When it was mentioned internally in a Boeing company webcast last month, the 737 Next Generation Plus entered into the aerospace lexicon, with few specifics attached. This week, the 737NG+ became a reality as Boeing unveiled its first 737 Sky Interior and discussed the possibilities for what a 737NG+ might become. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported yesterday on comments made by Boeing 737 chief engineer John Hamilton:
With an onslaught of new orders for the 737 as it is today, Boeing is in no hurry to invest the time, money and resources in re-engining the venerable narrowbody. Though all signs point to the airframer moving slowly toward an allnew airframe, though that entry into service could be a decade away. The urgency to make radical changes to the 737 is even less as Airbus steps back slowly from re-engining, as it looks to evaluate the feasibility of the A320 NEO matched against the engineering resources required for the A350, A380 and A400M.And engineers are looking into other changes, such as changing the tail size, incorporating carbon fiber-reinforced plastics and using new materials to cut weight on the floorboards for what Boeing is calling a 737NG Plus, Hamilton said. "We think we can get something more out of this (plane). We haven't been able to really pin down a number yet."These are just the kind of changes that customers want, rather than clamoring for whole new engines, which add cost and complication, he said. "You're not getting a strong response saying go re-engine. They like the incremental improvements."