Pontifications: A321LR actions put pressure on Boeing to launch 737-10

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 1, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The order last week by JetBlue for 15 Airbus A321neos, with the option to convert these to A321LRs for potential trans-Atlantic service, comes within two weeks of Norwegian Air Shuttle converting orders for 30 A321neos to A321LRs. NAS is going to use the LRs for trans-Atlantic service.

We’re aware of at least two more campaigns for A321LRs with carriers that would use them for trans-Atlantic operations. There are undoubtedly more.

The  A321LR is an option, allowing airlines that have already ordered the 321neo to switch before construction of the planes begins. The LR EIS is 2019.

To date, Air Lease Corp, TAP and NAS have ordered the LR. Astana is taking the LR on lease from ALC. The JetBlue and NAS deals up the pressure on Boeing to make decisions on whether to launch the stretch of the 737-9 MAX, to what’s commonly called the 737-10; and whether to launch the New Mid-Range Airplane (NMA) for the Middle of the Market (MOM) sector.

The NAS announcement is significant. NAS has a large order for the 737 MAX and A320neo families. The original intent was to use the MAX on longer routes and the A320neo on shorter routes. NAS is also acting as a lessor and leasing out the A320neo family. Now, with the selection of the A321LR, this is another airline that chose the A321LR over the MAX 9.

Boeing’s conundrum

Norwegian converted 30 A321neo orders to A321LR for Trans-Atlantic service. JetBlue ordered 15 A321neos with conversion rights to A321LR as an option for new Trans-Atlantic service. Source: Airbus.

Boeing has been eclipsed by Airbus in the single-aisle strategy. Boeing publicly won’t concede this, but the customers vote with their pocket book and the order tallies are clear: the A320neo family commands nearly a 60% market share. This is bolstered significantly by the A321neo vs the 737-9. The A321neo outsells the 737-9 by almost 4:1 through June. (Airbus hasn’t released July data yet.) Airbus has 1,129 orders for the A321neo. Boeing doesn’t break out the MAX orders by sub-type, but official internal figures put the MAX 9 sales at about 290. (LNC believes the number is closer to 413, based on LionAir’s huge MAX order and the current 737NG 800/900ER split.)

Boeing contends there is more upside to future sales for the MAX family than Airbus has for the A320neo family. John Wojick, Boeing’s chief salesman, correctly points out that Southwest Airlines and Ryanair have ordered only a fraction of the MAXes they need to replace their NG fleets. Others are in the same space, Wojick says. Airbus, he claims, doesn’t have the same potential upside.

Be that as it may, the A321neo is a far superior airplane to the 737-9 MAX, which has operational limitations. Despite public claims to the contrary, the market has spoken.


Boeing acknowledges publicly it’s working on a stretch of the MAX 9. Conventional wisdom said to do so would require a new wing, new engines, new wing box, new main gear and all the knock-on effects from these changes. These might even require a complete recertification of the airplane. All-in costs were estimated by some at upwards of $8bn.

But at the Farnborough Air Show, Boeing programs chief Mile Delaney confirmed that Boeing is looking at an articulated landing gear similar to what was on the World War II fighter, the Grumman Bearcat.

This two minute video shows the design.

This allows Boeing to use the current center wing box and avoid costly modifications. One question that remains, according to a consultant LNC spoke with at Farnborough, is whether this would pass muster with the Federal Aviation Administration over a single point of failure certification review.

CanaccordGenuity’s Ken Herbert wrote last week the MAX 10 is likely to get a green light, while the NMA is still a question mark.

“We believe BA is closer to a larger 737 MAX (with an expected $2B ceiling on the development costs), but the final decision on the new midsize airplane (NMA) is likely not until 2017, with official BoD approval maybe by H2/17. We understand that the real issue for the NMA is the ultimate cost to produce the aircraft, and there is substantial uncertainty within Boeing on its internal estimates,” Herbert wrote.

The budget ceiling cited by Herbert on the MAX 10 is in line with our information. We also concur that an NMA decision is likely next year.

Would a 737-10 be enough?

I’ve previously opined that the 737-10 would be too little, too late. Entry-into-service wouldn’t likely be until about 2020. By then, the A321neo will have been in service four years (its EIS is supposed to be this fall). The A321LR’s scheduled EIS is 2019. A $2bn MAX 10 probably can only approach the A321neo, not better it, and it will be too late to recover lost market share. However, it might be good enough to prevent split decisions like that of Korean Air Lines, which ordered the MAX 8 and the A321neo. It was this order that Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, cited last February when he raised the alarm to employees and expressed a desire to have a stronger competitor for the A321neo.


The future of the NMA remains, at this point, to uncertain to predict. LNC believes Boeing must do the airplane. Company officials have been clear that they really don’t want to build the 787-8 anymore. This is a loss-making airplane, with significantly different design and production compared with the profitable 787-9/10. Abandoning the 787-8 (which is largely what Boeing has already done) leave a huge gap in the product line.

A recent survey by Aviation Week, Penton Research (AvWeek’s affiliate) and the aerospace analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch concluded there is no consensus about an NMA. But they surveyed more than 500 airlines, which must include many who are more interested in a 737 replacement than in the NMA sector. The airlines that operate Boeing 757s and 767s across the Atlantic or on other mid-range routes appear more interested in a 220-260 passenger, 4,500nm-5,000nm airplane than the oft-talked about 757 replacement.

A replacement for the 737 is an entirely different category airplane.


137 Comments on “Pontifications: A321LR actions put pressure on Boeing to launch 737-10

    • The FAA is always willing to accommodate Boeing
      as long B does not force them to go public with trousers around their ankles 🙂
      ( FAA currently seems to be rather busy to neutralize the /(premeditatedly) better A350 battery design.)

          • First of all, that has no attribution to it other than what the posters put on it. That is not a source (Leeham is a source)

            Secondly its umpteen pages of A350 discussion.

            If you can’t focus don’t post.

            European protectionism is a top of a different forum though if Scott pontificates on it then its open for that.

      • No sure if it is a big deal
        But it will be notable. And maybe hard to stick with the “no slide option” of the MAX7, 8 and 9

        Bonne journée

  1. How will the MAX centre section and wingbox cope with the increased weight of the Leap-1A engines, increased fuel, increased fuselage weight and bending moments? How much re-engineering is involved? A lot of room for overoptimism here. I Agree with Norman’s oft stated view to launch NSA now.

