Pontifications: Boeing is back

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

July 4, 2016, © Leeham Co.: It’s looking like all the pain and agony of the 787 development is behind Boeing. (Except for the deferred production costs, of course.)

Boeing is back into airplane development mode.

To be sure, only one of these is a new airplane. The others are derivatives. But at least Boeing seems to be on the move after slowing the train (to mix the metaphors) considerably following the 787 debacle.

MOM Airplane development

Information coming out of Boeing’s pre-Farnborough Air Show briefings paints a picture of aircraft development for the Middle of the Market airplane, or New Mid-market Aircraft (NMA) as Boeing now calls it, that we concluded from our own Market Intelligence a year ago: the NMA moved beyond the 757 replacement to that of a 767 replacement.

Bloomberg News last week reported on the potential of a 777-10. We hinted at this in a piece in July 2015 when we revealed GE Aviation was developing a 110,000 lb thrust engine for the 777X. Then there is the 737-10 study, the on-again, off-again on-again plan to further stretch the 737-9. (There’s also a change in the 737-7 MAX to what Jon Ostrower of The Wall Street Journal calls the 737-7.5. This adds 12 seats to the 7 MAX concept, but it’s a simple shrink of the MAX 8. I don’t consider this a new airplane development, but a refining of an existing plan.)

767 replacement

Concept of a Boeing “797” replacement for the 767. This isn’t from Boeing. Image via Google images.

Boeing is now focusing on an airplane that is seven abreast, two aisles and a range of roughly 4,500nm to 5,000nm. It will seat 220-260 or 270 passengers. This is remarkably like the original 767-200 and 767-300. (The 767-300ER has considerably more range.)

Although the 787 was intended to be the 767 replacement, the range went way beyond what was needed for most operators. Additionally, the design and production problems were of such magnitude that the 787-8 required enormous redesign and rework. The follow-on 787-9/10 are very different airplanes from a production standpoint. The differences are sufficient enough that Boeing doesn’t even want to build the 787-8, concentrating instead on the common-production 787-9/10, which are also the profitable models. Hence, the Middle of the Market starts below the 787-9, not the 787-8 as Boeing often claimed.

Finally, the customers kept telling Boeing (and us) that what they truly want is a 767 replacement, not a 757 replacement. It took Boeing a while to get the message, but it finally did.

Customers were also telling us, and Boeing, that they don’t want to pay more than about $70m for the airplane. Not a surprise. But Boeing hasn’t been able to figure out so far how to build the airplane for less than $100m. A market demand initially identified as low as 1,500 now is claimed by Boeing to be 5,000. This helps bring the price down.

With Boeing now appearing heading toward a launch of the NMA, this puts Airbus into a conundrum. The A330-200/800 is about the right size, though a little big on the low end, but the range is way too much. The A330-200R (Regional) brings the range down to the 5,000nm mark, but it has old engines and the aircraft may be too heavy compared with the Boeing NMA. Airbus has a pricing advantage, but if Boeing can figure out how to sell the NMA for $70m (a highly dubious prospect in my opinion, but let’s say Boeing can), the A330-200 pricing advantage diminishes considerably.

When does Boeing launch the NMA program? Aviation Week reports it will be the end of the decade, for a 2024-25 entry into service. This is a 4.5 year launch-to-EIS.

Didn’t Boeing learn from the 787? That development was supposed to be 4-5 years. I know the NMA won’t be the moonshot the 787 was but neither was the Bombardier CSeries and that took seven years. The A320neo launched in December 2010 and EIS January 2016. This was a minimum change program—4.5 years. If Boeing truly is talking about a five year launch-to-EIS for the NMA, I think Boeing is sniffing its own kerosene. Launch should come in 2017 or 2018. Whether it will remains to be seen.

777-10 and 737-10

These are straight-forward derivatives of the 777-9 and 737-9 respectively.

Development of a 450 passenger 777-10 will kill the 747-8I, which is already fundamentally dead (as is the 747-8F, in our long-held view). It also means Airbus either has to re-engine the A380 to improve economics dramatically or it’s a goner, too (some say it already is). Our Market Intelligence so far hasn’t found much demand for the 777-10, the 747-8 or the A380 these days. Even the 777-9 hasn’t proved to be popular beyond the Big Three Middle East airlines.

It may well be the Heart of the Market (as Boeing likes to say) is now the 360 seat arena. Here Airbus has the advantage: the A350-1000 is more economical, though shorter ranged, than the Boeing 777-8. Sales of the -1000 are better than the -8, but the numbers aren’t great. Even sales of the 777-300ER have dried up.

Some evolution of this sector is clearly underway.

The 737-10 is a plane that remains undefined. It’s either a simple stretch or it’s got a new wing, with all the knock-on effects this will entail. Boeing hasn’t decided, though we have a pretty good understanding what the likely outcome will be.

The 737-10 would be a holding action against the A321neo, but too little, too late.

Still, at least Boeing may be finally doing something to fix its 737-9 problem. And that’s good news.

98 Comments on “Pontifications: Boeing is back

  1. Interesting!! By the way, what happened with the so hyped A330neo, and why is the A359 not selling, both B787 competitors??

    • A330NEO is in the works.

      Like the 777-9 its sold but not the huge numbers predicted. Have to see, Air Asia is a big customer (66) but they keep kicking the order can down the road. Extremely shaky in my opinion

      It will be interesting to see if Delta delays theirs. 189 so called firm, subtract Air Asia and 129, Garuda has some and not sure about them either. Call it 4 years of delivery wait (depending on ramp up rate as well as expect Air Asia deferrals). I still do not see the 1000 Hazy predicted. More like 250 before termination.

      A350 is well backlogged, it has decent sales numbers, with a lot of options out right now and low fuel prices I don’t think anyone is committing to anything they don’t have to and at least publically, slots are hard to come by.

      • Also need to amend that. 777x has sold well, just not any activity lately

        However, as its 3.5 years out before first let alone 6 years before any slots at best, that is too far over the horizon for anyone to be locking in these days. Fill in with a 77-300ER just fine thank you.

        Good deals and should be good lease rates (and terms, i.e. shorter )

    • “Why is the A359 not selling?” That is a rather strange question. I am not sure if it’s only a troll or a post coming from a casual observer not very cognizant about commercial aviation. Airbus has already sold 802 A350 in total, 604 of those being for the A350-9. It is the second best selling aircraft in history after the 787. As for “the hyped A330neo” it is still in development and production is just starting. Even if there is still a long way to go before EIS it has already 186 confirmed orders in the bank. If one day Airbus decides to make a medium-range version of this aircraft it will likely beat the MNA on price, while not being too far in terms of performance.

