Boeing May Scrap Engine Retrofit for a New 737 Aircraft Design

by | May 10, 2010

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Boeing may decide to design and build a replacement for the 737 instead of retrofitting the aircraft with a more efficient engine, reports Puget Sound Business Journal. The retrofit was expected due to a decision by Airbus to “re-engine” the A320 family with a more efficient engine.

The report comes from Buckingham Research analyst Richard Safra, according to aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton in his blog.

Hamilton also says new engines like Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan would deliver fuel savings but new engines designed around a new airframe would garner “really big savings,” reports The Dallas Morning News.

A new efficient engine for the 737 could increase its fuel efficiency by about 15 percent, and keep it ahead of competition in the narrow-body jetliner market, including Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier, which are both developing more efficient engines than either the 737 or Airbus A320 series now use, according to Puget Sound Business Journal.

Boeing has said in the past that it wouldn’t build a new plane unless its new technologies could increase efficiency by about 20 percent.

The “clean sheet” or new design would cost several billion dollars or twice the cost of re-engining and would not be available commercially until after 2020, compared to five years to retrofit the engines, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG says it’s in favor of Airbus and Boeing installing new engines on their existing narrow-body models to help reduce operating costs by about 15 percent, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The airliner would like to see improvements in noise, emissions and fuel consumption.

Airbus and Boeing are expected to make a decision this year about whether they will spend at least $1 billion installing new engines to boost efficiency.

Boeing, together with airline carriers, also has been testing new biofuels to increase fuel efficiency. The aviation industry is working on sustainable fuel development and fuel conservation measures.

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