    • Is the engine weight difference really that significant?

      Making the MLG more complex will afaics add much more weight. increasing wing to ground distance will have impact on the evacuation concept as well. Extra weight for/from (now required) slides?

      • The certification gives LEAP1B as 2780kg and the LEAP1 A as 3000kg each.
        250kg or so shouldnt be so hard to design for.

        • Well, that would be 220kg x 2. Also, the weights are for the basic engine — weight of the nacelles not included.

          • Simple answer is its a lot more complicated than it seems, but certainly do-able.

            Extended gear can’t be any worse than that weird 90 degree turn the A320 nose wheel does!

            Last one I knew that did that was the P-40 (mains not nose of course)

          • Just let the steering hydraulics move the axle to left or right limit before/during retraction.

            Neither weird nor difficult.

    • The bending moment of the fuselage seems a possible issue to me. While it might have been easy to stretch the original 707 derived fuselage Boeing have had 50 years to lighten it, and especially in the last 20 years weight has been an issue for everyone. I get the impression they have pushed weight savings even more for the MAX to compensate for the engine/ground clearance issue. So simple might not be so simple any more.

      • I don’t think ground clearance has anything to do with it, they have pushed weight savings hard.

        Lot of ADs on checking the cabin roof regularly.

        I assume they can beef it up if needed.

        • I’m guessing they’ll have a few structural issues to deal with. It all costs money though, and weight. As noted by Scott they will have to do slides as well. Adds another 500Kg maybe as well, so she mightn’t be as light and economical as expected, nor as cheap to do.

          Don’t get me wrong, I still expect Boeing to do the ¨10¨ as it is the cheapest result to an untenable situation.

  2. Too little, too late!

    The MAX is already a significantly more expensive programme than the A32Xneo. A $2++ billion 737 MAX-10 on top of that would seem to be a rather desperate move.

    How would Airbus respond?

    In an earlier comment to this blog*, I suggested that by developing an all new composite wing common to both a larger A321-derived family and a “next generation A310-family”** — the largest member of which would have about the same overall fuselage length as that of the A330-200/-800 — Airbus should be able to develop two highly competitive MOM-type aircraft families that should have total R&D costs in the same neighbourhood as that of the R&D cost delta between the A32Xneo-series and the combined R&D costs of the 737 MAX-7.5/-8/-9
    and a $2++ billion 737MAX-10.


    **I chose to use an “A310NG” designation because the wing would be similar in size to the A310 wing (e.g. 219 m2); i.e. much smaller than the A330ceo wing (e.g. 361.6 m2), although the aircraft family would have full cockpit and fuselage/cabin commonality with the A330neo.

    • I totally agree, I keep saying that the MOM plane everyone keeps talking about sounds a lot like an updated and refreshed B767-200 or A310. A wide body plane will give you more range and carry more passengers than compared to a narrow body type. If they want a narrow body 220+ seat plane than it would end up looking a lot like the B757-300 which the market didn’t want.

      • @Tim

        Please do note that I’m talking about an A310-NG family — i.e. A310-800NG, A310-900NG and A310-1000NG. The largest member, the dash 1000, would be as large as the A330-200/-800; the dash 900 would be as large as the A300-600, while a dash 800 would be larger than the A310, which btw is 13 frames (7 metres) shorter than the A300.

        The largest member of the A321-derived family (i.e. A325X) could be as large — or even slightly bigger — as that of the 757-300. However, the single aisle family would be designed to be capably of flying longer ranged route sectors (i.e. 5000 nm range) — where rapid turnaround times on the ground is not as critical to operators as for short range flights — while the A310NG family would be highly optimised short range widebodies capable of rabid turnaround times.

        • Kind of misses the point that it has to be low cost.

          That is going to take an all new design . A300s and 767s were never intended for that super economy market.

          A321 does a very credible job of knocking off the last of the heart of the 757 territory.

          The next segment up is different and has not been done before, may not be able to be done per Leeham.

        • Before Boeing decided to skip the 737 MAX-7, for a stretched version, the entire MAX programme was reportedly slated to cost at least twice that of the A32X – so, that’s a significant cost increase right there. Add $2++ billion for a 737 MAX-10 and you’ll be getting pretty close to the costs for one base version of the single aisle aircraft in addition to one base version of the twin aisle aircraft – both aircraft sharing the same basic wing. Additional NB and WB family members would be developed depending on market conditions.

          • Huh, what?

            A32xneo R&D: $1 billion**
            737 MAX-7/-8/-9 R&D: $2 billion**
            737 MAX-7.5/-8/-9 R&D: $3 billion*
            737 MAX-10 R&D: $2++ billion

            Including the MAX 7.5 — now the MAX 7 — and a MAX-10, total R&D costs would seem to be close to $5 billion; or 400 percent more than the R&D costs for the A32Xneo.

            The cost of developing two MOMs sharing one common wing and using two in-production NB and WB cockpit/fuselages, would IMJ be in the same neighbourhood as the costs for a full MAX family (i.e. including a MAX-10).

            *My estimate

            **”We expect development costs for the 737MAX to be roughly double those for the A320neo. With a heavy engine positioned in front of the wing, the centre of gravity also shifts forward.” Boeing’s Crabtree declined to provide a cost estimate for the Max, but in March 2010, Mike Bair, vice president of business strategy & marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in an interview the estimated cost to re-engine the 737 would be $2bn-$3bn, including the portion for engine development contributed by CFM, said an industry source.

            Airbus previously said the cost to re-engine the A320 is $1.32 billion (€1 billion). This also represents only the airframe cost, Airbus tells Flightglobal, counting engine development separately.


          • Ms. Crabtree is rather entertaining in a “tall story” kind of way. And as always the Goebbels method probably works for some.

            Even if ( which I doubt ) engine integration is a comparable effort B had to change quite a lot more to achieve overall comparable efficiency gains. Redesign of the tail, scimitar wingtips, elevator heels on the front all incur further cost.

    • IMU a common wing for an NB and a WB fuselage will be a massively compromised design.
      Fuselage and wing and its interconnection the wingbox and belly fairing are “one” interlinked design piece.

