A press conference was held at the Farnborough Air Show with Mike Delaney, VP & GM of Airplane Development Boeing Commercial Airplanes to update the press and media about the manufacturer’s commercial aircraft plans going forward.
It is a momentous time for Boeing, having reached its 100th anniversary during this year’s show, and having their 737 MAX 8 as part of the static and flying display for the first time.
There had been much speculation about the status of future aircraft variants, including the anticipated Middle of Market (MOM) aircraft which is likely to be the next all-new aircraft developed by Boeing, aimed at replacing the Boeing 757/767 family.
Here’s what he had to say about the different Boeing aircraft:
The first four aircraft are now in test, with the first airline delivery anticipated in the first half of 2017. The first three production aircraft have been rolled out.
At the show it was announced that the MAX 7 will feature an additional 12 seats over its predecessor, the 737-700, which equates to two extra rows of seats. It will have a higher maximum take-off weight, meaning it can fly farther. It is also being developed with hot-and-high operations in mind, making it perfect for airlines in locations such as South America.
All 737 MAX’s will come with the Sky Interior as standard, and are reportedly 8% more fuel efficient than the A320neo.
The 737 MAX 200 was also talked about. This specially-developed version of the MAX 8 features 200 seats and is perfect for low-cost carriers (LCCs), with Ryanair already having ordered it, and new orders coming in at Farnborough for the type.
Mike Delaney said of the MAX 9 “We hope we’ll see it at Paris next year.”
Next is the anticipated upgrades to the Boeing 777, dubbed the 777-9/10, or the 777X.
Delaney explained this will be an “all new passenger experience” as the aircraft is essentially the 787 cabin, technology, lower altitude pressurisation etc in a 777 airframe. Like the 787, more composites will be used in its construction, and it will likely be 12% more fuel efficient than the Airbus A350-1000.
Production of the 777-9 prototypes will commence in 2017, with a first flight in 2019 and entry to service in 2020.
At present the 777-10 is technically feasible, but Boeing is talking to airlines to make sure demand exists for the stretched variant.
Expected to fly in 2017, the further stretched 787-10 will be a direct competitor to the Airbus A350-900. Delaney said of the 787-10: “This will have the best seat-mile costs in the industry.”
Entry to service with airlines is expected in 2018, and the 787-10 will be built exclusively at Boeing’s Charleston plant, with testing of the prototypes performed in the Seattle area. The aircraft will have commonality with other 787s, “reducing risk” for the certification process.
Middle of Market
The much-anticipated Middle of Market, or MoM, airliner is something Boeing is now seriously considering, but as yet does not have a firm design or specification.
Mike Delaney explained that they are looking at the Boeing 757 to 767-200 space where a gap exists in terms of payload and range with existing aircraft designs. Boeing is currently talking to its customers to determine the preferred option, with some wanting more payload, and others more range.
The process will then see a specification and cabin cross section designed.
When asked why they would not simply shrink the 787 to fit this niche, Delaney explained “It is not the right way to go to reduce the 787 to fit MoM”, since the 787’s wing and cabin have been designed for a specific purpose and range. MoM will be an entirely new design.
Sources suggest we could see MoM fly in 2025.