Lootman wrote:AsleepInYorkshire wrote:The 737 has [imho] reached the end of its service life. Even with modifications it's not going to survive.
Some context here. The 737 is the most successful plane in the history of civil aviation. More have been built than any other plane by a goodly amount. The problem here is specifc to the MAX which was an attempt to stretch the 737 beyond its core capabilites. An error perhaps but not an indictment of the entire product range.
And it is not much older than the erstwhile 747. The 737 made its first flight in 1967 and the 747 in 1969. BA is still flying 32 747s around the globe and nobody complains about them.
Yes an excellent and pertinent point. The 737 has been an extremely successful vehicle for Boeing. And yes again it's clear that Boeing have attempted to stretch the design of this vehicle beyond core. However, I'm not so sure I agree with your choice of words that this amounts to an error. I think in isolation it probably does and in that scenario I would agree with you. However, I am not entirely convinced this is an isolated error. I think there is strong evidence to suggest it's part of an embedded and dysfunctional culture that is cascading down through the company with a focus upon sales numbers.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/03 ... -save-cash
In 2011 Boeing learned that American Airlines, one of its best customers, had struck a tentative deal with Airbus for potentially hundreds of A320neo planes to renew its short-haul fleet. American invited Boeing to make a counter-offer. Boeing realized it needed to act fast, and offered what would become the Max . . . American eventually bought 260 Airbus planes and agreed to take 200 upgraded 737s from Boeing. As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 Max, Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis.
As I've mentioned this isn't a one off. Boeing senior management refused to take on board the recommendations of their own experts regarding outsourcing the design and build of the Dreamliner. And I have got to ask why would anyone hire an expert and promptly ignore them?
If I may come back to your excellent points again please. I'd like to suggest that the Boeing 737 isn't, as you claim the most successful aircraft in history. If I may make so bold as to assume that's based on numbers sold. If this is the basis of your claim then yes in absolute terms the 737 does have the accolade of being the most sold.
However, there is a robust counter position to this which is that the Airbus is actually more successful. The Airbus family has been available over a shorter period of time. Looked at from a point of view of numbers sold per year then Airbus comes out on top. It has also outsold Boeing over the time since it's birth.
https://leehamnews.com/2014/11/17/a320- ... winner-is/
Boeing’s marketing and communications team has done a superb job of claiming its 737 is the best selling jetliner of all time and with 12,257 firm orders since the first program, the 737-100/200, was launched in 1964. The 737 edges out the A320 family’s 11,021 orders. (These figures exclude options and MOUs.)
Boeing’s dominance in the single-aisle is a thing of the past, and it won’t return for at least another decade and perhaps a decade and a half—certainly not until Boeing designs an entirely new, “clean sheet” airplane and this even depends on the Airbus response.
I am not entirely convinced any argument exists from either side to claim a best selling family or design. What is evident, in my opinion, is Airbus is extremely successful in it's own right and clearly a competitive threat to Boeing. It's entirely possible that Boeing are not capable of "dominating" the market in the single aisle category.
You have mentioned quite correctly that the 737 Boeing has sold well. That's not in question. What I think is more important would be to understand to what extent the sales of this particular element of the Boeing family contribute to the bottom line. If Boeings best seller is literally "falling from the sky" then the potential threat to their future earnings (or being completely pessimistic their survival) is suitably proportional. Upon closer inspection the 737-Max is actually the most current configuration of the vehicle and as such any delays to it's return magnify the impact of the negative cost burden that Boeing will incur. I continue to perceive that if the vehicle can be returned to service it will still have a very steep curve to climb in order to get passengers back on board. As such it may not be a risk many airlines want to take when purchasing new. There is ample [imho] evidence to suggest that Boeing's future may just not be as rosy as its past and I think the pain for share holders and particularly share price and dividends could come under mounting pressure. I can't find any evidence to suggest that Boeing's problems will be over in the next year or two. I think they are at least two, if not more, decades away from any form of salvation. I believe their reliance on the old airframe has caught up with them. In my opinion there really is significantly more riding on the 737-Max than Boeing are admitting to.