      ( Did this ever happen before? )

      • This is the big question that we need someone to answer. How easy is it to retro fit a carbon mast to an A321? How expensive is it to simultaneously develop 2wings or 2 fuselages with the same basic engineering but different weights or sizes. I don’t know, but conceptually l don’t really like the idea because it leads to such issues as discontinuous development, block obsolescence and an engineering hump.

        • Do AB even need a carbon wing, not just a bigger more modern alloy one? If BBD could do a carbon wing 10 years ago AB shouldn’t struggle to much

        • retrofit is not a problem.

          Cost can be and is an issue.

          It seems the only way to go for maximum optimization per BBD and C Series.

          • Per an articled from Av Week

            “Like Boeing’s experience with the 787, this facilitates a thinner and more aerodynamic wing that saves 2,000 lb. versus conventional designs”

          • A thinner wing invariably needs more material resulting in higher weight. No way around it.

          • Hi Uwe,

            While I’d agree a thinner wing imposes more load on the spar, the main advantage of CFRP is the potential to have anisotropic material properties.

            So the spar can be very strong in the axis that the wing induces load in, while not needing to be as strong in the other two axes.

            That said, I don’t believe any (big commercial) CFRP wing has yet been lighter than what an optimised Al alternative would be – but the Al alternative could not be made as thin, so the CFRP wing comes with better aerodynamics leading to a fuel saving on the aircraft level.

          • There is much more load through the skin than the spar.
            together with spars and ribs you get a torsion stiff box shape.

            But IMU for bending moment ribs and spars are just separators (I-Beam : Web ) to keep the loadbearing skins ( i-Beam : Flanges ) apart so to speak.

            Then the ultimate trick is to produce a thicker profile that is comparable in drag to the easy thin one.
            Airbus seems to do quite well in that respect.

          • Ewe:

            I guess its a good thing BBD did not hire you.

            They never would have overcome that attitude that materials have different characteristics.

      • @Uwe

        The outer wing box would be identical on both the single aisle and widebody. However, the centre wingbox and wing to body fairing would be different on both aircraft — i.e. the wingbox on an A310NG would be wider by about 1.6 m in the y-axis. As for the wing to body fairing, there’s a good article about the A310 wing in Airbus’ FAST Magazine from May, 1985 (FAST #05)*, and on how the increase in size of the A310 wing root fillets counteracted the separation of airflow at the rear wing chord. Due to the large increase in the thickness/chord ratio on the A310 wing, over that of the A300 wing, Airbus couldn’t just use the A300 wing root fillets due to the expected worsening of the separation of airflow. Of course, neither the A300, nor the A310, have a “full” circumferential wing body fairing. That changed with the A320. In short, therefore, it’s the different design in the wing body fairings that IMJ would enable using a common wing for both a NB and a WB.


  3. A 737-10 would certainly stretch “grandfather rights” to the limit?

    • Nope, they did it with the 747-8, no reason not to do with the 737-10

  4. Boeing has been very slow in making decisions, a fear of making the wrong choice has cost them many lost sales by being a johnny come lately. They knew of the A321 and yet offered the max-9 having less range and seats.
    I feel the 737 frame is a good one, but a quicker response and a more intensive upgrade, not just engines and a few tweaks should have been done to be competitive with the Airbus offerings.

      • Embraer doing license production of the Irkut MC21 would send both Boeing and Airbus into a panic.
        The word that used nowdays is ‘disruption’ to old line businesses

  5. I think United plays a role in the background, far more than e.g Korean.

    My worries is the 737-10 would still not have LD3-45 / Pallet capability.

    Something categorically downplayed by the Boeing camp, because they can not offer it.

    But widely used outside the US boosting speed and payload.

    • Big whoop, its mostly not used.

      Who does use it? It does not boost payload, containers cost weight, so it reduces it.

      They also cost space as you can’t pack as well.

      • “Big whoop, its mostly not used.”

        I believe it’s used just about everywhere outside the US.

      • If you bulk load, a single piece may not exceed 80kg.

        An LD3 “single piece” can weigh 1000kg and be loaded in a minute. Think about it.

        Many carriers do one bays LD3, the other bulk.

        Have you ever seen any Boeing NSA / Mom study without container option?

        • Frankly never paid attention to the container option

          Per Boeings own specs , cargo is not a target for the MOM

          Will they design it in, probably. Is the 737 flawed because its not?

          I don’t think so, a tad less versatile at most, not an issue for most.

          I had old steam gauge cockpit and a lot like that too.

          • The primary use Hold ULDs is for pax bags for faster turnarounds.

            If you don’t use containers you end up handling every checked bag twice, once to load it onto a baggage cart and again when it is placed transferred into the hold – costly and inefficient compared with containerised aircraft like the A320/A321. Check out ANZ and JetStar use of containers on their A320s compared with their hold baggage operation using B737s.

          • Not to mention Australian and NZ workplace regs. EU much the same now as well.

  6. “This [787-8]is a loss-making airplane, with significantly different design and production compared with the profitably 787-9/10.”

    Profitably? Is that some kind of Freudian combination of “probably profitable”?

    The aviation industry has clearly skewed more towards efficiency. They want the most seats possible for the lowest weight and cost and this has cost the shrunk down versions. The 787-8, 787-3, A330-200, A330-800, A350-800 and others all look to be victims of this. Airlines don’t want too much plane for the wrong price. It’s arguable that Airbus made a critical error with the design of the A380-800 and should have gone all out with e A380-900 from the getgo. Stretched 777-10x and A350-2000 have a place in the market too imo.