      • Airbus did make a medium range version, it was called the A300/310

        767 ran it out of the slot.

        And I think the backlog has to take into account the 66 Air Asia has, who is famous for kicking orders down the runway.

        With current fuel prices you probably can get a good A330 for half of new, so why buy?

        • Anybody following the industry knows nothing widebodies aren´t selling much now.

          I think we have reached the point where airlines are looking for aircraft more optimised for their particular range operations. Using a 5000 nm A330 for one hour legs is looking worse and worse. I wonder if Airbus won´t respond with a lightened derivative of the A330 with new engines, optimised for shorter ranges. A330NEO is allegedly not much better than an A330CEO.

          • I cant see how the A330 NEO could be much more efficient on a cost basis. A new CEO has maturer engines and more options -3 different manufacturers, lower cost. The big engine makers couldnt wait to get a piece of A330 cake. The NEO only offers mild changes and so didnt win much interest from engine makers getting only the Trent 7000 – the step sister of the updated 1000 TEN. On the contrary, this tactic worked well with the A320/1 NEO because Boeing as we know didnt replace the 767. Thats why the engine makers got on board and why the A320/1 are selling so well. The gtf versions will sell very well for this I think. The rumoured A321 NEO will also sell like hotcakes I predict. If RR can exceed their efficiency targets for the 7000, and if Airbus can lower costs, 2 big ifs, then the 330 NEO might become a different proposition

  2. Isn’t the NMA the stillborn 787-3 than?
    And couldn’t Airbus “easy” response with a A330-800 re-winged with a A300 size one?

    • No, the -3 was still a -8 with shorter wings. Too expensive, too heavy.

      • Expensiv? For sure. But, payload and range was NMA, wasn’t it? I recall the luckwarm response of the market to the A330-500, where potential customers, like Lufthansa, said: Nice but cut the wings, we need a A310/300 replacement – less range please!….
        BTW: wasn’t here at Leeham an analysis of 777-10 and 737-10 saying, both are too much of a streach for finess, rotation, field performance and the like?

        • Thats the real question. I think they probably can and will go for both the 777-10 and 737-10. Id say an NMA is 15 years from EOS.

        • fuesioterrapoit

          Actually less, 3000 NMI roughly. But it still had a heavy frame and wing, just reduced wing (to fit in gates) so the wing is still heavy as well for the mission. Limited MTOW (fuel) but still heavy and costly.

          So the 797 would fly 2,000 NM further.

  3. With the MOM story,I feel being back 40 years ago, when Airbus was working on the A310 (8 abreast) and Boeing on the original B767 …

    But eventually, none of them was successful, the A310 was too small and short range (albeit 5 000 NM) and thhe B767 gained success with the longer range ER versions.

    Will the story be different now ?

    • If the MOM/NMA space has grown by a similar % to eg the single aisle space (ie an enormous amount) the number of frames potential may better be able to absorb the development costs these days?

  4. I have grave doubts whether this is a sensible move.

    Even assuming its not really 7-across, but 7/8 which actually means 8-across sardine class… will it:
    (a) cannibalise many 787 sales?
    (b) establish a market niche away from 787-8 //A338?
    (c) be able to compete with a stretch A322 at <4,000 miles?
    (d) be able to compete with a stretch and up-winged A323 at 5000 miles?
    (e) transfer sufficient technology to NSA to spread R&D cost?
    (f) be able to take engines from another program, or does it need bespoke development?

    (c) and (d) will break the program IMO.

    I believe Boeing would be better off making a 757 replacement, reasons being:
    (a) intrinsically better efficiency from single aisle vs. 7 across. Debatable at 8-across for these capacities.
    (b) technology can transfer much more readily into NSA. You really are getting 2 for the price of 1… well, probably 1.5.
    (c) the 737max FAMILY is really starting to strain to remain competitive with the A320/321 [accepting that A319 and 737-7 are stagnant]. So going single aisle route allows for a 737-9 replacement faster and thus addresses a glaring market hole for Boeing.
    (d) Having more over-head space (1 bag space per seat) and having main doors located 1/4 and 3/4 way* along cabin length would mitigate much of the turn-around issue.
    (e) Engines would have more (albeit not total) commonality with existing single aisle solutions – and if the mounts are consistent, then operators seeking hot/high and climbout performance could spec a hot rod on a shorter fuselage**.

    *Any airlines that want both the big aircraft and turnaround times would be better off investing in a 2nd set of stairs – certainly cheaper. It makes the aircraft essentially a quad aisle for boarding (which is always slower than deboarding).

    **I've seen remarks talking about single-aisle aircraft moving towards becoming a commodity. Therefore it is more like a car assembly line than traditional aircraft. Thus, surely the next logical step is real tailoring of aircraft to airlines – not merely moving seats around and a few licks of paint or adjusting MTOW via paperwork. Envisage the next generation of Boeing single aisles:
    – 2x wingsets [1 for 5000nm (w/270pax) and 1 for 3500nm (w/240 pax)]
    – 5x fuselage [150, 180, 210, 240, 270 nominal 2-class]
    – 5x engine thrust options (or as deemed appropriate to cover all usage cases)

    Obviously, the fuselage/wing combinations will also need a few different tail volume options to optimise weight and gust performance.

    So, airlines could tailor their range and capacities as well as thrust performance for the airports they fly from. It has to be more optimal than a one-size-fits all solution. They could also put together their smallest fuselage with biggest wing and make a pretty long ranged Boeing Business Jet

    • 757 had a market because there was nothing there.

      The 200 outsold the 300 vastly.

      Now even the -900/9 covers a major part of that, the A321 covers at least 85% of the rest.

      So of a total of around 1000 airframes you are left with a market of 10%.

      That’s 100 airframes.

      Most of them are now either Freighters (FedEx and UPS Originals as well as conversions) or flying in legacy fleets as they are paid for and particularly with fuel prices now low, can fly on.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the 757 a whole lot, there simply is no longer enough of a market.

      • “Don’t get me wrong, I like the 757 a whole lot, there simply is no longer enough of a market.”

        So what would make this market exist for a twin?!?

