All-new 737 will not abandon Southwest's needs: Albaugh

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Boeing will not up-gauge its proposed 737 replacement to such an extent as to abandon the requirements of Southwest Airlines, pledges Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Jim Albaugh.

Albaugh made his remark yesterday to ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation Online on the sidelines of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

His comment is significant because Mike Bair, vice-president of Advanced 737 Product Development, has been giving a series of interviews in which he indicates that a new "light twin" and aircraft sizes of at least 150 seats through to 210 or 220 are being considered.

Albaugh threw cold water on the light twin concept in answer to a question during his presentation. He also provided more clarity on the likely size of the aircraft.

"The airplane that we're going to build will not be a replacement for the 737. We might up-gauge slightly from 137 seats," he says. "I think it doubtful that the new light twin is the answer."

Adds Albaugh: "If you look at the all-new airplane, there are a lot of new technologies [that could be included. But] I don't want this plane to be the son of the 787 - we have to de-risk the new airplane.

"The engines of 2020 will be 4% better than today. We can get to the numbers. The question is to limit the risk and not to bite off as much as we did on 787."