New Boeing A Few Years Away

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Boeing CEO David Calhoun says it will be at least a couple of years before the company starts working on any new aircraft. He also warned the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference that it will likely be at least 10 years before a clean-sheet design is on the market. The company has been musing about a new single-aisle replacement for the 757 that fills the gap between the 737 and widebodies, but Calhoun said such a project will have to wait for technology to make the next generation better enough to justify the investment. “The incremental performance is narrow enough that you’re not going to bet an airplane on that,” he said.

In the meantime, the company is concentrating on how it builds aircraft, and that includes beefing up the digital environment in which the design and construction details are housed. “It takes a lot of learning, the number of tests you can run virtually on the design and performance the airplane, the manufacturability and service. But we have to develop and mature the tools,” he said.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. “ ‘It akes a lot of learning, the number of tests you can run virtually on the design and performance the airplane, the manufacturability and service. But we have to develop and mature the tools,’ he [Boeing CEO David Calhoun] said.”

    Translation: “We have to learn how to design and manufacture airplanes.”
    How comforting.

  2. In the meantime, you’d better place your order now with Airbus to get aircraft in the next 3 or 4 years (cha-ching). Bill Boeing must be rolling over in his grave after all the recent debacles and inept leadership. Good thing the government is keeping them afloat…

  3. Here’s an idea: Take the 757-300 and redesign the wing (make it a composite), hang updated engines on the new wing, and update the avionics and EFIS to state-of-the-art and, violá! You now have a Boeing 797. And it won’t take 10 years to make it happen.

  4. What would kill the company would trying to kick off a full development cycle prematurely and having that bog down and further destroy capital and credibility. They are doing the right thing by not kicking that off until technologies that would make the product a big enough leap to justify scrapping or overhauling the 737 manufacturing infrastructure. This is the “innovator’s dilemma.” The problem appears to this outsider to be that the previous mgmt did not leverage the cheap capital environment of the preceding decade to build an engineering org well positioned to develop those technologies. So they are playing catch-up and it will take time and capital that is now more expensive. Calhoun is managing expectations in a way that is in the long term interest of the company rather than trying to promise something now to help short term share price.

  5. Aircraft advancements have followed power plant advancements. Boeing knows this. So what is Boeing to do?

    I’d go all in for a geared turbofan. Sure, a lot of gears and stuff. Better than the rest.