        Its the same number of passengers carried the same distance. :confused:

        • Well when I was surveying, my party chief told me you needed to get confused and stay that way (grin)

          This is more of a 767 light than a 757. Between what the A321 offers and the 787 starts, if it can be made low enough cost, there is a market.

          It would be an ideal China aircraft (dense pack short routes) and cross US, Trans Atlantic, not sure about Trans Pacific though Seattle on would work.

          Turkey would be a huge user, they already use Single Aisles as they can reach a lot of places so this would slot in.

          Better ops for long route than single aisle 757, better turn around, possibly better gate use than 767 etc with folding wing tips (speculative but doable to get into single aisle gates)

          As not super long range, economics would be dynamite.

          Ak Airlines could probably use it Anchorage Seattle as well as West Coast, cross US with their limited Virgin slots, SW for overseas.

          • Add in a second generation GTF engine with all its future growth and you have a heck of a combo.

    • An A323?, sounds like a stretch too far. I don’t see anything beyond the A321.

      • Maybe a nudge, but trying to compete with a wide body?

        Don’t get me wrong, I think the A321 is brilliant in its segment, and Airbus can still do a new wing and be more than competitive (which makes the 737-10 wing decision interesting)

        But the economics would favor the 797

    • I completely agree. Boeing would be much better off to develop a complete new modular aircraft. Design a new fuselage slightly bigger than the A320 (like the C919, or even the MC-21) for better comfort.

      – Offer flexible lengths
      – Offer 2 wingsets
      – Allow for a couple of engines

      This could create killer aircraft (in terms of costs) for dense and short routes, while on the other side it could create a long dragon that flies far with limited Pax for thin routes.

      Updating the components will ensure development can be done on an ongoing basis keeping the initial investment alive for a very long period.

  5. Boeing must be eithrr agonizing or laughing.about all the speculation flying around. They’ll do nothing – read spend no money – on NMA…NSA…NLT for the next 5 years. Until then, a lit of water is goin to pass under the bridge.
    Reminds me of the 7J 7 and the Y1 which were far more concrete than NMA at their times.

    • I disagree, I think its serious, Scott is taking it seriously,

      I think that pretty well says it. If Scott and I agree it has to be true!

  6. I sincerely hope they offer a revamped B767 sized aircraft. Always liked the old truck and flew it weekly for a number of years and subsequently regularly but less frequently. Always a good experience and it had the ‘hewn from solid’ feel and the comfort (2/3/2) that made a difference on the medium haul stuff. However I think it would be difficult to make a business case for it over the A321 in most situations given the cost base of the SA production lines for both Airbus and Boeing. It would however cannibalise less B737 sales and place an aircraft firmly between the A321/A330 which seems to be an area of weakness for Boeing.

    • I only flew it once but it was love at first flight.

      Same feeling, good solid aircraft with good seat room and had a spacious feeling to it even back in coach.

      • I flew on them many times, easily the best thing flying for a passenger. I wonder what shape fusilage is being plannes here?

  7. One caveat, while Boeing is talking about a market of 5,000 total, they are talking of capturing 2-3000.

    The rest is probably A321 and 737-10 territory (and I am now predicting that aircraft will launch) If they do the 797 they don’t have an answer for the A321, so the engineers will pull that one out of the hat on the 737 for a direct competitor.

    I have no idea why any artist that knows aircraft would put split winglets on the 797, Boeing uses crank wing design for all NEW wings.

    Engine will be a GTF which means GE could well be out in the cold as they have no GTF in development of any type.

    The project is also in line with Boeing going more automated.

    That probably means a Li Al fuselage as that’s where the efforts are going (777).

    How much electric for that class aircraft will also be interesting trade offs.

    • 777 isn’t Al-li as far as I am aware….

      Stand to be corrected of course!

      • I have not heard what the decision is in that regard or if they have made it.

        777 is using a automated parallel fuselage build line right now and that would be in keeping with using what’s been developed for the other aircraft to keep this ones production costs very low so it sells.

        787 cockpit is now spread out over the 737, 767-2C, KC46, 787 (or course) and 777.

        Borrow the electric systems form 787 if they are economical in the trade offs, cranked wing tip being used on new wings etc.

        • Almost guaranteed the 797 is Li Al unless there is a breakthrough in composite fuselage.

          It would be in keeping with re-use, the automated 777 robot system can do the same for the 797 and its will be well proven and shorted out by then.

          So rather than development cost accruing to the 797, its accrued to the 777x and 797 gets a freebee.

          If you can leverage enough of that sort of thing you may be able to do what they think they can

    • GE bought Avio, the Italian gearbox specialist. They didn’t do that because they liked the sound of the name. It’s most unlikely that GE have no GTF in development, they just haven’t announced anything as yet.

      • Going by what we know, still way behind even RR in that regard.

        • PW have to be in a good position to offer a GTF engine and RR say their Ultrafan GTF is aimed at EIS of 2025, so they are good for it. Given GE’s umbilical tie with Boeing, wouldn’t it be odd if GE couldn’t bid for this? Hard to see GE allowing that to happen.

          • That’s where real business decisions get made. Easy to manage existing.

            So, RR who has started a program already (2012) and available in 2025, that’s a bit late unless they can step things up considerably.

            That could mean RR has to bid on their Advance, GE whatever they have and P&W would be the one assured as a GTF is a given (IMNSHO)

            Keep in mind that with McNenearney GONE (yipeee) the apron strings with GE are also more business like.

            If its under 2025 the engine has to be ready to go by no latter than 2021, sooner better.

            GE could decide they have enough going and skip this one. With LEAP on two single aisles, 777 sewed up, 60% (last check) of the 787 markets they may elect to make money for a while.

            737RS followed by an A320 upgrade wing or RS would follow 2030 at a guess (assuming 737-10 damns the dike for now)

          • It’s all going to get interesting. GE have no announced GTF and are probably way behind PW. BUT the key technology in PW’s GTF is the gearbox. And who makes the gearbox? Avio, which is now a subsidiary of GE. So are GE going to allow Avio to supply a new gearbox to PW so that PW can block GE in this bid? In the meantime, RR says the Ultrafan will be “ready for service from 2025”, whatever that means. Boeing might choose one supplier or they might choose two, but not three. Which engine makers will win and which will lose is very far from clear. That’s assuming Boeing actually build the thing, of course.

          • That is an interesting situation. GE did a lot of business with them.