    Clearly Airbus’ decision to listen to the airlines on the A321 NEO has paid off. Airlines want the LR version. It is basically the MOM plane they’re looking for. The fuel burn savings of the A320/1 NEO are phenomenal and justify their purchase over A320 CEO. The LR version is already off to a great start and with EIS, they will have a proven plane with great economics and engine options way ahead of Boeing. If airlines are worried about thrust, they can get the PW1135 version with 35000 lb’s of thrust which is surely more than anything LEAP can do. And at 81′ fan diameter, there might be more room to max it out further. This is the story of Fanborough and market trends in general. The narrowbody’s are making more money for Boeing and Airbus at this time. Is cheap oil making these planes more economical? Probably, and it certainly justifies the A321 NEO LR all the more, but it doesn’t change the fact that Airbus seem to have really caught Boeing napping with this. ~1,300 more narrowbody orders is a lot of money . Not only will Boeing imo, not have anything to match the A321 NEO LR with a 787-10 MAX, they would be wasting more time and money. I still believe they need to focus their attention on a 757-300 replacement, and it shouldn’t be “too much plane”. It needs to be reasonably cheap to manufacture, they need to get PW on board with it. A re-winged, re-engined 757-300 sized narrowbody plane is what needs to happen. Narrowbody is kicking widebody’s ass at the moment and I think that trend is going to continue into the next decade. This is just the beginning. Many airlines are mulling over the A321 NEO LR. It opens up nice lightweight, lucrative transatlantic trips, much like Air Canada already utilizes smaller Airbus’ with Halifax London etc. Phillippines Airlines seems to want them, Air Asia will surely take some in the end with conversions, and many more are actively mulling it. Boeing need to cut their losses here and make a 797 (757 NEO type plane asap and stop sitting on it). The A321 NEO LR effectively stole the show. A lot of emerging markets are going to get this plane. Did the 757 not sell well? Did I miss something? Why would Bowing not replace this plane when they made a clear decision to position the 787 out of the reach of even of the 767? Madness. It’s a no-brainer for me and the 757 is the plane to base it on.

    • The gist of the presenation is mostly valid. I disagree womeahtg on the MOM, its more 757 area its taking over and even that with limitations.

      That said, cheap oil does not make it more efficiency. Cheap oil drops the percentage of what fuel cost an airlines and puts other factors up hither in relationship. Older aircraft become more competitive.

      Higher fares may allow them to buy newer aircraft and loo0k ahead to more costly oil, but that’s a different aspect.

      Another player is the low cost of borrowing.

      Its a complex dynamic at work with balances of trade offs.

      • One airlien that is going to be an interesting baromet is AK Airlines. They some very sweet comimenten on the A321. If they go that route (pun) then Boeing is sunk.

        If Boeing does not launch the -10 now, they are sunk as they will loose most of the possible purchases that want to retain the 737 commonality (as much as possible, -10 will be different for sure0

        757 did sell, but it was not a cheap aircraft (at the time) very complex build (no idea why, you would think they would know better) and it was in the days of low cost fuel so the hot engines could be used at a low cost.

        Great aircraft, it will be with us forever as a freighter.

        • TransWorld: 757 was a low-volume aircraft that was essentially hand built. While Boeing automated and streamlined the high volume production 737 (with a great deal of pain along the way), the 757 line was not similarly upgraded. By the time 2001 came around and 9/11 happened, it was costing Boeing more to build the 757 than it was selling it for.

          • Hmmm…that’s interesting to know about. I always wondered why the 737 seemed so much cheaper to produce.


          • Thanks Scott, all to often you see the surface statement but not the supporting details.

            Av Week has gotten really bad about that.

          • That explains a lot. So 9/11 got in the way, and Boeing didn’t have an efficient mass production manufacturing process for the 757. This would seem to make the idea of a new MOM aircraft costlier than it otherwise could be.

          • “This would seem to make the idea of a new MOM aircraft costlier than it otherwise could be.”

            The MOM is an expensive idea that could bring Boeing down. The market is relatively big but the aircraft would be a flop. For it would be an ideal aircraft, and that’s the problem. It is an ideal that cannot be actualized because the aircraft that would satisfy this requirement would be too small to be an efficient twin-aisle and too large to be an efficient single-aisle. And it would also be more expensive to make than the NSA. Unless Boeing comes to its senses and combines the two into a single six-abreast design.

    • “This [787-8]is a loss-making airplane, with significantly different design and production compared with the profitably 787-9/10.”

      Profitably? Is that some kind of Freudian combination of “probably profitable”?

      That should have been “profitable.” Microsoft spell checker obviously saw “profitably” as correctly spelled but its grammar feature really sucks.

  7. I think the A321LR is not the MoM spec airlines are looking for.

    There a serious payload range restriction & I foresee many fuelstops TATL during winterperiods.

    Also the cost per unit would be far better with 4-5 meters to use.

    But it’s affordable, compatible, available and there’s no choice. That helps.

    • Very affordable. And probably much cheaper to make than the 757 was.
      In case more performance is really needed and not only “nice to have” I am sure it would pose no big problem for Airbus to develop a pair of carbon wings. But of course it would increase the price of this plane significantly.

      • And what benefit would there be in Carbon Wings?

        I mean, it seems like all the Carbon Fiber Aircraft programs I see that are saving weight also use megaloads of titanium. I swear , except for a few things, I’ve not been convinced that Carbon Fiber adds much value to an aircraft.

        • You need to look at BBD and the C Series

          It allowed them to build an amazingly efficient wing. You just can’t do some of that out of metal.

          You do have to figure out how to industrialize the process to keep costs down.

          • Well…show me a similar sized plane built out of Aluminum so I can compare. Otherwise, the weight efficiency of mass CFRP usage on a plane remains unproven to me.

          • Get the costs down ?. You get some one else to pay to build and fit out your factory like they did in Northern Ireland

          • @Jimmy: Why do you think Boeing makes the effort to develop a carbon wing for the 777? For prestige? You can easily compare the two planes yourself.
            CFRP is about 30% lighter and twice as strong as aluminum. But you also get a much cleaner surface. A place with carbon wings is lighter and has less drag, so performance is significantly improved in all aspects. The only downside is cost, as material and production are much more expensive.

    • I also doubt the A321 doing TATL flights without having fuel stops quite a few times. The 757 could do 5000 miles, I have flown on 757’s to BRU, AMS, LIS and never a fuel stop.
      Saying the A321 is a TATL plane is one thing, to do so day in and day out with a full load is another.
      A MOM would have to have the same range as a 757 to be truly versatile. Also I doubt the A321 having the same runway performance needed for hot and high airports. Its good for transcon flights but just as some are saying the 737 has reached its limit, ditto for the A320 series.

      • Obviously the world must be flat as a pancake 🙂

        Even people with a thing for skepticism should eventually accept that the presented payload range diagrams that show a range and payload advantage versus the 757 is not a mirage. ( while for quite some time the “upgroath” has been much more efficient anyway. capability and efficiency are two different things. Often overlooked. “Range, Range, Range! Hooray!” ? But can you pay for the fuel bill :-?)
        With projected engine improvements the A320 family
        will grow range even further. The efficiency wise lopsided MAX engine will obviously lag in that respect.

        “TATL: I have flown on 757’s to BRU, AMS, LIS and never a fuel stop.”

