAT, fuel tax and income tax like in Western Europe. Maybe weapon sales to arab and asian nations can be the icing on the cake. US is different as you often have lots of poor imigrants working hard with no vacation or paid parental leave to make it and boost US production numbers. The US combination of hand weapons usage, poor infrastructure, bad areas and drugs makes US a less attractive nation for Western/Asian skilled immigrates to long for.

        • Yeah, [edited]..aka President [edited]
          …is a worry, indeed!

          But it’s just so hard to overlook how this YYYUUUUUGGGGGEEEE “Even MORE Corporate Welfare” Benefits Package/“Even MORE Welfare for billionaires” (and the sycophants who suck up to them) windfall that Boeing now stands to get from the (pretend for most of us) “tax cut” that was really designed by the corporations and donor classes of the Republican party, whom btw, put a “death threat” (as in get this done NOW, OR ELSE no more funding for 2018 midterm elections and thereafter…) against the R’s to get this long coveted plan to further redistribute our nation’s wealth towards becoming more like…Brazil…and other places where the contrast between the few with extreme wealth and the many in abject poverty stand in contrast to anything resembling the “American Dream” or the creation of a vast middle class as was the goal for the better part of the last century Post WW2…

          …which is now newly found “free money” courtesy of the US Treasury to pursue so sort of “deal” with Embraer…

          …which itself is a YYYUUUUUGGGGEEELLLYYY Brazilian govt subsidized corporation itself…

          …is NOT being used for R&D here to move forward the start of any kind of NMA (single aisle, twin, or both like done for 757/767 back in the “Moonshots R Us (and we do ‘em better than anyone else)” Boeing days…

          …or to meaningfully expand good paying jobs here in the USA as “President [edited]” promised…

          …NOPE…no siree!!!

          …that big tax payer subsidized giveaway of buckets and buckets of cash is practically being loaded up onto a conga line of 747F’s by the pallet full, and jetting off to Brazil instead, faster than one can say “President [edited]!!!

          …where, oh, so conveniently, the hires are super cheap compared to those in Washington state, or elsewhere in the good ol’U, S of A…

          …and that now offshored cash is also conveniently, well, offfshore, to take advantage of whatever other loopholes or sinkholes exist that keeps that cash blissfully tax free in perpetuity…

          Yep, so very hard to overlook that…

          …the optics alone make one want to puke! 😉 🤮

          • A reminder to all Readers: we didn’t allow insults toward personal President Obama. We aren’t going to allow personal insults toward President Trump. Policy discussion is fair game, when appropriate to the topic at hand, but the personal insults need to cease.


          • Even George Bush was a real president, as much as I disliked him.

            I contend that Trump is not.

            But will refrain, it does seem that Trump gets a benefit of courtesy that he has obviously not come close to earning, or just the opposite.

    • Boeing has been working with Embraer for a while now.

      There is some commonality involved, also some significant dissonance.

      KC-390 would be nice to flip at LM.

      Where the Grippen fits if at all is ????????

      All those little business jets? Even Boeing does not claim that territory!

      The E Series? Nice jets, not a C series or even close.

      It would get Boeing involved with P&W.

      Nothing answers not just the current C100 and 300, but the looming 500 that would be the natural for Airbus to clobber Boeing with.

      That assumes the C500 could to realistic transcon ranges (not on paper but with all the flight reserves needed to get from Seattle to NY and or Miami or LA to NY. )

      • Gripen has very little to do with Embraer outside the ‘local content for its 36 new fighters -likely lack of money will kill that off., Saab has a tie in now with Boeing at St Louis for the TX development

        • I will disagree.

          History says the BAF gets what it wants (KC-390).

          I believe Brazil is the build center for S. Americas Grippen.

          Regardless it is part of Embraer.

  7. I’d commend Boeing if they could sell cut price 737’s (like $50 Million a piece & lower spares cost, instead of $110 Million an óle 737) to gain back market share over the 320 family… But they ain’t even doing that!

    Airbus would complain but can’t acheive anything much because it’s Uncle Sam’s fat subsidized in question.

    Rightfully speaking, this is the only way to sell an outstretched 707 which should have been buried in the 80’s when baby boomers & Fiat money changed market dynamics.

    • Fazal: I think that is very unbalanced.

      On the other hand I fully agree the 737 should have been replaced two generations ago.

      To contend that Boeing is a government subsidized entity and that Airbus or BBD are not is twisting things way out of proportion.

      Boeing pretty well was a normal Corporation of the 30-60 era until the 787 launch.

      Then it did indeed turn into a public trough Monster.

      Airbus and BBD still depending on their respective government for any launch.

