Middle of the Market or Mirage of the Market: Boeing’s lose-lose situation

Enthusiast concept of Boeing Middle of the Market airplane. via Google images.

March 30, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing is unlikely to develop a Middle of the Market airplane for a sector that could be a “mirage,” write two aerospace analysts.

Buckingham Research, in a note issued yesterday, did a “deep dive” into the MOM potential and concluded there isn’t a big enough market to support development of a new airplane. Buckingham recently upgraded Boeing stock to Neutral (Hold) from a Sell.

Bernstein Research, in a note published March 15, ventured that the MOM demand could be a “Mirage of the Market.” Bernstein is a Buy on the stock.

Goldman Sachs remains in the camp that Boeing may well proceed with development of a MOM airplane, at the cost of billions of dollars. Goldman concludes Boeing is in a lose-lose situation with the MOM. Goldman is a Sell.

“After a deep dive analysis, we think BA could decide against developing a new MOM airplane,” writes Buckingham, “either a clean sheet design or derivative because: 1) the business case for a new MOM airplane doesn’t appear compelling – we don’t think BA will be able to achieve the program gross margin necessary to justify the investment; 2) the market may not be large enough for a new MOM airplane if Airbus responds with a competing A321 derivative; and 3) the cash flow headwinds from a new airplane development program could constrain BA’s capital deployment strategy that’s focused on returning cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.”

Buckingham thinks Boeing stock could trade up if the company announces it won’t pursue a MOM aircraft. Not pursuing a MOM would relieve uncertainty in the investment community over the prospect of spending billions of dollars in R&D.

Bernstein, in the March 15 note, wrote that the “The middle-of-the-market program appears to be a mirage that has taken on a life of its own, as press, analysts, and others who would like to see a new airplane have latched onto it. Panels have been convened at major conferences, even though there is not an airplane. Fuel has been added to these stories by comments that the 737MAX-9 is not competitive versus the A321neo. The problem here is that addressing the A321neo is very different than designing a clean sheet airplane that would fill the 757 space, because timing would need to be sooner and likely involve a stretch of a 737MAX-9 (not trivial, but possible) and not be a clean sheet. The true MOM airplane would be larger, with slightly longer range than today’s narrow-bodies. But, that airplane involves a number of decisions that will take time to make, which is why such an airplane should not enter the market before 2025.

“The MOM is not a complete fantasy. What is the reality? There is real work going on at Boeing to look at this space as there has been for many years,” wrote Bernstein. “Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO, Ray Conner did say at the company’s management offsite in February that he wanted to see efforts in this area become more focused on choosing the right approach (whether or not it continues) during the next 12 months. These approaches appear to have spanned a wide range in the past. We also know that the major engine OEMs have had discussions with Boeing about different concepts. But, this is the kind of work always underway at Boeing and Airbus. Airbus has also looked at options for aircraft designs in this space.”


Goldman Sachs, in a March 29 note, writes that “Boeing has no true 757 replacement and is losing share in the segment to the A321NEO. We see a lose-lose scenario where Boeing either invests heavily and arrives late-to-market, or foregoes the segment completely.

“It would be extremely costly for Boeing to start developing a replacement today, and it would likely not enter service for another seven years,” Goldman writes. “By then we expect the majority of 757s to already have been replaced or retired. On the other hand, if Boeing elects not to develop a 757 replacement, it will almost undoubtedly lose market share long-term in this larger narrow-body category.”

Goldman notes the price war between Airbus and Boeing.

“Boeing narrowbody aircraft have lower list prices, on average, than comparable Airbus aircraft. But Boeing’s statement that it cannot compete with Airbus on price suggests substantial discounting from Airbus. Furthermore, an A321NEO at list is only 6% more than a 737 MAX 9 and only 13% more than a 737 MAX 8, making it fairly easy to envision Airbus competing via the A321NEO vs. both the MAX 8 and MAX 9 at comparable deal prices.”

128 Comments on “Middle of the Market or Mirage of the Market: Boeing’s lose-lose situation

  1. The more I read about the MOM the more I believe that this aircraft can’t be built. It seems to me, that this would rather require two different aircraft to be developed.

    One aircraft that has a larger capacity than the 739/321 with a short to medium range to cover high-volume routes on shorter distances. Here short turnaround times are key, to ensure a regular frequency between big hubs. Especially in Asia, such an aircraft would certainly find a market.

    The other one to me seems to be a long dragon. An aircraft that flies comfortably across the Atlantic and has about the size of an A321. It needs a bit a longer range than the A321LR to be able to cope with higher weight for additional catering/water/IFE/etc. and reliably fly long routes during all seasons. Fast turnarounds are probably not that important, but a low per seat cost to open new and thin routes.

    That’s why I believe, one aircraft will not make the stretch between those completely different requirements.

    • Why not a family of aircraft:

      –Three fuselage sizes @200 seats, 250 seats and 300 seats at 28 inch pitch (which gives ultra low-cost carriers the lowest possible costs because flight attendants are generally required for every 50 seats or portion thereof). It will be 80-90% of that for more “normal” airlines.
      –Two wings — small and large
      –Family of engines
      –Narrowbody (but wider than the 707/727/737/757 width, which is played out — at least an inch wider than the A320 to give Boeing bragging rights if nothing else).
      –Probably composite, because it’s time

      The idea is that with the small wing, you have something that can do transcons (at least up to the 250 seat size) and with the big wing you have something that can do intercontinental — at least 5000 nm range.

      And for <200 seats? Buy the C-Series program from Bombardier.

      It's long since time that Boeing had a new narrowbody. The MAX is rewarmed clearly once too many times. Indeed, in retrospect, the NG probably should have been all-new.

      • Why not a family of aircraft:

        –Three fuselage sizes @200 seats, 250 seats and 300 seats

        Because Boeing is already selling the 787 in the 250-300 seat segment. They’d still want to make some money on that before pouring billions in a plane that walks squarely across the lower end of the 787’s market.

        I’ve always been firmly in the MOM-sceptic camp and quite honetsly, I’m happy to see that some analysts are coming round to a similar view despite all the hype surrounding a potential new MOM plane.
        MOM used as the starting point (with plans to shrink later to get an NSA family) would impede on MAX’s market.
        MOM used as the starting point (with plans to stretch later to get something aking to the 787-3) would impede on the 787’s market.
        MOM used as the starting point (with plans to shrink and stretch later) for a new family spanning 200-300 seats would impede on both MAX and 787 territory.
        All that for relatively little gain – namely trying to wipe the floor with the A321NEO. Except the A321NEO is still going to be a lot cheaper (if somewhat smaller with somehwat less range), available much sooner, with development costs already pretty much fully paid off for Airbus.
        A 2016/17 for a ~2025 EIS, with costs going way into the billions, for any such plane doesn’t make any sense. MAX has only just started flight tests and the 787 has only just started making money on each frame delivered.

        I do expect NSA/MOM to be the next market where Boeing are going to do a from-scratch development – but only as a proper successor to MAX once MAX has served its due.

        • The 787-8 is finished anyway, there was a recent topic on the subject.

          If you don’t belive there is a marked between a 737-8 and a 787-9 okay…

          • There is a potential market. Certainly.
            But there seems to be no room for designing a viable product.

            757-300 size probably is at the far end of NB sizing
            and a twin aisle is a big step up in weight and thus cost of operations.

          • If you don’t belive there is a marked between a 737-8 and a 787-9 okay…
            That’s absolutely not what I said.
            I just said that any plane going into that niche would impede on the 787 or MAX or both, which isn’t something Boeing is going to be to keen on just now considering the cost vs. the benefit.

          • The only MOM variant(s) not harming Boeing’s other undertakings is either some NEUTRAL product vs 787 and MAX such as 767-2C MAX, or a form of addition to the one or the other of either these programmes, such as eg 787-3 or 757 MAX = 737 MAX-10, this last one a MAX enterination TO THE BITTER END. Any other solution is a NO GO. In particular, a newbuilt MOM family is not neutral as it immediately coins MAX as “obsolete” and would backfire with massive MAX cancellations !!

    • Agreed, two missions need two aircraft. Use a simplified 757/767 like co-design. A short range 7 wide twin and a long range single aisle would both have the about the same weight and could use the same CRFP wing, engines, cockpit, tail and systems. The only difference is the fuselage structure. First build clean sheet 757 size planes 75X-2 with 200 pax at 5125 nmi and a 75X-3 with 243 pax at 4500 nmi, (757 range plus 25%). Than build a 76X-2+ with 240 pax and a 76X-3+ with 284 pax with range for NYC to LAX. Later the single aisle design can be used for the Max replacement.

