Boeing Considers 737 Replacement
Thu, 12/06/2007 - 11:40am
PARIS (AP) — Boeing Co. will decide within two years on a replacement to the single-aisle 737, competitor of Airbus' hot-selling A320, according to a report in French daily Le Monde.
Scott Carson, chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplanes unit, told the newspaper the U.S. planemaker has been talking to airlines for two years and is considering two options for a new model for Boeing's most popular aircraft ever.
Under a ''traditional'' design evolution incorporating composite materials technologies developed for the highly anticipated mid-size 787 plane, Boeing could produce a design template in the next 18 months for commercialization around 2015, he told the newspaper.
But some airlines have asked for a ''more radical change'' combining technologies to reduce noise pollution, fuel consumption and polluting emissions, which would require more time, he said.
Since the first 737 entered into service in 1968, Boeing has taken over 6,000 orders for the family of single-aisle jets. Airbus — whose A320 family was developed much later, going into service in 1988 — says it has sold over 5,500 competing planes.
Last month, Carson told the Gulf News that even the technology of the new single-aisle model ''could economically obsolete the 737 and Airbus 320 class of airplanes.''
He was more diplomatic to the French paper, telling Le Monde ''it's not our intention'' to exploit Airbus' current difficulties.
''Effectively it is true that we are ahead in our work,'' he added.
Both planemakers are struggling with delays to larger planes coming into service, eating into resources and occupying engineers.
Airbus delivered its first superjumbo A380 in October after a series of delays and cost overruns. The European planemaker was also forced into an expensive redesign of its mid-range A350 XWB, the competitor to Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. The A350 now won't be delivered until 2013.
In October, Boeing said it will delay the launch of its highly anticipated Dreamliner by six months to November or December 2008 because of assembly problems.