Breaking: Boeing plans new aiplane — 797?

Jon Ostrower over at Flight Blogger has some interesting gossip for us from the airplane world: Boeing‘s CEO Jim McNerney was quoted earlier this week as saying that the manufacturer is looking into new airframes above and beyond the 787.

From Ostrower’s blog, McNerney says [bolding by Ostrower]:

We’re gonna do a new airplane. We’re not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to an all-new airplane at the end of the decade, beginning of the next decade.

“It’s our judgment that our customers will wait for us, rather than move to an airplane that will obsolete itself when [Airbus does] a new airplane. I understand why they’re doing it, we haven’t seen the need for it yet. I feel pretty comfortable we can defend our customer base both because they’re not going ahead of us, they’re catching up to us and because we’re going to be doing a new airplane that will go beyond the capability of what the neo can do. I feel very good about our position there.”

Reached for comment, Bernard Choi from Boeing Corporate communications shed further light:

We continue to evaluate and are actively working with our customers and industry partners to identify the best solution to dramatically reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions and to lower overall operating costs. We continue to evaluate the potential of a new airplane design in terms of fuel burn, operating costs, carbon footprint, reliability and passenger comfort. Of course technology availability will be a critical issue and an area of focus during 2011, but we expect to have more clarity by mid-year. Based upon what our customers want, we maintain the ability to select from several choices, including a new engine or an all-new airplane.

Could this be the long rumored 797 that frequently crops up on myth sites? Probably not to the effect of those legends, but it does say that Boeing is seriously thinking about new airframes in an active, agressive manner.