      • That worked in the old days but I doubt such a sub-optimal approach will work now. Looking at 2 or 3 model series like the B787, A350 and A330 customers are only taking one model in particular now, ie no new 332s or 788s, A350-1000 got a bigger wing but I suspect prospective buyers are waiting to see what the ¨1100¨ looks like.

    • Boeing needs to aquire Bombardier for the C-Series. Grow it from the C100s and C300 with a C500 and C700. This would be the 737 replacement with planes at capacities of 100-120, 130-140, 150-160, and 170-180

      The MOM would then be developed with two sizes in mind, a 190-210 capacity and a 230-250 range as the 787-8 isn’t answer on the high end.

      I see opportunity there to grow long haul flights like Nashville/New Orleans to London and other major destinations in Europe.

  2. I think there is a lot of feel good behind “Airbus must be discounting” while discussing the A321 success. It’s against market logic; everyone wants it and there’s no competitive pressure. So why would Airbus discount?

    I think there will a new MoM, but a small one. The 737-8 is hanging on commonality, having 2 rows more and aggressive sales.

    Airbus could launch a dedicated A320 Plus, for a realistic 200 seat cabin. maybe half the A320 backlog could upgrade & further 737 customers would switch.


    But Boeing would launch a brand new NSA direct A320 competitor ASAP. And shorten the live of the A320 cash cow and force Airbus to invest in new aircraft too. The current 60/40 situation is better.

    • Clearly, though, the competitive pressure from Airbus is felt in Chicago/Seattle.

      While the 737s had once been much better than the A320s, Airbus has narrowed the gap and the A321neo is now “a very competitive machine against the MAX 9,” Conner acknowledged

      He gave the example of Korean Air, previously an all-Boeing 737 operator, which last year split a new order for 60 jets between the 737 MAX 8 and the A321neo.

      Even in the market for bigger twin-aisle aircraft, Conner said, “We’ve ceded ground to Airbus.”

      He cited another sales campaign last year, when longtime all-Boeing customer EVA Air of Taiwan bought 18 of the largest 787-10 Dreamliners, despite intense pricing pressure from the competing Airbus A350-900.

      Boeing had to dig deep to close a large price gap, “not all the way but just enough so we were able to win,” Conner said.

      Combining single-aisle and twin-aisle sales, he said Boeing now has 46 percent of the total backlog. Airbus is “trying to drive us to 40 percent,” which he said would anoint the European jetmaker as the securely dominant player.

      “That’s our reality, guys. That’s what we’re dealing with,” Conner told employees. “And with the market kind of stabilizing here and not seeing the kind of growth or the opportunities for more campaigns, I think we’re going to be in an even tougher fight as we move into 2016 and beyond.”


      • “Their biggest weapon that they’re using in the competitions today is price,” Conner told employees. “They are attacking us with price in every single campaign. And as a result of that, you know, we’re being pushed to the wall.”
        “While the 737s had once been much better than the A320s, Airbus has narrowed the gap ”
        “Boeing had to dig deep to close a large price gap”

        Frankly this is old school Boeing communication strategy. If they win it’s because of better products / quality. If they loose, it always kind of unfair, mostly Airbus undercut pricing (cheap).

        If Conner would suggest Airbusses having Superior Performance & Technology he would be carried around covered with tar & feathers. A no-go area 😀

        • That language is most certainly conducive to rallying employees. .. and we’ll see it repeated on various fora.

          we cannot any longer compensate product deficiencies with rebates. ??

          If the NG ever topped the A320 significantly why all the “wing a ding” addons?

          To the proprietor: could we please have a Corner on “what delivery scope is the published pricing information (“list price”) based on for each airframer”?

          • I don’t know that Airbus has superior technology (GTF open for discussion) but what they do have is a much new2er airframe that is easily upgraded as its architecture is fully amenable to the new engines.

            Boeing simply does not have the product st5rech and if someone has a need for a high pax count longer range single aisle, they have to look at their fleet and decide to split or go all Airbus.

          • Uwe:

            Employees are not going to be conducive to that BS, they know the story, this could be the start of a long term morale loss just when they had started a recovery.

            Management needs to own the screw-ups, looks like that is not going to happen.

        • @ K

          Yes and no. Currency fluctuations that hit Airbus in the past are swinging the other way. I could see a valid argument for Boeing to be concerned about its competitive short and medium term position based solely on that

      • Pardon my ignorance but why wouldn’t a smaller 787 be the answer to all the requirements?

        • The 787 is a long-range plane and it carries all the structure to support that range. Yes, a shrink would be lighter, but it will still be too heavy for MOM missions.

          I also doubt that Boeing wants to dilute the 787 production lines with cheaper models when they’d much rather be building -9s and -10s.

    • I think you might be quite correct there. If Airbus launched an A320,5 with two to three more rows than todays A320, I am fairly sure it would swing a lot of the B737-8 orders into A320,5 orders and force Boeing to launch a clean sheet narrowbody in order to not be completely marginalized in the narrow body market. And then Airbus would need to do some serious upgrade as well to the 320 series to keep competitive with Boeings new offer.

      I think this might be the reason that Airbus is sticking with the slightly suboptimal A320 lenght instead of stretching it a few frames. I cant otherwise see what reason Airbus could have to not stretch the A320 as a part of the neo upgrade.

      • The idea of stretching the a320 two or three rows is old. Very old. Seems it is cheaper to discount the airframe. If you sell it for 6-8% less because it has 6 or 8% less seats without loosing face – just a wild guess from my side – and you do not have an additional variant, plus development and certification. I can imagine that Airbus looked into that for the neo, and concluded it was not worth the trouble.
        (at least two made this public; Lufthansa – source Flight International April 30, 1988, p40 and EasyJet, source again Flight, October 22-28, 2002, p9)

    • “I think there is a lot of feel good behind “Airbus must be discounting” while discussing the A321 success.”

      Big discounts wouldn’t explain why customers are complaining about high prices for A321s. Airbus is milking the cash cow on the A321 and Boeing doesn’t have an answer.

    • Boeing would then sit in a 787 entagled by A330 situation again.

      They probably will not be able to kick off that “drug like rush” again to achieve a well filled order book.
      Performance delta to the A320 will be marginal.
      At least there is hope that the next from scratch project will avoid the majority of costly obstacles.

  3. When I see that we are discussing an investment that will impact on Boeing’s future over 30-40 years from the perspective of analysts who can’t look further that the next earnings report I know that the tail is wagging the dog.

    Boeing know in their hearts that a lack of action in the NB market over the past 25+ years has severely compromised their current position. They know that although the MAX is costing a goodly load of cash it is already in a second best position and the A320NEO having been barely breathed upon besides hanging new engines has scope for more and more development.

    It seems that the Boeing management summon up the courage to act only for someone to whisper ‘Pickens’ in their corporate ear. That immediately leads to a ‘what is already in the workshop that we can pimp attitude’.

    Doing nothing is effectively saying that they are willing to cede the NB market bit by bit to Airbus and with it the massive consistent cash generator for the Commercial division.

    This is the beginning of the end in strategic terms. In an industry with time horizons of 20/30/40 years to consider strategic decisions based on the attitude of analysts is risible.

    • You’re completely right.

      While I think it is true that designing a right MOM is a tough task what is the alternative scenario in the long run?

      – The 737Max is under hard pressure from Airbus. I think it isn’t to daring to expect long-term profits Airbus vs. Boeing in the 2/3 vs. 1/3 range given the higher volumes of the A320 family and the bigger margins on the A321
      – The 787 is the only “superiour” product in the portfolio. The 787-9 is the centerpoint of the twin-aisle marked. But even so the A330neo set’s a limit on it’s price and the 787-10 growth potential is limeted by MTOW increases too
      – The A350 is a big winner. With a a350-8000 I see the profit’s for the 77X under pressure. It won’t be a fail but it would’nt nearly gain the profits the 77W brought.

      So I think it would be very dangerous for Boeing to sit back and “do nothing” in the long run. Yes, it may give investors a few happy years but after about 2020?

      The only viable alternative I could see is to start the NSA directly. However that’s not likely too given the investment in the 737Max

  4. Stretching the A320 into an A320,5 needs to be decided into a given number of frames, of 21″ each or 0.533 meters … but also into how many of those frames you plug on to the fwd fuselage, and how many you plus on to the aft fuselage …

    The present split gives 3 AKH in the fwd holds, plus 4 AKH in the aft holds. One more AKH, probably fwd of the wingbox, assumes three frames, then you add two frames aft installing a fuel tank in the bottom of the aft cargo hold, for better reach… A tail-tank hold tank fuel transfer CoG excursion management system will remove the need for empennage trimming, a fuel-guzzling W&B feature if required … so to please keesje, the A320,5 cabin would be 105″ longer, with room for 3 additional rows or + 18 seats, whereby the A320,5 would hit the 200-seats “Sweet Spot”, matching the MAX8-200.

