Boeing CEO Assures 797 Not Delayed By 737 MAX Crisis

Speaking this week to investors, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, assures the 737 MAX crisis is not affecting its development of new aircraft.

What the B797 could look like. Source: Youtube DJ’s Aviation.
What the B797 could look like. Source: Youtube DJ’s Aviation.

According to FlightGlobal reporting, Boeing’s efforts to return the 737 MAX to service “has not affected – at least not significantly – 777X development or potential development of the “new mid-market airplane (NMA).”

Focused on the safe return to service of the 737 MAX

Muilenburg told investors:

“I want to stress and reiterate the point that we are very, very focused on the safe return to service of the Max, and that remains our top priority.”

And that “in parallel” to returning the 737 MAX to operation:

“Our team has been very strong about continuing to drive 777X development and performance.”

The CEO says in terms of a “ripple impact or potential impact to the 777X, Boeing hasn’t seen “any direct impact.”

Boeing had planned an unveiling of the 777X on March 13. This event was canceled immediately after the March 10, Ethiopian Airlines crash. The crash led to the global grounding of all 737 MAX planes.

United Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft. Image by Boeing.
United Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft. It grounded its 737 MAX fleet in March. Image by Boeing.

Muilenburg revealed there has been two 777X flight tests from the Boeing Everett factory. And, two more of the planes are in final assembly stages.

Video of the day:

Working in parallel on new developments

During the recent earnings call for investors, Boeing was questioned as to whether the 737 MAX crisis has affected the company’s plans for the currently concept new mid-market airplane, the NMA. The CEO answered:

“Certainly the highest priority for us is the 737 Max safe return to service… We have prioritised our resources accordingly as we continue to work on our NMA effort in parallel.”

The NMA is pitched as a 757 replacement and rival to the Airbus A321. If developed it would have between 200 and 270 seats. Boeing is reportedly still working on a 2025 “entry-into-service” date for the NMA. Muilenburg said:

“We still have work to do before we get to an authority-to-offer a decision. We’re still working on a pace to try to do that this year, as we previously announced.”

He also added that if the committee put in place to review Boeing’s design and development process after the 737 MAX issues “finds areas to improve” then Boeing “will certainly adopt those.”

On March 15, Simple Flying questioned whether the Boeing 797 would be delayed due to the 737 MAX crisis. Speculating at the time that its launch could be expected this year, potentially at the Paris Air Show. Though details are unverified, Boeing may produce two models of the B797. As a different aircraft to the 737 MAX, it’s likely that completely different teams are working on each project.

Indeed, Muilenburg assures investors that the 737 MAX is the priority, but that Boeing is also working on new developments in parallel.

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I dunno – maybe it’s me, but I don’t understand something. Perhaps someone can explain; If there was ever an aircraft type begging for a makeover with new composite materials, a new wing, fuel efficient engines and the room to expand – it has to be the 757. It was high enough off the ground to accommodate bigger engines and airlines/passengers love the plane. They could make it a tad bit wider to increase seating comfort, keeping the 3-3 layout in economy, all the while working the type for a 4-5000 mile range with around 250 seats. What’s not to… Read more »


Boeing should focus on the models it now builds. Tweak the airplanes for safety and performance. Low earth orbit will be where the money is by the mid 20’s. A new era of commercial aerospace, open to the traveling public.

Tony Pearce

Airbus designed and built a 797 type aircraft years ago. It was the A300.


I like the current NMA concept. It will have pretty much the same width as a current 767 in the cabin. That will make it decently comfortable. People always mention the airlines that don’t need the extra cargo capacity.


Whatever Boeing’s NMA ends up being, please oh please do not set the cabin width so that airlines would be tempted to squeeze ONE for seat per row!