Boeing is increasingly looking like it will not offer a re-engining option for future 737 customers, but could instead offer further incremental improvements to the existing NG series aircraft, which has been internally dubbed ‘737NG+’.
According to Flightblogger, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh raised the prospect of a 737NG+ during an internal company webcast at Boeing’s Renton facility where it currently assembles 737s. Although no specific details have been given, it is understood that the concept would see further improvements made to the aircraft without the investment required for a new engine, which would still deliver competitive economics against the proposed Airbus A320 NEO, which would be powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan or CFM’s LEAP-X engine.
Boeing is already planning to introduce airframe and engine enhancements to the 737NG line from 2012, and it is believed that these would be incorporated into a wider package of enhancements to bridge the gap before the manufacturer moves to an all-new narrowbody in the 2020s.
The manufacturer has already indicated that it is unlikely to offer a new generation engine on the 737NG, with CFO James Bell telling attendees at a recent conference that its customers “have not shown a real interest in a re-engine airplane”, while the modifications required to a 737 to accommodate the PW1000G or LEAP-X would only marginally improve the type’s operating economics.
Boeing has previously indicated that it will decide by the end of the year on the way forward for the 737.