            I assume P&W has assurance of IP so there is not a cross.

            It will be interesting going ahead of they maintain that relationship or go to another source.

            797 engine would be the time to do it if they do.

            As they also supply RR that adds a twist.

    • “Engine will be a GTF which means GE could well be out in the cold as they have no GTF in development..”
      So why did GE buy Avio, who were PW partner(IAE) on the GTF and developed the crucial gearbox ?

      • Doing a bit of chewing and there may well be an answer already.

        P&W and GE are both partners in the GP7000 series and that is winding down (pun) as Emirates in a burst of amazing pull the rabbit out of the hat decided that the RR was suddenly 5% more efficient.

        MTU is also a perianipin in the GP (as they are with P&W on the GTF)

        I can see this coming together with GE-Avio/P&W/MTU going into a 40-50K GTF together.

        P&W has the experience and working relationship with MTU and GE brings their mix in as well as AVIO as a risk contribute not just a supplier.

        Shift as much other work onto it from Avaio as possible.

        GE has the generator experience on the 787 (if they go to more or all electric).

        P&W also has possible partners with the IAE group if they choose to go that route.

        I doubt RR is going to get into another relationship with anyone as they dissolved the IAE one and sold it to P&W (while saying bad things about GTF of course)

  8. LNC: “The customers kept telling Boeing (and us) that what they truly want is a 767 replacement, not a 757 replacement. It took Boeing a while to get the message, but it finally did.”

    It also took me a long time to get it, but now I think I understand what Boeing is trying to achieve with the NMA. I even believe it might find a relatively high degree of acceptance in the market if Boeing gets it right. That being said, I still have some difficulty to position this new 767 in Boeing’s portfolio.

    Where does that leave the 787? My understanding is that the 787-8 is dead and only the 787-9/10 will survive as long-range replacements of the 767. But this makes the whole Dreamliner project look like an expensive mistake. And I don’t see how Boeing could make the NMA a cheap aircraft, especially if it is to retain a high degree of communality with the 787, as one would expect and as we see with Airbus. And what will happen with the 757 replacement, which I still believe should be designed as a larger variant of the NSA? The money Boeing has invested in the MAX will certainly not be wasted, because the aircraft has sold in massive quantities. But the MAX 7.5 and MAX 10 are fruitless exercises that show to the world that Boeing is in denial about the 737 position in the market. I believe that as Boeing’s oldest design the 737 has no long-term future. But Boeing does not seem to share this view. In less than seven years from now I expect the order book to be depleted and I don’t see how it could be replenished in sufficient quantities to make it a viable programme anymore; i.e., it will have to be sold with very low margins just to keep the assembly line moving.

    In regards to the 777, I think Boeing should concentrate on the 777-9 and forget about the 777-8 and 777-10. It is certainly a difficult task to comme up with the right airplane at the right time, and what adds to the difficulty is the fact that the market is evolving. But it’s the job of any manufacturer to find where the market is heading and to position itself accordingly. Hopefully ahead of any competitor. But this seems to be a lost art at Boeing, which is constantly trying to reinvent its own wheel. The MNA versus the 787 is a good example of that.

    • I always said that the 757 market was not there, if there is a market is the upper end of the A321 and the 767 market but that was too heavy.

      The 787 always was designed as a very long range aircraft.

      Both the A300 series and the 767 had success down there, 767 drove the A300 to the A330.

      As the A330NEO undercuts the 787 price wise and in some range areas, a light 767 would undercut the A330 NEO, get China markets, Inter Japan and I can see some other markets as posted above as well (SW is pretty speculative on my part, maybe even fantasy )

      What we do know is that Boeing did have a great market for the 787, it just screwed up the program with insane management decisions.

      For all the advanced tech the 787 came through with amazingly few issues, and at least two of those (battery and the wing join) were management driven as well.

      I am delighted, it gives Boeing something to shoot for again, a good (if expensive) interim solution to get close to on par with the 737-10 and then there will be the long term 737RS that should be most interesting.

      The 7.5 as noted is just a tweak but a good one and that shows flexibility as well.

      Frankly I think Boeing has been putting this together for some time, not the specific aircraft but the pieces to it that really started out as the 737RS that they cold not get off the dime on and bringing in what has worked from the other programs.

      I think they can pull it off in the 4.5 years. Your early engineers have done their work on the 777/737 updates, they can start and by time it gets to the finalizing stage both 777/737 are well done or just done and they can roll into the 797.

      That’s the way to keep an organization going, keep your engineering staff busy and employed and not having to re-hire new after having laid off the last group.

      I am even seeing hints that the electrical /electronics engineering department is being resurrected.

      Done right it could be the beginning of a new and vastly better future for Boeing. They have the capability, just lacked the will.

      S0 we stay tuned.

      • How many A332/3s are flying intra Asia/Oceania/Europe? Quite a lot, I think the market was there for the right aircraft, at the right price. Now I don´t think anybody knows wehre we are heading, A332 sales have dried up, and I think that was the best indication of the market size.

    • Normand:

      Well the 787 is a success but the management is certainly an expensive mistake (close to catastrophic, if I made a muck up like that I would be bankrupt)

      What is being missed is this does not affect the 787. Long range, trans oceanic, super long distantance (Ethiopian going to fly to NY now).

      Ford Makes cares: Call those the single aisles of various types

      Ford Makes Pickups: Those would be your MOM, a lot in common with cares, often the same engines and various controls and gauges parts

      For Used to Make TRUCKS: Dump trucks, cab overs, nose type tractor

      trailer pullers. Call those the 767/A300-A330, 777, 747, big heavy long distance high load stuff.

      So the 787-8 goes into history, that’s fine. 727-100 did as well, it was the 200 that took it to full glory and fame. Call it the learning end (or worse)

      -9 and -10 carry on and sell into the 200o range

      777 -8 and -10 mare derivatives so don’t cost much and grab some of the markets from the A350 types. They come latter, the -9 is the main seller and is the first to be produced.

      I will repeat, the 787 did get the market right, it was management production decisions and stupidity that got it wrong. 1154 sold and more to come over time.

      It started out as the Sonic cruiser, Boeing listened and refined it to something that did fit.

      It sounds like they thought the 757RS might, it did not, but they listened and revised and seem to have a type that will be a hit.

      Airbus did the same on the A330 rev 1 to 4 that became the A350.