    • Aircraft manufacturers can and do use part-frames when deciding on stretches of fuselage. It’s not necessary to only use full frames.

      • I know, Stealth66 … when going to the 738 from the earlier 736/7 Boeing added both 20″ and 22″ frames, messing up a previously orderly architecture. @ Airbus, the Designers prefer to avoid complicating things beyond reason for the wiring/ducting/piping people whenever not necessary …

        • Dude, routing systems every 20, 22, 24 or whatever inches is not going to make things more difficult for the designers. Especially if everything else remains the same.

          • But taking into account that adding three frames fwd or aft gives one more AKH makes sense … Boeing does not have any CLS – container loading system – so for the 737 NG or MAX, never mind half- or quarter-frames but for A32X Series you need to look twice before freezing a new design ? A319 = 4 AKH; A320 = 7 AKH; A321 = 10 AKH … so why not A320,5 = 8 AKH for keesje’s protégée ??

    • That would mean that cargo capability of the A320.5 would not increase. There would not be room for an additional LD3-45 container in either the forward or aft cargo hold.

      • @ Meg : why, we just proposed the opposite, ie 8 AKH for A320.5 vs 7 today for A320 … that’s one more AKH in the fwd hold, if I can count on my fingers ?

        • Airbus does not. (But they do offer a containerized hold.)

          But airlines beyond the US seem to prefer having their pax baggage boxed. ( not available for the A318.)

        • No, some airlines do it. Just like some airlines use them for cargo on A320 (e.g. Iberia).

  5. I think most aircraft programs have relied on guessed market needs, the actual success is often luck as so many factors are influential:
    – actual technology performance, new technology
    – changing markets
    – competitor reaction
    The MOM should be fairly successful given the large capacity gap between single and twin aisle. However, having done many studies, one finds sufficient evidence that sours this fact.
    A financially strong and self-concious Boeing might launch an aircraft program despite this risk, but post-787 Boeing has neither the guts nor the Dollars to endure another project, especially if technology/industrial risk (what dragged the B787 down) combines with market risk (the B787 was rather risk-free in that respect).

    But in case anyone asks, I vote for the twin aisle …

    • “I think most aircraft programs have relied on guessed market needs, ..”

      It is a quandary.
      1:You must meet some imminent market demand.
      2:Your design must be “unspecific” enough to not present as a single trick pony but flow into opening market opportunities.
      “1” is necessary but “2” is much more important for the long run. Notorious example: A330/A340 combo.

      • You forgot doable. Airlines will always ask for more than you offer and you need to know when to say stop.

  6. “After a deep dive analysis, we think BA could decide against developing a new MOM airplane,” writes Buckingham,either a clean sheet design or derivative because: 1) … 2) … 3)”

    I think a likely “4)” is “because the MAX can’t be left in 1 room with the NEO, priorities changed.”

    A new NMA / NSA / MoM / 797 design has to cover 170-200 seats 1500NM in a real competitive manner too.


  7. “…a new airplane development program could constrain BA’s capital deployment strategy that’s focused on returning cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.”

    That’s the problem. Returning cash to shareholders is not a “capital deployment strategy”. Investing in new products is. Cash to shareholders is the *result* of successful, long term, capital deployment.

    Focusing on short-term cash payout leads to business stagnation and long-term inability to generate cash.

    • Eating your seed corn at the risk of repeating myself, at the risk of repeating myself, at the risk of repeating myself.

  8. Should have launched the MoM and not the last of the dinosaur 777x. Maybe the 777x was the big mistake, where’s the ROI point on that one, 800 to 1000 unit accounting block? Good luck getting those sales.
    Should have launched the M0M, oh well.

  9. Overall in regard to the MOM, its been my view in a nutshell that I don’t see the MOM and single aisle and even the A321 extended single markets segments common with the MOM.

    Single aisle has pretty well reached its range and pax limits as the 757 showed with the -300.

    And keeping in mind that both A and B have chewed up the bottom of the 757 market (not that many routes its used on full potential and its fuel use is an issue when oil is higher). What is left is high and hot and the long thin routes. As GTF improves and maybe LEAP, the A321 becomes more capable.

    MOM would seem to be a mini wide body and the 737RS would be a single aisle.

    Sans a 757, they will make do with lower takeoff weights for high and hot. Both equal (well the -9 has its issue there). But the playing field is level even if not ideal efficiency wise.

    With the 757 marker realistically gone (freighters anyone?) the need is the single aisle not a new market. Airbus has no competitor in their.

    A lightened re-engined 767-200 might even suffices. It sure made the A300 belume up to the A330 (and who knew that would be a good move?)

    So, where the hard core bread and butter is and the fight is totally lopsided, Boeing desperately needs and A321 competitors (and really needs a new single aisle). That is a 30 year vision and investment. It should have been made two generation of 737 ago.

    You can keep trying to plug the dike with your finger or do a new dike.

    While the -8MAX can and does compete on equal terms with the A320, the 737-9 does not with the A321. The kindest you can say is its the closets competitor.

    Kind of like a stock car vs an Indy car. Stock car may be the closest competitor, but its going to be left in the dust by an Indy car.

    Boeing can plug the dike with their finger one more time with a 737-10MAX, but they also have to bit the bullet and develop and all new single aisle.

    The iffy MOM market can wait and they are not getting beat up in it.

    To go their it would have to be a sure deal and counter Airbus not in competing with the A321, but being the only one in that segment Airbus has no answer.

    That’s the $64 question, is it a slam dunk market, pie in the sky or a long term developing market? two out of three are bad and I think its someplace in the two out of three.

    Not a lot from a MOM can be shared with a single aisle. Some, but not nearly enough to justify it and if no single aisle in the plan, by the time you do it there is no shared aspects. Cockpit at best?

    • Transworld, like the A318-A322 / 736- 739; cockpits, crews, systems, cabins, galleys, the tail section, APU, lavatories, maintenance infrastructure / bases, spares, nose gears. All except wings/engines 😉

      The 757 sold 1000 since 37 yrs ago. The A321is 35% more efficient, booked 2750 orders before A321NEO EIS, is build all over the world and remains sold out for 6 years. Production rate will go to 25 per month soon. Maybe the 757 is not such a relevant reference.

      • I am not saying the 757 was or actually is.

        In an era of low fuel prices it worked. Not put it up against an A321 and it won’t for most routes. Some really long routes yes as it can carry a full pax load with little if any range limitations. While there are some of those there are not a lot.

        The 757 also had a significant order group from UPS (Freighter of course)

        The A321 is far more successful than the bigger 757 and it should be, different market (its not limited to economical trans US length routes, it can do shorter as well and be economical doing so)

        So, if I did nto have it clear, MOM is speculated, and you can’t share toilets , galleys etc as it would (or likely) be a vastly different width and hull curvature. Stool would be common, toilet paper roll but that is common with all of them (sand the Quatar/Emirates etc emporiums suites)

        Boeing really needs to do both a 737-10 as a gap filler and an all new 737RS including a model in the A321 category (a bit larger, shift all the models up leaving the -8 as the smallest offering. Allow a few frame difference to match any Airbus move in the -8 segment.

        • “Boeing really needs to do … a 737-10.”
          From a passenger perspective, I hope you are wrong. The 739 is disagreeable enough.
          Market-wise, a further stretch/short-term plug in the dike is not what is needed, and would waste BA resources and effort on a likely sales mega-dud.
          There was a recent discussion around here on the failure of the 753 and 764 . I’d fully expect that, given the lackluster acceptance of the MAX9, a -10 would flop like a suffocating fish.

  10. Ahhhhh….one of my favourite subjects; the MOM. The way I see it, is for the near term, Boeing has 3 choices; do nothing substantial other than tweak the 739MAXer and hope that the 321 love is relatively short lived, do some major work to the -9…including a stretch and wing root work to give it taller legs, or leave the bottom of the MOM to the 321 and do something in the gap between the 321 and 788/332neo.

    All new isn’t going to happen for a decade at least, so that’s off the table for now.

    I say their best bang for their buck is a 767max. First off, it fits almost exactly where they have consistently said what they want from an MOM, (5500nm range, up to 280 seats, twin aisle).

    I know, I know, I know….too heavy, crappy wing…etc. On the flip side of that, everything needed to build it is already in the parts bin, certified and currently in production. No tens of billions of dollars needed for development, certification and production.

