StickShaker
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737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:01 pm

With all the current interest in composites and light alloys generated by the 7e7 and 350 projects it may be interesting to speculate what form and configuration a new composite 737 may take.

My guess would be 3 models with 2 class seating capacities of 130, 170 and 210 respectively. The 100 seat market (736/318) would be left to the regional jets due to poor sales and high seat mile costs for a 737 sized aircraft.


Fuselage:
Boeing have long suffered the indignity of having their 737 described as inferior to the Airbus 320 series in terms of comfort due to the 737 having a narrower fuselage. The difference in seat width is not that much but Airbus have used this as a marketing/PR tool.

Starting with a clean sheet of paper, Boeing have a golden opportunity to provide a larger fuselage size in the 737 for the first time in 40 years. I suspect that the fuselage would be significantly wider than both the current 737/320 aircraft and offer such superior comfort and versatility that Airbus would be forced to respond with a new aircraft themselves (sound familiar).

My guess is that the fuselage would be 25-30 inches or so wider placing it between the current 737 and 767 fuselage widths (139"/186" internal). This would give at least 7 abreast at current seat widths or 6 abreast at a much more generous seat width. During the late 80's Boeing toyed with the idea of a twin isle 150 seater (7J7, 2-2-2 seating I think) - I dont know whether this would be appropriate here (starts to get like a 767) but I suspect that Boeing will raise the bar substantially with respect to comfort and versatility in seating layout.
The fuselage would be all composite and employ technologies and materials used and refined in the 7e7 program.

Wing:
Would expect a large composite wing with a span somewhere around 40/45 meters provided the aircraft can still fit into current gates at major airports.

Engines:
New generation bleedless engines in the 25k-30klb thrust class. Several engine choices may be offered along with the common interface as with the 7e7. P&W may be keen to put their geared fan on the wing (PW8000 ?) but Boeing may shy away from the risk involved. The larger diameter fan of the PW8000 may require a taller undercarriage and other modifications making it difficult to provide a choice of other engines.

Cargo:
Boeing could include a strengthened floor and/or other features that make conversion to a freighter later in life a simpler and easier process. Might be offered as an option rather than being standard.

Performance:
Expect slightly higher ranges than current 737's but with vastly superior seat mile costs due to lighter weights and improved engines. The 210 seat model would offer 757 seat mile costs with the overall running costs of a 737.
The aircraft would offer all of the maintenance and comfort enhancements of the 7e7 but in a more developed form.

Thats my prediction - a slightly larger aircraft than today's 737 offering unprecedented levels of comfort and unmatched economics using state of the art 7e7 technologies. I dont see Boeing just slightly improving on today's aircraft - they will make it a quantum leap as with the 7e7. The launch date could be sooner than we think - and timed to make life very difficult for Airbus (that's what business is about).

Would be interested to hear your ideas on this subject.



Cheers,
StickShaker
 
gigneil
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:07 pm

McD also toyed with a 2-2-2 150-200 seat aircraft back in the day. In fact, if McD hadn't wimped out they would have sold 200 aircraft to AA and DL, and the 757 would have died a horrible death.

I don't think 2-2-2 is going to be part of their future plans, but I do think that both A and B will be coming out with plastic or light alloy narrowbodies. Now, the timing of that may be odd.

Both families are selling well now (737 and 320). I just don't know which will doom the line first by offering an all new airframe.

N
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:09 pm

Boeing have long suffered the indignity of having their 737 described as inferior to the Airbus 320 series in terms of comfort due to the 737 having a narrower fuselage.

Irony being, the 737 economy seats are identical to the economy seats of the A330/A340.

My guess would be 3 models with 2 class seating capacities of 130, 170 and 210 respectively. The 100 seat market (736/318) would be left to the regional jets due to poor sales and high seat mile costs for a 737 sized aircraft.

Boeing is likely going to keep the 3+3 arrangement, but a new (maybe wider) fuselage is guaranteed. Composite engineering will require a completely new design even if the same diameter is chose. The problem with widening the fuselage is- 1. Weight, 2. More aerodynamic drag

Would expect a large composite wing with a span somewhere around 40/45 meters provided the aircraft can still fit into current gates at major airports.

