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717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 10:20 am

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....  
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 10:32 am

Wow, very informative. Thanks much!
We're Nuts
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 10:36 am

      My 200th post!!!     

No problem, I thought you guys would enjoy it.
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 11:16 am

As an Alitalia fan I would be happy if AZ would buy the 717-100, even because the entire fuselage is built in Italy.
Anyway the -100 does't go in conflict with a possible A318 order but this would probably reduce the number of both types to be ordered by Alitalia.
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RE: Thank You!

Fri Aug 18, 2000 11:25 am

I think it's interesting that Douglas set the low cost standard back in the 60's witht the DC-9, and modernized it with the MD-95, yet Boeing has taken the design and improved even further on it. It's ironic that the best airliner McDonnel Douglas (this excludes the DC-3, DC-6B, and DC-8) that they ever designed, and it's now a Boeing. I think that the combination of low operating costs and higher ticket prices due to it being a "real" airliner and having a first class will let it stomp the 90 seat RJs. I think it'd sure be nice if Delta and Southwest each order 717s. Then Delta'd have operated the entire family, DC-9/MD-80/MD-90/717, and while it would hurt fleet commonality for Southwest, it just seems like the type of aircraft they should fly. But I personally think it's doubtful that that will happen. I think it's more likely that Delta and American (to supplement/replace Fokker 100s) will buy them.

God bless McDonnel Douglas and Pratt & Whitney
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 2:04 pm

Amen. I love it!

A truly great aircraft.

RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 2:19 pm

Thanks, I really enjoyed it.
We're Nuts
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 3:18 pm

You're welcome all. I'm glad you liked it  
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 10:48 pm

It would be nice for Delta Express to purchase the 717 to replace it's 737-200s.
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 10:57 pm

TEDSKI - Delta is going to get 737-632s for Delta Express. Their current 737 order is for the 737-600/700/800.

Matt D
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 11:28 pm

Wow!!! That was impressive. If those numbers are true, then it totally escapes me why the baby from the MDD and Boeing Marriage hasn't been a runaway success.
Any guesses on who the US carrier might be?
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Fri Aug 18, 2000 11:53 pm

It won't be Southwest - no way would Herb go for that...

I think that if the US-UA merger is busted up, US would go for it -- training from the DC-9/MD-80 line to the 717 would be minimal, and it's just what they need for service to the smaller communities. The A318 is WAY too big for those... plus it addresses some of the RJ void that US has due to contract restrictions with their pilots.

I think it also has a future with the smaller lines -- Horizon, for one... or maybe Vanguard (read finance-sensitive)...
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Sat Aug 19, 2000 12:48 am

The article souded a bit odd to me - for instance, the A318 has longer, not the same, range as 717. Boeing has considered cancelling the 717 because they haven't been successful in luring the right kind of customers for it. Now they're considering a new variant of it.

The reason airlines haven't been hot on 717 is, I think both the more claustrophobic cabin and the fact that they're planning to retire their MDxx products in the future.
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If I Think Right...

Sat Aug 19, 2000 4:06 am

If I'm right, and this is just an assumption, but based on the fact that the 'unmentioned' carrier is being kept secret, I think I know who and why.

FairDor recently cancelled the 428--YX had 10 on ORDER AND FINANCED! YX is now in a difficult situation. What to replace the 428 with, and they're also looking to replace their higher-cycle -30s and -10s? DC9-CAPT could probbaly fill me in properly, but what will they pick. The ERJ and CRJ don't exactly fit the fleet commonality they were shooting for (328...428...728...928?). Airbus? Not a chance, when they have a significant maintenance facility for their MD-88s, 82s, and DC9s. The 717-2/-1 would be a wise choice, eh?
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Sat Aug 19, 2000 6:04 am

I think the 717X series will be ideal for YX! Their DC-9s, though very well-maintained and in excellent condition, will have to be phased out (or re-engined, though this is unlikely) due to Stage IV noise restrictions. There will be a high degree of commonality between 717 models if Boeing goes through with development plans, so it certainly makes sense that YX would be in the market for the entire series eventually.

Great to hear the 717 will soldier on!
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Sat Aug 19, 2000 8:41 am

717- 11.5% cheaper to fly than the A318
717- how much cheaper is it than the 737-600?

Seems to me that Delta would have to balance out the higher operating cost of the 737-600 with the fleet commonality issue, which the 717 also has.

God Bless MDC and Pratt & Whitney
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RE: 717 - Very Interesting Article (Long)

Sat Aug 19, 2000 10:11 am

These versions would probably be more successful as the market is bigger for this seating capacity:
717-300 = seating 130 passengers
717-400 = with the MD-80 wing, seating 150 seats, replacing MD-80??

The 717 can be pitched as a short-haul aircraft, with range around 1500 naut miles. The 737s a long haul aircraft.

What do you think?


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