Pontifications: Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 1

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 14, 2019, © Leeham Co.: Two thousand nineteen begins with increasing focus on whether Boeing is going to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA, aka 797).

Signs all point to a program launch, perhaps at the Paris Air Show. Authority to Offer (ATO) the airplane for sale is expected by March or April.

Engine companies were asked to respond to Requests for Proposals by the end of December. Engine down select is expected soon.

LNC’s Dan Catchpole will be reporting on this process soon.

New job listings

More signs that Boeing is going to launch the NMA comes in the form of several new job postings.

Just before Christmas, Boeing posted job openings for a Mid-Level, Guidance Navigation & Control Engineer, a Guidance Navigation & Control Engineer. Just after the new year, Boeing Global Services posted a job listing for a Senior Product Marketing Specialist New Mid-Market Airplane.

The first two positions, at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, were in the NMA program. BGS’ job posting included the caveat “if [the program is] launched,” the position’s “Principal responsibilities will be to develop and implement a marketing plan for services for the NMA.”

The BCA postings were subtle. Well down the listings, BCA only wrote that the positions were in the “VP/GM NMA program office.”

These listings followed several others that were posted in the second half of 2018.

Other programs?

It’s always possible these people could be assigned to other programs should Boeing not launch the NMA. There’s one Wall Street analyst who is basically convinced that the NMA won’t be launched and Boeing will go straight to a 737 replacement. He cites the fact that the MAX 9 and MAX 10 simply don’t compete well against the Airbus A321neo and Boeing’s market share continues to erode as a result.

While a I agree with the second sentence, I don’t think Boeing is remotely ready to launch a successor to the 737. Operators of the 737NG have only order half the replacements needed. This gives plenty of room for more MAX orders.

The MAX is Boeing’s cash cow and money-maker. The 787 is now throwing off cash, but it still has more than $25bn in deferred costs to burn off—something that won’t be complete until line 1,400+ (Boeing last year delivered line number 787).

With the 777 program in transition and the 747 barely hanging on, Boeing shouldn’t futz with the MAX at this time, or any time in the near-term. The day a replacement program is launched is the day sales begin to fall off.

Market share

Although the 737 is now #2 in a duopoly, the order growth potential is greater than for Airbus and the A320neo. About 80% of the ceo operators ordered the neo. Unless Airbus flips a lot of 737 operators, Boeing’s lagging market share is likely to largely catch up over the coming years.

This is one reason why Airbus wants to increase production of the A320. It’s ahead of Boeing already, even if deliveries are about the same due to supplier problems.

I don’t look for a 737 replacement program to be launched until around 2025, plus or minus a year.

Launching the NMA

The next 2 ½-3 months will be key to watch for the NMA launch.

The engine down select will be crucial.

If Boeing’s board gives ATO, this is tantamount to launching the program. The formality would be the Paris Air Show.

 

66 Comments on “Pontifications: Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 1

  1. NMA launched this year?
    Hasn’t that been the prediction for nearly 3 years now.
    Yes the technical choices numerous, the potential slipups almost guaranteed. But the upside is Boeing’s loyal customers will buy it no matter what , especially since they will be all be winners on ‘the price is right’.

  2. Interesting summary, thnx. The NSA or NMA is a challening one as you explain. A lot depends on forecasting the 737 MAX demand in the next decade. Will it be business as usual, or will it become a bloodbath in terms of margin up to 2030 and will Sales executives demand a competitive solution.

    Many 737 MAX customer ordered A321’s too. That’s further distorting outlooks: AA, AC, Air China, Air Europa, Alafco, Alaska, Arik and that’s just starting with “A”. Add in NG customers and it’s clear to me why a real good NMA / a smaller, lighter NMA might be on the agenda after all.

    Airline – supplier loyalty ain’t what it used to be. JAL, UA or Ryanair jumping ship wouldn’t be amazing anymore.

    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8oi-Z-Xz8xQ/WasiLSfQnVI/AAAAAAABotU/QUg2c81JBMsKbz_HOnhr5wT-8aV5-nNWgCKgBGAs/s1600/36582070090_c2a4e31016_k.jpg

    • Alaska has inherited, not ordered NEO, and has now deferred those orders by another year.

      I genuinely believe they will phase A320/21 out as soon as leases expire. I would bet eventually they become an all MAX/NMA operator.

      Keep in mind that Ray Conner sits on Alaska’s board.

    • Hello keesje and BuckT,

      Regarding: “I genuinely believe they will phase A320/21 out as soon as leases expire.”

      We should soon know the answer. The excerpts below are from the 11-29-18 FlightGlobal article at the link after the excerpts.

