Boeing will not launch a replacement to the 737 because current technology isnt advanced enough to justify such a move says aviation analyst, Richard Aboulafia from the Teal Group.
According to The Puget Sound Business Journal and FlightGlobal, Aboulafia made several noteworthy predictions during the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in Seattle where nearly 300 executives from the aerospace industry are converging this week.
Despite a growing sentiment in the industry, fueled by Boeing’s own suggestions, that the 737 will be replaced by an entirely new aircraft in 2020, Aboulafia argues that current technology isn’t attractive enough to justify the enormous cost of designing a new plane, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.
Discussing a 737 successor, Aboulafia said the problem Boeing faces is that there aren’t currently available the technological advances that will pay back the costs of designing and launching a new plane.
“I’m sure there are things, but nothing that will justify the $5 billion to $7 billion premium. I doubt it. I can’t identify it,” he said.
As a corollary, he added he’s convinced Boeing will build a 737 successor of aluminum if there is a new plane, given the fact that the weight savings of composites becomes less significant with a smaller aircraft.
In the discussion, Aboulafia made several other noteworthy, although not necessarily surprising predictions, including:
- Boeing will not be able to deliver the 787 to All Nippon Airways until December, two months after its current target of September.
- Boeing’s goal of delivering 10 787s a month by 2013 is too ambitious and the actual deliveries will be less.
- Airbus will be forced to delay the Airbus A350 by a year and a half, to 2015, due to various delays in the manufacturing and testing process.
Given Boeing’s difficulty in delivering the 787 and the advanced technology used in both the 787 and A350 it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if any of those predictions come true although Boeing would certainly want to avoid any further delays if it wants to maintain its credibility with its 787 customers after more than three years of delays already.
In regards to the 737, Aboulafia’s comments are purely speculation but they do serve as a reminder that Boeing’s decision to replace the 737 instead of re-engine it is still very far from a foregone conclusion.
Airlines are expecting further guidance from Boeing on its 737 plans by this summer.