That requirement cannot be over emphasized. It is one thing for the 7E7 to require an extra meter here and there, another for airlines to revamp their domestic gates.

P&W may be keen to put their geared fan on the wing (PW8000 ?) but Boeing may shy away from the risk involved.

The geared turbofan is a proven technology and has lots of potential. However, PW has dropped the ball so many times, even if they get the PW8000 (yes this designation is already in use by PW) right, they would have to be a risk-sharing partner. If PW wants to get on the aircraft, they have to be willing to fund a certain portion of the airframe too.

My guess is that the fuselage would be 25-30 inches or so wider placing it between the current 737 and 767 fuselage widths (139"/186" internal). This would give at least 7 abreast at current seat widths or 6 abreast at a much more generous seat width

This is iffy, I'll provide my own thoughts in a second post. I've been wanting to have this debate for a while, I'm glad someone started it.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:25 pm

I don't think 2-2-2 is going to be part of their future plans, but I do think that both A and B will be coming out with plastic or light alloy narrowbodies

I agree. From the rummors I've heard, Boeing wants to seat from 90-220 passengers with their next-generation NB, which makes 2-2-2 almost impossible IMO. Seating 90 with 3-3 has no aerodynamic issues, as it matches the original 737 finess. Given the speculation I've heard, I predict something of the following-

Two wings- a lightweight wing optimized for 2,000-3,000 nm flights will be available for a 90 seater, 126 seater, and 162 seats. A heavy wing optomized for 3,500-5,000 nm will be available for a 162 seater, 198 seater, 234 seater.

Fuselage- 5 lengths (above) seating 3-3.

Engines- GE will be the leading canidate IMO with two bleadless engines sharing a common core. The 2-3k variants will have a lighter engine, the 3-5k variants will have a higher bypass variant. Fuel cell APU at EOS

Construction and systems- all composite fuselage and wing. Use of sythentic vision for pilots and passengers to simplify construction, reduce weight, and add safety. Connexion standard.

WN will be a crucial customer and will have a large share in the aircraft's definition. Probable launch customer for both lightweight 126/162 seat variants with 100+ order to replace aging 733/735 fleet
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:37 pm

I don't think 2-2-2 is going to be part of their future plans

Boeing is likely going to keep the 3+3 arrangement

It wouldn't be obligatory for airlines to use a twin isle arrangement but the option would be there.

They can use the extra cabin width to:

1. Provide a very generous 3+3 arrangement (far superior to the 320).
2. Create a twin isle 2+2+2 with existing seat widths and the extra space used for the second isle.
3. Configure a 3+4 high density LCC seating layout.

Could be a good marketing tool - single or twin isle depending on the airlines requirements. A hybrid aircraft - neither narrow body nor wide body.


The problem with widening the fuselage is- 1. Weight, 2. More aerodynamic drag

Acknowledge the above issues - I just think Boeing will really exploit the opportunity to do something different and create a significant distance between their product and the 320 rather than just add 6 inches to the fuselage width.


Cheers,
StickShaker



Cheers,
StickShaker
 
gigneil
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:39 pm

2-4 is an illegal seating arrangement, you can't be more than a seat away from the aisle.

3-6-3 is the maximum seating arrangement allowed by law.

M
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:47 pm

2. Create a twin isle 2+2+2 with existing seat widths and the extra space used for the second isle.

This might be able to work if Boeing/Airbus could work out some sort of double-wide entrance door. The entrance door is still somewhat of a bottle-neck, and boarding Noah's Ark-style might trim a few minutes off the turn-around time. Who knows... maybe automated container-cargo loading, smaller fuel tanks to fill, and rapid cooling brakes/engines would allow for ultra-fast turnarounds in the hands of an LCC.

I just think Boeing will really exploit the opportunity to do something different and create a significant distance between their product and the 320 rather than just add 6 inches to the fuselage width.

A "narrow-widebody" would fill the large cap from the current 737NG to the 7E7, but I still question the economics of an inheriently heavier aircraft and wonder if a wider fuselage would allow for <130 seat variants.
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:54 pm

2-4 is an illegal seating arrangement, you can't be more than a seat away from the aisle

Might have to make that a 2+3+2 high density layout for LCC's.

