Almost a decade after abandoning its Sonic Cruiser concept for what was to become the top selling widebody ever, the 787, Boeing faces another momentous strategic decision: what to do with its 737 cash cow following Airbus's decision to re-engine its rival A320 family, and with Bombardier's CSeries gaining momentum as a third player in the narrowbody segement.
This week's Flight International focuses on Seattle's dilemma. In our cover story, Flightblogger Jon Ostrower examines Boeing's favourite option: a clean-sheet design that could see it leapfrog both its competitors. But that option would come with a cost and a risk. Producing an all-new aircraft is a lot more expensive than simply adding one of the revamped engines on the market. Boeing is also still bruised by its 787 experience. The radical Dreamliner may have proved a fuel-efficient winner with airlines, but getting it to certification has proved an exhausting and costly experience.
Also in the issue, the advice two of the most influential customers - Steven Udvar-Hazy and Qatar Airways' Akbar Al Baker - have for the big airframers. Hazy wants a direct replacement for the 757 while Al Baker is sceptical about Airbus's re-engining strategy for the A320.
We look too at what EADS does now in the USA. Has the experience of competing unsuccessfully for the KC-X tanker helped or hindered its chances of spending some of its cash pile on a New World empire?
Our Comment piece asks why patriots in the USA are getting hot under the collar about the Chinese buying the country's most successful general aviation start up of the past two decades, Cirrus, when barely an eyebrow was raised during the decade or so the company was under Middle Eastern control.
Finally, after a decade of flying the Boeing C-17, why the UK RAF's love of its giant C-17 transports is undiminished.