Sunday, March 19, 2017

Boeing is Finding MoM

Below is the mathematical midpoint between the A321-Neo and the 787-8 spotting the Middle of The Market or reverently called MoM. On one side Airbus has crept in an A-321 NEO beating range and seats over the 737-9 while slightly exceeding the seating of the 737-10. The MoM chart below is guiding Boeing towards the 797 model parameters. Logic plays guessing a Boeing sweet spot for a MoM. Halfway between the 787-8 and A-321NEO is the target area. Boeing will most certainly find a protected zone for competitive offerings going years into the future. The 757 is long in the tooth on renovated design features. Airbus would have to go clean sheet answering any Boeing MoM design costing billions for a thousand airplane market potential. On the other hand, Boeing will reach down with its bag of tricks using current engine makers, a 777 wing plant and the 787 suite of technology. It will be dual aisle traveling 5,000 miles and a base of 220 passengers seated.

Fig. 1

A “Winging It” guess is seven across seating with about 30" narrower body compared with the 787-8. This subtle difference maximizes CRFP body manufacturing and weight advantages without increasing over-all airplane costs. Boeing can use its 787 manufacturing infrastructure in place, even though the aircraft body tube is smaller than the 787 model. A decision point becomes, going all plastic or copy the 777X experience having a metal body with CRFP wings and flight surfaces in the tail section? A guess would be it will at least have plastic wings made in Everett, Wa. 

The 747-8 program may close shop by 2024 when a 797 can start-up in its space. The debate at this junction is whether Charleston will have the 797 program in its manufacturing entirety or Everett?  As both are situated for having the ability of changing manufacturing space with some lower economic impact where it usually cost a program many hundreds of million for installation with a new program. The move will go to the best deal. It’s a fifty-fifty proposition for Everett or Charleston at this time.

Another prediction is Everett will win out first building the 797 for its development acumen and initial entry into service resources. Judging on how sales will go for the 777X program, it would certainly involve a Charleston decision if more 777X are sold over the next three years. A busy Everett without the 797 is a busy Charleston with the 797. There are a lot of tipping points for consideration before a 797 announcement, but Boeing at this time has a good idea how all things 797 will fall into place. The talk of the 797 at the San Diego aviation show in early March indicates a commitment on Boeing's behalf that the 797 program outline is complete. It probably has a launch customer at this time unofficially named United Airlines. Boeing would need a half dozen more "United's" before launching.

A core group has already formed but nothing is certain at this time as Boeing would await handshake signatures at this time. A “Winging It” observation breaks down potential regional customers. Two from North America, three from Europe and at least two from the Middle East where some Max orders are converted to 797 orders in apportioned amounts. The prime candidate from any guessing would suggest Ryan Air, Norwegian Air and BA. The North American contingent may stretch Southwest Air wings and having United Airlines as launch customer. In the Middle East comes more surprises and some carrier’s re-examine regional routes where a 797 works extremely well. Emirates is delaying its mega order during 2017. Ethiopian also is positioned to fly all of Africa and the Middle East with a 797. Asia is the hold card in this scenario.

Back to the Southwest comment, it is known as a single aisle only 737 carrier per its business plan. However, nothing should stay the same if an operation is to remain competitive. Southwest cannot open new routes within its own footprint without the 797 proposed capability. Southwest may introduce some pond jumping for its portfolio while keeping the 737 business model in mind maintaining economic fares going anywhere in its network. A 797 would give Southwest synergy with its single aisle 737. Possibilities exist where it never existed before and pairing 737 and 797 routes together leveraging the airline for more passenger and revenue miles. Draw five thousand mile circles around Las Angeles, Chicago, and New York and the 797 looks extremely appealing even to a single aisle carrier going anywhere in the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

Route Pairs for 737 and 797 as the sun sets in the west.

  • 737 Seattle to Hawaii
  • 737 LA to Hawaii 
  • 797 New York to Hawaii
  • 797 Chicago to Hawaii
  • 797 Hawaii to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Polynesia (Tahiti) and the whole of the South Pacific region.
The 797 Market is ripe for the picking and airlines are envious of having the 797 in its stables.