      “Alaska Air Group will decide in 2019 if it will continue operating both Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies or shift back to a single-type fleet, says chief operating officer Ben Minicucci.”

      “Minicucci says the fleet integration work proved costlier than Alaska had anticipated. Indeed, executives have said the entire merger proved more expensive than Alaska anticipated, driving down profits in recent quarters.

      Transitioning to a mixed fleet, which requires two maintenance programmes, two crew groups and “two operating methodologies” caused a “step change in complexity”, adds executive vice-president of planning and strategy Shane Tackett.”

      “Alaska’s fleet includes 162 737s and 71 Airbus narrowbodies, and the company has orders for another 36 737s and 32 A320neo-family aircraft, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.

      Executives have previously said that if Alaska decides to revert to an all-737 fleet, it will likely not divest Airbus until leases expire on those aircraft.

      The last of those leases expires in 2030, Fleets Analyzer shows.”

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/alaska-to-decide-in-2019-whether-to-retain-two-aircr-454025/

      • Alaska’s A320 orders, part 2.

        The quote below is from Alaska’s 11-2-18 SEC Form 10-Q (see page 41), which is the most current 10-Q on their website.

        “Aircraft Commitments
        As of September 30, 2018, we have firm orders to purchase or lease 60 aircraft. We also have cancelable purchase commitments for 30 Airbus A320neo with deliveries from 2022 through 2024. We could incur a loss of pre-delivery payments and credits as a cancellation fee. We also have options to acquire 37 B737 aircraft with deliveries from 2021 through 2024 and 30 E175 aircraft with deliveries from 2021 through 2023. In addition to the 32 E175 aircraft currently operated by SkyWest in our regional fleet, we have options in future periods to add regional capacity by having SkyWest operate up to eight more E175 aircraft.”

        http://investor.alaskaair.com/static-files/74944157-b57f-4988-81de-13a516901cf9

        Alaska’s “cancelable purchase commitments” for A320’s have been deferred to 2022 to 2024? How often does something deferred this long actually get delivered? Sometimes it does, but often it doesn’t. Is Airbus counting Alaska’s “cancelable purchase commitments” as firm orders? Note that Alaska has 32 non cancelable MAX orders with delivery to start in 2019 and continuing to 2023, and also 37 B737 option for 2021 to 2024. I would be very surprised if Alaska could make use of both their 30 A32X neo “cancellable purchase commitments” plus 37 B737 options from 2021 to 2024.

        According to a table on the same page of this 10-Q, as of 9-30-18, Alaska expected the following fleet changed in 2019.
        B737: + 7
        A321: +1
        Q400: -7
        E175: +4

        Total fleet counts expected as of 12-31-19.
        B737 Freighters: 3
        B737 Passenger: 166
        Airbus Passenger: 72
        Q400 – Horizon: 30
        E175 – Horizon: 30
        E175 – Third Party: 32

        According to page 20 of this 10-Q, 10 of the 737’s and 61 of the A32X’s are leased rather than owned. Which aircraft are more likely to be eliminated? Leased or owned?

  3. I am keen that this baby is launched on the basis that it will define the technology direction going forward. Bother the XWB and B787 were using tech that was to some degree experimental, especially the B787. With a higher volume offering and precursor to the NSA they will have to rationalise what they do want and what they don’t. There are certain givens in my view:

    CFRP wing
    GTF engine
    Advanced FBW

    But what about the rest?

    Fuselage material?
    Electric/ hydraulic architecture
    Circular/Ovoid etc cross section
    Etc etc

    This will probably be the last (NSA included) conventional plan aircraft (podded engine under each wing, clean tail) as to gain more efficiency in the future will need a more radical departure from the norm. We have done the weight thing, and the engine thing is ongoing so next up I am guessing will be the aero thing

    • My pick is that GLARE will be part used for the upper fuselage, at least. For thel ranges offered carbon fibre is too expensive for fuselage with little benefit.
      And for the carbon fibre wings , it could be a shift to ‘thermo plastic’ tape, as opposed to the current ‘thermoset’ tape

      Theres a good story in Composite World about the differences between the two and the advantages.
      https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/i-want-to-say-two-words-to-you-thermoplastic-tapes.
      Some structural parts could be stamp molded out of an autoclave , or if the autoclave is used , takes a fraction of the time.

      • Well that is what Boeing said for wings and BBD went ahead and built a wing out of it.

        The fuselage was supposed to be the key CRFP happy ground.

