Boeing is facing some serious headwinds in designing its next-generation passenger jet, with airlines divided on how much space the forthcoming B797 should devote to cargo space, Bloomberg reports.
Boeing’s initial, oval-shaped B797 fuselage design would sacrifice cargo space for greater aerodynamics and passenger space. That’s in line with demand from US-based airlines, but at odds with the requirements of some Asian airlines.
“The US [airlines] have an appetite for less cargo in the belly than the Asians,” said Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of aircraft leading firm Avolon Holdings Ltd. “Typically in the States, it’s bags plus five tons of cargo. The Asians want bags plus ten tons for this aircraft. So, who do you build it for?”
Plans call for two versions of the B797 to debut in 2024 or 2025. The aircraft would seat between 220 and 270 passengers and would have a range of about 5,000 nautical miles. The range and configuration are aimed at making the B797 productive on both short- and long-haul flights.
Industry analysts said the B797 could open up new city pairs globally, but to do so could mean catering to airlines in the booming Asia Pacific market over domestic carriers.
“Historically Boeing would have launched an airplane like this with a US major,” Slattery said. “Boeing has to be super-careful that they build an airplane that is fit for purpose in Asia, because that’s where the action is.”