    The 767 is up to 80,000lbs OEW lighter than the 330/788, and all of that means that Boeing could make up for a small single digit loss in efficiency by selling it dirt cheap in comparison to the bigger planes.

    The engines are currently in production on the 748 which are exactly in the thrust range of the current 767er offerings. They are as modern and efficient as anything flying and I’m sure GE would be keen to cut a deal to keep that production line running.

    As it is, Boeing could still make the airframe more aerodynamic with split scimitars, wingroot improvements, leading edge fine tuning, hybrid laminar flow tail, etc.

    So no…it would not have the same CASM as the 321 under 200 seats, but over 3000nm, the 321 starts shedding seats and payload, while the 767 has as least 50 more seats to start with and can carry them over 1000nm further.

    The 767max wouldn’t take orders away from the 788 because, frankly, that duck is pretty much dead. Odds are, the 332neo, (338?), will more than likely be the worst selling of the 330neo duo so basically, the MOM gap that Boeing can aim at with the 767max, is between the 321 and the 789/333neo….both of those with an OEW about 100,000lbs, heavier than a 767.

    All of that weight takes a lot of fuel to push around and a lot of money to manufacture…and that’s the secret to the 767max…cheap. Basically no new anything…except maybe pylons. Just stuff that’s already flying. No new wing or wingbox…why spend those billions when you can pass the savings along to customers?

    The mantra would have to be KEEP IT CHEAP…!

    Basically, if Boeing wants to fight the a321 directly, they will have to build a better 321…and that’s not going to come from the 737. Instead of fighting the 321 for the 752 customers, take care of the 753, 762/3, A300, A310 customers.

    There are a couple thousand of those current MOM aircraft running out of hours and they will need replacing. Right now, the choice for current operators is to either go way smaller or spend way more by going bigger.

    Airbus has pretty much won the bottom half of the MOM market…why not go after the top half?

    • The 767MAX based on the 767-2C is maybe half way there? A major weight loss program, Al-Li, carbon brakes, ARINC 629 boxes, Central maintenence computer, The modern 787 cockpit is already in the 767-2C, GEnX-2B engines, aero cleanup, a new slender light weight carbon wing from Japan with fuel for 4500nm and you are close. If it has the reliability for 15000cy on wing doing 1-6hr jumps you can charge 787-9 prices for it since there is no competition if you can fill it with 70-100 more pax than the A321. Keep the high power available from the GEnX as you would get short field performance out of 757 airports like Vail airport. It will eventually remove all A330’s from these 1-6hr routes.

      • Ain’t gonna happen.

        The 767 is too heavy (even with a weight loss program – assuming there’s any weight left to come out), 7-across is inefficient compared to a 6-across single-aisle or 8/9-across twin-aisle. It also suffers from not offering the industry standard 2xLD3 width for all that Asian cargo.

        Ray Conner told employees the two main options for MOM are all new or a stretched MAX. 767 was not mentioned.

        • The 767 could do a MOM.

          I t can’t compete with an A321. A MOM market is not an A321 market.

          As claes noted, the 2C is partway there, I think it has the 300 wing, move that back to the 200 wing (or if the 100 wing was smaller?)

          Stuff the 747 engines on it (note that same engine is on the 787, just configured a bit different for bleed air so it benefits from huge commonality with the GE engine)

          Still need an A321 competitor and short term that has to be the -10 (or launch the all new project and watch the A321 eat up the profits for 7-10 years.

          • Amen. I have felt for some time Boeing moves too slow in response to the competition, (airbus), and I also agree the lowest cost option would be a 767-200max. An open 767 assembly line, greater range than the A321neo which is not a true 757 replacement in range,short field operations and hot & high airports and with the above mentioned upgrades, the selling price could be very attractive as it would be an offering off the current 767 line.
            220+ seats, 5500 mile range and a true low cost MOM which would not need the selling numbers of the 787 to be profitable.
            I also don’t see the 321neo as a reliable offering for crossing the Atlantic and some South American destinations. I foresee unscheduled fuel stops as a common occurrence with the 321neo when crossing the pond. Just my take on the MOM.

          • Just keep in mind that claes had it spot on, the 2C is shorter, a bit lighter and the 200 or even 100 wing if it is smaller as well.

            New engine and all the aerodynamic tweaks that are minimal cost and…..

            Maybe not a huge seller but its all paid for, USAF pays for the base costs, FedEx adds bulk and Airbus has nothing in its class.

            I would like to see the possibilities with the 2C and whatever the smallest wing is.

            Any minimal wing mods (at least a Winglet and maybe split). Boeing did get a crank wing tip on the P8 so its possible they could do it on the 767MOM

          • “the 2C is shorter”

            Shorter than what? The 767-2C is the same length as the 767-200.

            As far as I know, the 767-200 and -300 both share the same wing. They’re certainly the exact same area

        • I don’t think that the 767 should stand as the test case for the weight of 7-across. The 767 is a 16-6 x 17-9 freight heavy long range aircraft with a large wing. There is a 16 x 16 7-across aircraft with a smaller wing and gear at much lower weights, be that a 797 or A360.

      • “if you can fill it with 70-100 more pax than the A321”

        Absolutely no chance of that. The A321 cabin is actually slightly longer than the cabin of a 767-200. In an all economy configuration you could more likely get close to 35 to 40 more seats, that is one more seat per row. What you would get is significantly more aircraft weigh per transported passenger. I don’t think Boeing would be able to price a 767-200 MAX with such high discounts to offset this disadvantage. The weight is raw materials which is a direct cost in the production of the airframe.

        • The only way it works is if there is no major work done and as much off the shelf stuff is used. Any major mods add billions to the cost and the price.

          As for too heavy….it’s 50 tons lighter than the 789/339. The 321 can beat it’s CASM with a full load under 3000nm but that’s when it starts shedding payload to make greater range.

          As well, while it can haul 240 people, the standard 29″ pitch configuration holds 220.

          Besides…it’s for the Middle of the Market…that means above the 321 and below the 789/339…a gap into which it uniquely fits.

        • The point is to make it 8-abreast.

          It can be done by lowering the floor level and get a few inch from the sidewalls, even without chancing the conections. The leg room of the outer seats would be limited but that’s it. Overall comfort-level abou equal to a 77W at 10 abreast.

      • It is an A300 600R neo size aircraft New wing todays engine and you have it whats the distress 5000 6000 range

    • It also needs to be remembered there is a market for a 767 max of several hundred frames beyond the passenger market. The 767 is still by far the best selling freighter in the World and a 767 max would be even better. Even more there is a market to replace 200-300 more USAF tankers after the KC-46A and a market for numerous other derivatives based on the 707 in USAF service. Before someone says what about a new competition, think F-18 E/F. There is a reason the E/F model is an F-18 despite having only 20% parts commonality. Under US procurement law, policy and practice a derivative doesn’t need to be competitively selected, the USAF can simply get the development money from Congress and then purchase how many air frames Congress is willing to buy. Simply put if Boeing re-engines and ups the capability of the KC-46 there will be no future competitions, the Air Force will simply by the derivative product without a competition, from the USAF perspective this would simply be too easy of a solution vs trying to have another decade long competition. If you add in a few hundred passenger sales plus the additional military and cargo aircraft sales, there is a reasonably strong business case to be made for a 767 max, as long as the development costs are not too high.

      • The development costs would only have to include some aero tweaks and pylons for the Genx-2b’s. That should be good for 10-15% fuel burn improvements at least.

        Keep it as simple as possible to maximize the value and you can undercut its bigger brethren by tens of millions of dollars, and offer seating and range that the 321 can’t.

        It’s only too heavy if you want it for a permanent replacement but it’s perfect for about a decade’s worth of production. After that, Boeing will be well into the development of the NMA.

        • And Airbus has no competitor in that area as they gave up the A300 production.

          Actually the 767 drove them out of there (maybe to their regret now). but its wide open if there is a market in that area, fuel prices stay low enough.

          Again the 2C is probably the way to go as it is fully modernized cockpit, whatever aerodynamic tweaks work (probably not the fancy holy tail).

          Its not going to be a freighter as the 300 is probably better by a lot there and lower cost as no mods needed.

          Also a question how much freighter there is past FedEx as there are a lot of 767s out there to convert.

          FedEx may convert them as well given the feedstock.

      • I doubt that the USAF would need more small medium sized tankers after the 179 KC-46. Due to the price tag of the F-35 the USAF will have far less aircraft in the future.

        The next replacement is for the KC-10. The USAF may have realized that there is a need for a bigger tanker due to operations in the Pacific region.

        The huge KC-135 fleet was to refill the B-52 on their way to the USSR.