      Airbus does shareholder buy back so that is a legal mechanism to allow corporations in Europe to scam the citizens of the right to product the same that Boeing is doing

  8. To be fair to Boeing, they did not decide on the 300% fine. The fact that the DOC brought that figure up caused the big uproar.
    The harsh reality is that Boeing has aimed to clean up the LCC market with their squashed but great seat mile economics.
    The C-series has Airbus-like wider seats and quietness. Against the A320 and C, the antique, cramped 737 will not have appeal for airlines that use comfort as a deferentiator.
    This article makes sense, the sooner Boeing gets a new single aisle flying, the better, long-term. A new single aisle will be more profitable that a new MOM. As Airbus has reported, the manufacturing labour costs of the A350 is lower than the A330 NEO (source: Flightglobal).

    • I doubt if there would have been a fine/tariff imposed if Boeing didn’t lodge the complaint.

      How many E-Jets are flying in the US? The Brazilian Government has a major share in Embraer.

      Boeing also seems not to have a problem is selling aircraft to Government owned companies such Emirates that is seemingly hurting the US big 3 airlines.

      • If Boeing had hooked up with Bombardier, they might have been able to sell Southwest Airlines the CSeries-300 to replace the older B737-700s. If Boeing is able to sell one NEW Embraer E195-E2 to Southwest Airlines to replace the 700s, I’ll buy a pie for everyone who posts on this thread.

        • Layman: More goes into an aircraft than labor costs.

          I will try to look that up but I suspect its a spin piece from Airbus.

          The assembly and structure is a direct replication of the frame and skin that is used on Aluminum aircraft replacing it with composite.

          They may have gone more robotic as well.

          CFRP is some pretty expensive stuff.

    • What airline cares about comfort, “cramped 737 will not have appeal for airlines that use comfort as a deferentiator.?” Packing more seat rows does not equal comfort but the majors are doing just that.
      737’s are selling quite well because they have worked well for many carriers and with the MAX-10, it widens the appeal of those present 737 operators who are looking for something bigger.

  9. Sam you have no idea what Southwest like, think or operate. A320 is state of the art in some respect but heavy and inferior to 737-800. Stretching it into the A321 is unlocking the advantage of the frame with proper engine. Economics rules every thing at Southwest.

    • Daveao: All data says the A320 and the 737-800/8 are so equal as to be a non starter competitive wise.

      You can assume the A320 has a bit better aerodynamics that make up for its weight.

      I have yet to hear of an A320 blowing parts of its fuselage off.

      Weight loss comes with a possible drawback.

      • The lower weight came with the 737 NG model where they redesigned the whole wing.

        • The fuselage has been lighted as well if I am correct.

          They went to glued joints at least at one time.

          Two ruptures for sure and a lot of corrosion control needed as a result.

  10. Well I have to pat myself on the back (others can pat me on the back as well -grin) )

    In the C Series posts I had gotten curious about the 737-7 and looked at the numbers.

    Dismal is the only way to put it.

    I could not defend that contention that the C was killing the 7 with a straight face, but I am not a lawyer. .

  11. For what its worth:

    “It’s no secret Delta has one of the most diverse fleets in the industry—a fact not lost on the Network team who have been successful in matching aircraft size and route and the rest of the operations teams who have met the challenge and driven industry-leading reliability and customer satisfaction.

    Meet the Embraer E190, the latest jet Delta expects to add to the mainline fleet, pending pilot ratification of a tentative agreement. The new planes will infuse a bit of Brazilian flavor to the mix of American and French-built Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Airbus jets.

    The 98-seat twin-engine aircraft is the big sibling to its E-170/175 counterpart flown by several of Delta’s regional partners and packs in a lot of cabin comforts and mainline feel, including 2×2 seating throughout the economy cabin—1×2 in First Class—as well as large overhead bins and oversized windows. The E190 will add more mainline aircraft to Delta’s fleet, reducing the airline’s regional footprint.”

    • Particularly in regards to that P&W would have the next rev up of the GTF in hand.

    • Thanks for the link, personally I think an CS300 has stretch limitations, engine/thrust, wing/MTOW, tail strikes, etc.

      Using as base the CS300 (140 seats) and A320 (160 seats) AB’s opportunity possibly a minor (3 row) stretch of the 320 (with long awaited wing updates) to give it ~175 seats. The 320+ should now have better seat mile cost than the MAX8.

  12. Max 8 can be stretch too. Boeing took all the weight out of that tube over all this years and gave it the sky interior.

  13. Trans world it is equal in every thing but economics. The A320 still can not meet the life expectancy of the 737 series. You wonder why Boeing is never worried about the narrow bodies.