        What did happen on the way back ;-?

          • The A321 takes a slice of the 757 market, it does not replace it entirely and it has its limitations.

            TransCon US and various Europe and Asia markets it can and does do well with full pax.

            Other routes, it has to leave pax behind (or fuel stops, gasp). That requires a balance of fare and fuel cost (better now, latter maybe not so much)

            In order to be a 757, it would have to get a whole new wing.

            Certinaly possible, but also a new engine (harder) and then you have a true MOM, which Boeing desing would probably be far superior to.

            So it goes.

            To quote the move, A Plane Too Far in the case of the 737 (well two) and it can happen to the A320 series as well.

  8. The MAX 10 has to better the A321. First model, longer range than the A321 LR and short field performance, a 4200nm MAX 9 on stilts.

    Second model more capacity with two rows longer than the A321, the domestic 757 replacement for 200 mixed class, which is a big market.

    Four doors would be nice with an L2 boarding option.

    • I doubt it can be, its far exceeded its limit already, its going to cost enough, match it as best they can only.

      For the most part the A321 does match the 757 on domestic.

      For longer range stuff it sacrifices people carrying, it too has its limitations that only a new wing would overcome.

    • The MAX 10 most likley will get a new efficient wing, the fuselage has a few inches smaller diameter reducing drag and mass, it will be 2-3 rows longer than the A321 and hence once you stuffed all pax in and hand loaded all their bags it will be cheaper and more cost efficient than the A321LR. The Airbus will be more comfortable but Boeing will beat them on cost, cruising speed, altitude and range. (higher, faster, further) thanks to the new wing and smaller diameter fuselage. Most likley this will force Airbus to design the A322 with a new modern wing. The A320 was develloped right after the Mirage 2000, hence it can be improved alot with todays technology.

  9. Wouldn’t Boeing be better off to build a complete new family for the single aisle that is both the basis for a 737 replacement AND the NMA? I was thinking that a “building kit” for airliners should make the new aircraft much more efficient.

    So I was thinking to have a new fuselage that is a little bit wider (as the MC-21) to accommodate a wider aisle for faster turnaround times. The fuselage should be available in three to maybe even four different lengths (180/230/280 Pax). Add to this two wings. One that is ideal for short flights (I’d assume <1,500km) while the other wing is for long flights. With engines that have a large power range the whole thing would round off the kit.

    Airlines could then "build" themselves the aircraft they precisely need. Small wings but big fuselage for short but high volume routes. Either small engines if the airline is based at sea level and cold weather, or more powerful for hot and high environments. Get big wings and a smaller fuselage for long, but thin routes, etc.

    If they all have the same cockpit/type rating and ideally as much in common on the MX side to ensure the costs don't go up there. I'd believe that would be a clear distinction from Airbus. Too bad that the time window for that is not right, as they first need to amortize the development costs for the 737MAX…

    • Yes! This is the aircraft family Boeing should (could?) have launched in 2010-2011 while perhaps making modest updates to the NG to keep it competetive until a 2017-2022 EIS of the whole new family. Its too late now, unfortunately, and they are stuck with the max family until new technology makes a new single aisle with a great enough efficiency gain to justify its cost possible.

      Whether a new twin aisle MOM will ever work out cost wise remains to be seen. New airplanes are great fun for us fans but huge risks for OEMs.

      • Good idea but VW are having trouble implementing it with their cars. Cars are okay but the building costs reductions didn’t materialise.

        • That and violating emissions laws kind of sets you back a bit!

          Boeing seems to think the small wide body is the MOM, probably not doable for single aisle shorter range.

          Good idea but making it happen is likely impossible. Leeham feels Boeing can’t do it anyway.

          Give up the wide body, opens things up but also closes some things down.

      • This again is what they should have done in 2011 or so. BTW 168″ is 14′-0″ which would leave 13′-2″ or so inside which is 19″ more than 737. If they kept the 737 seat/armrest size they could also make it a 2-2-2 twin aisle for fast turnaround, NO middle seats, 4 aisle seats and 2 window seats. Truly a different experience than any 3-3 aircraft; a real passenger pleaser I would think. Overhead storage probably ok given larger diameter fuse.

        I suspect its too late for this now, have to wait for new generation of fuel saving tech before new clean sheet design is launched, but maybe….

      • Well well, great minds think alike.

        Although I’m not an engineer I do believe this concept could make a very efficient aircraft as it can be tailored for specific missions.

        Many missions are way below 1,000 km and here a lighter and smaller aircraft should have quite an advantage over the existing A320/737, no?

  10. Considering that Boeing has started delaying payments to its suppliers and just reported its first loss in 7 years, I doubt they are really in a position to launch anything ambitious like a 737-10. In addition to the delayed supplier payments and reported loss, Boeing is also struggling with the Tanker Program and for sure must have a lot to contend with developing the 777x. Last but not least, there is the 787 program: that wonderful gift that keeps on giving (or, is it “taking”?…whatever).

    • Precisely why Boeing will do it. Even if my above mentioned worries come true it will be cheaper than anything new, and convincing Boeing’s board to do new at anytime is a problem, leave alone now.

      They don’t have much choice, Airbus are winning the up-scaling, ie future, market easily, not to mention that the A321 must be punching well above it’s weight in the free cash flow stakes.

      • Funny how they can buy shares of stock back but still post a loss!

        • “Funny how they can buy shares of stock back but still post a loss!”

          Agreed. That’s some amazing use of money.

          • Thats because its a ‘paper loss’. The free cash is what counts and thats what the share buybacks are paid with, plus some extra borrowing

          • Paper losses are tax losses and guess who pays?

            The US tax payer subsidizing Boeing (more so now that ever before)

    • Boeing “stretching” suppliers – in effect stealing their hard earned cash – is a ploy reminiscent of what venture capitalists do with marginal, cash strapped operations they take over. The motto is “a dollar of payables is equivalent to a dollar of equity!” In this case of course, we will use the cash to buy back shares!
      As a long term approach it irremediably alienates critical risk partners, who are also doing business with Airbus, which will be smart enough to pay them on time. In these days of production ramp up, which customer will get the extra effort?

      • Doesn’t seem to have worked that way so far. Airbus are learning their own lesson. I don’t if this is what happened, but quite often it’s a bad idea to take the lowest quote as there is always someone who promises more than they can deliver.