        A better engine would be useful for the remaining B-52 but not for a tanker. E.g. the 767-300F is a cheap aircraft. The oil price would need to be 10 times higher to make new engines worth the costs for better engines.

        The 2C aka 767-200MIX was offered to USAF due to take-off performance. Cargo services would prefer a longer 3C.

        Boeing may relable the 787-3 as MOM.

        • 179 is not enough, they won’t replace their tankers one to one, but they will buy more than 179. As far as a mid-sized goes, they have 414, which even if they cancel the KC-10 outright that still leaves 235 to be replaced. As far as what it will be you kind of make my case with the F-35 statement. The USAF doesn’t have enough money for another tanker type or another competition. The replacement tanker will the KC-46, end of story. Why do you think the battle was so hard fought between the two? They both knew very well that whoever got the contract for the KC-X would replace just about all of the remaining KC-135s, that’s simply reality. The 767 production line will be running for another decade and half at least so why shouldn’t Boeing invest in the plane and sell a couple hundred more pax and a couple hundred more military and cargo as well. You made and excellent point yourself that given the USAF budget their won’t be another tanker.

    • @Joe Kanuck

      The obvious MOM aircraft would IMJ be something similar to an A310 and a 757. Please do keep in mind that the wing of the 767 is about 30 percent greater in area than the wing on the A310 (i.e. 285 m2 vs. 210 m2). Interestingly, the wing area of the A310 wing is only around 20 percent larger than the wing area of the 757 wing (i.e. 181 m2).

      IMJ, therefore, it would seem to be feasible to put the same basic wing on both an A321-derived and on an A310-sized aircraft using the A330neo fuselage. Of course, the wing area would increase slightly for the wide-body, and you could add a A321/A350-1000 type trailing edge extension in order to increase MTOW for the A310-sized wide-body, as well. Due to the roughly 1.6 m wider wingbox for the A310-sized wide-body, the wingspan would obviously be around 1.6 m larger.

      Of course, the A321 and A330 are already sharing the same cockpit etc., so Airbus would essentially only have to develop 1 all new outer wing, 2 different centre wing-boxes (i.e. the one for the wide-body being about 1.6 m wider), 2 new wing body fairings, 2 new MLGs and 2 new horizontal stabilisers — assuming that the A321 and A330 vertical stabilisers could be retained.

      So, if we set the wing area for the A321-derived MOM to be the same as for the 757 wing (i.e. 181 m2 per Boeing/Wimpress definition of wing area), but increase span to 41.75 metres, thereby making a more slender wing, you’d get a significantly better aspect ratio than what’s the case for the 757 wing. Also, I would make the wingtips foldable — 3 m wingtips would mean that the wingspan would be 35.75 with the wingtips folded. Thus, it would allow the A321-derived MOM to be compatible with the same ICAO Category C (< 36 m) as the current A32X-series. Wingspan for the A310-sized wide-body MOM would only be around 0.6 m less than the wing span for the A310 wing, but it would have a significantly better aspect ratio

      If the wing chord at the root would be the same as for the 757 wing (i.e. 8.2 m), then the extra wing area for the A310-sized wide-body would be 1.6 x 8.2 = 13.1 m2. If the wide-body wing would feature an A350-1000-type trailing-edge extension increasing its area by 4 percent, then the wing area for the A310-sized wide-body would be around 202 m2 — or not more than 8 percent smaller in area than the A310 wing (i.e. Airbus definition of wing area).

  11. Looking at the 767 MAX, would it make sense to put a new CFRP wing on a non fly by wire aircraft, or would a new wing mean going to FBW?

    • A new wing is way too much investment for a concept that would only be in production for a decade or so.

      Basically, there’s a huge gap between the 321 and the 787/330neo. Eventually, Boeing will offer a family of aircraft that will replace the 737 and 767, probably based on the same technology and somewhat different form factors for different sizes.

      Boeing could do a major mod on the 739…but at best, that gets them a plane more or less as capable with the 321….which has a huge lead already….and would be pretty much insurmountable by the time the 739maxmax made it to EIS.

      In the meantime, the middle of the market that Boeing talks about still isn’t addressed.

      I really doubt Boeing will do anything about the NMA or MOM for another decade at least. As it is, the 737 line is backed up well into next decade and I really don’t see any more major work on the 737 making its money back.

      As well, they aren’t going to go all new yet. The 77X among other things, are sucking up a ton of resources and they are still a very long way from their last moon shot paying off.

      • With cheap fuel, older aircraft are a good value. I’m surprised United didn’t buy 10 new 767-300ER along with the 737-700s. Both aircraft types could easily retain their value for another twenty years.

        • UA did swap four 789s for 773s with the second 737-700 deal

        • I wonder why some feel low fuel prices are here to stay? Way too volatile of a market to give an accurate forecast for years ahead.

          • Steven P:

            Lower fuel prices are here to stay. As they rise, then the more marginal stuff like frack kicks in and they will probably stabilize around $60- 70 a barrel for some time.

        • There is a good reason why no passenger airline is buying 767-300ER.
          Here is a clue 767-300ER list price $191.5 m. While the 787-8 is $218.3m

          Why wouldnt you want a 787 for a bit more than a 767. No one is ordering the 787-8 either, which is another clue

          • I doubt these figures play any role in the real world.

      • First I think the assumption that Boeing does nothing in the design-department in the next 10 years is at least “daring”. I would’nt like to buy the first plane which is done by engineers how did nothing than “design studies” for 10 years or even fresh-hired guys how build bridges before.

        Second it would definitely have them at a marked share of about 40% in 10 years with maybe 1/3 of profits.

      • The Japanese migh HAVE to make a new wing for a 767-3CMAX under the original 767 agreement where they have made all the 767 wings so far. It will then be somewhat similar to the 787 wing (also made in Japan fitting the slightly bigger GEnX-1B). Boeing might find a way to get them for almost the same price as the 767-300 wings. The wingbox most likely be revised but it is a minor work package compared to a new fly by wire carbon wing. I would put on a wet 787 type Composite tail.

  12. I say this as someone who has been investing the the stock market for decades, and not as some hedge-fund skimmer: managing your company for share repurchases and dividends will be the long-term death of your company. These analyst jockeys who only want the next short-term stock bump are horrible ‘advisors’ and BA should tell them to take a hike.*

    Yes, you have an obligation to increase shareholder value. But if you rob yourself of R&D and new products to meet this quarter’s stock buy-back goals, you’ll eventually have a shell of a company with no products that customers want to buy.

    It is destructive decapitalization. Certainly not capitalism as I’ve ever understood it.

    *Screed above notwithstanding, I don’t know if it makes sense for BA to launch a clean sheet MOM. What I care about is Boeing engineers, product planners and senior managers making the decision based on what positions Boeing well for long term success as an aircraft manufacturer. Not what makes them a good short-term stock-flogger.

  13. Regarding B767 NEO: I think Björn has shown quite convincingly that the B767 is a bad platform for any upgrade.
    – passenger-friendly yet uneconomic cross section
    – outdated wing design
    – outdated cargo hold
    I think the 7-abreast platform has a point, but the B767 is the wrong platform. An optimized 7-abreast would loose a few inch diameter (the B767 is actually capable of being 8-abreast) and a couple of more inch fuselage height (the B767 fuselage is higher than it is high).
    ULD-type would be the A320 type, for medium range cargo is of no major importance. That in combination with a state-of-the-art wing and engine would yield CASM close or better to an A321. However, unlikely that such aircraft would offer substantially better CASM and hence always be more risky (higher trip cost).

    • I have been wondering if a 2-3-2 layout would be the way to go when developing something larger than the 737/A320 lines. Such an aircraft would have a fuselage diameter which prevents airlines from squeezing another seat in, while still allowing a certain amount of space for airlines which would like to offer a degree of comfort (i.e. Allow a growth for up to 2″ per seat plus 1″ per aisle).

      Obviously both Boeing and Airbus are evaluating this market (the MOM between the SAs and the WBs) and both are unsure as to how to proceed. What would really be interesting is if one would go for a dual aisle design with slightly more range while the other opts for SA with slightly less range. I believe both versions would be successful and, while being direct competitors, would ironically actually complement each other.

  14. I also believe in the MOM, but I think this market should be created.
    I see this as family of 180-270 seats with US transcontinental range. So we should have 757/310 class wing with 789-370 body + 5 inch. It could compete with 737 and 320 numbers.
    Any derivatives approach (really) means Mirage for the Market – misusing of smaller of bigger planes.

