Boeing seeks replacement for 75 & 76

A1FlyBoy

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SEATTLE/LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA - News) is considering building a new, more efficient airliner to replace its slow-selling 757 and 767 models in what would be its first all-new program in a decade, people familiar with the plans said.

The company has not yet decided to launch the new aircraft, which could revamp the middle of its commercial jet line, but several industry sources said it was as likely to be built as the sonic cruiser, a faster jet Boeing has proposed over the past year.

Boeing rejected that claim, however, stressing that the sonic cruiser, which would soar higher than current airliners at just under the speed of sound with engines behind massive, rear-mounted, double-delta wings, took top priority.

The new mid-sized jet would open a new front in the battle with European rival Airbus SAS (XETRA:EAD.DE - News; Paris:EAD.PA - News). While the sonic cruiser might make Airbuses seem slow, the new plane could also render them relatively inefficient.

In private talks airlines have shown interest in the 20-percent boost in speed the sonic cruiser could offer, but some also expressed demand for a modernized conventional jet seating 200 to 250 people with lower fuel burn, sources said.

"We fully expect (Boeing) to build a new airplane. What that airplane is, we are not sure yet," said one industry source familiar with the company's thinking. "Boeing will build a 'green' (more efficient) plane before the sonic cruiser."

SHARPENING THEIR PENCILS

Boeing's engineers are working intensively on this project, which would be Boeing's first all-new plane since the 350-seat 777 energized its wide-body sales in the 1990s, sources said.

"A lot of Boeing's commercial aircraft range has fallen behind the state of the art. It increasingly believes it needs to do something about that," one source said. "They see a 777-style aircraft as a good solution to the problem."

Another alternative was an extensive overhaul of the 250-seat 767. Recent modest improvements to the 767 have failed to hold off the popular Airbus A330-200.

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the manufacturer's product design team always looked at a wide range of potential new aircraft, but denied any had overtaken the sonic cruiser.

"We always study everything, but the sonic cruiser is our primary product under development," Gunter said.

NEW ENGINES POSSIBLE

A new aircraft might also require new turbofans from one or more of the world's three main aero-engine manufacturers: General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE - News), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX - News) unit Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce Plc (London:RR.L - News).

All of those companies have recently developed engines that might be adapted but none has a completely modern power plant of just the right size for a 767.

Any conventional 757 and 767 replacement would also be sized close to the sonic cruiser, which could leave the company with undesirable competition within its own product line.

But several sources said that Boeing had to do something to fend off a strong challenge from Airbus, which has steadily gained market share with more modern jets offering a number of common features that reduce operating costs.

The fierce competition, including allegations of cutthroat pricing on both sides, has held down profits at both manufacturers.

BACKLOGS THINNING

Even before the Sept. 11 hijackings slashed air travel and airline demand for new planes, backlogs for several Boeing models were declining to worrisome levels.

Though the manufacturer closely guards its monthly production rates, its 757 backlog of 40 orders would equate to about 20 months of production, even if it trims the rate to two a month from an average of 3.5 per month in 2001.

Boeing has booked only eight 757 sales in the last 15 months and with airline jet demand seen sluggish for perhaps several more years, that model looks ripe for an upgrade, sources said.

But Boeing says productivity improvements have made its factories more efficient and capable of making money even at very slow rates. The 106-seat 717, unprofitable in 2001 at four units a month, is now rolling out at just one per month.

The 767 looks slightly better positioned, with perhaps 30 months left at two units per month. That program could also get a big boost from a proposed U.S. Air Force order for 100 tankers based on the wide-body.

"Sales of 767s have been soft, but it is a good airplane and well liked by passengers and airlines," said Peter Jacobs, an analyst at Wells Fargo. "There could be an opportunity (for a new plane) with the 757."

Jacobs noted the largest 737 models, the -800 and -900, can seat up to 177 passengers, approaching the 757's seating capacity of 200 to 243. The 767 also encroaches on the 757 market, seating 200 to 300.

Some observers said Boeing would keep quiet about any new mid-sized plane for as long as possible, lest airlines delay any plans to order 757s and 767s, which would be less efficient and likely see their resale values fall.
 

TurboS7

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Does that mean my next type rating will be an Airbus or Boeing???
 

avbug

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Douglas. Boeing will go bankrupt, and the assets will get picked up by Airbus Industries. They'll fold, and Ford will buy them. Ford won't like it, and will get picked up by The New Douglas Corporation.

It will be a triple decker stretch DC-3 with underwing turbofans, and a backup radial engine in the nose. The wings will fold, and this particular aircraft will have the capability of bussing passengers to their homes after landing. It will be big enough to have a full court basketball game for entertainment, and cock fights on the lido deck.

Oh, and it will be converted to a biplane. A really big one. With an attitude.
 

TurboS7

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Let's start raising capital and build it. We can employ people from all parts of the industry for every diffrent aspect of the aircraft. A big food court in the middle with food from everyone country will consitute it being an international carrier. There can be little rooms with games like monopoly and risk for those that want to pass the time. Since we have cock-fights we might as well have chess and gambling, a casino with blackjack, craps, and you might as well have betting on wallstreet. Like which stock is going to go down or up and what the spread is going to be. These aircraft will circle the globe staying aloft for 15 hours at 150KTS then landing to pick up a fresh load. The passengers stay on the ground long enough to get sober then catch the next plane to their final destination. Life will be slow but a lot more fun.
 

avbug

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The vacum tube radios can stay, but I vote for a second hydraulic resorvoir. With all the partying going on, the first will probably be filled with beer.

Kevalr trailing edges for the wings...to protect from bird strikes.
 

TurboS7

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Flight routes will be determined by where the best beer, wine , and vodka are. Santiago, Chile for the wine, Ireland for the beer, and of course Russia for the Vodka.
 

avbug

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Don't forget Delta, UT for the Milk, and Glendive, MT, for the homemade root beer.

That's milk, with a human hair in it, stranger.
 

TurboS7

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We'll give all the insurance boys free passes just so they give us free coverage.
 

A1FlyBoy

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian aircraft designers Sukhoi and Ilyushin are working with Boeing Co to design and produce a locally built short-haul airliner by 2006, a Sukhoi spokesman said Monday.


Yuri Chervakov told Reuters the first 'Russian Regional Jet' would roll off the production line in 2006 and is due to receive its Russian and international flight-worthiness certificate the same year.

The venture, to be financed equally by the three companies, is scheduled to be discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) and President Bush (news - web sites) when they meet in Russia on May 23-26, Chervakov said.

But work on the plane is already well under way, and the three firms are planning to announce in June the results of a tender competition to produce engines for the jet, he said.

The airliner, seating 55, 75 or 95 passengers depending on the variant, will be produced in Russia and will have a range of up to 3,750 miles.

Chervakov said world market demand for the plane was estimated at 600 to 700 aircraft but declined to say what the price tag would be. Russian media have put the cost of the project at $500 million.

The global market for airliners seating few than 100 passengers is already very well supplied, partly because many countries have seen it as a way of getting into the industry without taking on the bigger manufacturers Boeing and its arch rival Airbus SAS .

Embraer SA of Brazil and Canada's Bombardier Inc both offer products, as does the insolvent German-American company Fairchild Dornier.

China has a plan for its own tailor-made regional jet and the Russian plane designer Tupolev has another.

BAE Systems Plc , a big British defense company, gave up on the market late last year and closed its regional-jet production line.
 
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