        • Bombardier wanted premium pricing for a Carbon fibre premium product , but in general the airlines werent buying that. Thats a big part of the Airbus deal getting suppliers costs down.
          Thermoplastic carbon fibre on the wing for skins and spars and the flaps could be the cheaper way, even leading to out of autoclave or a much shorter autoclave cycle time. Plus any production waste is reusable ( in some circumstances) unlike the thermoset fibre.
          After Boeing has been talking for some time about ‘de -risking’ the technology, this maybe what they mean.

  4. I think Boeing can hardly afford not to launch an aircraft for the 4000NM+, 230seat+ segment.

    Airbus has an A322 plan in the drawer for 20 years and the announced further MTOW bump study tot 101t, promises little good for Boeing.

    https://groups.google.com/group/aviation_innovation/attach/f81183f764873/A322%20NMA%20797%20keesje.jpg?part=0.2&view=1&authuser=0

    E.g. Airbus launching and quickly securing/converting 1000-1500 slots, means Boeing were “fully understanding” too long. If you say “hold on there”, the world keeps turning. I think Airbus can jump any moment, they have the customer base, resources.

    • Airbus has been waiting for a suitable engine for the A322 of around 37-39k. The new 797 engines might be the technology Airbis has been waiting for. The core engines could almost be used as is and new LP systems developped for reasonable costs. By Paris we will see.

      • Hello Claes,

        Regarding: “Airbus has been waiting for a suitable engine for the A322 of around 37-39k.”

        I agree. And anything that needs the new 797 engines isn’t going to get to market until, at the earliest, the new 797 engines area available, and will be available then only if Boeing’s contract with the developer of the 797 engines allows them to make it available then. If an engine company not selected for the 797 decides to develop a 37-39K engine, will it be ready any earlier than the 797 engines would be?

        • Not sure the next growth version of the A32X platform will use the same engines as the B797.

          All the pointers suggest that the B797 is going to be in the market for 45K plus lbs thrust engines to support a MTOW of 135T

          And then there is talkof growth to 52K lbs thrust …

          The “A322” on the other hand seems to be in the market for 35K / 37K lbs thrust engines with the potential that a balanced design with a much bigger wing would need less for the same field performance — B777X style and then some.

          One product needs a new engine type.
          Other product needs a new engine variant.

          • My reason for common core engines for 797 and A322 is that the 797 will have a higher hr/cycles utilization (more longe range flying). Running this core cooler on the A322 makes it last more cycles like +15 000 while the 797 most likely will run 6000-10 000 cycles between major shop visits. The core of the RB211-535E4 for the 757 was the same size as the RB211-524 of the 747 and was initially more relable than the hotter running PW2000

        • Just wondering if Boeing would be able to pull off such a coup of keeping the engines for themselves. As I hear it, none of the powerplant OEMs are convinced an MOM is worth it and would probably balk at such a restriction. Unless Boeing offers to pay for part of the development. Yeah, right!

  5. Below are the free bullet points from an 11-14-18 paywall post on this blog by Bjorn Fehrm, which was titled: “How Useful is an NMA, Part 6”.

    “Summary:
    ◾When comparing the NMA with its competitors, the same cabin type and ruleset must be used for all aircraft.
    ◾Using a common ruleset and measuring over typical long range operation, the NMA will be the most economical aircraft of the compared types.”

    The compared aircraft types referenced in the above bullet points, and the same ruleset seating capacities used by Mr. Fehrm for each were as follows.

    A321LR: 192 seats
    A321LXR: 192 seats
    797-6: 225 seats
    797-7: 265 seats
    787-8: 304 seats
    A330-800: 304 seats

    When posting here, many people are forever mixing bottom of the bucket ULCC or LCC seating capacities with legacy three class seating capacities, instead of doing apples to apples and oranges to oranges comparisons. For a legacy US airline in a non premium First class/Economy Plus/Economy configuration, A321’s are a 180 to 200 seat aircraft (Delta A21 ceo’s have 192 seats, their A321 neo’s will have 197 seats, American’s A321 ceo’s currently have 181 or 187 seats, and their A321 neo’s will have 196 seats). An A321 variant that could carry 225 to 265 passengers in a US legacy three class configuration over the same range as the 797, will require a new larger wing and engines with the same, or almost the same thrust, as will be needed by the NMA.

    • The whole market is based on real estate — cabin size in m2.
      Then comes the issue of the routes to be served — 10hrs need more hotel capability / functions than 2-3 hours.

      As an outsider looking in I have tried — with varying degrees of success — to base the passenger capacity of each aircraft around a single seat size.

      That is 18” wide with a 32” pitch.