    • The 737-800’s/MAX8’s are very good aircraft. AB could do a minor stretch of the 320 that could potentially equal or better the MAX8 economics, production line limitations maybe a major stumbling block.

      Focus for AB seems to be the more profitable 321, in the medium term the CS300 could start nibbling away at the lower end of the MAX8 market?

  14. What does Boeing want to get from this?

    Bringing Delta (ordered CS100) on a B-737max7 which is in fact a much bigger, outdated and less efficent plane?

    Just from the fact Canada & Quebec did buy a share of the CS programm?

    Boeing did abandone (like Airbus) the <150PAX market shifting up close to 200 Pax (189PAX) fpr B737-max8.
    And it dit sell 4000 of them, not a bad number when you add 5000 orders for A320neo.

    The existence of the Cseries didn't cost Boeing a single non sold airplane so far.

  15. May I challenge folks promoting 737 weight and durability advantages over the A320 to look up actual numbers? If I don’t see them pop up, I know you did 😉

    • I too was surprised that the number of each flying is so close to equal as to be a coin flip (I think A320 has a slim edge)

      I think there is a difference between durability and longevity .

      I don’t think the longevity of the 737 does Boeing any credit.

      Failure to update your product line is plane foolish.

      I liked the 737 original, 2nd generation was fine, you could see the writing on the wall and there should have been an all new aircraft for 3rd generation.

      And it looks to me that BBD has split the lineup now, so you have a notional 160 seat and under and 160 and over.

      737-8 is competitive but at a great cost and no engine choice.

      -10 is a fill in wanna be, better choice is the A321 and choice of engines.

  16. I perceive among Bombardier fanclub the same problems that led to the ruin of the very company that redefined the regional jets concept:
    – Confusing desire with the market reality
    – Disregard of competitors and facts
    – Overconfidence

    So for 2018 I wish you all a lot of luck!

    • Can’t claim I am a BBD fanboy. Might think a bit about throwing that out.

      I do admire what BBD did.

      Airbus didn’t do it, Boeing didn’t do it, Embraer did not do it, China did not do it, Russian did not do it, Mitsubishi did not do it.

      BBD designated an extremely good aircraft that kicks the lower range of A and B.

      And they hung the engine so there was no rotor bow.

      Impressive if it was A or B, amazing for little old BBD.

      • “Greed for lack of a better word, is good.” “Wall Street” – which also had an aerospace theme. This discussion – in response to the Leehamnew report is about more than greed. It is about hubris on the part of men at Boeing. The board room is much like a war room. Football is modern day gladiators. When a football player, let’s call him Gronk, throws himself viciously on a defenseless player, he is exhibiting overkill. What Boeing is doing is overkill in light of the many options they had at their disposal. You would think The World would find it hard to respect men that would try to eliminate new technology that benefits mankind.

  17. Boeing fight with BBD is really a get back at you with Delta. Delta became an antagonist to Boeing and has successfully block the export import bank through their lobbyists in Congress for years but Mcnerny was trying to be nice to Delta for the sake of future business. When Boeing new ceo came in he already wrote off delta especially when delta drop the superior 787 for the inferior a330. I have it on good info that Boeing max bid was higher than airbus. I am an investor in BA, EADSY and BDRAF as part of my little portfolio. No emotions involved. The a320 series may be better than the 737 series like 51/49 due primarily to the a321. Boeing widebody 777/787 is a more better portfolio than the a330/a350 objectively.

    • @Daveo

      The a320 series may be better than the 737 series like 51/49 due primarily to the a321.

      There seems to be lots of “emotions involved” on your part as you can’t seem to hide your sour grapes with respect to Delta Airlines ordering a large number of Airbus aircraft. Is that emotion what clouds your judgment is such a way that you actually believe that the A32oneo vs. 737MAX market split is 51/49 rather than 58/42 (roughly)?

      • @OV-099: Careful. You’re getting too close on personalizing your comments. Please review the Reader Comment rules.

  18. Bombardier forced the NEO/MAX responses. Brilliant. They should not be killed for it.
    The A330 decision was a cheerful cheap price with cheap fuel combo. For longer range the A350 is great. Who wants to fly long haul in 787 seats? Delta has been buying Boeing. I am not patient as a person from a third country with any decisions that involve 330% duty. It makes the USA – which is a country I love, look like a bully.

  19. If you follow delta relationship with the exim bank you would know where this relationship sour. At the gestation of the c series it was airbus who wanted to kill the program.

  20. OV-99 I always base my numbers on delivery. Any airline including the biggest of the big routinely deferred aircraft all the time. Delivery is the only metric that matters.

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