Boeing Redirects Product-Development Efforts

Date:         27 Jan 97 02:45:58 
From:         1jnb@worldnet.att.com (J Berry)
Organization: AT&T WorldNet Services
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 SEATTLE, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing has decided to focus its
near-term product-development efforts on enhanced versions of the 767
and 777.

 "Many customers are telling us that they plan to serve fast-growing
travel markets with more long-range, medium-sized airplanes like the
Boeing 777 and 767," said Ron Woodard, president of the Boeing
Commercial Airplane Group. "That's why we'll focus our near-term
resources on further enhancements to these product lines.

 "We've been working with some of the world's largest airlines to
develop airplanes capable of carrying 550 passengers and have
developed an outstanding design for a new 747 family. These airplanes
take full advantage of the latest technologies and meet all of our
customers' performance objectives," Woodard added. "However,
sufficient market demand has not yet developed to justify committing
the significant investment required to develop larger versions of the
747."

 Boeing will continue studying airplanes capable of carrying more
passengers than today's 747. "This remains one of the priorities of
our product-development efforts," Woodard said. "When the market
develops for such an airplane, we will be ready.

 "Airlines continue to express confidence in today's 747," Woodard
added, noting that Boeing announced plans last year to double
production rates of the 747 while securing 75 new orders for the
747-400. "We're confident the 747 will remain the world's preferred
large airplane well into the next century."

 Earlier this month, Boeing began offering for sale a new version of
the 767. The proposed 767-400ERX, which could enter commercial service
as early as the year 2000, will be capable of carrying 303 passengers
in a two-class configuration.

 Other new products under consideration include larger and
longer-range versions of the 777. Potential versions of the 777 being
studied are capable of non-stop flights approaching 10,000 statute
miles (16,000 km) or carrying more than 400 passengers in a
three-class configuration.

 The 747-400 provides Boeing with the base to extend the 747 family
with potentially larger versions. Some employees will continue working
to develop an airplane larger than today's 747. All other Boeing
employees currently working on 747 development will be assigned to new
jobs within the company during the next several weeks. SOURCE Boeing
Co.