  15. I do not know what it would be, but what is needed is a new concept.
    Pity the Sonic Cruiser did not get “off the ground” but it was a genuine effort to come up with something new and different.
    What point is there in trying to come up with something that is little more than a Super A321neoLR or whatever the hell it is.
    Boeing must come up with something new or it will go the way of the American auto industry in the 80’s, and something new is not trying to catch a boat they missed a few years back when the 737 should have been gracefully retired in favour of a more advanced narrow body which could have been a better A320. Unfortunately Boeing was still not taking Airbus seriously in those days.

    • The Sonic Cruiser was not genuine effort to come up with something new and different. It was an attempt by Alan Mulally to appease/distract the employees and the market after both the 747X and 767-400ERX were cancelled in March 2001. Even thought the announcement of the cancellations came with the unveiling of the Sonic Cruiser on March 29, 2001, it was known throughout Boeing a week or so before that and many of the employees were in a real funk about it.
      The press and employees were hopeful for the Sonic Cruiser but doubt was high because of the timing of when the existence of the Sonic Cruiser was revealed (early and on the same day the other two program cancellations were announced). In fact, Walt Gillette, the man in charge of the Sonic Cruiser program, later defended the slow pace of its development by saying that the rate of progress was the same as the 777, but for the 777, this part of the process was done behind closed doors.

      The whole tactic backfired for Mulally as he had hoped to buy some time and some peace with the announcement of the Sonic Cruiser. He was surprised and quite annoyed (at least in one interview) that the interest, attention (and skepticism) increased after his announcement.

  16. I think a 2-3-2 fuselage requires an extra aisle for the extra seat. 2-4-2 is just 20 inch wider, but creates A330 class weights and costs. fuel guzzling on 1500NM flights that are also part of the 200+ seat MoM requirement.

    That’s I figure that if 1 aisle 3-3 is too limited and 2 aisles too much, maybe 1.5 aisle could be working compromise.


    • The A310 has an empty weight of some 80 tonnes, 0r at least 40 tonnes less than the 120 tonne-plus OEW of the A330-series. Add an all new composite wing, slightly smaller in area than the A310 wing, RR UltraFan engines that would be more than 30 percent more efficient than the A310’s engines, develop a family of aircraft (i.e. A310-800 (=A310-200), A310-900 and A310-1000), and put lavatories and galleys downstairs, at least on the two larger models, since on a short to medium ranged wide-bodies you can’t fill the lower deck all with cargo. Also, according to Kiran Rao “The average passenger doesn’t want to sit next to a lav and doesn’t want to sit next to a galley”. It seems to me, therefore, that the A300 fuselage would be pretty damn perfect for a short to medium ranged wide-body family — something it was originally designed for.



      • Yes Yes Yes there in one totally agree……………….
        Its Back to the Future.!!
        A310 neo family is the new MOM and half the development cost of all new build
        Been there done that A300/A310 more than 800+ times already now just update it again……………………………………..

        • Makes me recall an unforgettable CDG – Sana’a in A310 with upgrade to Air France’s snazzy First, caviar and Chablis, lamb rib and Saint-Julien (Haut Médoc), sweets and Champagne … in 1994 was it … yes, OV-099 : let Airbus NEO-ise the A310 !!

      • A313 is 36t less than A332, empty. Same fuselage cross-section. A332 is 12m longer, call that about 12t. But the A330 wing is far bigger with a 60m span and 362 m^2 area; the A310 wing has just a 44m span and a 220 m^2 area. I’m not an expert so I don’t know the weight difference between the two wings, but it’s surely substantial.

        A330neo 700 with the A310 wing maybe? (I’m assuming the wingbox is the same.) Does that make any sense, as a low-cost project? While OV-99’s concept sounds lovely, I think it’s much harder to justify than an A330neo shrink or an A321neo stretch.

        • @thysi

          The wing typically accounts for between 35 and 40 percent of an aircraft’s MEW (Manufacturers empty weight).

          While Airbus produced a very good wing with the A310, it’s leading and trailing edges are very different to the later Airbus models. For example, the A310 wing has an inboard aileron (i.e. flaperon) positioned between the double-slotted flaps on the inboard trailing edge and the outboard trailing-edge flaps that are single-slotted. In contrast, the A320 introduced a whole new approach in high-lift technology for Airbus. The A320 wing has a “continuous trailing edge” with both single-slotted flaps, inboard and outboard. Also, the ailerons were moved outboard of the flaps.

          Hence, it would make little sense in using the 40 year old aluminium A310 wing on a next generation A310 family: A310-800X, A310-900X and A310-1000X. The latter could be the same size as the A330-200/800, the dash 900 could be the same size as the A300-600, while the dash 800 could be slightly longer than the A310-200/300 (e.g. the A310 was shrunken by 13 frames, or 6.9 metres over the A300). They should all have the same MTOW, which means that while the larger models would be optimised for short range, an A310-800 would have a range similar to that of the A310-300.

          In my first post in the thread, I suggested using an all new composite wing for both a larger A321-derived family and a next generation A310-family. I pointed out to Joe Kanuck — who was talking about a 767neo — that the wing on the 767 is actually about 30 percent greater in area than the wing on the A310, and consequently, much heavier. Furthermore, I outlined how a 757-sized wing for a larger Airbus single aisle family, based on the A320/A321 — i.e. 181 m2 per the Boeing/wimpress definition, or about 186 m2 for the Airbus gross definition of wing area — would grow by slightly more than 10 percent to about 207 m2 (i.e. Airbus gross) if it would be integrated with the larger A310/A330 cross-section. Thus, merely by putting the same 757-sized wing on the larger Airbus single aisle family, and on an even larger A310NG, the wing of the latter would only be some 5.5 percent smaller in area than the original A310 wing. As the wing span would be nearly identical, and since the new wing would also have a better aspect ratio — in addition to much improved engines — the MTOW could be reduced by, say, 20 tonnes. The thrust requirements, though, would be slightly more than for the 757-300, or about 45,000 lbs of thrust. That seems to be within “striking-range” of the current PW1100 engines on the A321neo.
          However, I was thinking more about the upcoming RR UltraFan engines that could EIS in 2025. Interestingly, it would seem as if the smaller single aisle family could use the current A321neo engines, or up-rated ones

          The beauty of using one wing for both a larger Airbus single aisle family and an A310NG is, of course, that both of the fuselages that would be required are still in production.

          IMJ. therefore, Airbus could easily go ahead, and have an enormous first mover advantage — with both a single-aisle and twin-aisle — and dominate the market segment which Boeing defines as “middle of the market”. For sure, there would be risks involved, but the ROI could be substantial.

          BTW, here’s more on the original A310 wing:


          • Thanks, OV-99, I’m much educated about the A310 and A330 wings! But what’s the cost of developing a new wing, either aluminium or composite? That’s really the question, I think.

            Apart from the wing, I think an “A310NG” is pretty much equivalent to an “A330-700”, isn’t it? If yes, I’m sure the marketing department would choose to call it an “A330” rather than an “A310” …

          • In addition to the all new wing and wing-body fairing, you’d need a new optimised main landing gear. I’d assume that the horizontal stabiliser would also be all new, although size-wise, it could be identical to the one on the A310-200/300. The aircraft, therefore, would look much more like an A310 than an A330 — hence the A310-800/-900/-1000 type designations. 🙂

            What would be retained from the A330 is the same cockpit, fuselage and vertical stabiliser. Then you’d have a test flight and certification programme for up to three models.

            The R&D and tooling/infrastructure costs for the wing would account for the majority of the costs. Compared to the 777X — where a new MLG and new horizontal and vertical stabilisers are being developed in addition to a significantly enhanced fuselage — an A310NG would use the same in-production fuselage as the A330neo. I’d not expect the R&D costs, therefore, to exceed $5 billion.

            Also, the real production costs of an A310NG during the first years would not be similar to an all new airframe. Since the cockpit and basic fuselage/cabin/systems + empennage (minus vertical stabiliser) would already be in full production for the A330neo, it would only be the all new wing that essentially would carry the heavy initial production costs. BTW, I would assume that the horizontal stabiliser would be produced in new tools/molds, but in existing facilities.

            BTW, here’s a post from Bjorn Fehrm from last year about the costs involved in developing an all new LCA.


          • Edit: “Since the cockpit and basic fuselage/cabin/systems + empennage (minus horizontal stabiliser).”

      • Using the A310 or A300 for a MOM that will cycle alot is not that easy as they are not really durable för 1-3 hr jumps compared to an A321. To make a 767, A310, A300 as durable they need to shed alot of mass and get suitable new engines than the original PW4000’s and CF6’s. Initially as they came to service some airlines started using A300’s for those 1hr jumps but had to change and put them on longer routes.