      A321: 204 seats at a guess / 210 probably not = 192 US 2 class seats.

      Put both versions on the B797 MoM’ster through that analysis …

      600 / Small / short: 225 US 2 Class = 240 plus standards.
      700 / Larger / longer: 275 US 2 Class = 300 approx standards.

      Then there all the other elements that have made it out but which do not make sense — specifically 52K lbs thrust engines for a MTOW in the range of 155T to 165T depending on how fancy the wing is.

      Fuselage lengths seem to mimic the B767 200 / 300.

      Then there is the range which seems to be a pair of numbers @ 5K NM / 600 and 4.5K NM. Seems low in the context of a 155T aircraft

      Not sure how much of the info that has made it out into the public is the fog of war sent out to confuse the enemy and how much is fan boy hot air generated from a particular reading of a general statement.

      No matter what it is the MoM’ster is a riddle, wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma.

      As thing stands at the moment — the AB response is fairly easy.
      Or the B797 is really the first stage of the BA SA regeneration.

      • Well they told the Wright Brothers a couple of bike mechanic could not build an aircraft that flew.

        Me thinks Boeing has come a bit further than that.

        The stock is sky high (pun intended) now Muileneburg can build his legacy.

        I launched two aircraft, those other piker did no launch any, nanner nanner.

        • OK — so what form willthe B797 take?

          Wimp -meister TA?
          Stealth SA regen?

          What configuration offers most capability against a 65T OEW?

          The A321 XLR will come in at 50T OEW for 4.5K NM nominal range and then some.

          Might even come in at less than the A321 LR — three ACTs out / structural update + plumbing and membrane tank in.

          Could be a very close run thing.

          If the B797 / 600 / short — with it’s published capabilities — comes in at anything over 65T OEW then it will be toast to the A32X platform and its high volume economics.

          5K NM nominal range is now well within the capabilities of the A32X platform if they do a mid cycle refresh and extend its MTOW up to 110T — the only issue would be how much real estate it would have to make this brochure range.

  6. If Boeing is aiming the 797 at ~265 seats single class and 5000NM, it could mean they kind of give up on the <240 seat <3000Nm segment.

    797 OEW would become 75-80t, assuming no miracles. Hard to see how that could compete against mass produced, 20% lighter A321 family developments on e.g the intense US, Europe and Asia markets. I think that could reduce market demand significantly.

    Maybe they should forget the 767 & join WeightWatchers.

    • Yes, two markets here, 1,000 to 3,000nm, or 3,000 to 5,000nm, where should Boeing go? I would disagree with the wall street analyst that this is a 737 successor, this is a 757 replacement or A321/A322 competitor, which could be produced in tandem with the smaller 738 MAX.

      Airbus was in denial on the A330neo, until they weren’t, so they’re recent denials of the A321 plus, I take with a grain of salt. For certain a stretch, possible folding wingtips/double bogey/105T.

      As for if the wall street analyst is right and Boeing switches to the 1,000 to 3,000 market, still a raft of questions on construction and configuration. The big one, CFRP fuselage or not, if it is to be produced in numbers equal to the A321neo.

      • On the low end seating its a more capable A321NEO.

        On the high end its an efficient 757+ and there is nothing in that space. Even a 757 is not a fuel efficient bird then, let alone now. It had the range and it could handle anything high and hot.

        • Hello Transworld,

          Regarding: “Even a 757 is not a fuel efficient bird then, let alone now.”

          Actually, the 757 was originally designed primarily as a 727 replacement, and was designed to be 30 percent more fuel efficient than the 727. Those not needing the single engine performance to fly out of the old Denver airport on a summer afternoon, as United Airlines did, with 50% thrust (vs. 67% on a 727 after a single engine failure on a 727), could instead add many pounds of fuel and fly further than any 727 ever did.

          “The 757 was intended to be more capable and more efficient than the preceding 727. The focus on fuel efficiency reflected airline concerns over operating costs, which had grown amid rising oil prices during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Design targets included a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption from new engines, plus an additional 10 percent from aerodynamic improvements, versus preceding aircraft. Lighter materials and new wings were also expected to improve efficiency. The maximum take-off weight (MTOW) was set at 220,000 pounds (99,800 kg), which was 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg) more than the 727. The 757’s higher thrust-to-weight ratio allowed it to take off from short runways and serve airports in hot and high climates, offering better takeoff performance than that offered by competing aircraft. Competitors needed longer takeoff runs at airports at higher elevations, with higher ambient temperatures and thinner air. Boeing also offered options for higher payload capability.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_757

          • AP:

            Considering the 727 had 3 tube engine and the 757 had a more modern fan engine, of course it was more efficient!

