A Boeing 737 aircraft is shown on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton.
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A Boeing 737 aircraft is shown on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

737 MAX crisis stands in way of Boeing's new plane

The Paris Airshow winds down this weekend. This was the show where Boeing and Airbus were expected to release new planes.

Only Airbus launched a new plane: the A321XLR.

Boeing’s NMA plane, also known as the future 797, was supposed to compete with Airbus on a new set of needs among air carriers.

So many travelers are taking advantage of direct flights across the planet that airlines need a longer range jet and more seats than a 737 – but not too many more seats.

Boeing sells the 787 and 777, but these planes are too large for this market. Demand for this new “middle of the market” airplane could run as high as 5,000 planes, said Jon Ostrower, editor of The Air Current. Despite the demand and the years of speculation about the new plane, Boeing failed to make an official announcement.

Ostrower said the reason why is the crisis over the 737 MAX . Plans for a new plane are in “cold storage” until the MAX is back. “Boeing’s focus, 100 percent, is on getting the MAX back in service,” Ostrower said in an interview from Paris. “And that’s the actuality of the situation.”

A new airplane requires deep pockets. Since March Boeing has been unable to deliver its 737 MAX to customers because of two crashes that grounded the planes worldwide. The 737 has long been Boeing's major moneymaker and cash engine.

“If you don't have that engine running and bringing in cash, you can't finance development of new aircraft,” Ostrower said.

But Airbus can, and now Boeing must stand by and watch while Airbus takes orders for the A321XLR.