SINGAPORE -- During his Asia Pacific market briefing, I asked Boeing vice president of marketing, Randy Tinseth, about the future of an oft-discussed mid-range 787 and it's potential for the future. The exchange yielded an interesting answer:
The last 757 rolled off the Renton line in 2004 and was "replaced" by the 737-900ER which has a 700nm and 21 seat shortfall in a two class configuration compared to the 757-200. Boeing classifies the single aisle 757 nominally as a 201-seat aircraft in a two class configuration with a range of 3,900nm.
Jon Ostrower: Looking beyond the 787-3, your customers have indicated a need for a medium range 787, somewhere in the trans-continetnal 3,000 to 4,000 mile range, do you see an opportunity now take the 787 to adapt it to that market?
Randy Tinseth: So the question is are we going to design a 787 with the range of a 757?I'll tell you, it's not in the plans today, but over the last week we did some changes at Boeing and one of those changes is we brought Mike Bair, who was my boss, to now lead our single aisle development efforts.
That type of airplane, whatever it might be, would fall under the Mike Bair regime as we go forward. No plans at this date, do we have customers that our interested in an airplane that has the same capacity and range as a 757? Yes. We sold 1000 of them. There is some need out there, the question is when do we build that, can we build that, does it make economic sense for us and for our customers?
Will the replacement for the venerable narrow-bodies take the form of a two model solution spanning the 125 to 200 seat range? Or will Boeing surrender the sub-150-seat market to its Canadian, Brazilian, Japanese and Russian competitors, building a single type optimized to ~180-seats stretched to meet the demands of today's 737-800 through to the 757-200?
The game just got interesting.