            I am talking today comparison not the 727 (as solid a plane as ever built)

            It works now because of its low cost or paid for vs a new more efficient bird (most missions)

            Someone did a route analysis and there were very few that really used the 757 range.

            The 797 economics have to match the Max and NEO and better range and pax numbers.

          • Looking at an online flight tracking, the 757s doing 8hrs + seem to be from central/eastern Russia to tropical Thailand and Vietnam. Theres a big group 3-5 hrs + that are mostly within US or with a US destination . Some of the 2 -3 hr runs in US are freight only such as UPS and Fedex with special routes like Atlanta – JFK for Delta at about 2 hrs, who also have runs less than hr , likely positioning for a longer trip.

      • I partially agree with the analyst. MOM is the stepping stone to NSA, but MOM will come first. NSA will use a derivative wing, cockpit, and possibly engine from MOM. The 737 line is good until about 2026-8 but Boeing won’t be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat when the A320 gets a new wing and other new technology.

        Boeing can’t slow or stop the 737 line to introduce a new product like they can on Widebodies without sacrificing the health of the company, so they will build NSA production capacity through MOM production. MOM will also de-risk and validate NSA so when its time certify NSA, it will be seamless. I predict that NSA will be built at a new site that cohabitates with MOM and the 737 facilities will build metal airplanes for the military (767 will move to Renton and become part of Boeing Military).

        I therefore think that Boeing is going after the 3000-5000nm aircraft.

    • Not sure I get that line of argument.

      The history of the B737 points to the fact that improving the range leads to more sales.

      Getting the A321 to over a 4K NM nominal range will not stop people buying it for much shorter routes.

  7. Any one knows at this stage the “797” wingspan and/or will it have folding wingtips to fit Cat-D gates,etc.

    Personally I don’t see an A32X much beyond 48m (~752), going beyond that and you in 753 (54m) territory and that didn’t work

    • Agree, going further on the A321 would require a bigger wing, LDG etc. modifications, reducing the important commonality – cost advantage with the 375 A320 family customers, the global MRO infrastructure and 80k licensed A320 pilots. It also would dramatically push cost & time to market.

      • We don’t know, we can guess.

        At issue is the efficiency and the weight of a folder.

        I go with folding.

      • It might be that the A321neo and A322 gets a new bigger wing and A320.5 gets a major refinement. With fly by wire they might make them behave so similar that a common rating is possible. Think there is common rating A320-series/A330/A340 today.

    • I think the 753 didn’t work largely because of the double whammy of 9/11 and just as the airlines were recovering from that 2008 and the bush economic collapse. throw in outdated engines and you have the trifecta of slow sales, poor economy and needing a big update to be cost competitive with the latest 737/A320

      if the economy hadn’t tanked when it did, likely more 753’s would have been sold and a NEO/MAX would have been on the table (GTF, Max D wing (170′ up from 125)

      • The whole 757 line was shut down just after 911, so the later GFC had no bearing on the 757-300s viability.
        It just didnt get the expected orders as a 767-200 replacement from the US carriers and of course the growth was in the even smaller planes such as A320 and B737 – the NG first flying in 1996 with transcon range.
        Didnt help that Boeing was shifting fuselage production around

      • The 757 was fuel efficient for its time but its structures and its RR Engines became expensive to maintain. Its wings were a bit old Tech and when the A321 range crept up many replaced 757 flying with much cheaper A321 flying (like Finnair and others)

  8. The 797 might be a logical Aircraft for operators that need something bigger than the A321neo as the A322 is not available.
    I agree on the 737MAX sucessor, you don’t do it until you have an engine 12-15% better than the LEAP-1B. That means around 2025 and the same new engine family will fit the A320neo successor as well. Boeing putting new wings and engines onto the 737 fuselage makes it very competetive unless Airbus really makes the A320neo++ so much more cost efficient than the 737MAX.

    • Waiting for the better engines was exactly what Boeing was communicating on NSA a decade ago. When those appeared, Airbus quickly plugged them on the A320 family & sold 1000. AA gave Boeing 4 weeks to respond, an unforeseen situation. Maybe this time grill some independents, spilling coffee on the carpet, calling a spade a spade.

      • A good read on the 737MAX launch:

        “Boeing could design a suitable all-new plane to replace the 737, but couldn’t figure out how to build a production system that could roll out 40 to 60 such jets per month.

        Even after the Paris Air Show in June, “we didn’t have the answers,” Albaugh said. “As we were delaying and delaying and delaying” a decision, “the re-engine team came up with some pretty compelling reasons why a re-engine made sense.”

