Says Replacement At Least Seven Years Away
Speaking this week with reporters at the 2007 Paris Air Show,
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson surprised some
analysts with the announcement the American planemaker doesn't
expect to replace its 737 narrowbody airliner any time soon.
"The plane continues to produce excellent value... We're
probably seven to eight years away from a replacement, but it will
depend on technology and demand," Carson said, according to
The 737 continues to be a strong seller for Boeing, recently
surpassing 7,000 orders throughout the model's 40 year-old history.
Since January 2005, Boeing has sold 1,480 737s.
Today's "Next Generation" 737 sports far more efficient
powerplants, glass panel avionics, and other thoroughly modern
touches, but retains the basic design of the first 737-100 that
rolled off the assembly line in 1967.
Many have speculated Boeing would tackle a 737 replacement once
the 787 Dreamliner ramped up to full production, but Carson said a
redesigned narrowbody would have to wait for a major leap in
current engine technology. Boeing wants a 15 percent increase in
fuel economy over current models; the best enginemakers like
General Electric, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney can project
currently hovers around a 10 percent gain.
"The technology to deliver those changes is still a little way
to come," Carson said. "If we do a 10% improvement only, then we
have to do another airplane right after that."
Boeing faces a similar quandary as does its European rival,
Airbus, which is also selling every A320 narrowbody it can make.
Forbes reports single-aisle planes like the 737 and A320 make up
close to 41 percent of the global market for airliners... and
neither manufacturer wants to mess with that success.
Airbus has something of an advantage over the 737, however, in
the fact the basic A320 Family design is half the age of its Boeing
competitor. The first A320 was delivered in 1988.