What happens with the 777?

Airbus has announced its plans for the A350-1000 and airlines have responded with yawns or, in the case of one airline, a bit of outrage.  Airbus can still change their minds about the final definition of this airliner but not without more delay or a commitment from an engine maker that would be pretty unrealistic.  So we know what the A350-1000 will look like, more or less.

And what is Boeing’s best response?  I’m not sure the timing is right for an all new widebody large capacity airliners to sit just above the 777-200ER to just below the 747-8i.  But I do think the timing is right to greatly improve the 777.   Imagine the pain Airbus feels with a 777 update that provides a better wing constructed of composites, a fuselage that is slightly lighter due to some composite use and engines that are bit more fuel efficient as a function of incorporating GEnx engine technology.   What if Boeing can offer a 777-250/777-350 that offers more seats, 500 to 1000nm range improvement and/or a slight upgrade in payload capacity?

That little squeak you heard is Airbus salesmen contemplating that scenario.  I can see a strong business case for such aircraft and I think you would hear a lot of airlines bark out loud “sold!” if it was announced.   Does it get announced this year? No. Boeing has got to figure out the 737 replacement family, finalize the 787-9 production, get the 787-10 kicked off and then contemplate the 777′s future.  I wouldn’t expect anything developing on the 777 until 2014.

But it’s fun to think about the possibilities.

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One Response to “What happens with the 777?”

  1. …or, in the case of one airline, a bit of outrage.

    One of these days, it would be fun to see Akbar al Baker get told by both Airbus and Boeing to stop his constant public whingeing and shut his pie-hole.

    -R

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