  11. 2-2-2 is still a better solution for 200 seats. I don’t want to be on a 175 seat 737-800 single aisle, let alone a 739, A321, or anything bigger.

    • Heck I don’t want to be in an Alaska Airlines, Delta etc 165 seat 737 either.

      No one asked me and its the only ride to Seattle.

    • I don’t think a 2-2-2 narrow body will be built. It can never be as fuel efficient as a 3-3 single aisle. More weight, more drag and while it would be great for passengers, airlines are not concerned about passengers. Over the years seat pitch is shrinking, fees for everything that years ago were free. Also gutting the frequent flyer programs is also evidence that the customer is on the bottom of the list of priorities for the carriers.

  12. Nowadays, low mood and uncertainty are in the air. With low fuel price, terrorism, Brexit and the Chinese economy among other concerns, decision-makers are probably more prone to take conservative choices (and the A321 is one good example). It’s really bad luck for Boeing and on the other hand for the A380. With the 737-10 / MoM conunmdrum, the 787 deferred costs, the 777 classic end of life and the 747 swansong, dark clouds will stay above Seattle for a few years.

    • “Nowadays, low mood and uncertainty are in the air. With low fuel price, terrorism, Brexit and the Chinese economy among other concerns…”

      Before we have time to fully emerge from the Great Recession of 2008 we will likely have entered the World Recession of 2018. It is definitely not a good timing for Boeing who is about to enter a Corporate Recession of its own. And when you put the two together (WR+CR) you may find yourself in dire straits for an extended period of time. I am afraid that is what is unfolding right now at Boeing, and this undesirable situation could indeed bring very dark clouds over Seattle and strong winds in downtown Chicago.

    • Birdy:

      You are thinking too much like Trump, be optimistic like the Demos! (all said in jest)

  13. LNC: “The airlines that operate Boeing 757s and 767s across the Atlantic or on other mid-range routes appear more interested in a 220-260 passenger, 4,500nm-5,000nm airplane than the oft-talked about 757 replacement. – The future of the NMA remains, at this point, too uncertain to predict. LNC believes Boeing must do the airplane.”

    Personally, I believe Boeing cannot do this airplane. The reason being that it is an imaginary airplane. Some sort of Platonic ideal that bares no Aristotelian fondation in reality. For this apparently popular segment is too big for a single-aisle and too small for a twin-aisle. Any manufacturer who wants to enter this twilight zone is doomed to failure. To engineer this airplane would be like attempting to square the circle. And like for mathematics the laws of physics cannot be broken. I don’t mean it’s impossible to make, but I believe it would be nearly impossible to optimize such a small widebody aircraft. Most airlines would either want to acquire a widebody that can carry more passengers or a narrowbody that can carry less. That is why I believe the NMA would quickly become a niche aircraft reserved for airlines who would badly need this set of very specific capabilities. Even if there appears to be a substantial market for it the business case remains feeble. I wouldn’t be surprised if the board turns it down. But if they were to approve it the consequences might be catastrophic for Boeing

    Even if I was wrong about the NMA, the question is this: can Boeing launch such a big undertaking at a time when the company is at a crossroad in the narrowbody sector and may need to replace the 737 sooner than they would like? And can Boeing launch the NMA before the 787 becomes substantially cash-flow positive? And can Boeing launch the NMA before an appreciable number of 777X will have been delivered to their customers? The answer is no on all accounts.

  14. The 737-10 is a pathetic effort to save the 737’s honour. Boeing reminds me of the Soviet Union in its last days when it was trying to save communism and it’s own empire. It happened literally overnight when people suddenly and spontaneously crossed The Wall without any resistance whatsoever. For when the fruit is ripe it falls off the tree on its own. In a similar fashion, when the 737’s time will be over sales will stop abruptly and there is nothing the 737-10 will be able to do about this, except to precipitate it. Spending 2B on the MAX plus another 2B on the -10 amounts to 4B. This could have been a nice downpayment for a clean-sheet design…

    • Hmm, me thinks Boeing care only about money not honor.

      I would equate it to a Wildcat Fighter. No match for the Zero, but handled right it could do the job.

      Sad to be here but its the best they can do with what they currently have.

      They do have a few production slots to fill before they can shut down.

        • The side with the better supply lines.
          Think about the outcome against an adversary with comparable or better supply lines applying all that Wunderwaffen tech with a vengeance.
          ( Not that I would promote a “Man in the High Castle” outcome.)

          Though: Nice little SF story around were the defeated military leader has to share a room in POW Camp with their super weapon designer, who was essential in their defeat, pleading that this comprised excessive cruelty.

      • I wonder what they offered U-turn? It must be something similar to the UA deal. SW’s deferrals seem to have come with little notice.

  15. The expense and downsides are complicated new gear, overwing slides, can it be shipped by rail, different engines? Could get expensive. Then you end up with no container capability, a cramped and noisy flight deck, and narrow 17″ seats from yesteryear.

    On the plus side is crew commonality for 737 operators. Does the economic gain from crew commonality offset all the negative costs? I’m giving this project low odds.

    • All you need is the New Cabin Stretcher from Popeele!

      Guaranteed to give you 1/4 more inch per fuselage.

      And they said it could not be done.

      • Nope, its guaranteed, Boeing is loosing far too many customers.

        On the other hand the MOM is open

    • Shipping 757 size fuselage is no problem. Photos from the time show a front and rear fuselage section being joined to a small combined wing- fuselage section. Which means the two ends were railed from Wichita along with the 737 full length fuselages.

      “Boeing 757 workers stand next to the last Boeing 757 fuselage to roll off the assembly line in the Boeing Wichita plant …”

      • So doable. Is there space at Renton for this to happen or would the assembly happen in the 747 bays of Everett? Again, probably adding to the cost of production.

        • Probably alongside 767 production or in the current 747 line. Not exactly adding to cost of production as the process is different to 737 and it has to be built somewhere- why not existing buildings

  16. Made me think, if Boeing bites the bullit and does a -10 good, expensive, they can give it more range than the A321LR. The 737 wing carries more fuel to start with. That would be one, but real important advantage. The A321LR 4000NM range is on the low side.
    4500NM opens up many, many more TATL citypairs. Compensating some of disadvantages.

