Boeing is steadily building towards the official launch of its newest jet – a mid-sized plane likely to be christened the Boeing 797 – although airlines won't begin flying the advanced aircraft until the mid-2020s.
Speaking with media at the Singapore Airshow, Boeing senior vice-president Dinesh Keskar talked up interested from Australia – with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce already bullish on the jet's prospects – Asia, India and the Middle East.
Aimed at the mid-market between the largest single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX and the smallest twin-aisle Boeing 787, the nascent Boeing 797 will be offered in two variants: one with seating for 225 passengers and another with a 275-seat capacity (this appears to be based on a single seating class from tip to tail).
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce sees plenty of appeal for the Boeing 797 on domestic routes, not just east-west runs currently flown by the Airbus A330s but to bolster capacity on popular but constrained routes such as Sydney-Melbourne, which is now the world's second-busiest air corridor.
Based on Boeing's tentative specs, the largest Boeing 797 could carry almost 100 extra passengers per flight between Sydney and Melbourne, compared to Qantas' Boeing 737-800 jets – although Joyce, speaking at the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, noted that the jet's design had to permit sufficiently fast boarding and disembarking of passengers to allow a 35 minute turnaround.
Joyce also cited Asian routes such as Sydney-Singapore as being well-suited to the Boeing 797.