With Airbus launching a significant upgrade to its A320 with the A320neo, Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes President, Jim Albaugh says that the company’s own narrow-body, the 737, will provide better fuel efficiency than its rivals offering set to debut in 2016 according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The A320neo was launched in late 2010 and brings a new engine to Airbus’ most popular commercial plane which will lower operating costs for airlines while Boeing has resisted an uprgade to the 737, claiming that the plane is already more fuel efficient than the current A320 and the future A320neo and electing to focus efforts on building a brand new plane by the end of the decade.
“Right now, the 737 from an operating-cost standpoint — cost of acquisition, cost of operation — is about 8 percent better than the Airbus product,” Albaugh said after a celebration of his company’s Air Force tanker contract win. “Even after the re-engine we’ll be 2 percent better, and that’s if we do nothing on this airplane. We are going to do some things. One thing we will always have is the most capable and the most efficient airplane in every market that we serve.”
It is very common for both Airbus and Boeing to skew technical details about operating costs in their favor so its impossible to validate Albaugh’s claims (and Airbus will certainly disagree with Boeing’s assessment about the A320neo) but it is clear that Boeing remains confident that the 737 will continue to be a popular plane which will sustain the company’s narrow-body market while it develops a more advanced replacement plane.