FARNBOROUGH: Boeing to chose powerplant first, then decide on re-engining

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Boeing's commercial aircraft division boss has reiterated the airframer's intention to clear up the questions hanging over its 737 re-engining plans before the close of the year.

However, he believes that part of the answer to tackling the CSeries will be to ensure that 737 output is managed to prevent customers from defecting to Bombardier when the new jet arrives in 2013.

"We're in discussions with all three engine manufacturers, but have not decided which one we're going to go with," says Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Jim Albaugh. "We'll make a decision on the engine in the near term and then whether or not we do the re-engining programme this fall."

 © Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flightglobal

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott cites Airbus and Boeing's proposals to re-engine their narrowbodies with advanced engines such as the CSeries' Pratt & Whitney PW1000G as a validation of the Canadian company's product offering.

However, Albaugh dismisses the viability of the 110- to 149-seat CSeries family, saying that it has not caused any marketshare erosion, but says that his "one worry" is that "if we can't come to rate to give people the airplanes we could drive customers to go and buy the CSeries".

With production of the Boeing narrowbody set to rise from the current 31.5 a month to 35 in early 2012, Albaugh believes demand is sufficient to have even higher output.

Although Albaugh's comments about the selection of an engine supplier suggest the airframer has already opted to continue with an exclusive tie-up on the 737 rather than offer a choice of engine manufacturers, he insists the decision has not been taken. Albaugh adds that "we've had very good luck having one engine manufacturer on the 737".