  17. You lot really need to calm down! Boeings strategic blunder was actually the result of technical over ambition. When the 787 was first thought of, the plan was for a revolution that was not only very advanced but also cheaper to build and would take no time at all to develop. With this successfully achieved they were then going to take the seemingly simple task of applying this technology and learnings to a narrowbody.When this plan failed the next plan was to try and hang on with the ng until they could launch a new technology narrowbody. Don’t accuse Boeing of a lack of ambition, in some ways the reverse is true. Looking back the big mistake was the development holiday taken after the 777.This is why I think big companies should never be too innovative, their job is to follow on with something better using thier industrial and financial strength to kill upstarts like BBD

    • I agree that Boeing should use the lessons learnt to progress, but it looks like they got scared out of anything clean sheet until the current generation of board members pass on from old age. Date unknown.

      Otherwise 777-X would have been a clean sheet 15 inches wider, 737-MAX could have been an NSA etc.

      787’s problems wasn’t over-ambition, it was MD controlled boards refusal to invest in anything to compete with the A330 using company money. That forced Mulally to invent risk sharing and control devolution to partners in order to come up with a dollar sum that the board would go for.

      The subsequent contractor mess is history, compounded by Boeing’s inexperience in contractor management and diversification of work locations, which is an art in itself, just ask Airbus, who historically have done a lot more of it than Boeing, how easily it can go wrong, mistakes are just a CAD update away.

      • Timing and gone wrong strategy meant Boeing had no choice but to go for the Max. I don’t think that it was purely an investment decision. It’s interesting to speculate about what would have happened had Boeing stuck with the ng while they developed a totally new model as AB could have only produced a limited number of neo’s regardless of the demand.I agree airliner strategy is incredibly difficult because you are trying to look 20+years into the future, hardly anyone gets it totally right.

        • Boeing have talked up a lot of ideas in the last few years, presumably testing the market but I am not sure how committed they were to NSA, or if it was just an idea. Above post on dithering in decision making is certainly true. As you correctly note by the time the AA decision to buy NEO came along they had no choice.

      • Martin A has it spot on! He must have been reading my posts (grin)

    • “When the 787 was first thought of, the plan was for a revolution that was not only very advanced but also cheaper to build and would take no time at all to develop.”

      Which was nothing more than a PR guys wet dream to woe the customers. That part worked rather well.

      On the engineering side it was never achievable.
      ( They now seem to have the tech under control but the production process is still vastly more complex and expensive .. and will stay that way.)

      I sometimes wonder if this was actually understood.
      With the GFC coming up as a tameable “must happen”: Put Airbus on dry land orderwise and let it founder in the downturn while having a full order book to oneself and more time due to reduced immediate demand to produce a reasonable subset of the SuperPlane.

      • Ups, replace tamable by time-able.
        There was no way out of that bubble but an implosion. That implosion was allowed to happen after most of the odious equity had been moved offshore and replaced with hard valuta in return. Then “Poof” .

        • You need to be picking stocks and in fact going down to the newsagent to buy a lottery ticket for me!

  18. A new MOM plane will need new engines, which somebody needs to develop at a cost.

    Then they need to compete with the A321LR at 220 seats. And be able to stretch a couple of times to 280 passengers.

    I see the Russians developing the engine and the Chinese the 2+2+2 airplane.

    Such plane does not make sense for Boeing and Airbus, makes all the sense for the Russians (technology) and the Chinese (capital and assembly).

    • Lets see, Russian can’t get out of its own way, they are now together in a much up of a shared wide body design.

      The Chinese are running a iron rice bowl aircraft operation that has lots of bucks but is beyond inefficient. They can’t get their first one certified and the 2nd one is older tech knock off.

      Airplanes are not VCRs (DVDs now, sorry) . You can’t come out with a new variant every 3 months fixing the problems of the previous 3 months.

      The industry in China that is doing well is directed by and or owned by foreign partners who impose quality control on private or wholly owned enterprise.

      Not happening in Russia or China with the existing setup.

      • I’d like you to read up on the history of “Made in Germany” labeling.
        Why it was introduced by the british,
        what in developed to
        and maybe recently devolved into too.

      • Russia might have already the skills but politics and lack of business mind is hampering their chances.

        I’d be much more worried at Boeing and Airbus about the Chinese. They are on a steep learning curve. While their current products are still behind I’m convinced in latest two generations they will be on a level with the west. They have thousands of bright young people educated in the west and now put that to knowledge to good use.

        In ten to fifteen years those aircraft will give Airbus and Boeing something to chew on…

      • The Chinese are at exactly the same place where Airbus was when they launched the A300 in 1969.

        The A300 was the world’s first twin-engined widebody airliner and the first product of Airbus Industrie. The fact that the then A300 is the same as the MOM totay, that is another example of history repeating itself.

        2,222+ deliveries and a lot of orders waiting to be delivered is nothing to be dismissive of what an ambitious, rich manufacturer can do.

        Not to mention that with the A300, the Europeans had to depend on the Americans for engines.

        Sorry, just cannot resist stating the similarities.

        • “With the A300, the Europeans had to depend on the Americans for engines.”

          That is because the British did not believe in Airbus and Rolls-Royce did not want to invest in such a risky enterprise. Instead of going with Airbus they went with Lockheed. Not long after the two of them filed for bankruptcy. And thanks to the capitalist credo of privatizing profits and socializing losses, both were rescued by their respective government. This is what we refer to as lemon socialism. 🙁

  19. @Matthias

    Once a fuselage has been developed and certified most aircraft manufacturers will try to base all subsequent models and variants on that same fuselage. But for various technical reasons Boeing could not retain the 737 fuselage to develop the 757. Yet, the latter is still a six-abreast, like the 737 is and always was. That was Boeing’s first move towards un-standardizing its line of products. There has been little continuity in Boeing’s portfolio ever since. Actually the only obvious commonality between any two Boeing product is that awful steam-driven control column that we invariably find in any Boeing aircraft since 1916, including the 787. Whereas on the other side of the Atlantic we find one seamless line of products called Airbus. The latter’s name has long been associated with modernity while the former’s name is now associated with antiquity.