      Its not a slam dunk process. 777 started out as a 3 engine concept, it morphed into a great aircraft and a very good seller for any aircraft let alone a large wide body.

  9. All of this new airplane discussion and speculation is conventional business-as – usual which completely ignores global warming / climate change from fossil fuel carbon emissions and ignores the airlines growing contribution to it as traffic grows at the Boeing / Airbus’ forecast rate of 4.5% annually over the next 20 years.

    Boeing, Airbus and the airlines may not believe this is a problem which will affect them in 2025 when a new airplane might enter service but the public and all global governments will know it before 2020. The 250 passenger MOM will be the wrong airplane and any 150-200 passenger, single aisle NGA too.

    The intercontinental airplanes which can help most with carbon reduction will be models more optimimized for 400-500 passengers flying 4000 nm, at cruise speeds of .8 mach, not .85, in green single class with slim line seats not less than 31 ” pitch . This could be an all new airplane or, for example, a rewinged. reengined, much lighter TOGW, OEW-reduced A350-1000X — using a smaller area, higher aspect ratio, more efficient wing and a smaller thrust engine of higher bypass ratio.

    The carbon efficient domestic class wont be 150-200 passengers but more like 260 passenger with growth over 300 (in the 2030’s) in single class green seating — and designed for 2000 nm range, not 3000 — at .72 mach not .78. Likely two aisles. Say 40-50% lower fuel burned per seat mile at ranges under 2000 nm than 737-8MAXs, A320neos, C919s, and M21

    Global warming / potentially disastrous climate change due to human activities is established science. Global airline fleet carbon emissions must be substantially reduced

    • I don’t disagree with the end.

      How we get there is a different story.

      I have been reading of the demise of the gasoline engine since I was in my 30s (Dad, should I hold off on a new car, there is a lot of stuff perking out there? Son, no, its been perking for as long as I have watched it, get what you need now, at best its 5 years away and maybe never, in the meantime you have to go on with your life)

      If we killed coal that would do vastly more than the most optimized aircraft ever could in 1000 years.

      As the EPA said (in essence) when they started regulating Diesels, we are going after the low hanging fruit with the most impact (commercial diesel trucks).

      In this case its coal first, then Bunker C (those things are awful) and then see where we are at.

      In the meantime with aircraft fuel efficiency up, the pollution per pax has gone down.

      • Global air transport carbon dioxide emissions total around 750 million metric tons per year. Global warming is a function of cumulative emissions. We need to reduce them every year. Climate scientists say we must eliminate 75% of carbon emissions due to human activities by 2050.

        US carriers burned 4+% more jet fuel in 2015 than in than in 2014. At normal rates of fleet modernization to the new and improved aircraft available now and by 2020 and considering modest improvements beyond, I think global fleet emission could be well over 1.5 billion tons per year 20 years from now.

        As other larger carbon pollution sources are much reduced, e.g. coal fired electricity, current 25 mpg autos, dirty diesel trucks etc, air transport’s percent contribution in a business-as-usual mode would be doubling or tripling. That’s not going to be allowed . The public won’t allow it. They will simply fly less — less often and less far; businesses too. And governments will not allow it. A healthy industry through the 2020-2050 period will depend on effective reduction of global fleet carbon emissions starting soon.

        There are number of ways to accomplish this. I’m predictiong that by 2025 the airlines will not be impressed that a 250 PA, 4000-5000 nm MOM and a 150-200 PAX single aisle, 3000-3500 NSA are cost effective ways to reduce global fleet carbon emissions.

        • Well I saw the public allow LA to get polluted to the gills and pictures from friends in Europe in the 70s that was as bad or worse.

          China? Seen pictures of Beijing?

          Will see, regulators tend to work for easier transitions so they don’t wreck economies (world wide crash would do it but then all those starving people get to be a pesky issue)

          I have yet to see anything done suddenly. It took forever to get CFCs down to the point it was effective.

          Aviation will continue to progress, the big issue is Coal and Bunker C.

          LA worked their way down to electric lawn mowers (and get part of their electricity from the 4 corners coal power plant) but it took 50 years.

        • US lower Carbon footprint by 21% on the 2005 goals by switching to natural gas.

    • Is there really much of a gain, getting there slower and hence burning for longer at these lower machs? Citations please?

      For me the real energy wastage is the TSA workers who need to burn fossil fuels on their way to work to grope women and demand that their bottled baby milk be irradiated. That and the legions of no good law makers who burn up fossils on their way to continue drafting legislation to regulate any decent worthwhile industry out of existence. I dont see the point of regressing backwards. Its industry that has the capacity to clean itself up and nothing else. We need to ramp up production of clean technologies using existing technology. Austerity does not fix anything fast, it just stagnates the solutions and increases corruption.

  10. Could the NMA be a (perhaps) simplified, (definitely) re-winged, (definitely) re-engined 787-9/10? Use the fuselage width to allow 2 wide aisles for quick turnaround and avoid the cost of creating a whole new tube. Plus simplify supply chains etc. Basically to the 787 what the A310 was to the A300.

    • Too heavy, too costly, so no.

      Its a whole new concept, it has to be pretty low cost and it has to be as light as possible to be competitive with A321 in its upper end as well as a big jump in fuel efficiency.

      This is a whole new world, not same o same o.

  11. Great article.

    Any news on Boeing’s 737 successor? And why are airlines all of a sudden not interested in a 757 replacement? Is its TATL use a niche just too niche?

    • nope, holding the line with probably a 737-10 to stop the bleeding vs the A321 as much as possible.

      The Airlines did not clamor for a 757 replacement, a few individuals did.

      As the A320 and 737 grew they filled in the lower end and most of the 757 mission.

      There are a few lamenting it, but those have their 757s cheap (or paid for) and wanted to get that last bit more.

      Very few are doing long thins, most are in service where an A321 works.

      Cost more, uses a lot more fuel, too much range for a lot, so not needed

    • I remember reading that the 787-8 was too much plane for the job. The A32O is just the right amount of plane to keep both opex and capex low. I guess sometine around 2030 we will see this 767-x. It will probably have 12+:1 bypass ratio engines and 2nd gen carbon composite wings

  12. Boeing produces at the moment 5 different fuselages:
    737, 767, 787 ,777, 747
    Airbus needs one fuselage less:
    A320, A330, A350 and A380

    An NMA based on a 737? – That would be a minimal change 737-10. Not really what I would expect. A maximum changed 737 with no container on long range missions?