Two wings- a lightweight wing optimized for 2,000-3,000 nm flights will be available for a 90 seater, 126 seater, and 162 seats. A heavy wing optomized for 3,500-5,000 nm will be available for a 162 seater, 198 seater, 234 seater.

Sounds impressive - I assume the 2 wings would be developed in tandem (same span ?) and share many components otherwise it could turn into 2 separate programs with much higher development costs.
Would the 90 seater and 234 seater have the same strength (thickness) fuselage ?


Cheers,
StickShaker
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Tue Dec 28, 2004 5:37 pm

A "narrow-widebody" would fill the large cap from the current 737NG to the 7E7, but I still question the economics of an inheriently heavier aircraft and wonder if a wider fuselage would allow for <130 seat variants.

If we forget the twin isle bit for a moment and just look at fuselage widths, the 763 (5.03m cross-section) is being replaced by the composite 7e7-3/8 which have a cross section of 5.74m. Thats an increase of around 14% in fuselage width and takes seating from 7 abreast to a generous 8 abreast (9 abreast if required). The extra drag of the wider 7e7 fuselage is no doubt compensated by lighter weight along with superior aerodynamics and engines to produce a 20% lower fuel burn than the 767.

Translating this to the 737, a 14% increase in width gives an increase of around 20 inches (internal) in cabin width. Again, the extra drag would (hopefully) be compensated by lighter weight and superior aerodynamics to give a lower fuel burn than the existing 737.
These are all very approximate numbers - feel free to correct me if necessary.
The logic here is that if it works for the 767/7e7 then why not for the 737 - it seems that a 20 inch increase may be more appropriate than 30 (would shut the door to twin aisles).

The advantages of the wider cabin would be:
1. Far superior comfort than the competitors product.
2. The ability to stretch the design to just under 7e7-3 capacities (250 pax)
3. More suitable for IGW versions with longer range - upto 5000nm.

The wider fuselage would probably shut the door to variants <130 pax but this is getting into RJ territory where even a composite shrink might find it hard going up against efficient RJ designs which themselves have been stretched from 70 seaters to 90/110 seats.

The increase in fuselage width will have to provide benefits which offset any increase in drag etc. 30 inches, twin aisles and the like might be a step too far but 20 inches seems plausible given what has been done with the 7e7.

Again, I think Boeing will be determined to offer something that the 320 cant match.

Just my $0.02


Cheers,
StickShaker
 
keesje
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:31 pm

Gave the 737 replacement some thoughts a while ago and reached pretty much same conclusions. http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1720452

On the 2-2-2, it would give superior boarding / deboarding times and comfort.

The weight & seize penalties could however be significant. It also would be a size that is just too narrow for medium haul operation and lacks valuable commonality with the huge existing base of 737/320 series.

A say 50% wider aisle just wide enough for 2 people to pass each other would IMO also greatly improve boarding/deboarding speed / comfort.


"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Rj111
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:04 am

Thats an increase of around 14% in fuselage width and takes seating from 7 abreast to a generous 8 abreast (9 abreast if required). The extra drag of the wider 7e7 fuselage is no doubt compensated by lighter weight along with superior aerodynamics and engines to produce a 20% lower fuel burn than the 767.

Translating this to the 737, a 14% increase in width gives an increase of around 20 inches (internal) in cabin width. Again, the extra drag would (hopefully) be compensated by lighter weight and superior aerodynamics to give a lower fuel burn than the existing 737.


Yeh but by increasing from 2-3-2 to 2-4-2 you get an extra row of revenue generating seats. Going from 3-3 to 2-2-2 means you keep the same number of seats and efficiency would probably be the same. 3-3 really isnt much of an issue on short haul and i can only think of one example where it has cost an order. Most airlines would much rather have a 3-3 with amasing economics over a 2-2-2 with average economics.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:11 am

Most airlines would much rather have a 3-3 with amasing economics over a 2-2-2 with average economics.

Well there have been cases where airlines clearly prefer aircraft with higher utilization or higher potential to create revenue. Early jet economics blew, but their ability to fly more cycles per day made them viable. The Concorde wasn't able to acomplish this, but if Boeing/Airbus could find a way to squeeze an extra cycle into daily opperation that would be huge.

