Boeing has flagged an increase in development activity on the 777 and 737 with key management changes which will also put an increased focus on program execution following the troubles experienced in the 787 and 747-8 programs.
“Our priorities for 2010 and beyond are clear,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh. “We must execute on our 787 and 747-8 development programs; we must continue to perform on our ongoing production programs; and in this increasingly competitive world, we must develop a clear vision and roadmap for both the single-aisle and twin-aisle marketplaces.”
Under the management changes, Howard Chambers, who was most recently the vice president and deputy program manager for the 787, will lead a new Program Management function. In this role, Chambers will be responsible for the development of program-management skills and drive enterprise-wide best practices throughout BCA.
Former 787 program head and more recently vice president of business strategy and marketing, Mike Bair will lead the newly created Advanced 737 Product Development team which will take responsibility for planning the future of Boeing’s single-aisle offering, while Lars Anderson has been appointed to head up an Advanced 777 Product Development team. Anderson, who served in a number of roles including program manager of the 777, actually retired from Boeing in 2007, and will lead the team as a consultant.
The appointments of Bair and Anderson have increased speculation that Boeing is examining its options for its two main airliners, which could include a re-engining of the 737 and a largely composite version of the successful 777, with some indications that management are actively considering major developments to them. Boeing CEO and chairman Jim McNerney said during a January 27 conference call that the company would allocate more funds to research and development on the two aircraft in 2011.
Interestingly, McNerney also left the door open for a potential re-engining of the 737, noting that a study into it is currently “under active consideration from a product requirement standpoint”.