DOHA, June 1 Boeing said on Sunday it was
confident of filling the bridge between current and future
models of its two most profitable jets, the long-haul 777 and
short-range 737, and dismissed plans by rival Airbus to overhaul
its own A330 model.
Sales chief John Wojick told Reuters he was confident of
selling enough of the current 777-300ER, which is sold out until
2017, to fill the gap until a new revamped 777X version enters
service in 2020, without having to cut production.
"We are looking at solid demand for the airplane and we
think can fill the bridge, and that is my job," Wojick, who is
senior vice president of global sales & marketing at Boeing
Commercial Airplanes, said in an interview on the sidelines of
an annual meeting of the IATA airlines association in Doha.
Boeing is upgrading both the 777 and the 737 to provide fuel
savings, but this creates the challenge of keeping up production
of existing models while some airlines wait for the new ones.
Wojick said Boeing had also sold enough of the existing
737NG models to ensure a smooth transition to the new 737 MAX.
"We are sold out on the 737NG," he said in an interview.
Boeing plans to increase production of the 737 to 47 a month
from 42 by 2017 and could keep increasing later in the deccade.
"We are pretty confident that with the demand that we are
seeing for the 737 MAX, at some point out towards the end of the
decade we have got the possibility for even more airplane demand
out there," Wojick said, adding he did not see evidence of the
plane order 'bubble' being predicted by some analysts.
European rival Airbus is meanwhile discussing
whether to put new engines on its 20-year-old A330 model to
better compete with the all-new Boeing 787, aiming to offer
lower capital costs.
"The 787-10 burns 30 percent less fuel per seat than the
A330-300. That is going to obsolete the A330," Wojick said.
"There isn't a price at which people will buy the A330 once
(you have) 30 percent fuel savings. It is a huge benefit to an
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Praveen Menon)