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Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 4:20 am

What should the future product strategy for Boeing be, and WHY? Should they focus on the Sonic Cruiser, develop a 767NG, an all new 767-size plane, focus on the jumbo-market (747X) or develop a new 737-size aircraft. What about a new 757 or 757NG?

Which segment would be the most important (profitable) for Boeing? Please keep in mind that Boeing’s mission is to make money, so keep some reality in your suggestions!

And please no A vs. B war or nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia (I would love to see the 747 live forever, let`s restart the MD11 line, etc)!

Response/ discussion would be appreciated!

Stick & Rudder
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 5:09 am

All IMO:  Smile

1. First they should develop a new and efficient replacement for the 767 - Call it 767NG if you wish, but why not start from scratch when they have the chance.

2. After that, they should develop a single-aisle new product to replace both the 737NG and 757 (There's no sense in having two narrowbody product lines), using tech and experience from the light widebody product above.

Maximum commonality between these two new product families is of course a must. Cockpit commonality with the 777 would be a definate plus.
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 5:31 am

Looking at Airbus's and Boeing's product lines, we note a few things.

Airbus has 3 basic product lines at present. The A320 class for 107 to 220 passengers, the A330/340 class for 240 to 280 pax, and the A380 for 500+.

Boeing has 6 product lines, twice that of Airbus. 717 for 106 pax, 737 for 108 to 189, 757 for 178 to 240, 767 for 216 - 270, 777 for 305 to 385, and the 747 for 400+.

The 717 overlaps with the 737-600, the 757 overlaps both the 737 and the 767. The 757 has a range advantage over the similar-sized Airbus offering, but few airlines use it - it's a niche advantage.

So I'd say the first priority is to develop a single successor to the 20-year old 757/767 line which will carry between 180 and 300 people with intercontinental range versions in all size variants.

Second priority would be to replace the 737 with a class for between 100 and 200 pax.

The 717 needs to be terminated ASAP. It brings little to Boeing.

The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 5:38 am

1) I think a Sonic Cruiser like concept, with a cruise speed of about M0.85 to M0.9, in 2-4-2 layout and variable ranges from 3000 to 8000 nm and variable sized from 200 seats (three class) to 350 seats (three class) would be what is needed most on the medium to ultra-long hauls.

2) A Single-aisle product (a little wider for cargo) would be needed (as TransSwede suggested), using new high-bypass engines, composites and adaptive wings for 120 to 200 seats. Maybe also with canard wings, or a three surface aircraft, to lower fuel consumption, and increase performance

No matter what: Move away from the current airliner concept, it is maxed out.

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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 6:37 am

I think a good move for them might be to develop a 200-seater. Airbus has a weakness in their product line in this point and some airlines have been making noises to the effect they'd want this kind of plane.

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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 7:10 am

Let's bring on the BWB...The ultimate response to the A380.
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 7:18 am

They should drop xxx line! They should develop x amount of new products! They should develop a BWB, something that's never flown before in a market that they think doesn't exist!


Really, grow up.

Boeing is a company. Definatly in the last year it's shown it's profit orientated. Like it or not, Boeing is not going to have 2/3 major projects in development at once. If it loses market share to Airbus, fair enough. Developing new products is inherantly risky, especially in an industry where it takes upto a decade to break even. Couple that with a volatile market, unfair competition, bloated management and workforce issues and give me reasons WHY Boeing should develop new products?!

The 737NG sells, and sells very well. The 747 sells. The 757 sells. The 767 sells. The 777 sells. They're all great products. People will say "but they're old! No one's ordering them!". So? How many A321s have been ordered this year?

If more Airbus orders are somehow a sign of a superior product, you've got to ask WHY airlines are switching to Airbus. In times of a (percieved) economic downturn, could it be the airlines are going for the product with the lower fixed costs and initial investment over the products that will be expensive but worthwhile in the long run?
Your bone's got a little machine
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 7:40 am

All, of course, IMHO:

1. EIS 2008-09: The first aircraft will be a 220-265 seater. Whether this is Sonic Cruiser or "Yellowstone" (highly effecient conventional) is still open to debate, but I would bet on the latter. Probably 8-abreat max., this aircraft will be medium-long range, and its stretch version would probably replace the basic 777-200 early in the next decade. Expect very similar engineering as the 777, with nearly perfect circular fuselage and 777 flight deck.

2. EIS 2011-12: A 737NG & 757 replacement. Probably still a convential design, will employ many of the composite-materials & production effeciency technology from above. Also shares flight deck with 777, possibly also circular cross-section. However, this will depend on whether the seating is kept at a standard 3x3, or possibly a "mini-widebody" eco-seating of 2x2x2. The latter would provide obvious passenger and cargo benefits, but would only be employed if composite technology is advanced enough. The "mini-widebody" would also mean a larger starting airframe, roughly around 130-135 seats (compared to 110 of 737-600). Various versions would run 130-230.

Beyond that is entirely unpredictable. Either a Sonic Cruiser (excellent idea when the market matures enough!) or a large jumbo (BWB or not). Also, by this time, a "777NG" would be a consideration.

Of course, all that depends on the market not accepting new ideas (a la Sonic Cruiser) and employ the standard airliner configurations, which we seen have pretty much gone as far as they can go.


All gave some. Some gave all.
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RE: Boeing`s Future Strategy

Tue Nov 12, 2002 8:36 am


While you are correct in assessing that the 737 is selling well and that the 747/757/767/ sell, there is a huge difference between a product selling and selling at a rate that allows a production line to be operated profitably. At this point, the latter three are getting dangerously close to the point where insufficient backlog means that Boeing can no longer cut back production sufficiently for profitability to continue. Sorry, but no matter how great a product is(or was), no manufacturer can operate production lines at a loss. Obviously this could change for the 747 if additional pending orders materialize into contracts and if the USAF finalizes some sort of deal for 767 tankers, but even with that, the lack of interest in the current product line from civil carriers and the growing lead Airbus has established in certain market segments has to be disturbing for Boeing leadership.
There is an inherent danger of sitting on an existing product line for too long. A product can only be "tweaked" so many times before it is superceded by a competitor whose product needs only to be perceived as superior in performance and value in order to initiate the downward spiral of diminishing return. If the competitor fields something that actually is better in performance and value, multiply the "you're screwed" factor by 10. I believe that this is what is happening to the 767. Is it a good product? Yes. Is it getting the snot beat out of it by A330? Yes. Hard to reconcile these 2 concepts by your definitions.
Obviously this is a gross over-simplification of 1 of the issues facing Boeing.
Productivity, labor relations, costs, manufacturing efficiency all are factors. The inevitable confrontation between Airbus and Boeing over subsidies, ect will also play a role. I tend to believe that neither side will want to risk a WTO hearing, so a negotiated settlement will probably be made.
Insofar as Boeing's future strategy, Hamlet69 has outlined a well thought-out pair of concepts(as usual). It would appear that a conventional layout of high operating efficiencies will represent the greatest attraction to carriers who will need years to recoup their collective losses. It would also offer the best opportunity to capitalize on R&D advances without the exposure of higher risk but unproven concepts or technologies that the market appears uninterested in(for the moment).



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