A misunderstanding o what the issue actually is here. The 737 benefits from grandfathering its certification forward from the 1960's and the main driver for being able to keep the original tye certificate are the cabin and systems, the wing update for the NG was a minor hurdle in the realms of certification. If Boeing were to raise the gear by 2 feet as you suggest then the trailing edge of the main wing would gain enough height such that its distance above the ground would mean that it is not suitable for evacuation without slides, this means you would have to re-certify the fuselage and cabin which would mean certifying it to 2018 standards rather than 60s standards at which point you would have to add other safety features and design elements not present in todays 737 which allow it to maintain a lower weight than would otherwise be the case. Its not that Boeing could not be bothered to spend the money, in fact I dare say if the recertification requirements weren't there then adding the extra 2 feet would be cheaper than the rigmarole they have to go through to maintain it at its low level.
I meant it as a somewhat ironic statement that Boeing could have chosen to do anything, and certainly has the capability to do so. To rely on a cert this old proves my point: that Boeing has not invested any significant capital into furthering this aircraft beyond what we know -- and that most of the changes that have taken place to keep the 737 competitive didn't even require Boeing to spend money.
Do you believe that the whole of Boeings plan for the last 15 years has been about developing technologies specifically for the 797 in secret? Like priming harry potter to fight Voldemort? Its a nice story but like most companies being are just doing the best with what information they have available and what they learn the keep and carry on moving onward and upwards.
Well, I'm either going to be massively wrong... or substantially right. I'm former MDC and the merger/shutdown of MDC commercial, combined with dumping the Sonic Cruiser, etc: there was a lot of inward reflection/focus that let directly to the 787 (delays and all); I still think every breadcrumb leads to this. Yes, I am suggesting that's what they've been up to -- and it should be noted that they've kept a schedule far less reliably than teenagers. But nothing has changed in the business analysis, and the need just grows more acute.
I'd also suggest Airbus just figured it out, too, since they joined Bombardier in their effort last year and just now walked away from the 320plus study. No amount of griping on a.net changes the fact that the single-aisle space is commoditized: a price race to the bottom. As long as Airbus is obsessed with numbers, they will battle it out (and I suspect do extremely well next 5-10 years), but who ultimately wants to be building a 320/737 equivalent for $30 mil? The Chinese can, and they'll be doing it pretty well by then. And remember that "replacements", the real raw numbers, are all the DC-9s and older 737s and 320s flying, probably on third or fourth owner: those airlines will buy new if it's affordable and financing's good. COMAC won't miss the chance to catch carriers in growing economies. I don't think COMAC realistically thinks AA or UA is going to order 200. (DL, on the other hand... lol)
Again, I'm know I'm pretty far out there, and I don't thing Boeing commercial are masterminds or whatever. But I think they took a really hard look back then and are still comfortable with their analysis. After the expectations I have for them, they better not disappoint. I will need someone to blame.