If you look at that drawing I made in Reply 12 of the link Keesje provided, there might be another way to speed turn-around times. If the cargo hold extends the length of the airplane (and is containerized), cargo can be simultaneously loaded and unloaded from the airplane-



It's all about utilization, and IMO, anyway to boost it would be a welcome innovation....
 
DAYflyer
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:33 am

I would guess that the new 737NNG would be a wider aircraft than present employing all the technological advances of the 7e7, scaled down appropriately. It would be a market killer for sure if they could get the efficiency at 20% or greater over the current 737NG.
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PPVRA
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:35 am

How about a double-tube design like the EMB series? The double-tube cross-section provides superior pax comfort because of a larger cabin width at shoulder level, a wider aisle, larger seats, higher baggage capacity, more personal space and increased leg room...

An EMB series 737 size plus composite materials makes sense to me, and without ending up with a completely different looking aircraft.

PPVRA
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
BlueF9A320
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:42 am

The 737 series already features a double tube cross-section. While this may provide some additional comfort in the passenger cabin, it isn't a strong a circular cross-section like the A32S or the 777 feature. In my opinion Boeing will probably stick with a circular cross-section b/c it would be easier to manufacture with carbon fibre. Plus why would it matter if the a/c looks different?

v/r

BlueF9A320
Audentes Fortuna Juvat...
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 4:26 am

In my opinion Boeing will probably stick with a circular cross-section b/c it would be easier to manufacture with carbon fibre.

The 7E7 is a double-bubble cross-section actually....

While this may provide some additional comfort in the passenger cabin, it isn't a strong a circular cross-section like the A32S or the 777 feature

Strong? There are still 737-200 flying in regular passenger service today!  Big grin

How about a double-tube design like the EMB series

As BlueF9A320 stated, the 737 already is a double-bubble design  Big grin
 
Ken777
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:05 am

"When" is also an interesting question.

Does Southwest have the muscle to get the program started with an order? (I have a feeling they do.)

How large an order does that have to be?

Who would bet that WN and B haven't already been having discussions about this plane, moving at whatever speed, to a decision to go with it?

If B was prepared to go with a good order from WN the plane could be announced this summer, putting severe pressure on A to address their 320 line as well as the 380 and 350. That would get B smiling a bit.

My bet is that there will be an announcement as soon as WN and B are happy with the progress of the 7E7 and believe they have the basic answers for moving the technology to a single aisle plane. I think that this will probably be in 2005, but I'm an optimist.
 
columba
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:29 am

Although many Americans here wouldn´t believe it, but Lufthansa also is interested in a 737 successor based on 7E7 technology. They need a replacement for their 733 and 735 and asked both companies for a proposal. The interesting part is, that they told both companies that they wouldn´t buy the A319/A320 or 737NG like they are offered today but only modernized versions. Nico Buchholz the fleet planer of LH said in an interview that he is very interested in a 737 based on 7E7 technology. I don´t think that Airbus will manage to build an A320 successor any time soon, since they have a lot to do with the A380, A350 and A400M. A new narrow body is Boeing´s big chance. The A320 had its maiden flight in 1987 so it is not the newest plane in 2010/2012.
Since I am European I am actually more an Airbus guy, but I always loved the 737 !!
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
NYC777
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:29 am

My bet is that there will be an announcement as soon as WN and B are happy with the progress of the 7E7 and believe they have the basic answers for moving the technology to a single aisle plane. I think that this will probably be in 2005, but I'm an optimist.

Actually I wouldn't be surprised if there was movement (significant) in 2006. By that time Boeing would have ample expereince with the design and the technologies of the 7E7 such that they can start on the next gen of single aisle short range jets. I can see EOS around 2010 for this jet
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
 
gigneil
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:40 am

Again, its all very doubtful that either manufacturer will move right now.

The 737 and A320 are both still selling briskly. It makes no sense to spend money on a new plane when the existing one is selling as fast as you can make it.