        The compelling reason was simple: Airlines were increasingly unwilling to wait for Boeing’s answer as their rivals opted for the A320neo.

        “They wanted efficiency now and they wanted certainty of delivery,” Albaugh said.”

        https://www.seattletimes.com/business/big-737-order-still-leaves-boeing-with-egg-on-face/

        Albaugh was one of the most respected Boeing exec’s

        • Hello keesje,

          Regarding:“Boeing could design a suitable all-new plane to replace the 737, but couldn’t figure out how to build a production system that could roll out 40 to 60 such jets per month.”

          That is true, going from zero to 40 aircraft a month in an acceptable time frame in a new factory, using completely new production processes, was a particular concern. But now it is seven years later, Boeing has delivered 781 composite 787’s and is building 14 more per month, and the new 777 composite wing facility is turning out the first of a second generation of composite wings incorporating lessons learned from the 787. Perhaps it is still too early to jump to a composite design that needs 60 aircraft a month at narrow body profit margins, but is it too early for a final practice run with a design that needs somewhere between 14 and 60 aircraft a month, before making the jump to an all composite design needing 60 aircraft a month? Could the 787 production processes and facilities be what Boeing plans to speed up and use on an eventual 737 replacement? Is Airbus going to go straight from producing 10 composite A350’s a month to producing 60 composite A320 replacements a month?

          The quote below from a 6-30-13 Airways article on preparation for 737 MAX production covers pretty much the same territory as your quote form the Seattle Times, but adds, I think, one interesting tidbit -” rumored to even be a double-aisle airframe.” See the link after the quote for the full article. Why did Boeing pick the designations 797-6 and 797-7 for the designs it is currently shopping around to airlines? Could it perhaps have internal designs studies to which designations 797-1 ,797-2, 797-3, 797-4, or 797-5 have been assigned? If so, are these designs smaller or larger than a 797-6 0r 797-7? Sometimes people can be looking straight at something and still not see what they are looking at in plain sight.

          “Boeing was evaluating a clean-sheet proposal called the Y-1 “Project Yellowstone” that was rumored to even be a double-aisle airframe. Boeing’s Tinseth exclaims that not going forward with the new program was not about protecting one of Boeing’s biggest cash cows nor had the company become risk averse following the 787 issues: “The clean sheet design was coming together from a tech perspective. The biggest challenge was the production system. It would take a long time to go from a green field to 38 aircraft per month and it would be tough to compete in this market.

          https://airwaysmag.com/uncategorized/inside-boeings-737-renton-factory-as-they-take-it-to-the-max-part-two/

          • I am not suggesting that the eventual primary 737 replacement will be a direct shrink of the 797, but rather that it will have the same type of systems and type rating commonality with the 797 that the 757 had with the 767. This time instead of launching two related designs simultaneously as Boeing did with the 757 and the 767, the 767 like 797 will come first, followed, only after new aircraft systems and production processes are ready to handle 737 like volumes and profit margins, by the main 737 replacement.

            Although I don’t think the main 737 replacement will be a direct 797 shrink, I would be very surprised if 797-4’s and 797-5’s which just match the range and passenger capacity of the 737-10 and A321, rather than significantly exceeding their range and passenger capacity, have not been extensively studied by Boeing; however, I wouldn’t expect any such designs to see the light of day until or unless Boeing could produce them at greater profit than a 737-10, and this won’t happen until the 797 has been in production for a few years.

          • Show me a 797 factory with Boeing owned vacant land next to it, and I’ll show you a future assembly site for Boeing’s 737 replacement.

          • AP-Robert :You beat me to it on the replacement 737 sharing as much as possible with the 797, except the double aisle fuselage

      • Claes: You need an engine that is better than the steadily improving GTF.

        If you loo,m at all the NASA studies, a significant aspect of improved efficient is a GTF engine.

        You can put the hot high temp Tech into a GTF and make it even better.

        You can’t put the GTF into a non GTF engine.

        • It needs to be better, for that you need higher pressure ratio, higher bypass ratio, durability and resonable cost. It can be done in different ways and GTF is one of them. The PW2000 and RB 211-535E4’s were quite different, so are the LEAP-1A and PW1100G different as well.

          • Higher pressure ratio/bypass ratio not really needed on shorter ranges.
            CFM did all that for the version( CFM56-5C) for the long range A340.
            BPR 6.4, fan diameter 72 in. OPR about 38

            No one used that engine in a short range jet even though the T/O thrust was about 31,000lb

          • Re CFM56-5C2 and CM56-5C4 they were long range engines, the -5C4 really good but with a 2500-3500 cycles Life between major shop visits, you need 15-20k Life for an A322.

