Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:06 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:06 | SYDNEY

Boeing takes the plunge


Sam Roggeveen


28 November 2007 13:58

If you've ever flown in a commercial aircraft, chances are it was either a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 short-haul passenger jet. These aren't aviation's glamour children, but they are the two most produced commercial jet classes in the world.

Now Gulf News reports that Boeing is talking openly about designing a highly efficient replacement for its ubiquitous 737. Wikipedia tells us over 5000 Boeing 737s have been delivered, with another 2000 to roll off production lines. And at US$50-85 million a piece for a modern version of the jet, moving to a completely new model is clearly a huge commercial decision. In fact, even talking about it is a risk: the prospect of a new model coming down the line could depress sales of the existing one.

With Boeing taking the plunge, expect Airbus to follow, though perhaps not in a hurry. As the battle between the two manufacturers' larger twin jets shows, there isn't that much harm in coming second. Boeing did steal a march on Airbus with its 787, but the Airbus A350, although due to enter service years later, is now winning big orders. Not only do airlines like getting the latest technology, they also spread orders around so that there's no danger of either Boeing or Airbus getting so far in front that they can establish a monopoly.

Photo by Flickr user livatlantis, used under a Creative Commons licence.