N
 
columba
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:51 am

@Gigneil

Well, like I said above the A320 made its maiden flight in 1987 that is 18 years ago. The development of a plane takes at least 2-3 years, so we are hitting the twenty soon.
And comunality of the 7E7 (787) and a likely 737 successor (797 ????) would be a great selling argument like it is with the A320/A330. I think a 737 replacement will be Boeing´s next big project and I guess we will see a launch around 2006 or late 2005 (-if Boeing gets some orders for the 7E7 this year).
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
zvezda
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:53 am

I agree with StickShaker except that I expect the interior cabin width to be only slightly wider than that of the A320 with external cross section the same or slightly narrower. Efficiency is paramount.

I think a lot of people here are optimistic about the EOS. I don't expect EOS before 2011 because I don't expect design completion before the 7E7 starts flying. Why should Boeing rush the design? Airbus is not likely to have anything newer than the A320 in that market segment.

I do think that the A320 replacement will be the first all composite Airbus, but we may have to wait another ten years to see it flying.
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 9:43 am

Seems like 3+3 seating will prevail - a bit messy to go from 6 to 7 abreast. I would still expect (hope for) an increase in width of 15 to 20 inches. The new aircraft would be much lighter than its predecessor (even if it is a little wider).
The extra width would translate to at least 2 inches extra per seat plus some extra for the isle. Extra isle width could make quite a difference in a narrow-body seating 200 or more pax - boarding times, comfort, getting past the trolley etc. Some airlines might choose to place most of the extra width into the isle.
Todays 737's cover the 100 to 189 seating range. Boeing may choose to move the range upward to 130 - 240 seats in 4/5 separate models.

Who would bet that WN and B haven't already been having discussions about this plane, moving at whatever speed, to a decision to go with it?
Agree completely.

If B was prepared to go with a good order from WN the plane could be announced this summer, putting severe pressure on A to address their 320 line as well as the 380 and 350. That would get B smiling a bit.

Right on the money Ken777.
In terms of business tactics, Boeing may have an excellent opportunity to put their competitor on the back foot. Airbus not only have a lot on their plate, they have accumulated a significant amount of debt from 380 R&D, will soon have to borrow $5.3B for the A350 and more for the 346HGW. They (Airbus) also have issues with rising costs and falling returns due to the euro/$ exchange rate. If Boeing launch the 737 replacement sooner than expected then Airbus will be in the situation of either borrowing another $5B at a time when they will want to be reducing debt or stand back and watch Boeing dominate the narrow-body market.
Boeing have nothing to loose - the conversion of the 737 line to composite materials is inevitable. Provided they have the capital and resources available why delay the inevitable - particularly if they can place Airbus on the back foot.

The next few years will be fascinating to watch.


Cheers,
StickShaker



 
cloudy
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 10:11 am

Why should Boeing rush the design? Airbus is not likely to have anything newer than the A320 in that market segment.
-----
Because Embraer or Bombardier(with partners) might have something. I've always thought that only the threat of a serious third player would convince Boeing and Airbus to redo their narrowbodies. With the E jets and now the C-series, its getting close to that point.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:13 pm

Because Embraer or Bombardier(with partners) might have something

The chance of the C-series being launched is virtually nil. The entire Bombardier aerospace division is in a bit of chaos at the moment in case you havn't noticed... Ditto for Embraer, Airbus investment in non-voting Embraer stock will probably keep them out of the A320's territory....

That being said, the C-series would have only parallelled the 736/73G and A318/A319 while the strongest A32X/737NG models are the larger A320 and 738

Does Southwest have the muscle to get the program started with an order? (I have a feeling they do.)

Yes... they have been one of the largest narrow-body customer from Boeing, and they have launched three 737 models. By 2010, WN will easily be the single largest narrow-body opperator in the world. Their massive liquitable credit and need for a 733 replacement won't hurt either.

The 737 and A320 are both still selling briskly. It makes no sense to spend money on a new plane when the existing one is selling as fast as you can make it.

Not to mention... launching first places one at risk of being trumped later on.