    • The “797” will most likely trigger an 321XLR and (?) 322 using a revised/updated wing.

      Maybe/hopefully somewhere in the top of the drawer is an A320Plus that AB could launch (after BA commits to the 797) using updates from the wing etc and you could have a very competent “new” A320 family consisting of the 321XLR and 322.

      Modest stretch to accommodate 15-20 more pax (180-185) in typical 2 class layout, MTOW of around 85T, thrust requirements depends on new wing but 30Klb “easy” to get from both engine suppliers.

      This could pave the way for an A220-500 (“CS500”), so a possible launch of the NMA/797 very interesting times.

      End of the day as such developments gives airlines and passengers the best aircraft for saver and more economical air travel whoever builds it. Sit back, relax and enjoy the travels to Paris 2019 and beyond.

      • I can’t help but wonder if Airbus goes this route (A321xlr, 322, 320plus) with a carbon fiber wing and lots of new stuff, that this aircraft will be referred to as the A360 or A370.

    • A new CFRP wing on a 737 with EIS 2032? Add fly by wire and keep the 737 certificate? I think that is a longshot, but who knows.

        • I like that concept. I’m curious if the gear support leg will be on the truss, or in the body like the big high wing freighters. That seems like a narrow spread on the gear.

          • You have the 757 wing box that sits on a 737 size fuselage. Boeing could in theory do another 737 iteration using the nose and wingbox from the 757 (now carbonized) adding a new carbon wing and modified 797 engines to do another iteration of the 737 to make their accountants in Chicago happy of the low manufacturing cost and 737 like profits. Boeing could work the FAA for it to be certified under the same original TC as the 737-11/737-12

      • No, the current 737 has too many issues to be updated. The undercarriage is too low, the fuselage skin is too thin. Unrealistic to convert to FBW

        What Im predicting is the new NSA as a derivative of the 797.

        Same cockpit, same empenage ( some size adjustments) , a wing derivative in carbon fibre ( could be built in same factory on same jigs).
        The big difference is a ‘modern size’ 6 across fuselage which takes the same tech from the 797, ( which could use GLARE for upper fuselage.
        There could be a lot of carry over of internal components as well. Undercarriage, hydraulics, electrical, APU, air conditioning etc.

        This gives a huge cost advantage for the 797 as the components pricing will be at narrow body prices /volumes ( eventually)

        Its like the car makers , base a lot of models on a single core platform, which can be varied.

  9. SH — BA SA replacement strategy.

    Your thoughts and those of the WS analyst can be accommodated if the BA plan is multi layered.

    Start at the top of the SA product space — specifically above the Max offerings and the work down.

    SA economics are moving up the OEW / MTOW spectrum.
    B door loading looks like a winner in this context.
    However the passenger number is secondary.

    Range is — to me / an outsider — the primary driver in the MoM product space.

    Classic SA / High volume / Mainstream is heading towards 101T MTOW by all accounts.

    If AB do a complete refurb to the A320 component set / platform it will make it to 110T MTOW and a 50M long A323.

    Given the passenger numbers and the range figures the B797 would have a sweet spot at 130/5 MTOW.

    Then there is the Super Duper 60 which would be competive out to a possible 6K NM range at 150/5 MTOW.

    Just a case of where AB and BA want to focus their development dollars.

  10. I would like to see those split winglets disappear in that picture.

    Boeing has not done any winglet on a new wing since the 787 *787, 747, 777X) .

    Airbus still clings to it but they are behind in wing tech.

    When to they do a tanker version?

    • No, it has to with space, weight and structure. When space is available you can stretch e.g. P-8, A330Neo. When not can do 2 surfaces, like MD11, MAX or A320CEO. Lots of marketing.

      • It has to do with old wings vs new.

        A320NEO just did a me to wing let, Boeing upped the game with the split (thou ch the split scimitar by Airline Partner is much better looking)

        You can’t do it with an old wing because it won’t work.

        Has to be designed from scratch.

        No new wing, no crank wing ends.

  11. SH — the war between the A32X platform and the B737 MAX family contains a number of individual battles.

    Small / A319 — looks like yesterday’s fight.

    Mainstream / A320 — the extra 1.7M length / nonimal 12 extra seats on the BA model must count for something. FairPlay to AB and their increasingly wacky ideas to get some seats back — men only planes with stand up urinals must be next — but the Max 8 to me is in pole position.