    Now that I have got this out of my chest, let’s get back to this concept of a single six-abreast fuselage. Airbus has done it with the A320. They stumbled initially by stretching the fuselage in the wrong direction and we end-up with one of the most stupid design I have ever seen: the A318. And also with the A319, which gave the 100-150 segment its bad reputation. But they had started on the wrong foot with the A320, which was already too short. Airbus’ inferiority complex towards Boeing shines here. Boeing understood this and that is why they came up with the formidable 737-800 Next Generation. Airbus finally saw the light with the extraordinary A321, an airplane that was slightly ahead of its time. Airlines were not quite ready for such a big six-abreast. But when they realized they were in a fast growing market they understood that they could afford to buy an aircraft that is slightly too big because they knew that they would eventually fill it. And all the money is in those extra seats.

    What all this means is that the A320.5 should be the entry model, like the 737-8 is for Boeing. But on the other end it would not be possible to stretch the A321 fuselage much further. There is a limit that happens to be at the lower end of the ideal MOM aircraft. But I do believe it would be possible with today’s technology to design a long-range wing along with a medium-range wing, both adapted to the same fuselage, which would come in various lengths, from the A320.5 all the way to a Super A321. The main advantages of this concept are flexibility and commonality. What we would have here is a single aircraft model with multiple variants that can accomplish very different missions. But it could only work if it were built into the the basic design from the start. It’s a wide encompassing concept that needs to be engineered with the entire six-abreast potential in mind. That is something Boeing could not have done when they designed the 757, even though they had better engineers and a better management at the time. The reason is that they didn’t have the technology, and the 737 was in the way. Today with a clean-sheet design the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, nowadays at Boeing the next quarter IS the limit.

    • “the A318. ”
      was an afterthought filler item after the small Airbus AE316/317 coop with AVIC and Alenia foundered.

      IMU the 222″ A300 fuselage was a very carefully optimised cross section that allowed standard ULDs under a slightly raised main floor (in relation to other WB craft of the time )
      and very acceptable seating for 8 across topped by a resonably efficient crown layout. Overall seemingly an optimax design.

      • IMU the 222″ A300 fuselage was a very carefully optimised cross section that allowed standard ULDs under a slightly raised main floor (in relation to other WB craft of the time) and very acceptable seating for 8 across topped by a resonably efficient crown layout. Overall seemingly an optimax design.

        That’s why I believe that a new Airbus WB MOM re-using the basic A300 fuselage architecture would work well for fully optimised, short range WBs; the largest of which could seat as many as 450 passengers (i.e. AirAsia-type LCC, nine abreast configuration and Ilyushin Il-86 type airstairs and lavatories contained in the cargo hold).

    • @Normand Hamel

      The first derivative of the A320 was the Airbus A321 and not the A319.

      As for putting a new, larger wing on a significantly stretched A321, do you realise that the 57 metre long DC-8-63/73 had a wing with a wing area of 272 m2; or about twice as big as the wing on the 12.5 metre shorter A321 (i.e. wing area: 128 m2). I see no reason, whatsoever, that Airbus couldn’t develop a larger A321-derivative using a 757-sized wing (i.e. wing area: 185 m2).

      Also, with the A300, Airbus proved that over time, one could develop 3 distinctly different wings for one common fuselage (NB: A340-500/-600 wing was a modified A333/343 wing). It seems to have worked rather well, even though the A310 and A330/A340 wings were not built into the the basic design from the start.

      • “The first derivative of the A320 was the Airbus A321 and not the A319.”

        Makes no difference. The A318 was a bad airplane and the only reason the A319 was relatively successful is because there was nothing else on the market, except for the 737-700; and the two of them gave the 100-150 segment its undeserved reputation. We were told that nobody wanted a 100-150 seat aircraft when actually nobody wanted the A319 anymore, nor the 737-700; i.e., inefficient six-abreast that are out of their comfort zone. Incidentally, this trend started to unfold when the C Series was on the drawing board.

        “I see no reason, whatsoever, that Airbus couldn’t develop a larger A321-derivative using a 757-sized wing.”

        You have a point. I need to meditate on this a little further. But I believe you are actually giving credence to my view of the six-abreast potential. I suspect we are in full agreement over this issue, but you haven’t mentioned this possibility. Please let me know what you think of my proposal as I have developed it in this forum ever since the MOM was on the table. I take your silence as some sort of approval. Perhaps you were afraid that Boeing would pick-up on this idea. But you needed not to worry, for they never read LNC. 🙂

        • @Normand

          I do agree with most of what you’re saying. As I indicated, IMJ there aren’t many technical show-stoppers for a re-winged, “super stretched”, 5000 nm capable A321 derivative that would equal the DC-8 “Super Sixties” in overall length. With two airbridges available for passenger disembarkation and boarding, using both the L1 and L2 doors, aircraft turnaround times should be similar to that of the A321, as you’d essentially have the capacity of an A321 aft of the L2 door.

          However, I see no point in putting a 50 percent bigger wing on an A320.5 (i.e. 6-7 frames shorter than the A321; 6-7 frames longer than the A320). A next generation A320-800X, A320.5-800 (i.e. A322-800) and A321-800 family (i.e. A32X Mk 2) should IMJ be re-winged with an all new composite wing, using RR SuperFan-type engines. A significant reduction in MTOW should thus be doable. The design range shouldn’t exceed 3500 nm — vs. 5000 nm for the larger super stretched derivatives (e.g. A323-800, A324-800 and A325-800). One option would be to develop a forward swept laminar wing* for an A32X Mk2. Using a configuration with rear mounted engines, one could even envisage versions as short as the A318 being viable due to, among other things, a significant weight reduction over that of the A318 and the fact that the entire lower hold would be located forward of the wing box.



        • A319 used to be sold in equal numbers to the A320.
          IMU you judging the 737-700 and A319 as failures from the get go is wrong.

          In a class airlines buy the biggest plane available _that has sufficient range_. Range changes over time due to engine upgrades and other optimizations resulting in upgauged purchases.
          The smaller types fall into disuse.

          Like the A332 the A319 was a perfect solution for a demand window and for a limited time. As a result both sold rather well.
          Today airlines buy A321 and A333/339. ( or A350.)

  20. Would, for the sake of argument, 50% of the unfulfilled available market, by the time the 737-10 entered service make such a project viable?
    Unlikely to offer cross crew qualification with the rest of the 737 family, it could be a real orphan! With fly by “wires” 60’s technology all the computer power in the world won;t make this baby compatible with the smaller versions.

    • No one thinks its going to be pretty, at best hold the line for current Boeing 737 owners.

      Huge failure to get themselves in that position.

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