Boeing Commercial Airplane’s Long Beach, Calif. site vice president and general manager, Pat McKenna, told ERA attendees that two prospective customers could sign deals for 10 to 15 Boeing 717s, and another pair of airlines could commit to “two or three” each before the end of the year. The latter likely includes two 717-200s covered by an order from Turkmenistan Airlines announced 10 days after McKenna’s remarks and possibly a similar quantity for a Germanwings contract that Boeing had yet to close by the middle of last month.
The company will pursue European sales campaigns next year that could involve as many as 30 aircraft, said McKenna. He explained that the current backlog of 33 airplanes would accommodate “two or three years’ production, or a little more,” but claimed the build rate would fall below one per month. Boeing projects demand for around one thousand 100-passenger jetliners in the next 10 years and up to 2,500 by 2023.
Boeing has been working with the FAA to enhance the 717’s extended-range twin-engine over-water operations (Etops) clearance to 120 minutes; it expects that approval before next April. The company also wants to increase the interval between “A” and “C” checks from 3,600 hours to 6,000 hours and 6,500 hours, respectively, leading to “a significant improvement in maintenance interval costs.”
Boeing has delivered 134 copies of the 717 to eight operators and two lessors since the airplane entered service five years ago.