    Not sure if AB are fighting the physicals with the financials — leaving money in the boot to close the deal?

    However the gap needs to be fixed.

    Large / A321 — This must be a money maker to end all money makers for AB. BA has had to develop two variants to close the gap but must also be under big pricing pressure to sell any at all.

    This might be a bit harsh regarding the Max 10 but it looks like an own brand up product against the market leader. Then you have the XLR dimension to deal with — they have pushed the length to the full only to come up against density as the MTOW angle is put through its paces by AB.

    The B737 is out of the running unless BA gets creative and starts using its B757 tooling / Engineering a puts a 737 badge on the resulting frankenplane. Just the wingbox and the MLG arrangement would transform the Max 11 / 12.

    Stage 1) XLR = short term parts bin special.
    Stage 2a) A320 “rightsized” with extra 1.6M length = Mid cycle refresh.
    New wing box keep the OEW neutral.
    New wing family to improve the aero and a bigger MLG.
    2b) A321 “rightsized” with the extra 1.6M length added to its 44.5M fuselage. Version of the new A320 wing included.
    2c) A322 launched = New A321 with a Big wing and higher 110T MTOW.
    2D) A323 launched = Bigger 50.5M fuselage with the Big wing and 110T MTOW.

    Enough real estate for 250 standard seats with enough hotel facilities for 10/12 hour flights. Brochure range of 5K NM. Engine requirements of 37/38K lbs thrust.

    Man marks the B797 MoM’ster into submission ??!!??

    Stage 3) A360 — SA Super Duper Sixty out to 150T MTOW.

    Stage 1 = 2 to 3 years / $1bill spend.
    Stage 2 = 5 years / $5bill spend.
    Stage 3 = 7 years / $10 bill spend.

    What is the projected spend to bring in the B797?

    • By all accounts AB is working on a new 40-45m wing with folding wing tips at Filton/UK for a single aisle aircraft that could be in production within 10 years. Not sure if this is for the current SA family but rather a large “NSA” with carrying 200-240 passengers over ranges of 4500-5000Nm, engines possibly Ultra-fans?

      In the mean time an 321XLR (4500Nm), “short” range (3000Nm) A322 and A320Plus could use a revised/updated 321 wing.

  12. What would it take to get BA serious about putting a new SA architecture into production?

    Articles quoted above suggest that AA doing a runner brought about a change of heart very quickly — outcome the MAX family.

    If Ryanair or SWA we’re to jump ship — or threaten to jump ship — would that make BA suddenly see the light?

    Knocking out B737s in 2032 / 2035 would seem to suggest that FF was right all along — we are at the end of history at least where SA aircraft are concerned.

    However I still think someone will buy / partner with the MC-21.

  13. SA market — ripe for segmentation?

    LD = Economy model.
    Brochure range out to 1500 / 2000 NM
    MD = Mainstream model.
    Brochure range was 3500, now 4000, future 4500 + NM.

    Economy model = BAe 146 done right.
    More perspiration and less inspiration in the design.
    Add in this week’s hot topic — biplane / trussed wing.

    What would 25T OEW put on the tarmac?
    132 standard seats at 6 wide / 138” wide cabin.
    150 economy seats at crush-a-pleb loading / 28”pitch.

    Performance = Mach 0.7 cruise / 2K NM range.
    Fuel efficiency = 30% improvement?
    Not sure what the BA trussed wing was offering.

    The A220 and the E jets would appear to be part of the mainstream SA MD continuum — space for another design strategy below this norm?

  14. SA Engine tech — tech roadmap …

    Currently the fight is physics vs chemistry?
    Mod vs Trad?

    Engine arrangement / GTF vs pressure ratio and high temp combustion and materials.

    GTF — seems to be a 3/1 ratio — LP compressor speed to the GTF unit. Is the next step in GTF tech to go for a 4/1 or a 5/1 ratio and stick a bigger GTF unit out the front?

    My thoughts are that this would improve engine efficiencies without any progress on the HP side.

    Future planes with GTF units which have the same CSA as the fuselage?

    Plan 2030 or Plan 2050?

  15. I think Boeing’s quickest response to the A321 is to build a slightly larger competitor and not replace the 737-8 Max. Go with the strategy of the 777x, of using a larger wingspan to increase capability, but use existing engines to cut time to market, the Leap 1A, current GTF, or some slight modification of those. With say a 2.5m folding tip on each wing, that would yield a 41m wingspan. Al-Li fuselage. Tall landing gear, good rotation. 200 seats out of Midway for WN, a 49m version with five more rows than the A321 for longer runways.

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