    A new single aisle fuselage? Bad idea to start a new single aisle with the biggest model.

    An NMA based on a 767? – No way the 767ceo lost against the A330ceo so I would not expect something better from a 767neo against an A330neo. A new 767-sized fuselage? – No way, not LD3 and 7 abreast may be nice to pax but not to airlines. LD3 leads to a 787-sized fuselage.

    Will the NMA be a 787-3 based on 787-9/10 concepts? Maybe.

    I expect a nice looking NMA model at the next air show. To save some money the old Sonic Cruiser model will be repainted with bigger windows to make the model look smaller. Wall Street will be satisfied and that is enough.

    To keep an NMA inside the box of a 737 or A320 a boxed wing could be necessary. A 737 with a closed wing smells like a moon shot…

    • “An NMA based on a 737?” No, what Boeing needs is a 757 replacement based on the NSA: Same model with two different wings; common fuselage and systems; and same cockpit.

    • MHalblaub :

      Actually the A300/310 lost to the 767 (which it was designed to beat) and went onto a very successful 1000 aircraft built (not ordered) and still going strong.

      If the 787 hadn’t been bungled, the A330 would have folded. There were 4 desperate attempts to get something made people would buy.

      NEO is still low order numbers, particularly if you throw out the suspect Air Asia orders (based on past of kicking the orders down the runway when the piper came due)

      • How could the A300 be designed to beat the 767 when the 767 came after it.( almost 10 years )
        The second iteration of the A300, which was the substantially changed A300-600/A310 group ( first flight 1 year after 767)
        The number of A310s built was 260, a reasonable number for the times.

        As it was the first plane from Airbus there was massive resistance from US airlines.
        Total delivered was 560 + 260=820. Not too bad for a new manufacturer

        • It wasn’t. I said the 767 was designed to beat the A300/310

          It was not capable of dealing with the A330 who moved up in class (opening a whole new market area)

  13. And what Boeing is saying is we need an all new 797 based on an all new concept of low cost, low weight and outstanding performance over a shorter range than current.

    It still has to be a heavier than single aisle fuselage to do that.

    Shrinks have not worked well (unless you want a 5k single aisle and even then we have the 757 that is too heavy.

    By 2030 when the 737RS comes out, it may not even use the same concepts from the 797, a lot of advances going on that could mature.

    One question no one has asked is, “what does Airbus do?”

    Tough decision as the A380 problems will be there still.

    How well the A330NEO is doing as well.

    Hope it does not sell or start a crash program like they did on the A350?

    • How could the A350 be a crash program ?
      It was announced as A350XWB in 2006 and has EIS last year. 9 years isnt a ‘crash program’

      • They failed in Ver 1 to 4 and then it was a rush to come up with a system to make the fuselage, so yes it was a crash program. Doesn’t mean it did not take a long time.

        What has surprised me is it worked so well. They did not have the system Boeing for composite fuselage so they had to make do and in this case the make do looks to be as good as what Boeing did.

        While that is a kudo to Airbus, they were not ready and that’s why they had to spend the 9 years to develop it inventing the technology and proving it out as they went alone.

        A well run program has that all ready to go (Boeing did with the 787) and should only take 5 years.

        I think Boeing is going to do the same thing with the 797, its going to be preloaded, pre proven, pre tested and execution can take 4.5 years if you do it that way.

        • No its not a crash program. The developed A330 was announced in 2004 and was dropped for the all new A350XWB in 2006.
          The 787 by comparison was supposed to be 4 years of development, now THATS a crash program. if they were more sensible they could have done it in 6. The A350 program by comparison is ‘leisurely’.

        • “They did not have the system Boeing for composite fuselage so they had to make do and in this case the make do looks to be as good as what Boeing did.”

          The idea Boeing had something Airbus couldn’t do lives on. I think Airbus looked at the barrel technology & judged it didn’t have the required flexibility and high cost versus the (unclear) advantages.

          Hawker was doing fuselages like this in the late nineties.

          Airbus is/was doing a tonne of composites all over their production, including the mandrel/circular technology.

          The chances Boeing does some sort of CRFP panels on their new program are significant. Because the advantages are clear.

          On the Topic ” Boeing is Back” it seems at this stage we can conclude 787 production is firmly under control. Ignoring the cost aspect this is a very good thing.

          I think the 777-10x became a certainty when Boeing specified the wing, as discussed in 2014 and before.

          • It has become clear that even Boeing didn’t have fully working system for making barrels at the time.
            I would be very interested in the situation now. Carbon has fallen dramatically in price since the 787 was first thought of. I suspect that carbon manufacture is intrinsically cheaper than aluminium. It’s just (just!) a question of getting the design optimised and manufacturing techniques up to speed.

          • Grubbie:

            Yes Boeing had a working system, I would like to see a citation that any of it did not work!

            The system was screwed up but that was management, where the tech was that was spot on. There were failures, but those for the most part (all but one I can think of) were the scattered out and lack of management oversight, not the tech or the design.


            I followed the whole history. Airbus did not take the 787 seriously. They had done no research in an ALL composite fuselage.

            Dabbling around the edges with various non structural parts is NOT the same thing, that’s been going on forever.

            Boeing stole a march on Airbus who had an arrogance of their own at that point.

            Airbus was very fortunate in the totally fowled up execution of the program.

            That was why there was panicked proposal for Rev 1 to 4 of the A330 and then the famous surrender and the A350 launch. They were forced into it (and have done extraordinarily well with it).

            Airbus was clearly not ready to launch the next generation aircraft.

            Boeing engineers should be given full credit for what they did.

            Boeings management (at that time) should be in prison for their incompetence. We get to see how current performs.

            Give Boeing credit where they deserve it, we are giving Airbus credit where they do (very well done A350 and the fantastic position the A321 occupies and the most interesting but to be see how it does A330NEO)

            If Boeing launches the 797, Airbus gets a chance to respond and we get to see their capability in that regards.

            I don’t think they should count on a Boeing foul up this time.

          • OK I don’t have a citation, but it’s a pretty good guess (based on quite a bit of reading) that quite a few of those billions in deferred costs were due to immature composite technology.
            Ofcouse it was always expected to be immature to some degree.
            I wonder if all the barrel winding sceptics are completely right, it must save heaps of fasteners and simplify the joining process. As far as I can see it’s a continuous process,it looks to me that tape laying involves a lot more starting and stopping and direction changes. Anyone who has more information let me know, as it is quite difficult to research.

