On Sunday, Boeing announced that it will bring the 737-10 and the 777-9 to Britain’s Farnborough Airshow, which is just around the corner.
The summer season (in the northern hemisphere) is the time to enjoy the sight of brand-new aircraft, in beautiful weather. And after two years of travel restrictions and lockdowns, this July is a welcome return to what we knew. Farnborough takes place on 18-22 July. Then on 25-31 July, we turn our attention to Oshkosh Wisconsin for an airshow with many more (but smaller) aircraft. That’s the EAA AirVenture, of course, on 25-31 July.
But Farnborough is where the commercial (and military) airshow crowd goes, so Boeing wants to have a robust presence. This is going to be the first international trip for the 737-10, the longest member of the 737 MAX family. The 777-9 has been through Europe before, on its way back from the Dubai Airshow last year.
Boeing 737-10 and 777-9 Flight Display At Farnborough Airshow?
Boeing also announced that its two newest models will travel to the Farnborough Airshow using sustainable aviation fuels – in part. The manufacturer touts the efficiency of both these jets to their customers, with or without such fuels. Aviation photographers in the US have spotted the 737-10 and 777-9 development aircraft practising demo routines recently!
Beyond the airliners, Boeing will bring a few other interesting vehicles to the Farnborough Airshow. The aircraft manufacturer has been funding Wisk Aero, a joint venture for an eVTOL project. This design hasn’t been making the press as much as some others. But this is likely because the company isn’t actively searching for more investors.
Wisk has partnered with the US military, touting its autonomous eVTOL as a resupply or medevac vehicle. It will be interesting to see if Boeing and its partners will actually fly the vehicle at the Farnborough Airshow. Elsewhere at the show, Boeing also intends to showcase its service activities, in different areas of aviation.
Then there is the military side of things. It isn’t clear if Boeing will bring any such aircraft itself. The T-7A Red Hawk could make an appearance, as a display. But the USAF and other Boeing customers are expected to bring several military aircraft. These include the P-8A Poseidon (yes, Boeing still makes 737NGs), the F/A-18E/F and F-15E fighter jets, plus the CH-27F and AH-64E helicopters.
Some Persistent Worries
Boeing doesn’t mention bringing the KC-46A air refuelling tanker at the Farnborough Airshow. The manufacturer is continuing to work on ironing out the problems with this program. Boeing also continues to have headaches with its star airliners, the 737-10 and 777-9. The manufacturer recently slowed down the development of the latter, to put more emphasis on the certification of the former.
Boeing’s CEO even said last week that the company could drop the 737-10 entirely. This was likely aimed at pressuring the US Congress to delay the introduction of legislation that would require more changes to the aircraft. Boeing has already modified the 737-10, after the lessons of the MAX’s grounding. But Boeing originally planned to have the plane certified before 2023 when new requirements take effect.
Finally, Boeing doesn’t mention the 787, in its Farnborough Airshow announcement. Of course, the aircraft is far from new now. But Boeing should now be close to restarting deliveries of its popular widebody, after over a year.
The last time we saw Airbus and Boeing at an airshow (Dubai), the European manufacturer largely dominated the event. Now Airbus is technically on home turf, and observers expect quite a dynamic presence. Boeing has star players in different fields, so it should be an interesting standoff. But what we are really waiting for, is announcements of new sales contracts…