Browsing Tag: Boeing 737

Last week I had the chance to check out American Airline’s newest aircraft — a Boeing 737-800 with Boeing’s Sky Interior. This is just one step in American renewing their fleet and brand.

The airline is currently in the process of replacing their aging MD-80 aircraft with new Boeing 737s. American plans to retire at least 25 MD-80s in 2011 and it is not exactly known when all MD-80s will be out of service. American will receive an additional 54  Boeing 737s with Sky Interior over the next two years (story continues below photos).

Click photos for larger version. All retrofit photos by American, Sky Interior by Airline Reporter.

The airline plans to upgrade their older 737s to have newer seating and larger bins. In May 2010, American began updating its existing fleet of Boeing 737s.  The retrofit includes the installation of new seats, new cabin interiors, updated in-flight entertainment systems and more storage throughout the aircraft.  The retrofit is slated for completion by the first quarter of 2013. The retrofits will be handled in-house by American employees at the airline’s Maintenance & Engineering base located in Tulsa, OK.

Video:  American Airlines Boeing 737 gets makeover

American is also in the process of updating all Boeing 757s used on domestic routes. Updates include the installation of new seats, new cabin interiors and updated in-flight entertainment throughout the aircraft.  Also, First Class will receive two additional seats, which increases the number of First Class seats from 22 to 24 on each aircraft. The 757 aircraft enhancements began in August 2010 and have a planned completion of December 2015.  As of early May 2011, American has completed upgrades to ten 757s.

American will also be increasing their fleet of Boeing 777s with the addition of five 777-300ERs with deliveries slated for 2012 and 2013. The -300ERs will supplement their -200ERs and will become the largest aircraft that American flies.

“American Airlines has made a significant investment to enrich the flying experience for our customers through the purchase of new aircraft and the refurbishment of our existing fleet,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s Chief Commercial Officer. “At American, we are focused on providing a differentiated customer experience, with a distinct focus on best delivering what premium customers value most ’“ world-class products and services. The delivery of the first 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior is our most recent step to deliver on this commitment.”

In the past, there have been times where I had serious concerns about American’s future. They had an aging fleet of aircraft and were not merging like other large airlines. They also had a lack of a solid presence on social media and really just weren’t as “fun” as other airlines. It appears that American realizes they need to change the way they do business to better compete against other airlines. American has already spent $5.5 billion in new aircraft, facility enhancements and on-board improvements between 2007 to 2011 and plans to spend more in the future.

American is trying very hard to stay relevant and hoping that customers will take notice of their effort. Will it be enough to survive without a merger? Only time will tell, but it seems American is on a positive track.

Boeing lined up one of each of their airliner models at Boeing Field.

Boeing lined up one of each of their airliner models at Boeing Field. Photo by Boeing.

The other day I had an interesting conversation with @JetCityStar via Twitter about aircraft and museums. It turned into us asking each other if we could have one type of each aircraft Boeing made, which ones would we want. Yes, we are both airline nerds and proud of it.

Although the conversation is a bit on the nerdier side, I felt the conversation was worthy of a larger audience and was interested in what other people thought about which aircraft best represented a certain type. So I put the question to you. If you were a museum and could one of each Boeing airliner made, which would you choose?

Please put your answers in the comments. Here are mine:

Boeing 707: Test aircraft that Tex Johnson did a barrel roll in.
Boeing 717: Eh.
Boeing 727: Very first Boeing 727-100 made (which is being restored at Museum of Flight)
Boeing 737: Don’t ask me why, but I would really want a USAir 737-200.
Boeing 747: First Boeing 747 that was delivered to Pan Am. I just love the Pan Am livery on the 747, it just seems right at home.
Boeing 757: Probably one that was for the Vice President.
Boeing 767: The Spirit of Delta, which is housed in Atlanta.
Boeing 777: I am not even sure.
Boeing 787: ZA001 in her livery. Entering a new era or airliner.


Check out all the Boeing airplanes behind the Boeing 747-8I at Boeing Field.

Check out all the Boeing airplanes behind the Boeing 747-8I at Boeing Field. Click for larger.