I think the driving force will be who is willing to provide WN with a 733 replacement first. Given WN's typical aircraft usage, the bulk of 733 will last into 2010-2015, unless WN replaces them in the near-term with 73G to cut cost...
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:59 pm

Another issue here is the potential selling price of the new 737. Boeing have adopted Airbus style assembly and risk sharing in the 7e7 manufacture to reduce costs - no doubt a similar process would occur with the new 737.
Is it possible that the new composite 737 could be cheaper than the existing product due to the cost savings realised ?

Boeing have lost several recent narrow-body orders to the 320 due to Airbus's lower pricing rather than any technical difference between the aircraft.

A new composite 737 that offers superior comfort, unbeatable economics and a lower price - something worth launching sooner than 2010 ?

Plausible ?


Cheers,
StickShaker
 
zvezda
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:40 pm

Yes, the production costs of the 737 replacement will probably be considerably lower than those of the 737NG. However, I still think that Boeing will not freeze the 737 replacement design until the 7E7 has flown. Boeing is a conservative company. They will want to learn from the 7E7 program.
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:36 pm

Boeing will not freeze the 737 replacement design until the 7E7 has flown. Boeing is a conservative company. They will want to learn from the 7E7 program.

Appreciate the logic here - quite a strong case can be made for leaving well enough alone for the time being. However, Boeing must be concerned at losing so many large narrow-body orders to Airbus due to price - if this continues then there could be a case for an earlier launch.

Also, the later the program is launched (2010 or later) then it is getting more into the comfort zone for Airbus to respond - the last thing Airbus want is to have to launch their own 320 replacement before 2010.
Boeing are a conservative company but they certainly have taken a very bold step with the 7e7 launch and all its associated new technologies and manufacturing techniques.
I think there could be a few more bold moves from Boeing in the next few years.


Cheers,
StickShaker
 
atmx2000
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 4:28 pm

I don't think Boeing can afford to wait until all orders are completely dried up, and in fact won't. Airlines will need narrow bodies for expansion and will continue to order narrow bodies from the older line. Certainly this is what happened with the 737, with around 340 orders for the 737 after the 737NG received the SWA launch order. They'll continue to accept the older models even after delivery of the new model, considering around 160 delivered after the 1st 737NG was acquired by SWA, and almost 600 delivered after the 737NG launch. Moreover, I would imagine the ramp down of the 737NG production will be slower than that of the older 737 models, given that there will be very little commonality between the 737NG and the 737NNG. It wouldn't be surprising to see not small orders and deliveries of 737NGs after the successor is in production, especially if airlines want to fill out an existing fleet and avoid introducing a completely new plane.

One factor that Boeing might consider in pushing forward a 737NNG introduction is that they could use a 757 replacement to satisfy customers who wished they had ordered more and to combat the A321. Commonality between a higher capacity, longer range 737NNG variant and the 7E7 also might bring in customers for both models. After all, a fair number of big 767 customers were big 757 customers as well. Maybe they could hook NWA with a long range 737NNG and 7E7 combo. At the very least they might delay any commitment to the A350.
ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
 
Planesmart
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Wed Dec 29, 2004 8:10 pm

SWA is a conservative operator, so unless the price is very very tempting, i doubt they would be the launch customer for the 737NNG.

As well as major 737 operators with the financial ability to acquire new aircraft, B must listen to airlines that have purchased A32 instead of 737, especially those that have disposed of 737's in recent years.

Just as A seems to have burned a few bridges in Japan, B has been quite successful at doing the same in Europe and Asia with ill-judged comments abt lost orders. Meaningful / representative design input will require serious effort from the sales teams responsible for these regions.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:22 am

SWA is a conservative operator, so unless the price is very very tempting, i doubt they would be the launch customer for the 737NNG.

Are you kidding... Southwest launched the 737-300, they launched the 737-500, and they launched the 737-700. WN will be first in line for the next narrow-body.
 
Planesmart
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:24 am

DfwRevolution

SWA is a conservative operator, so unless the price is very very tempting, i doubt they would be the launch customer for the 737NNG.

"Are you kidding... Southwest launched the 737-300, they launched the 737-500, and they launched the 737-700. WN will be first in line for the next narrow-body."

The 300, 500 and 700 are all iterations of an existing model. The 737NNG will be a true paper plane - new everything (if as described in this thread).

