I believe that there are some who don’t want Boeing to be successful. Airbus obviously doesn’t want the the NMA to be successful.
The Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) falls into a few categories:
- It will be late regardless of what the actual schedule and progress is. This is part of a sales strategy encouraging customers to avoid new designs and stick with the old designs. Ignore the design progress.
- The product design is wrong. Wrong shape, size, range, etc. There is a whole cabin width debate trying to tell us that the strategy is wrong. Whether it is cabin width or containers or range, whatever Boeing is proposing is deficient. Always suggest that something else is better.
- There is no market. Since the program wasn’t launched yesterday, it must mean that Boeing is doubting itself. Ignore the fact that launch to entry into service has always been scheduled to be 4 or 5 years except the A380, which had a 6 year plan. Ignore program reviews, the engineers working on the design and articles in the media.
- Technological development is standing still. Ignore that the NMA is proposed to have a third generation composite wing. Assume it won’t be better than today’s products
- It will be too expensive. Along the lines that some claims that technology stands still, designing for manufacturability will not help improve production costs
- There is a superior competing product in the works that will be cheaper, better, faster, etc
Trying to refute the FUD allows plenty of tangential debates that get away from the fact that there is a lot of buzz from airlines interested in the plane. I’m excited to hear more about NMA developments rather than the FUD
I have a difficulty with this post as it implies that some very valid debates that counter the hype developing around the 797 on this thread must be suppressed.
Lateness - The track record of OEM's in delivering programmes of late is abysmal. There are some pretty senior voices in the industry that suggest that 2025 is now unlikely.
The product design is wrong – I think that is a mis-representation of the debate. Some people's opinions of what the product design might be are likely to be wrong – Boeing themselves are fairly tight lipped on this one. But we have posters who variously think the 797 will be:-
A 787 lite
A reincarnation of the 767 but lighter
A very small oval twin-aisle 7-across max
And those that hold those views cling onto them tenaciously.
What makes the debates interesting, and valid, is that each of these options has characteristics that run counter to some of the other claims being made for the 797 – you don't get anything for nothing, but equally bring something different to the party.
There is no market – again, a misrepresentation. No-one claims that there is NO
market. The debate is around whether what market there is big enough to facilitate the business case required to launch the product. That is a valid debate and again it is possible to find quotes from fairly senior figures in the industry questioning the business case (e.g. GE)
Technological development is standing still – in fairness Boeing themselves have clearly stated that the 797 will not be a technological "tour-de-force" and will play safe on the technology front. The focus of the product is said to be manufacturability
It will be too expensive – this is an interesting debate (for me certainly it goes to the crux of the business case). I wrote my master's thesis on manufacturing strategy in 1994 and have been a senior Manufacturing Engineer/Manufacturing Strategist ever since then (a quarter of a century). There's a few points at play here:-
There are very few sustainable
competitive advantages in manufacturability.
Other OEM's have similar manufacturing technologies available
The factors which make up the overall cost of a manufactured product are pretty complex – more than most on here will comprehend, including cost of materials, cost of labour, cost of variable overheads, contribution to fixed overheads, etc., and like a lot of things few of these come for free.
Reducing labour invariably increases material costs, overhead costs and capital costs. Optimising the entire cost base is an art form, not a mathematical equation
Overall unit cost is heavily dependent on economies of scale
(Lightsaber quotes every doubling reduces UPC by 13% - I suspect its not that simple, but you get the drift).
One of the ways that the fuselage design plays into this is how it facilitates, or alternatively limits, volume of product that can be built to the same basic design, on the same lines.
This is why some people (and I am one of them) are very sceptical about the manufacturing claims being made when applied to some of the bigger options (e.g. the 787 lite, or 767 reincarnate). The two are contradictory.
It doesn't matter what the technology is, a 140t plane being made at 10 per month will never challenge the cost base of a 90t-100t plane being made on a line turning at 60 per month
The points I have made are all very valid challenges to the whole concept behind the 797 and merit constructive debate. That these arguments exist in no way makes their promoters haters, or spoilers, or anti 797. The whole fun of this thread should be in comprehending the spectrum of issues at play and the anticipation of learning what the final outcome actually is.
If these arguments are not acceptable on the thread, perhaps we should call it "The 797 propaganda thread". Who knows?
Given the posting history here, maybe we should call this the anti-797 thread?
Or alternatively, see above.