Will The Boeing 797 Be Delayed Due To 737 MAX Issues?

The past week has been a tough one for Boeing. At the start of the week, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, tragically crashed on departure from Addis Ababa. This led to the grounding of the world’s entire fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The Boeing 797 is widely anticipated to be launched later this year, following interest from the CEO of Delta. While the project is yet to be officially launched, Simple Flying believes this could be earmarked for this year’s Paris Air Show. We have already seen the public rollout out of the Boeing 777X delayed as a result of this week’s events.

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

New middle market option

The new Boeing 797 is intended to be a middle of the range jet that sits between the short haul Boeing 737 and the long haul 747s, 777s, and 787s. Indeed, it is intended to replace the Boeing 757 and 767. Production of the 757 ended in 2004, while the 767 is still in production.

These aircraft are, however, starting to age. Take United Airlines for example. They operate both the Boeing 757 and 767. The average age of a United 757 is 21 years, while for their 767s this stands at 21.6 years. The airline currently operates 76 757s and 52 767s.

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Delta may use the 797 to replace their 767 aircraft. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

Similar to an Apple iPhone release, it is likely that until the Boeing 797 project is officially announced, details will be sketchy and unverified. It is currently thought that Boeing will initially produce two models of the B797. One would likely be called the B797-6 and will be designed to carry 228 passengers a distance 4500 nmi. This will be followed by the B797-7, designed to carry 267 passengers, however, it would only have a range of 4,100 nmi.

Will the program be delayed?

The rollout of Boeing’s 777X was delayed out of respect following the Ethiopian Airlines accident. Now that all of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are grounded, will the 797 program be delayed also? Given all the bad press Boeing has received this week, it may be a good idea to delay the 797 until the 737’s issues have been ironed out.

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The 797 is also expected to replace the 757. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

The 797 is, however, a completely different aircraft to the 737 MAX. There shouldn’t be any delay to the time frame required to deliver the aircraft as completely different teams are working on the two projects. It’s also an awfully long time until the 797 program is due to be completed. As such, any 737 issues stand a good chance of being resolved by the time it rolls out of the hangar.

When do you think Boeing will announce the 797? Let us know in the comments down below!