Financial markets apply a risk premium on funding. This is based on the customer, industry, economic outlook, and other factors. For large capital items, one of those other factors, is the product. For aircraft in production, the risk premium would be zero. Even before the 737 variants you describe flew, the risk premium on those models was zero / close to zero. I can assure you the 737NNG, will definitely not attract a zero risk premium for airlines ordering before it flies.

Never worked with SWA, but the market views them as very risk averse. Changing aircraft type will be a major decision / high risk moment for the company. To make that decision AND purchase a paper plane would be very out of character.

I'm sure Southwest will have considerable input into the 737NNG model and initial variants offered. Unless the price is very hot, i don't see them being a launch customer, unless options count as orders.
 
NYC777
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Thu Dec 30, 2004 6:16 am

Actually, SWA said that they would love to buy the 7E7 in a 737 class, read: Incorporate the 7e7 technology into a 737NG replacement and we'll buy it. And if they order 100 of them off the bat then that will kick the program into high gear. By that time the 7e7 technology will e well understood as will be the manufacturing processes and post delivery aircraft support. Therefore the risks you're talking about would have been mitigated substantially.
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atmx2000
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Thu Dec 30, 2004 6:19 am

The problem for Southwest is that Boeing won't run the 737NG line indefinitely after the 1st delivery of the 737NNG. If they go the 737NNG route and if they want to secure a large number of delivery slots for their replacement and expansion needs, SWA will have to make a commitment early to the program.
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RayChuang
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:43 pm

I think Boeing probably is already working with low-cost carriers such as Southwest on a true 737 replacement. Expect by 2006-2007 Boeing starting to show design studies of a new plane under possibly the 7S7 moniker  Smile that will be a clean-sheet design, possibly powered by a CFM56 successor using technology from the GENX engine used on the 7E7, with the option of a Pratt & Whitney geared-fan engine also.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Fri Dec 31, 2004 2:32 am

SWA is a conservative operator, so unless the price is very very tempting, i doubt they would be the launch customer for the 737NNG

They really aren't. There is a big difference between calculating and conservative.... entering PHL wasn't exactly a conservative gesture.

The 300, 500 and 700 are all iterations of an existing model.

The 735 yes, the 733 and 73G no. Both these two models were major departures from the aircraft that predated them, and can be treated as individual fleet types from a mechanical standpoint.

but the market views them as very risk averse. Changing aircraft type will be a major decision / high risk moment for the company.

WN does not opperate anything close to a homogenous fleet. Mechanically speaking, they opperate three (soon to be two) completly different fleet types. They manage it very well by using a common pilot/FA/opperational pool, but there is no question that WN opperates mixed fleet types.

To make that decision AND purchase a paper plane would be very out of character.

They've done it three times before. Yes, even the 733, 735, 73G were paper airplanes at one point.

I'm sure Southwest will have considerable input into the 737NNG model and initial variants offered. Unless the price is very hot, i don't see them being a launch customer

Catch-up on your WN/737 history... They will need a modern alternative to the 73G in 2010-2015, and WN is not an airline to be kept waiting. WN and "launch customer" can practically be used interchangeably.
 
Planesmart
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Fri Dec 31, 2004 10:09 am

The 300, 500 and 700 are all iterations of an existing model.

'The 735 yes, the 733 and 73G no. Both these two models were major departures from the aircraft that predated them, and can be treated as individual fleet types from a mechanical standpoint.'

At a B presentation for financial institutions in 2000, the 737 family history was referred to as 'evolutionary', 'iterative' and 'low risk'.

And this is how B sales portray the current 73 family today in relation to previous models, when pitching to existing operators.

Whatever YOUR interpretation of the 737 to-date, the NNG, if it incorporates most of the ideas in this thread, will be a high risk choice at the paper phase for airlines and financiers, compared to 737 current and past variants.

Perhaps SWA will place a mega launch order, because the current definition of an 'order' seems to have been re-written, involving small $'s and fully transferrable. We used to call these 'options' when B dominated the mkt.
 
