Boeing 797 will be a mid-sized mass-market jetliner

Boeing 797 will be a mid-sized mass-market jetliner

Right now, the Boeing 797 is a ‘paper plane’ – a concept existing purely in hand-drawn sketches and digital pixels.

But the aircraft manufacturer could greenlight its next-gen jetliner as early as next year, with first commercial flights in 2025.

Boeing will position the 797 between the largest Boeing 737 jets – such as those which form the backbone of the domestic Qantas and Virgin Australia fleet – and the smallest Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

The seat count of the twin-aisle Boeing 797 is expected to be around 225 passengers assuming a two-class layout of business and economy, or as many as 260 in the all-economy floorpan favoured by low-cost airlines, with airlines offered two variants of the 797.

"One will be bigger and fly not quite as far, one will be smaller and fly farther," Boeing marketing vice president Randy Tinseth told Bloomberg.

Evolution of the Boeing 797

Boeing first went public with its plans at the 2015 Paris Air Show, using generic descriptors of a MOM jet (Middle of Market) or the Boeing NMA (meaning either New Mid-sized Airplane or New Market Airplane) with a medium range of about 8,400km (5,200 miles).

However Air Lease CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, who is described as being “influential in shaping product strategy for Boeing and Airbus”, says that Boeing will christen its newest model as the 797 and create a clean-sheet design drawing on its experience with the 737MAX and 787 Dreamliner series.

“Call it a 797,” Udvar-Hazy says, “that’s what it’s going to be.”

Hitting the Trans-Atlantic sweet spot

A large slice of the Boeing 797’s market will be direct trans-Atlantic routes between the US and Europe: a corridor which low-cost airlines are seeking to dominate through the combination of cheap fares and relatively short travel times (by Australian standards, anyway).

The 797 “could be the airplane that creates the next phase of growth for the low-cost carriers” adds Air Lease exec John Plueger.

However, stung by the soaring costs and extensive delays in creating the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing is understandably wary of another ‘moonshot’ project such as the 797. Bank of America / Merrill Lynch predicts total development costs will range from US$10 billion to US$15 billion.

And Air Lease chief Udvar-Hazy remains to be convinced that Boeing has nailed the balance of price, performance and production costs.

“Boeing has to really wrestle with that issue… the cost of developing and manufacturing the airplane at a price that gives the airlines value, I don’t think that equation has been solved.”

Airbus opts for evolution, not revolution

Arch-rival Airbus has chosen the safer and less expensive path of improving its existing catalogue through NEO or ‘new engine option’ models of the A320 and A330 series.

These combine efficient new engines with tweaks in aerodynamics, engineering and cabin design to lower the operating cost while increase the passenger count.

However, United Airlines has already examined Boeing’s paper plan and likes what it sees.

“What we’ve seen so far is very, very interesting to us,” United chief financial officer Andrew Levy told Bloomberg. “We certainly hope Boeing launches the airplane. We think there is a need for it.”

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • fxdxdy


    12 Mar, 2017 02:02 pm

    It makes you wonder why they don't just bring back the 757 but with better aerodynamics (new wings), better materials (carbon fuselage) and much better engines.

    But I've ready the likely final configuration could actually be a dual isle plane instead of the single isle.
    If so, I'm picturing something 'short and stubby' which the 787-8 is a little bit.

    It certainly is interesting.
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  • StudiodeKadent


    12 Mar, 2017 10:21 pm

    "It makes you wonder why they don't just bring back the 757"

    Because for one, they've destroyed the tooling for the 757 so they can't bring it back.

    Also, because the 757 seated about 220 people in one class, and had a 3915nmi range. This is basically the starting point of the Middle of Market that Boeing is targeting (which is about 200-270 pax, 4000-5000nmi).

    The MoM is really the 'shorter range 767' market for the most part, and whilst the 787-8 is a fantastic replacement/upgrade for the longer range 767s (and a replacement for A330-200s on long-range routes), it is too much airplane for many transatlantic services. 

    So whilst the 757-200 (the 757-300 is too large for a narrowbody and takes ages to load/unload) absolutely has a place in the MoM, addressing the full MoM needs more than a 757. 
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  • kimshep


    13 Mar, 2017 09:52 am

    One really has to wonder if Boeing's abrupt termination of the B787-3 was such a 'smart' idea after all? That model represented a dual aisle, bottom of the B787 market specification that could now be modified to reduce the weight of the wheel box(es) at considerably less cost than an all new clean-sheet design. And of course, it would have total compatibility with it's larger siblings. Not to mention the economics of scale with production on an existing line.
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  • StudiodeKadent


    13 Mar, 2017 12:53 pm

    I think that the 787-3 was too heavy for a MoM plane. Also, it was designed specifically for the Japanese market but both JAL and ANA retain extensive 767-300 fleets in domestic configurations.

    The modifications you suggest for the 787-3 would also reduce commonality with its larger siblings.