        • AFAIK, Boeing designed the SR and D versions of the 747 to be suitable for more cycles, but fewer flight hours. Similarily, Airbus has had the A330-300 regional certified for more cycles. Thus, the A330-regional will be able to be operated over more flights, but for less hours, between mandatory maintenance overhauls.

          FWIW, over a period of 24 years, ANA operated one 747-400D over 33,751 cycles (takeoffs and landings) — or just short of an average of 4 cycles per day over 24 years. In contrast, I’d reckon that the circular A300/A310/A330 fuselage would be easier to design for a high cycle operating environment than what was the case with the partial upper deck, double bubble architecture that was used on the 747.

          <Most fuselage cross-sections are relatively circular in shape. This is done for two reasons

          1. By eliminating corners, the flow will not separate at moderate angles of attack or sideslip

          2. When the fuselage is pressurized, a circular fuselage can resist the loads with tension stresses, rather than the more severe bending loads that arise on non-circular shapes.


          Airbus is developing a new package that will allow A320 Family operators to fly their aircraft for an additional 10 to 20 years or more. Based on in-service experience and market expectations, the Extended Service Goal (ESG) package is divided into two phases. ESG I will enable A320 Family aircraft to fly up to 60,000 flight cycles or 120,000 flight hours, and is planned for approval by the end of 2010. ESG II will go even further, up to the maximum economic potential of the airframe.


          JA8961 came into ANA’s fleet in November 1990. The 747-400D (Domestic) was a model designed by Boeing specifically for the short-range Japanese domestic market. Only 19 of the 565-seat models were built, and flown by both ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL). To handle the stresses of countless short-range takeoffs and landings, the -400D had a strengthened wing, fuselage, and landing gear. Over its 24 years in service, JA8961 had 33,751 cycles (takeoffs and landings) from its first flight with ANA until its last on March 31st. Unlike the rest of the 747-400 family, the -400Ds didn’t have winglets. The aerodynamic improvements that the winglets generate weren’t beneficial for short-range operations.


          • You can cycle a heavy widebody and its engines up to certification/disks life limits but it costs. Todays narrowbody jets are made to do 10 cycles a day for years. Hence my drive to get mass out of a 767MAX to make it survive the cycling at reasonable maintenance costs. That is why you need a new light carbon fly-be-wire wing with less fuel and new efficient engines that tends to be heavier. A good calculation would be what a 767MAX could do on the east coast shuttle Washington-NY-Boston taking most pax from todays narrowbody competition.

  17. I think the A300 and A330 are the same cross section, so a new A310 would cost about half of a clean sheet design, just a question of ROI and desire todo it.
    Boeing would be seriously worried at such a step unless they started on a new and lighter 787-3. As the 788 is seemingly out of favour perhaps a re-vamped -3 could be made more marketable. Would have to be cheaper than a clean sheet offering.

    • Even better; by developing one common wing for both a single-aisle and twin-aisle MOM — and where both of the fuselages required are in full production — you could get 2 distinctly different MOM families for about half the cost of one clean sheet MOM design.

    • The idea was originated by OV-099 … the Blog owner here is Scott. The honour to approach John belongs to either one of those two. With authority from OV-099/Scott, I’d readily offer to send John the ‘faire-part’ of birth of a genius’ idea, but really, if initiated from TwinAisleFeeders (usually I’m making John grind his teeth), most likely he’ll kill the messenger, let alone realise the MOM Winner revelation :

      The Airbus MOM Combination : A330-7 NEO + A322 NEO = the re-engined A310 revival plus the A321 + ten frames/+3AKH stretch, one new and same carbon wing for the two types … wingbox … RR Ultrafans ? or 2nd generation ? Leap/GTF engines … A330 Flight Deck and Systems … MLG/NLG … Galleys/Lavs relocated underbelly … (please : detailed specification summary by OV-099 ?!).

      My own little touch to OV-099’s creation : for the A322, prefer the H22QR cabin solution, better suited for MOM service because it only has 20 % of middle-seats-in-a-triple in the Y-class section, or +/- 15 % overall (the rest is Premium 1+2+1) which is better for 3 hours or longer flights in a narrow-body (we avoid the infamed ‘757 syndrome’) ? Also : dual CLS plus cross-over ULD drives in both fwd and aft holds for quick rotations …

    • We are not in Boeing land and set on resurrecting the dead.

      Sights could be set to a A310/A300 basic outline and fuselage layout design. ( Where did the original quest for Airbus start : “300 pax over 3000nm” or thereabouts ?

      • Yes, the idea would be to use the cockpit, fuselage parts and empennage (minus horizotal stabilisers) from the in-production A330neo. Hence, there would be no resurrection of “the dead” since you’d be using an all new, non-legacy constrained, composite wing, as well.

        Why the A330 fuselage and not the new one that has been developed for the A350?

        Because, IMJ, it would be much easier to integrate the same composite wing with very similar aluminium single-aisle and metallic twin-aisle fuselages, rather than integrating the all new wing with a very different aluminium single-aisle fuselage and a composite twin-aisle fuselage. Also, the A32X and the A330-series have already much more in common, system-wise, than the A32X and A350.

        ” Where did the original quest for Airbus start : “300 pax over 3000nm” or thereabouts ?”

        Today Airbus is thriving, but success was never a certainty. In 1974, Boeing vice president Jim Austin described the first Airbus product as “a typical government airplane. They’ll build a dozen or so and then go out of business.” Austin spoke from experience, and he was almost right.

        Europe had invented the jet engine, built the first jet and turboprop airliners, and was building Concorde. But Boeing and Douglas were doing to the Europeans what de Montfort had done to the Cathar heretics. The 116 options to buy Concorde had melted away. Dassault had produced the Mercure, a Boeing 737 lookalike, but was never going to sell more than the 10 copies it had foisted on France-owned Air Inter. West Germany’s first and only commercial jet, the VFW-Fokker 614, was a dog. Britain was delivering a few last BAC One-Eleven twinjets and Hawker Siddeley Tridents—like smallish 727s—to Romania and China. Thanks to some crafty, almost underhanded maneuvering led by a French engineer named Roger Beteille, Toulouse had one rock left: the Airbus A300B.

        Beteille was surprised when, in 1967, he was asked by his bosses at Sud-Aviation to form a team to design a jetliner. For 10 years he had headed a team in Cannes developing France’s nuclear missiles and its first satellites. Before that, he had been in charge of flight-testing the Caravelle, a rear-engine twinjet that had sold well in the late 1950s. United Airlines bought Caravelles, and the French almost had a deal with Douglas to build them, but the French balked at the upfront cost, and Douglas went on to build DC-9s.

        Europe’s mistakes taught Beteille some key lessons. “You cannot compete with somebody by doing what he’s doing—you have to do something better, or at least different,” he says. In the mid-1960s, with Boeing already building the four-engine 747 and McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed discussing three-engine wide-bodies with U.S. airlines, the field was open for Europe to build a big twinjet.

        Europe’s national aircraft industries were starting to work together, but jealousies prevailed. The Germans had money, but the British and French treated them as metal benders, not partners. The French government, embroiled in the summer street riots of 1968, had a record of seeking leadership in projects, then threatening to go it alone if their demands were not met. In Britain, many politicians and civil servants thought engines were a better business than aircraft. Working alone, none of them had competed successfully with the Americans, so Beteille’s mission to assemble a multi-nation team made sense. But it would be immensely complicated.

        By late 1967 the outline of an airplane with two big Rolls-Royce engines was taking shape. The name “Airbus” came from the Germans. The number “300” matched the vehicle’s 300-seat capacity. But Beteille was worried that with each design iteration the airplane was getting closer in size to the rival three-engine U.S. aircraft. And in the course of visits to Rolls-Royce’s fusty headquarters in Derby, he had noticed something even more disquieting.

        Most of the British government’s share of the A300 investment money was to go to Rolls-Royce for the RB.207 engine—a paper study at the time. But the company was also trying to sell the smaller RB.211 to Lockheed for its TriStar. Beteille discovered that “the people that I used to discuss the RB.207 with had disappeared. It wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on. Rolls was betting everything on the smaller engine, and they were using the U.K. government’s money for the RB.207 on the RB.211.”

