Boeing talks up its MD-95 fter clearing the last regulatory hurdle in Brussels at the eleventh hour, the newly merged Boeing-McDonnell Douglas is making one last bid to breathe new life into marketing efforts for the MD-95.

The 'new' Boeing, which began operations on 4 August, has a new corporate identity, spelling the end for the famous McDonnell Douglas name but retaining the symbol. All aircraft products now take the Boeing name. That includes the MD-95, the 100-seater that McDonnell Douglas struggled to sell, and the new name gives Boeing president Harry Stonecipher reason for optimism. 'The future of all Douglas products depends on customers buying them,' he says. 'Now we are one company and have the strength of Boeing, those products will sell better. . . One question always around concerning the MD-95 was "will you still be around?", but people do not have to ask that now.'

Wolfgang Demisch, analyst at Bankers Trust in New York, is less confident. 'There has not been much evidence of market acceptance and the initial customer [ValuJet] has gone through significant turbulence since the order was placed. I expect the new enterprise will give it a wholehearted push to see whether the marketplace responds and if it does not, there will be no hesitancy to terminate the programme.'

Boeing's dilemma is that the MD-95 offers a ready-made entry into the 100-seater market, but there is no commonality with the core Boeing line.

Boeing's chairman and CEO, Phil Condit, says the new Boeing's business will be split 60:40 civil to military. The new Douglas Products Division will come under Boeing Commerc-ial Airplane Group, where Ron Woodard remains president.

Karen Walker

Source: Airline Business