NWAROOSTER wrote:If it was not for Southwest Boeing would have begun designing a new narrow body aircraft at least ten years ago.
I think that WN is certainly an important factor here, but let's not get carried away. Suppose that the 787 had flown on schedule in 2008 or 2009 and went off without any major problems. In 2010 Boeing might well have said: "OK, we're going to work on a 737 replacement."
WN will probably be responsible for ~5-10% of the 737MAX order book, which is no small thing, but in the alternate universe outlined above, WN would still need narrowbodies. Now, this might have caused them to start courting Airbus, but Boeing would have probably won out. Boeing would have made the flight deck of the new aircraft a Boeing flight deck and that's what 737 pilots are used to. Boeing would have probably won WN's order and Airbus would be scrambling to figure out how to bring the A320NEO up to scratch.
The fact is that clean-sheet designs are notoriously expensive, especially because those designs can span decades. Look at the 777, now going into its third iteration 25 years after it was launched. So you want to load as much bleeding edge technology as you can into a new design because it needs to last. The A320's FBW systems are still relevant today, for example.
But Boeing made a very short-sighted decision with MCAS. They were way too obsessed with making the 737MAX almost exactly like the 737NG for pilots. The system itself was poorly-designed and now Boeing is paying a very steep price.