Air Transport World

Boeing launches 150-seat 737 on Piedmont pick.

Boeing launches 150-seat 737 on Piedmont pick

In the chess game of airliner product lines, Boeing has launched another gambit that directly confronts offerings from Airbus and McDonnell Douglas. Committing to a further stretch of the 737--the 737-400--on a single but substantial order from Piedmont Airlines, Boeing adds to its stable a true 150-passenger airliner with modern economies and a late 1988 delivery date.

Airbus' A320 offering has a 1988 delivery date with CFM56-5 turbofans. McDonnell Douglas has its MD-88 planned for delivery in late 1987, although a very tight certification schedule may push the airplane back to the year of its name, '88.

737 commonality advantage

Boeing has been trying to forestall orders for its competitors' products with an unprecedented media blitz trumpeting an airplane, the 7J7, that still is years away from the first joining of metal.

The propfan-powered 7J7 will be struck from a completely new mold, with little or nothing at all derived from Boeing airplanes that have come before. It will sink or swim strictly on economics--existing fleets will have little impact on carriers' 7J7/A320 purchase decisions. There will be no customer loyalty for technical reasons.

The 737-400, however, has the advantage of fleet commonality that McDonnell Douglas enjoys with the MD-88. …

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