          • Grubie:

            For any failure you have to drill into the details.

            You are looking at the program failures overall, if you focus on the tech failures they are very few.

            1. All the fuselages and parts were built the way they were supposed to be.
            Huge Issue: Fasteners: As MANAGEMETN scattered the production far and wide, there was no oversight.
            That’s not a tech failure, that’s a management failure. As a result, each entity hoarded fasteners as they got paid for their part, not the success of all parts (and you can’t blame them)
            In the end, Boeing created (from memory, 10-20) groups, each group had engineers, accountants, logistic experts and went to each sight straightening things out as issues crossed all boundaries.
            Management head in the sand was, they can make, engineer and assemble parts and we don’t have to do anything.
            No you can’t, its a colossal enterprise (even when done at home) and someone has to manage the overall picture. Stupid.
            The small engineering was supposed to be subbed out. People who never had done it had to figure out how. Again if it was in house they had the people
            Because it was scattered, you could not have one team hitting your satellite suppliers one day after another, 2 days to get there, a week to figure out what was going on as no past history of that, then finding a solution. Ergo, rather than one or two teams, you had a bunch.
            The parts did get delivered, but Boeing did not have the fastens to hook it up. All gone, sucked up.

            They even outsource THE WIHNG: That’s the jewels in the company crown and you never do that, but they did. Insane (note its now back in house)

            Alenai had assembly issues (quality) but the tech was there, just outsourced and no one keeping an eye on them when they went wrong. Quality issues not tech issue. Management again.

            Battery was outsourced over 3 continents and 4 major players (Thales, management, Security Aviation for charger (which they never did or had an experience , they were a low rate small jet lock and key operation) Yusa in Japan (they found the assembly area filthy and that type batteries require a clean room environment and hand done incognizant quality work that was faulty, SAFT knows how to do that and do it right but they picked Yuasa) and a separate electronics firm that made the monitor board.
            All that was a result of outsourcing. They never updated the battery system when better chemistry came along and they got what you would expect.

            Chance Vought: Fuselage, system worked but the management was fouled up. Boeing bought that out (and started Charleston site move, cost billions and billions adding to the cost for that and the new factory of more billions, none of which was a tech issue, it was an outsource issue, aka Management)

            Alenai Vought Assembly: Two entities that had no reason to work together trying to put fuselage together both with quality control issues, what can go wrong?
            Boeing bought that out as well. Again management not tech.

            That factory in turn led to various fiascos as the travel work problems were huge. They had to hire outside contractors to correct.
            Management then decided with a 3 month down time between the -8 and 9 they could let them all go and save money. Crash went the program, travel work went back up and rippled to Seattle (second time) as they are totally dependent on Charleston for all those key parts.

            Between all that stuff, Charleston alone has cost the company no less than 5 billion in my estimation, maybe as much as 8.

            Wing Joint: Weight cutting panic and they got it to thin.

            Wing Issue: Wrong assembly process, quality control (in Japan) caused some grief.

            The one that I think was a pure tech failure was the electrical panel short out in Texas. While it should never have happened, the fault isolation did not work (they landed on batteries and RAM air.
            Boeing did none of that in house and that was the fault (pun) of the sub contractor (not sure who) and management as testing was flawed and not caught. Boeing had an in house division that did that, it was killed off (management decision, we don’t need those sparkies)

            The high tech fuselage and mostly electric was hard enough.

            To make it a disaster Boeing management outsources it and that is where the failures came.

            Last I checked, you don’t get free lunch or something for nothing but Boeing management had themselves convinced that they only had to assemble.


            For all that they tried to fouled up, if you look at it, the 787 is an incredible success. Over 350 built and no issues (the battery is still an open one).

          • “The system was screwed up but that was management, where the tech was that was spot on.”

            Yes, and some hardworking, skilled blue eyed engineers working Seatlle also made some big mistakes. Underestimations, rushed certification, incorrect modelling, you know the story. Just blaming “management” is too easy.

            “They had done no research in an ALL composite fuselage.”
            Tonnes of research all over Europe, for many years. They just concluded production technology was not mature / cost efficient enough. And avoided the risk. If that was a good approach? Let’s defer that question..


        • Not really. Airbus were concerned about the ability of an all carbon fuselage to withstand lightning strikes, as well as the potential for lethal toxic fumes to be released from smouldering composite in the event of an accident. It was a more conservative approach. This is similar to the viewpoint of RR that hollowed-out fan blades can better handle a bird strike that carbon composite counterparts.

  14. So, if Boeing do a 737-10 is it possible they would back engineer it into the 738?
    A new undercarriage and space for the more efficient Leap 1A could be quite compelling and a big help in amortizing the development cost.

    • A boxed wing and Boeing can put an GTF on the upper wing.

      Problem is Airbus can do the same later with a new engine generation.

    • Andrew: 737-8 is lighter than the A320 as is the engine on it.

      There is no reason for the heavier and more powerful LEAP on the -8.

      GTF? I don’t think so as GE has the exclusive. Not worth it.

  15. I’m suspicious, why announce it years before launching it?Why not keep AB guessing? Where’s the money coming from?
    Apart from that, the most interesting question is fuselage width. I assume that making it suitable for one width and then squashing another seat in gets harder with less seats to begin with.
    I’m always surprised how long modern aircraft take to develop compared to older models. I know that they are much better, but there have also been massive advances in computer design and manufacture. I suspect if you just recycle your last model with a few adjustments and lessons learned, development times might be better than some imagine.
    Scott has very good sources and leeham has already noted a hint from P&W,but I can’t help thinking that this is kite flying and/or disinformation. Expect to be proved wrong immediately with an announcement at Farnborough.

    • In my opinion Boeing can’t just go MoM with addressing the 150-220 NB segment. There’s pressure from key customers.

      What’s United Airlines position on this? They have 100 737-9 on order. Meanwhile they see Boeing admitting there’s an issue (-10x), Lionair (half the (former) 737-9 backlog) is transferring orders to -8s, what’s left?
      United won’t get A321’s like AA, DL, Jetblue, Spirit, HA for Transcon, Caribbean? What do they know the rest of the industry doesn’t?

      I think United is negotiating with Boeing on the -9/ -10x/ 757/ 767 /MoM. They are in a position to pull the plug on the 737-9 program.