    The fact is that if the 787-8 could be as easily modified into a MoM jet as you suggest, Boeing would've probably already done it. They don't like irrationally pissing money away. If a "787-8lite" were such a simple and cheap job and could do 4000-5000nmi routes efficiently, they absolutely would've done it (it would've made the 787 family even more compelling as a 767 replacement and A330 killer). 
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  • Steve987


    12 Mar, 2017 02:54 pm

    Will this mean all the 7X7 combinations will have been used? I wonder where they go next. Not all that important I know, small things I guess!
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  • StudiodeKadent


    12 Mar, 2017 05:53 pm

    Letters as the middle digit. Maybe Symbols if they want to be all "Artist Formerly Known As Prince" about things.

    7$7, [email protected], 7:)7 maybe. Who knows what marketing will do!
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  • Steve987


    12 Mar, 2017 08:08 pm

    Lol - could be good fun...

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  • ajstubbs


    12 Mar, 2017 03:44 pm

    If they incorporate all the features that make the 787 a more comfortable flight then this will be great for TA or even trans pacific routes. Don't know why they wouldn't use that technology now they have it!
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  • StudiodeKadent


    12 Mar, 2017 06:01 pm

    I would've thought Boeing would've wanted to develop a MoM and NSA (i.e. 737 replacement) at the same time... but I guess they didn't want to cannibalize 737 MAX sales.

    This jet would be great for shorter-range higher-density routes. I could see QF and Virgin interested in it, absolutely. 
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  • Jack  Shields


    12 Mar, 2017 09:16 pm

    If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going...

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  • Chris Ricks

    The Evil Muppet

    12 Mar, 2017 10:59 pm

    It's a very interesting development, given all of the noise Boeing made publicly about their Yellowstone project and the 787 being identified as Y2 and the 777X widely considered to be the manifestation of Y3.

    Given Boeing has pushed back a replacement for the 737 with the development of the MAX, it looks like we're finally getting a 757 replacement.
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  • elchriss0


    12 Mar, 2017 11:11 pm

    We already have a 757 (well 752 at least)'s called the A321LR
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    The Evil Muppet

  • downdata


    13 Mar, 2017 08:46 am

    225 seats for a twin aisle? Get serious, its not going to be competitive with single aisle aircrafts with all that wasted spce
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  • StudiodeKadent


    13 Mar, 2017 01:56 pm

    You're correct, but single aisle aircrafts could not reach far beyond 4000nmi with 220ish seats. The 757-200 had 221seats (single class 32" pitch) and a range of 3915nmi. The A321neoLR only has about 200 seats (single glass 32" pitch) and a range of 4000nmi with auxiliary fuel tanks installed. And the A321neoLR has what is basically the most advanced engine currently available for narrowbodies on it.

    The B757-200 and A321neoLR are quite literally the bare minimums for a MoM jet. If you want ranges >4000nmi and capacities >220 pax at the same time, you'll need a widebody.
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  • chewkc65


    16 Oct, 2017 10:00 pm

    The old B707-320 did have at least 5000nm range. And sizewise it is as big as B757-200. But wonder why B707 can only carry about 150 pax.
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  • Trogdor


    13 Mar, 2017 01:45 pm

    If they stick to the typical 767 layout of 2-3-2 but with a little extra cabin width this could actually end up being a far nicer place for economy passengers to be than the Dreamliner's cramped 9-abreast layout
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  • Steve987


    13 Mar, 2017 02:41 pm

    I do miss the 767 layout on the MEL-SYD route.
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  • Chris McKellar


    14 Mar, 2017 08:39 am

    I don't see the Boeing Board going for a B797 model, as they have already spent to much money on R&D for the B787 project.

    Apparently, the B783 was designed to operate on B753 and B762 routes but Boeing managed to convince Japan Airlines and ANA to switch their B783 orders to B788's.

    Boeing withdrew the B783 from the product range Dec 2010 as they struggled with the production of the B788 which was 3 years behind schedule.

    United needs to replace B757/B767 fleets so the B783 could be added to the B787 product range for those airlines who are still operating B757/B767's.

    According to Bloomberg, Airbus could introduce a A322neo to the A320neo product range which would fit the B757 market.  Boeing doesn't have a product similar to the A321 except for the proposed B737-Max10 concept.

    I will be interesting to see what happens.
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  • Himeno


    14 Mar, 2017 08:19 pm

    Sounds like this is another announcement of the Y1.
    Boeing is running the "Yellowstone Project". 3 aircraft meant to replace their existing, in 2003, product lineup.

    Y1 is meant to cover the 100-250 seat market to replace the 737, 757 and 762.
    Y2 is the 787.
    Y3 is for the 350-600+ seat market, to replace the 777 and 747. Work on Y3 was postponed with the 777X announcement.
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  • Jason Hamilton


    19 Jan, 2018 08:18 am

    I would hope it’s a smaller WB jet rather than just another claustrophobic, longer, skinny NB.
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.

As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.

But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:

  1. you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
  2. it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
  3. and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking

This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.

However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.

The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.