I love living in Seattle and covering the airline business. There is so many aviation related things to do in the Seattle area and there always seems to be something going on. Sometimes I will get a photo that really encapsulates that feeling of Seattle being someplace special and I think this one does just that.

The photo was taken after the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental landed for the first time at Boeing Field. Although the Boeing 787, 747-8I and 747-8F are built up north in Everett, WA, most are being stored at Boeing Field during flight testing (there is one in San Antonio, TX as well).

During this event, there was sure a lot of eye candy to be seen. Of course, there is the first Boeing 747-8I (hard to miss in her orange livery) and a 747-8F. There are also five Boeing 787 Dreamliners and I see 12 brand spanking new 737s, which will be delivered all around the world.

I know I wouldn’t want to live in any other city.


Could this be the new look of the Boeing 737? This amazing mock up was done by Darin Kirschner and not Boeing.

Could this be the new look of the Boeing 737? This amazing mock up was done by Darin Kirschner and not Boeing.

The Boeing 737 is a very successful aircraft and Boeing has been spending a lot of time thinking about its future. The big question for Boeing is should they work on making the current model more efficient or look to create an entirely new design. The plane is still very popular; Boeing has made and delivered over 6600 and they have 2200 more on back order. With an aircraft still so in demand, it is a big risk to build a brand new plane.

For the short term, Boeing has been working to squeeze 2% more efficiency from the current 737 Next Generation. Two percent might seem small, but it can save airlines about $120,000.00 per airplane per year. If you are an airline with multiple 737s, that can add up to big savings — quite quickly.

Currently Boeing is working on two aspects to get that two percent savings out of the 737. One percent is coming from an updated CFM56-7BE engine and another percent making the plane more aerodynamic, reducing drag and increasing efficiency. Although these additional savings will be appreciated by airlines, to continue to stay competitive, Boeing will need to get their single aisle aircraft to be even more efficient.

As of now, it appears that Boeing is going towards a possible redesign.

Boeing Chairman President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney recently said, “We’re gonna do a new airplane. We’re not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to an all-new airplane at the end of the decade, or the beginning of the next decade.” As of now, this is not a done deal, but it appears that they will most likely create a new airplane to replace the 737.

Boeing isn’t making this decision on their own. They have been working with airlines to see what they want for the short and long term. Obviously some airlines aren’t too fond of the idea of a totally new aircraft. There are quite a few that have a fleet of only 737s and having a mixed fleet, while it is being updated, is not something they want. This would be more costly for airlines in the short term, but would save them more money after entirely switching the fleet over.

At a recent Boeing media event Scott Fancher, the Vice President and General Manager of the 787 Dreamliner Program was asked what new technologies from the 787 could be scaled down for the new Boeing 737. When asked about composite materials being found in the new 737, he stated, “some composites scale down nicely, but others, they don’t.” He explained that some of the new systems technology and engine efficiencies could also be scaled down. Boeing feels that all the investments made on the 787 Dreamliner will serve as a basis for future new aircraft.

This is a mock up of a larger version of what possibly the new 737 could look like in Alaska Airlines livery. Can you spot the differences?

This is a mock up of a larger version of what possibly the new 737 could look like in Alaska Airlines livery. Can you spot the differences?

Boeing is not quite ready to talk about what the new Boeing 737 might look like. However, Darin Kirschner decided to take a shot and he had the skills to do it. Kirschner has allowed me to share his two mock ups of what the Boeing 737 replacement (which he is calling the Boeing 737.X) could look like.  Just to be clear, these two photos are not in anyway from or endorsed by Boeing. That being said, they look awesome.

“While I do have aerodynamics training and am an Industrial Designer at heart, what I’ve produced is pure art and conjecture,” Kirschen stated. “It is no more likely to be truly accurate than any other fantasy, but understanding flight as I do, I think that if Boeing were to pattern the replacement 737 after the 787, we would get something within degrees of what I’ve created here.”

He started with the Dreamliner and scaled it down, creating a 12′ diameter cabin. He cleaned up the nose and cockpit and kept the styling cues of the 787. Just like in the 787, the windows are increased in size and spaced out. This will allow more natural light in and make the cabin seem bigger. I know I am very excited to see what Boeing comes up with… stay tuned.