Boeing considers new engines for 737s

-- Feb. 25--Boeing is deciding the future of its money-making 737 family of aircraft as competition increases for the single-aisle plane. Boeing will decide this year whether to put new engines on its 737s to improve performance...


The competition

Airbus is studying an engine upgrade for the A320, its 737 competitor. It's widely believed that it will move forward with the plan.

That puts pressure on Boeing to respond.

"What our competitor does will bear on the decision, and Airbus sounds very aggressive on re-engining," McNerney said.

Bombardier is developing its CSeries family of aircraft around Pratt and Whitney's PW1000G engines.

"There's a lot of people who think the engine is going to be a pretty good engine," von Rumohr said. "That's what's really driving this discussion."

And other competitors likely will emerge.

Some think Boeing will use CFM International's LEAP-X engine, which won't be ready for service until 2016, according to CFM's Web site.

If Boeing can offer 12 to 15 percent more efficient productivity, then it shouldn't wait to do it, especially with competitive threats from Canada and China, McNerney said.

"The way we're going to win is through innovation," he said.

IBM learned the lesson a long time ago, McNerney said. "If you milk a product too long, you invite competition."

There are a couple of downsides, however.

Introducing a refreshed 737 could hurt the resale value of the current fleet of planes because a better version is coming along, von Rumohr said.

It also could hurt the existing backlog of orders as some customers decide to wait for the upgraded version, he said.

Even with the risk, keeping up with innovation is the best way to stay competitive, McNerney said.

"You'd rather obsolete yourself a little bit than have someone else do it," McNerney said.

-- CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct misinformation that was in the original story posted Thursday. Return to story.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

We Recommend

  • Company

    Bombardier Aerospace

    Bombardier Aerospace offers 24/7 technical support for operators of Bombardier Learjet, Challenger, and Global aircraft. For Learjet technical support: (316) 946-6100 or ac.ict@aero.bombardier.com...

  • Press Release

    Boeing's Next Job: New 777?

    Boeing may have to introduce an updated derivative of its Everett-built 777 twin-aisle jet to fend off the approaching challenge from Airbus' planned A350.

  • News

    Boeing's Next Job: New 777?

    Boeing may have to introduce an updated derivative of its Everett-built 777 twin-aisle jet to fend off the approaching challenge from Airbus' planned A350.

  • News

    Plane market robust, CEOs say

    Next downturn in the aerospace industry may be more of a dip than a steep decline