      Meanwhile Airbus can pre-empt a MoM with a hard to beat 4500NM capable A322NEO, build in USA . Years before any MoM rolls out.


      The smaller 737-9 customers are drawing plan B’s.

      • Ever since United was quoted as saying that the A321 NEO has issues http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0LZ08920150303?irpc=932 the apparent loyalty is strong in Chicago. But beyond United, other airlines http://www.runwaygirlnetwork.com/2015/06/29/air-astana-pushes-boeing-for-middle-of-market-757-replacement/ who are on the sidelines have maybe been holding on and waiting to see what Boeing indeed brings to the table. I’m just glad that Boeing is hopefully done dithering around saying that everything is fine and there’s no need to do anything.

      • Keejse:

        Sure they can, 737-10 as the stop gap, 797 as the exciting new offering that gets all the attention and then an all new 737RS in the 2030 area.

        While a 737-10 will not get back what they have lost, it will keep what they have without further losses (AK Airlines and the like)

        • Grubbie:

          Good PR, lots of interest, takes the shine off Airbus as all people want to talk about is NEW not updated.

          Unsettles Airbus as they have to start thinking about response instead of what is in front of them.

          Like trash talk, does it work? Sometimes, in the meantime you get your name back out in front, stock goes up (maybe)

  16. Boeing 777-10

    you haven´t sold a single copy in more than a year, and the majority of all your orders to only one customer.so your next very educated business decision is to develop another version of a hardselling product, even more expensive and heavier? Will Emirates be allowed to switch to the stretched version?Maybe,if they are going to buy a whole bunch of 787-1000 planes too!Who knows!

    • One customer? One region is more fitting. This 777 derivative is supposed to for the hand of Airbus to 1) invest in the A380 NEO 2) invest in a stretched version of the A350. If EK is sincerely interested in 777/10x, it would be to stray away from the A380. The 777-9 is just what they wanted, a bigger and better 77W. And it’s the 787-10, not 1000.

      • And GE has developed an 80,000 lb thrust version of their GENx.

        So the 787-10 may work for Emirates over the A350. It will be interesting.

        • The 787 is the hot market for the big engine makers. 787-10 will eat into A359 orders but many of those will be Trent 1000 TEN engined. That feeds into the A330 NEO which then eats into the 787-9

          • Well so fare GENx has 64% of the committed engines, RR still trying to catch up with GE on fuel efficiency .

            the Tent-10 is 2000 lbs thrust shy of the unnamed but new and improved GENx.

            That’s 4000 lbs total and would tip the Emirate order (or should) as the deficiencies of thrust have been noted for current offerings (for the Gulf area)

      • @rotate

        I agree that the 777x-10 is an A380neo spoiler. At the same stage both OEMs are too guilty of attempting to damage each other rather than focusing on making money. Why go to the substantial expense of a few billion to upsize when there is some debate over the whole wide body market especially the top end. That market was where big margins could be made but with the level of production capacity in 2020 somewhere around 35-40 planes per month shared between A and B I can see margins softening dramatically and we are back where the L1011, DC10,747 were in the past.

  17. On the NMA, I hope they go with 18″ seats/ 20″ cc seats and aisles.
    That would give a 2-3-2 about a 16′ outside diam circular fuselage. Compared to a 767 which is 16′ 6″ x 17′ 9″, that’s about a 7% savings in fuselage skin, weight and drag, and about a 15% savings in frontal area. With Al-Li, and composite wings and parts, considerably a lighter aircraft than the 767 or A330, not even in the same ballpark.

    75t empty / 150t MTOW, 48m wing / 48K engines, 96″ fan

    Compared to a 200 seat A321 density, it would be roughly
    48m long – 250 seats, 5000 nm range
    56m long – 300 seats, 4000 nm range
    creating point to point fragmentation at those ranges and taking market share of the larger aircraft now flying in those ranges.

    • I think it will be a little bit smaller – 200 to 240 seat in first, premium economy and economy configuration (US domestic) Based on 7J7 study I think OWE will be between 65 and 73 t…

      • Yes, I would agree. In US domestic config, firstness/xtra/eco, a 737-900ER runs about 170-180, the A321 runs about 180-190, and the NMA would be 220.

  18. Airbus will pump 200 seat MoM’s into the market at 20-30 / month for bulk production prices. OEW 49t with a choice of the best engines, hundreds of certified options and existing worldwide MRO & pilots.

    Replace “will pump” with “is pumping”..

    (Jetblue A321 Sleeper Seats)

    If they have to bump capacity & range with another 1000NM they will put the UK factory to work for a state of the art CRFP wing. EIS 3-4 yrs. And offer that wing on the A321 too.


    • Still pumping single aisles….

      Increasing the diameter with 32″ will produced a big WOW factor, plus 10 to 15% more seats. I could see this as a family with 3 members covering between 180 and 250…

    • With all due respect, that mantra has been repeated over and over and over again. There’s no way anyone here could’ve predicted the Zodiac dilemma and the Pratt & Whitney that is still on going. Saying what they can do and fulfilling contractual expectations and specifications is very different, ask QR CEO. He knows.

      It’s really difficult to know what Airbus (the wing factory in the UK) will do or where they’ll be after the dust settles from the UK exit from the EU. It’s premature to say they’re going to build, move, snap together and move one wing to another model. It’s way more complex than that. I’m sure you know this.

  19. Airbus made a medium range form, it was known as the A300/310

    767 ran it out of the opening.

    Furthermore, I think the accumulation needs to consider the 66 Air Asia has, who is acclaimed for kicking orders down the runway.

    With current fuel costs you presumably can get a decent A330 for half of new, so why purchase?
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  20. Expensiv? Without a doubt. In any case, payload and range was NMA, would it say it wasn’t? I review the luckwarm reaction of the market to the A330-500, where potential clients, as Lufthansa, stated: Nice however cut the wings, we require an A310/300 substitution – less range please!… .
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  21. Boeing revealed the eco-friendly MAX 8 of every 2017 as a refresh to the as of now upgraded 50-year-old 737 and had conveyed 350 MAX flies out of the absolute request count of 5,011 flying machines before the finish of January.
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  22. However, as its 3.5 years out before first let alone 6 years before any slots at best, that is too far over the horizon for anyone to be locking in these days. Fill in with a 77-300ER just fine thank you.

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