        In March 1968 Rolls-Royce won the TriStar business. Beteille was not sure the British government would pay for both engines or that Rolls could develop them even if it got the money. “I was convinced that the venture was dead,” Beteille recalls. The only option was to restart the design, “to do something smaller, either with an existing engine or an engine that was being developed for somebody else. But if I had told the partners that, they would have said ‘It’s dead. Let’s stop it.’ ”

        Instead, Beteille gathered 10 engineers and handed them a specification for a twin-engine, wide-cabin jet, written in 1966 by Frank Kolk, chief engineer at American Airlines. Beteille told the team to follow the specification and use existing engines. They came back with a 250-seat airplane that had eight seats abreast rather than nine but could carry the same freight containers as the bigger American aircraft. “We kept the designation A300—it was one way of not drawing attention to what we were doing,” says Beteille. At the end of 1968 the Airbus team announced that they had downsized the new airplane and eliminated the RB.207. The British government walked out, but the British firm Hawker Siddeley remained as a subcontractor, and the German and French governments agreed to split the costs. Meanwhile, Beteille had met Felix Kracht, who was to become another father of the Airbus organization. Kracht, a sailplane pioneer, had experience in international programs from the Franco-German Transall C160 military transport.


        • Addendum

          “Why the A330 fuselage and not the new one that has been developed for the A350?”

          2) The A310/A330 fuselage cross-section doesn’t waste space in the overhead. For example, you don’t need crew-rest compartments for short and intermediate ranged routes. Hence, an A310NG/A330-700 using the same A310/A330 cross-section, would have significantly less drag than a short range wide-body using the the more voluminous A350 fuselage.

  18. I think Boeing was/is waiting to see what the A321NEO LR does and if Airbus has further plans. Problem is the first mover has a 5-7 year lead and can build on that with incremental improvements.

    The question is if AA, DL, UA, the Chinese and Leisure operators are ready to wait for 5-7 years. Recently (MAX, 777X), Boeing seems to have assumed so.

  19. The MOM definitely is real, worthy of serious consideration, and rightly has a place in the civilian aviation industry as attested by the numerous articles and comment threads on it. That said, my humble opinion is from the perspective of one who has flown always as a passenger in thin markets that would be well-served ideally by an all-new MOM aircraft. As had been mentioned many times, the plane should be a single aisle, slightly larger than the 737 and A320/321 families. Seating should be between 180 up to 240, flying a full payload up to 5,000 nm. Most important for passenger comfort on long flights is the INTERIOR width of the cabin. It should be at least 13 ft (3.9624 m). This will allow for six abreast seating at 18 inches, each seat with its own pair of 2-inch armrests, and 20-inch wide aisle. Seat pitch should be a spacious 34 inches. With a business class seating for 24 (four abreast) at 46-inch pitch, the plane would be approximately 162 ft (49.3776 m) long and powered by two wing-mounted engines as the 757, etc. This aircraft would be ideal for routes between major airline hubs and smaller cities across the atlantic or pacific, such as from New York to Palermo, Sicily, or Seattle to Guam.

    • “The MOM definitely is real, worthy of serious consideration, and rightly has a place in the civilian aviation industry as attested by the numerous articles and comment threads on it.

      A rather circuitous justification, isn’t it?

  20. With my calculator, your ‘vision’ adds up to :

    (2+18+2+18+2) x 3 for the three duplo seats + (20 + 20) for the aisles = 166″ to which maybe you add outer seat-to-wallpanel clearings 0f 1″ x 2, total 168″ or 14 ft, not 13 ft trim-to-trim cabin interior width … compare :

    737 = 139.2″
    A320 = 145.2″
    C919 = 153.5″
    MC-21 = (it is my belief, but I have no confirmation) 162.2″
    Your aircraft = 168.0″
    767 = 186″

    At least we can safely comment that you are different vs other feeders ?!

    • Frequent Traveller, it appears that your calculations bares on a two-aisle configuration, whereas my 156″ bares on a SINGLE AISLE, as follows:

      1+2+18+2+.5+2+18+2+.5+2+18+2=68″ (Seats A, B, C) + 68″ (Seats D, E, F) + 20″for one aisle = 156″ or 13 ft.

      But if you want to take it to 14 ft, single aisle, I’m all for that too.

  21. The problem (which has been amply commented elsewhere) of Janne Carlzon’s “P Cube” or Passenger Pleasing Plane 2+2+2 is that above the three duplo seats (width 42″ each) with head-bang avoidance in the mire you can fit overhead stowages of only 38″ width, ie the available stowage volume per pax would be insufficient, as ever more Carry-On capacity is craved by Operators.

    Maybe 1+4+1 would do the trick ? But that’s a different concept altogether ?

    • A possible configuration for 19″ wide seats in business class in a 156″ wide cabin is 1-3-1, as follows in inches:


  22. Looks good with 3+3 @ 156″ … however, in the ’80-ies, when the A320 was designed, the trim-to-trim cabin interior width of that aircraft was determined assimilating the female Flight Attendant (1m73 average height, 1980 biometrics) to a kind of “crane” reaching out from the aisle centreline to serve lhs and rhs OUTER seats (A and F) handing out then retrieving mealtrays. It was found that acceptable ergonomics imposes a restriction to the triple seat not to exceed 63″, otherwise the job would involve MSD (Musculo-Skeletal Disorders) and stress… Now, with 2020 biometrics, possibly 1m75 is common, putting the outer seats of the C919 within feasible reach but if you’re going further, all the way to 156″ or beyond, be aware of the MSD dilemma !?

    Further, regarding the idea to fork the aisle(s) in the separation between Business Class (1+3+1) and Economy (3+3), this will require a space-consuming interval where you redirect the paxflows, whilst Business standards are hardly compatible with any middle-seats-in-a-triple ?

    Personally, I think the 3+3 cross-section concept has been used and abused enough … travelers are expecting something better for the next generation of feeders, a row EMF (excuse-me factor) of 6 !! is not what they expect. No more triple seats installed against a wall-panel, ie no seat in an aircraft cabin to be more than ONE SEAT AWAY from the adjacent aisle will guarantee a much improved APEX (Aircraft Passenger EXperience) ?!

    • @frequent traveller, thank you for pointing out the ergonomics and potential MSD issues for flight attendants in 156″ wide cabin. A possible workaround is for there to be a pre-takeoff video (as part of the flight safety video) that asks the cooperation of all passengers to assist flight attendants serve/retrieve trays from the outer seats (A & F), etc.

      • On a three-hours or longer flight, after the meal, many of the contented passengers will doze off into a nice little nap … just when the busy FA is around retrieving those trays … She has two alternatives : wake up passengers A and F, or call upon the neighbours in B or E to give a helping hand … if either solution is at no avail, she may stretch out, letting C or D get a feel of her thighs against theirs, whilst letting her attractive breasts gently abrase the cheek of same, whilst releasing a perfumed sniff of her armpits into their noses … she’ be very popular to city-pendlers after a short while, scoring unprecedented star APEX ratings ?!

    • A 1-3-1 business cabin could instead be marketed as “Premium Class Coach”, more space and better quality food and beverages than in regular coach.

  23. @ albi : likewise for C919 with 153.5″ trim-to-trim cabin interior width, your concept single aisle @ 156″ (3+3) will provide enough lateral width for twin aisle six abreast 1+3+2 or 1+4+1 or 2+2+2, if you resort to seat staggering, à la Thompson Aeroseats’ Cozy LOPA concepts :

    For 2+2+2 : 1″+ staggered duplo seat (2″ + 17.33″ + 17.33″ + 2″) + aisle 19″ + (ditto) + aisle 19″ + (ditto) + 1″ = 156″

    For 1+4+1 : 1″ + single (2″ + 17″ + 2″) + aisle 19″ + staggered quadruple seat (2″ + 17.5″ x 4 + 2″) + aisle 19″ + single (ditto) + 1″ = 156″

    Staggering is not catching up too well in the marketplace, though, because you lose two of the centre rows = 12 pax, whereof 4 are recovered “in the corners”, net loss 8 seats … but as a trade-in you get improved ground turn-around performance …

    • @frequent traveller: Twin-aisle would be ideal! Most important, however, and this I’ve heard every time I fly, is that passengers want a bit more ELBOW and KNEE room. Keep in mind that obesity has been on the rise, while the average height for humans has slowly increased over the decades, thus the need for a little more space. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a small twin-aisle aircraft, such as the 767-200 with seating for 170 up to 230, but it needs to address the elbow and knee room issues that passengers are craving for without the first class or business class prices.

  24. EDIT : … because you lose two of the centre rows = 8 pax, whereof 4 are recovered “in the corners”, net loss 4 seats …

  25. If Delta really does order the C Series and gives it real legitimacy and they expand in into the 170 and 190 seat market wit a C500 and C700. Boeing is going have to do something to answer other than giving away 737-7s like they did with United. If oil spikes again, the C Series comp gets much more serious.

  26. If a deal with Delta goes ahead, immediately Bombardier will get strong wind into its sails, because all those other airlines who have been interested but in a cautious ‘wait’n see’ attitude whether BBD would make it or not will realise they need to place their order NOW or slots will be depleted/price will soar ?!

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