I found this on page 64 of June's Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine. I hope you find this as interesting as I did.
"Aided by lower-than-forecast fuel consumption and aircraft weight, Boeing is renewing its 717 sales effort with an eye on the fast-growing regional jet market. It also has begun preliminary wind tunnel test of possible 86-seat 717-100X and 70-65-seat -100X Lite versions.
Earlier this month, the Seattle-based aerospace manufacturer revealed new, lower operating weights for its 106-passenger 717-200 twin jet. Referred to as the 'Year 2000 Spec' by Boeing, the fuel and airframe savings, plus related items, allowed the company to drop the 717's maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) by 4,000 lb. to 110,000 lb. The aircraft's maximum landing weight declined by 2,000 lb. to 100,000 lb.
Overall, the changes result in a 2-3.5% better cash operating cost for airlines, including lower weight-tabulated navigation and landing fees, according to Rolf Sellge, director of the 717 product marketing. Range of the $31.5-million, 106-passenger jet also increases slightly to 1,430 naut, mi., he said. The 717 is a derivative of the DC-9 with new BR715 engines and updated systems and electronics.
With 146 firm orders in hand from nine customers, the 717 program 'has turned the corner,' Sellge said. Boeing has bids out totalling more than 100 717s and is in serious discussions with three Asian and one U.S. carrier, he said. Alitalia also is interested in the aircraft at its new 110,000-MTOW limit, he said. Boeing literature lists two undisclosed 717 buyers, although no corresponding sales have been added to the company's official orderbook.
The lower costs, estimated at about a $2,300-per-hr. direct cash outlay for a 300-naut.-mi. trip, add new competition to the dynamic 100-seat market. The 717 is in production with 19 deliveries recorded while competing Airbus, Bombaridier, Embraer, and Fairchild 90-190-seat rejoinal jets won't be available until late 2002 at the earliest.
By comparison, the Embraer ERJ-190-100 has an estimated maximum takeoff weight of 101,389 lb. and will seat 108 passengers. It costs about $28 million and is sheduled for first costumer delieveries in late 2004. Range of the standard version is about the same as the 717. The 717's per-seat weight is 'within pounds' of the ERJ-190 and proposed 90-seat Fairchild 928, Sellge said, 'and we're here now.'
Although the in-development Airbus A318 has cockpit and other commomalities with A320 family transports, the 717's 11.5% better operating costs, on a typical 300 naut.-mi. trip, will outweight that for operators planning to add more than four 100-seat jets to an excisting fleet, Sellge said. The A318 costs around $38 million and now weighs 21,000 lb more than the 717, he said. It seats about 107 but has up to 2,800-naut.-mi. range.
Boeing also claims the 717 has 23% more cargo volume than the A318. Maintenance costs should be lower as the 717 has 43% fewer line replaceable units than the European-built transport.
The 717 also does not require ground-based passenger boarding jetways, fueling or baggage-loading equipment. Tugs also are optional as it can reverse out of gates, according to Boeing. The company estimates gate turnaround time at 23 min.
Nor has Boeing given up on the 737 and DC-9 replacement market. The Seattle-based aero manufacturer estimates demand in the segment for more than 2,000 jets, worth about $75 billion, in the next 20 years.
About 80% of these aircraft will go to smaller operators who are sensitive to financing. More than half of the potential customers are expected to have limited maintenance capability. Indeed, Boeing sees its ability to offer integrated sale packages, including financing, training and support services, as a strong sales advantage over its competitors.
The 717 improvements included 1,450 lb.-lower aircraft empty wright and overall-10% fuel burn reduction comparder to preflight estimates. Boeing also revised the transport's flight planning 'rules' and performance assumptions to more accurately reflect expected 717 missions and equipage. This allowed operators to reduce certain onboard equipment, saving another 1,200 lb., which is also reflected in the fuel economy gains.
Armed with initial winds tunnel data, Boeing plans to hold informal workshops with potential 717-100X and -100X Lite operators starting in about a month. These discussions are aimed as getting a better feel for the market, aircraft requirements and 'what airlines would be willing to pay' for these types, Sellge said. He admitted the foreshortened 717s do not meet Boeing's traditional business case.
Sellge said Boeing could have a 717-100X or -100X Lite in revenue service 36 months after receiving a go-ahead from the board of directors. The -100X Lite would be powered by the BR710 engine.
The manufacturer is also considering a 130-seat 717-300 version. This would give Boeing two aircraft in the 130-seat class. However, the 717 would be differentiated by less range and, presumably, a lower price tag. Typical DC-9 and 737-200 missions studied by Boeing averaged 310 naut. mi."
Whew, that was long! Hope you liked it. Now I have to go soak my fingers....
Dear moderators: No.