MIAMI — The status of the 747 and 757 and an update where Boeing fits in a dynamic airline market were covered by Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in remarks at the annual ISTAT meeting in Phoenix and an interview with Airways.
There has been an industry obsession for Boeing to bring back the 757, but Tinseth said that isn’t happening. “It’s every pilot’s favorite plane, but it can’t economically compete with new aircraft on the market,” he said. “And if you look at how the 757 is being used today, only 5 percent of them are being flown on routes more than 3,000nm that can’t be used with 737 MAXs or A321s.”
Bringing back the 757 isn’t worth Boeing’s time, said Tinseth. “The business case just isn’t there. I won’t say there’s a firm timeline for a 757 replacement. We have the 737 Max, the 787-10 and the 777 (-8 and -9) coming,” he said. “The earliest we can think about a replacement is in the next decade.”
There’s also been an ongoing discussion on the future of very large jets. Tinseth noted that Airbus’s John Leahy talked a lot about the A380. “John said that Airbus may have been overly optimistic in its forecast and I agree with that,” he said. “Our forecast for very large jets was half that theirs was and we were also optimistic, so it’s been disappointing with how it’s turned out.”
Very large jets have underperformed because airlines don’t want to take a risk with big aircraft, said Tinseth. “But Boeing has a balance with passenger and freighter versions of the 747,” he said. “There have been challenges in the cargo market, but we just got orders for three 747 freighters.”
The long-term viability of the 747 will be tied to the cargo market, said Tinseth. “If the cargo market continues to grow by 5 percent a year, that’s good news for the 747 and the 777,” he said.
Airbus is struggling with the A380 because the economics don’t work, said Tinseth. “You can re-engine the A380 but the economics still don’t change,” he said. “Airbus has to make a big decision. Its biggest customer is begging for it, which has it stuck between a rock and a hard spot.”
The market today is dynamic and Boeing sees plenty of demand, said Tinseth in an interview with AirwaysNews.com. “Economic growth is up 3 percent, passenger traffic is up 6 percent and we’re seeing the return of the cargo market, which grew by 5 percent,” he said. “If you pull the curtain back further and look at the data, we’re seeing record load factors and aircraft utilization. And the numbers for the parked fleet is at a 15-year low.”
Looking at long-term demand, airlines will need nearly 36,800 new airplanes valued at $5.2 trillion in the next 20 years, said Tinseth.”We’re looking at a big backlog of 5,789 aircraft valued at $440 billion,” he said.
Boeing is in transition from the 737 NG to the MAX, which is on track for deliveries starting in 2017, said Tinseth. “We’re also on track for 787-10 deliveries starting in 2018 and 777X deliveries in 2020,” he said.
2014 was a busy year for Boeing, with the launch of the 737 MAX 200, delivery of the 787-9 into passenger service, the KC-46A Tanker first test flight and beginning to prepare the manufacturer’s Everett, Washington, plant for 777X construction.
Looking to the future, 2015 is off to a good start, said Tinseth. “In 2014, we delivered 723 aircraft, which was a record. Our guidance for 2015 is between 750 and 755,” he said. “Production of the 737 went up to 42 a month. It will be 47 a month in 2017 and 52 in 2018.”
Production for the 787 will reach 12 in 2016, said Tinseth. “We are positioning ourselves for growth so we can meet expected demand,” he said. “It’s a good start, but we’ll see how it plays out in 2015.”