Sunday, July 9, 2017

If Boeing Gets The 797 Right, Then What?

The much discussed and speculated A321 NEO buster goes further than just breaking the Airbus back. If Boeing gets it right, the plane will go further into the Boeing playbook and reorganize its single aisle division. This commentary covers the 800 pound "IF" sitting in the room. The 797 designed right will encroach upon the Boeing Single Aisle top end while filling its gap, as a segway to its 787 family. Airbus will be disrupted as its single aisle and dual aisle offering will be over matched for a new Boeing dual aisle and engine 797.

The 737-9 and 737-10 is a single aisle marginal offering for the gap of things flying. The 737-Max 8 may become a part of a single aisle duo in Boeing's line-up. A perfect storm is a Boeing line-up by 2030 of a 737-Max 7, and 737 Max 8/200 partnering with a 797-8 and 797-9 concept. The 737-10 and 737-9 become an awkward single aisle offering when compared to a 797's comfort and passenger efficiency. Boeing will realign its model offering stumping Airbus on what to do. It is clear to see Boeing is once again shooting the moon on the cheap using its vast technology bank for flying machines.

The 797-8 should carry 200-220 passengers and fly an ultimate 5,000 miles. A 797-9 should carry 220-250 passengers and fly 5,000 miles easily. The 737-Max 7 is the 150 seat commuter offering while the 737 Max 8 and its 200 stable mate will carry up to 200 passengers. No need to stretch out single aisle into a nightmare boarding or disembarking. Let a twin aisle do the number crunching when passengers want to move to and fro.

Boeing is taking its time because there is more in play than a one model gap filler. It must have all options on the build table before announcing. Every media outlet assumes a one and done 797 gap filler referred as a New Medium Aircraft (NMA). Boeing is reinventing its offering for several purposes.

  • A market shift to rising passenger demand
  • A market requirement for longer medium routes.
  • The newly announced Max-9 and Max-10 is a stop gap until further notice.
  • A 797 completes Boeing and troubles its competitor.
The 797 makes sense only if it realigns Boeing's type offering. The investment is not one dimensional with one model for its type. Boeing recognizes it must be more aggressive with a vulnerable Airbus line-up. It needs to build passenger capacity with comfort and a seven across 797 will address both needs. Secondly, Boeing sees an expanding route distance as more markets adjust and the single aisle falls into its own gap of not going far enough with over-packed seating.

Having stated a few topics of where Boeing may go aligns with the time it is taking to make a decision. It is pondering more than just a 797 model bridging between the 737 to the 787. It is remaking its aircraft line-up going far forward in time. Once a 797 is concocted, it will go clean sheet on its single aisle family. The 787 family will need an upgrade after 2030. Boeing will wait until it has made money with the 787 when the money pit it created building this duo aisle is filled in with its own profits.

Time line watching for progress is one step at a time. The steps Boeing is taking is becoming a straighter path for regaining the high ground Airbus has assaulted. A highly functional family of aircraft from single aisle to dual aisle is the goal. There are too many single aisle types and not enough dual aisle types at this time for the changing market demand and demographics.