StickShaker
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configurations

Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:29 pm

An interesting thing about the 737NNG is it will be the first narrow-body aircraft that will have its design so heavily driven by LCC requirements. Given it will be a clean sheet design Im curious as to what Boeing might do to help reduce turn around times. I'm not that familiar with the technical issues involved in turning around an aircraft quickly but I would imagine it includes luggage handling, refueling, catering (relatively modest on most LCC's) and boarding/deboarding pax.

One of the reasons given for Jetstars purchase of 320's was the containerised luggage handling which helps keep turn times to half an hour.
If half an hour is the standard turn around time is it feasible to design a new aircraft that could be easily turned around in 15-20 minutes. What systems would need to be changed and would they involve much cost ?

A reduction in turn around times would permit tighter scheduling and therefore higher aircraft utilisation - all adds to the bottom line.
An extra hour or 2 utilisation per day per aircraft would have to be attractive to any LCC. All helps to put the 737NNG out in front of the 320 or any derivative thereof.

What do you think guys ?
How would you go about it ?


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DfwRevolution
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:59 pm

If half an hour is the standard turn around time is it feasible to design a new aircraft that could be easily turned around in 15-20 minutes. What systems would need to be changed and would they involve much cost ?

I think the fastest way to turn aircraft around is to make them modular and make the whole action a highly synchronized ballet. Operations must be independent, simultaneous, ect. For example-

1. Double wide isles and boarding door. If you double the pathways that passengers board/exit from, common logic would suggest that boarding/exiting would take half as long. I doubt double-wide access would lead to an exact 50% reduction in passenger board/exit time (people have to load bins, ect), but a benefit nonetheless....

2. Automated cargo handling. Ramp workers will still need to drive the conveyer system, but self-propelled container cargo and RIFD tags could greatly reduce the baggage handling effort. Composite construction and elimination of a center fuel tank could allow for a full-length cargo hold, allowing baggage to leave via the rear door as it's loaded via the front door. RIFD tags indicate to the ground crew which bags require special handling before the doors even open.

3. Smaller fuel tanks. So long as range requirements don't greatly increase. I suppose it is possible that the necessary size of fuel tanks could decrease. Less tanker age means less to fill...

4. Modular galley system. How about instead of cleaning and restocking the galley, the catering truck carts the dirty/empty galley out and drops in a new clean/stocked galley? Lock it into the floor, attach power and you're ready to go. Ground handlers clean and restock the galley after the plane disembarks.

5. Keep ground clearance low. It's extremly convienient to the ground crew if everything they need to access is at waist/torso height. Even with containerized cargo, it's inevitable that bags will show up late and must be hand loaded, and if crews can do this without any special equipment, it saves time. This might be a problem as engine diameter increases, which requires taller landing gear or a higher wing.....

Note to remember- as the average stage length of an LCC grows longer, more and more time must be saved on the ground to redeem an extra cycle at the end of the day. At the very least, rapid turn-arounds would afford more scheduling flexibility as airport congestion will likely continue to climb….

[Edited 2004-12-31 06:04:51]
 
zvezda
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RE: 737 Composite Replacement - What Configuration

Sat Jan 01, 2005 12:23 am

With current aisle widths, it is often possible to pass another passenger who is stowing or retrieving his carryon, depending on the size and courtesy of the passengers involved. An increase of only 5 to 10 centimeters would probably save a minute or so from boarding and perhaps 30 seconds from deboarding, as people would more often be able to squeeze past. A double-wide aisle would be overkill.

A composite fuselage might obviate the Faraday cage effect enough to allow RFID tags to be read before the cargo door opens, but range is still an issue.

Smaller fuel tanks would not reduce turnaround times. Only as much fuel (including reserves is loaded) because it would be expensive to carry unneeded fuel. Airlines don't top off the tanks unless they need to.

Removable galleys would increase weight and require that a lot of extra galleys be purchased. This seems unlikely.

Ground clearance is already kept as low as practicable for other reasons such as strength and weight of the landing gear.

By switching to a composite fuselage, Boeing could match the A320's external cross section and increase interior width by about 10 centimeters. That would help ensure competitive direct operating costs and also speed turnaround times. I don't expect Boeing to exactly match the A320's external cross section, but I don't expect it to be more than 5 or so centimeters larger or smaller, thus keeping interior cabin width 5 to 15 centimeters greater than that of the A320.