Read more: Qantas, Air New Zealand alliance will take on Virgin Australia

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • henrus


    20 Jul, 2018 05:31 pm

    Doesn't it seem a bit odd that Koru club won't get access (something that the VA deal provided) . I guess there will be no access for QF Club cardholders in NZ either?
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  • aviation


    21 Jul, 2018 09:27 am

    Correct, it's reciprocal in that QF Club card holders can't use NZ lounges. The VA deal was very unique as they were the only partner lounges Koru members could access without actually flying Air NZ.
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  • Uqsthom6


    21 Jul, 2018 08:05 am

    Looks like air nz ff get the raw end of the deal
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  • aviation


    21 Jul, 2018 08:31 am

    Thanks for the article, however, there are a few errors.
    1. It's not really an alliance, but a straight domestic codeshare agreement. Alliance to me suggests coordination on pricing, schedules, etc, of which is there is none of.
    2. Some codeshare flights on Qantas are in the NZ1xxx range too (namely the triangle routes)
    3. The codeshare flight can be used for any international journey originating in Australia, not just trans-Tasman (i.e. you could fly CBR-SYD-AKL-LAX or MEL-SYD-RAR)
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.

Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.

Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.

Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December). 

And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.

On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.

Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as

  • Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
  • Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
  • Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
  • Mango with pomelo and sago

But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.

Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.

There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.

However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.

In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.

Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.

Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • Skipp


    20 Jul, 2018 12:48 pm

    Look forward to the new meal service in business class coming within the next 12 months - it will make a nice change.
    I just hope (for the future) that Cathay Pacific will stop serving the exact same economy class meals in "Premium" economy class.
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  • MissBasset


    20 Jul, 2018 01:34 pm

    Why bother with the white linen tablecloth if they are serving it on a plastic cafeteria tray? The promo pictures show all set up to eat off the tray. Euww.. I will take it all off the tray and set it up like other airlines J class. FAIL for presentation, CX.
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  • mrj


    20 Jul, 2018 02:42 pm

    I recently suggested to Cathay that their business classs food is amongst the worst of all airlines. Interestingly their response failed to mention this planned revamp.
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    20 Jul, 2018 02:57 pm

    I'm really glad they're going back to classy, glossy paper stock for the menus versus the uncoated groundwood paper they switched to a few years back. Now if they would only bring back that trademark chocolate box at the end of the meal...
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  • David Flynn


    20 Jul, 2018 03:25 pm

    I was on CX a few weeks back and the chocolates made an appearance on every flight...
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  • Manjit Sadhwani

    Manjit Sadhwani

    20 Jul, 2018 03:19 pm

    It's about time
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  • HKAus


    20 Jul, 2018 03:41 pm

    CX Catering is bar far the most outdated and leaves an overall cheap and poor guest experience of most International airliners. CX have unfortunately chosen over the last decade to reduce their overheads where guests can see and feel the difference. Personally after 5 years as a Diamond CX member I have moved to competitors; poor catering, moody crew members, consistently delayed flights (due to over use of planes with no margin for delays) and ridiculous pricing have enabled me to now enjoy such operators as KLM, Virgin Australia, Qantas & Lufthansa; all with an overall better "J"Class experience. Interestingly as a result of my change in travel I was dropped to Gold and this year even though I should have dropped another tier, they obviously are trying to get pax like myself back because they extended my gold status.
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  • Rkwm


    20 Jul, 2018 04:39 pm

    It was taken CX far too long to make changes to the atrocious F&B that has annoyed their long term supporters . The plastic cafeteria tray certainly brings the enhancements down a few levels can’t, understsnd who approved this inclusion . Totally agree with HKAus, supported CX for over two decades but over the last two years the deterioration in service , punctuality and value has been palpable.

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  • Tony OBERON


    20 Jul, 2018 04:48 pm

    Looks marginally better - but CX are you seriously going to use a plastic tray? At least put a cloth on the tray - if for no other reasons than hygiene! I’m a germophobe and I cringe to see cutlery sitting on a plastic tray, which cannot be washed at the same high temps as crockery. Lysteria et al here we come.
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    21 Jul, 2018 11:33 am

    I think everyone who travels Cathay agrees that the dining experience had to be upgraded, this looks the goods.
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

 Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.

The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.

The story

As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.

In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.

The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.

(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)

The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.

The style

For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.

The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.

The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.

The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.

The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.

Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.

While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.

The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.

The details

• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit

Jason Swire

Jason Swire (Jason Swire)

[email protected] /

Jason Swire is a Sydney-based writer, watch collector and author of 'Timely Advice', a beginner's guide to fine timepieces. His non-watch passions include hi-fi and whiskey, in that order.

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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.

The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.

By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.

The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.

However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.

Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."

"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.

The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.

Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • eight10man


    20 Jul, 2018 06:19 pm

    Not sure how you can have black spots when using satellite internet.. especially when those black spots happen to be above the sea. Could it be this system is actually and ground-to-ground system maybe?
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  • readosunnycoast


    20 Jul, 2018 10:35 pm

    Just flew BKK>>>HEL, A350 with wifi. Couldnt get a connection of any sort. Just kept message, don’t close the browser. I do hope it gets better for the next lot of passengers
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm


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