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News From Boeing

blusk
Not applicable
I know a lot of you share my fascination for new aircraft.  Although it's a bit too big for Southwest, the first 787 is nearing completion.  Click here for some neat photos in Boeing's blog, "Randy's Journals."
13 Comments
FriendofBlogBoy
Not applicable
Brian, Thanks for a great post! Wow, what a monster of an aircraft! Do you have any idea how many bags of peanuts (and candy corn) it would take to serve all of those pax? Yikes! I'm also thinking of a scene from, I believe, the movie "Airplane", and imagining a canyon blue Southwest 787 operating between DAL and HOU and the terminal announcement: "Southwest announces the arrival of flight number 7 from Houston Hobby, now pulling up to gates 4, 5, 6 and 7...." Kim :) P. S. Boeing only has one more major model type to go before they run out of their current series of numbers. After the 797, do you suppose the next one will be the 808? As Arsenio Hall used to say on his short-lived show, "things that make you go hmmmmmmmm...."
blusk
Not applicable
Kim, I don't know what Boeing's plans are for numbers. When they took over McDonnell/Douglas, they renamed the MD-95 as the Boeing 717 (which was the model number for the KC-135 Air Force tankers). When they had planned a supseronic transport, it was going to be the Boeing 2707. Brian
pthompson
Not applicable
Aww c'mon Brian, we can make the 787 work, can't we? Don't I wish! :-) Regarding the next numbers for Boeing, I do believe it's likely we'll see the 808 and so-on. One reason for that is the number 8 is considered lucky in Asian cultures, and Asia is the fastest-growing region in commercial aviation. I was told this is why the first offerings of the 787 and A380 are the "-800" models. Both major manufactures (Boeing and Airbus) have become VERY conscious of the need to market to that region in particular. Some believe the 797 designator will be used for the replacement for the 737, currently being called the 737RS (Replacement Study) or Project Y1 or 'Yellowstone" at Boeing. Estimates have this new bird taking to the skies sometime in the 2013-14 range. Here's a link for more info at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737RS
jim
Not applicable
Kim - I do not remember where I saw this, but if I recall correctly (and it's been a while), Boeing's next project is to take the 787 technology (composite fuselage, bigger windows, 6,000 feet atmosphere, etc., etc. and start implementing it in planes with the same look and feel as existing aircraft, and change the last "7" to an "8". In other words, a composite body 737 would be named a 738 (which is only a nickname for the 737-800). The 747 would become the 748. You are correct that the next all new plane would be a 797. Then I believe they will skip the 8's entirely, and the next all new plane would be a 909 or 919.
roborob
New Arrival
The 787 is an amazing airplane and can't wait till it enters service! I am a contractor here at Southwest Airlines, but previously I worked for Boeing...so I have a strong interest in the success in both Boeing and Southwest Airlines. :) You should check out the Boeing 787 site...specifically, take a look at the Podcast Episodes...I think you will enjoy them: http://newairplane.com/787/
Geoff1
Not applicable
Jim, that isn't quite right, they are adding an 8 after the model number. For example the 747-8: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/747family/747-8_facts.html
eric-montz
Not applicable
Would Southwest ever consider the 787 for future use, such as their plans for transatlantic flights? Can the current 737-300, -500, -700 planes even make it across safely? I think the -700 has a farther range, but I'm not sure if it is long enough or cost effective enough with only 117(?) seats. Also, if Southwest is looking at slowing their growth down and is concerned about its 34 737's coming in next year, shouldn't they start replacing their 737-300 and 737-500 models? The -300 series is getting older and they only have 25 of the -500 model. So it seems reasonable to start replacing those if they are looking at a possible surplus of new planes coming in and instead of selling them. It looks better to replace the older planes and sell the older ones so their fleet stays new like everyone likes.
blusk
Not applicable
Hi Eric, It is my understanding that the 737-700 has the longest range of all the Next Generation 737s. Lufthansa was leasing some -700s in an all business class configuration to fly from Germany to Newark, and Aloha uses 737-700s daily to fly from the mainland to Hawaii (the longest stretch of overwater flying in the world without intermediate airports), so the range is definitely there. Whether we ever fly from the US to Europe still remains to be seen. Brian
eric-montz
Not applicable
Thanks a lot. When do you see the -300 and -500 variants going up for replacement? Is it even being planned yet? And do you ever see Southwest possibly going up to a larger plane or at least a larger 737 such as the 737-900ER? I know you are looking at the future 737 model as well.
blusk
Not applicable
Eric, The -300 and -500 are still valuable aircraft to us, and we are in the process of adding blended winglets to about 60 of the -300s. I am certainly not the expert on our fleet replacements, but I know we eventually will replace the -300s and -500s. Just not sure when. It would take a major "sea change" for us to invest in larger aircraft. One of the hallmarks of our success is a common aircraft type. It reduces training and maintenance costs and allows us flexible scheduling, which is important because our schedules are drawn on a point to point basis--flying from "A" to "B" without hubbing in point "C." Of course, we also say that we learned long ago never to say "never." This industry often changes overnight, so we want to remain flexible and meet new challenges. Brian
Jack_D
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I think that if Southwest intends to remain competitive in its domestic market, it will have to purchase at least a few 787-300 aircraft. These aircraft carry twice the capacity of a single-aisle craft for less than twice its operating cost (fuel, landing fees, maintenance, number of flight crew, airspace fees, parking fees, gate fees, etc.). If other airlines buy these aircrafts and put them on some of the same routes as Southwest (at least some of the longer routes; 1000 NMI+), Southwest will need to do something.
Anonymous2825
Not applicable
Well the copilot I was flying with last week, had a friend who is working for one of the company's that carry Dreamliner parts. when he was talking to the Boeing factory handler of shipments he saw a brand new southwest plane sitting on the tarmac. He said his friend flew for that airline and the boeing man said you'll be carrying a lot of southwest parts soon. So I am looking forward to the paris airshow where Southwest might announce this and I am very excited.
William_Diaz
Not applicable
Hey Brian, Im reading old 4 year old comments, and still wonder if Southwest, after the few emergency landing and aircraft skin incidents, has any plans to finally ditch the older 737 models and move up to the 700 and 800's or if they plan to ever start using the 787 models. The composite body can withstand more fatigue that can come with Southwests multiple departures and arrivals, constant pressurization and accommodate larger more profitable routes across America, particularly ones where Southwest already flies 10+ daily non-stop fights from hubs like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, Dallas, Baltimore, etc. More people, a plane that can withstand more fatigue, saves 20% fuel, this is everything Southwest is looking for, right? Also, the added benefit is that these new planes can be configured with some extra special amenities so Southwest can compete against other low fare airlines that provide a little more comfort, like jetBlue or Virgin America on those routes that all three airlines serve. It is definitely something to think about.