Boeing To Re-Engine 737

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Wednesday, Boeing announced plans to fit new more efficient CFM International Leap-X engines to members of its 737 family of aircraft, offering potential fuel savings of more than 10 percent on existing airframes. The new engines are not plug-and-play -- Boeing will have to re-engineer its planes to accept the engines and associated systems -- and Boeing's decision is not yet etched in stone. A final decision is expected by fall, but the option has reportedly been extended to American Airlines as part of the airline's massive order for at least 460 new aircraft split between Boeing and Airbus. The order is said to include 100 re-engined Boeings. And it may put pressure on certain other manufacturers' clean-sheet designs.

Bombardier's CSeries is that manufacturer's bid to eventually claim half of the world's market for 100 to 149-seat aircraft. If Boeing delivers a smaller re-engined airliner like the 737-700, it could become a competitive alternative to Bombardier's even smaller CSeries. But analysts are offering different opinions about the ultimate effect of Boeing's re-engined aircraft. Some believe they will offer more competition to new designs like the CSeries. Others suggest potential buyers have simply been waiting to see if Boeing would offer a clean-sheet design of its own, and without that option their decision in favor of the CSeries may soon be made. Having lost out on the massive order from American, Delta may prove to be Bombardier's next pivotal battleground.