The Boeing 797 launch foreseen in 2024

Finally, with Boeing’s proposed Boeing 797 there will be an aircraft that all passengers are going to love. The 797 will be a revolutionary aircraft made of composite material like the 787 and it will be able to economically connect hundreds of new non-stop routes between smaller cities. Aimed at the mid-market between the largest single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX and the smallest twin-aisle Boeing 787, the nascent Boeing 797 will be offered in two variants: one with seating for 225 passengers and another with a 275-seat capacity (this appears to be based on a single seating class from tip to tail) and fly for about 10 to 11 hours only. The aerospace giant is expected to launch what will be called the 797 at this year’s Farnborough Air Show in July and it will have economy seating of just 2-3-2 with huge overhead luggage bins. Making the twin-engine 797 so special is the fact it is designed from the outset to serve medium-haul routes of up to 9,300 kms and will cut fuel costs by 25 to 30 percent compared to the 787- itself a world leader in fuel economy. Boeing says that there are 30,000 city pairs that are not connected and could be served economically with the 797. It would be perfect for Perth – Saigon or Perth to Delhi. The challenge for airlines today is that Boeing offers the 180-230 seat 737 that can only fly economically for about six hours while the next smallest plane in the Boeing range is the 250-350 seat 787 which has been designed for much longer distances and thus carries a great deal of extra structural weight to carry the fuel required. For the passenger, the 797 will be a giant step forward in comfort with a 2-3-2 configuration in economy, 1-2-2 in premium economy and 1-1-1 in business class. Boeing is well advanced in closing the business case and has discussed the aircraft with 57 airlines and the reaction has been enthusiastic. Boeing hopes to have first flight and certification in 2024 with delivery to airlines early in 2025. The company is willing to compromise on cargo space to reduce the profile, and thus drag, of the aircraft. It reasons correctly that cargo is not as big of a consideration on the largely secondary routes it will operate. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce sees plenty of appeal for the Boeing 797 on domestic routes, not just east-west runs currently flown by the Airbus A330s but to bolster capacity on popular but constrained routes such as Sydney-Melbourne, which is now the world’s second-busiest air corridor. Based on Boeing’s tentative specs, the largest Boeing 797 could carry almost 100 extra passengers per flight between Sydney and Melbourne, compared to Qantas’ Boeing 737-800 jets – although Joyce, speaking at the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, noted that the jet’s design had to permit sufficiently fast boarding and disembarking of passengers to allow a 35 minute turnaround.

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