Airbus, Boeing agree on NMA–for now

One concept of the middle of the market airplane.

One concept of the middle of the market airplane.

Oct. 12, 2016, © Leeham Co.: It’s rare when Airbus and Boeing agree on product strategy, but officials of the two companies seemed in almost perfect alignment in separate interviews by LNC last week.

Barry Eccleston, president of Airbus Americas, and Mike Sinnett, VP of Product Strategy for Boeing, each said there is no consensus yet among customers for the Middle of the Market airplane (MOMA), also known as the New Mid-range Airplane (NMA) at Boeing.

Eccleston was interviewed on the sidelines of the annual Seattle conference organized by the British American Business Council Pacific Northwest. Sinnett was interviewed on the sidelines of the annual Governor’s Conference organized by the Aerospace Futures Alliance, a lobbying group in Washington State.

The product gap

Boeing arguably faces a more critical position in its product line than Airbus. The 737-900ER/9 represents less than 10% of 737 sales and orders compare poorly against the competing Airbus A321ceo/neo.

Some analysts believe the Boeing 787-8 will go away by about 2020 or 2021 and the MOM aircraft would be a replacement for the 788 as well as the remaining Boeing 767s. Boeing is studying a stretched 737-9 into a MAX 10 to boost 737 sales and compete with the A321’s greater capacity.

Officials said repeatedly they favor selling the 787-9/10 over the 787-8, but deny they will discontinue the 788. Still, sales and delivery data appear to support the thesis that the 787-8 won’t have a future beyond 2020.

Thus, Boeing’s product gap clearly begins with the 737-9 and ends with the 787-9.

Airbus claims the A321neo and its LR long range version cover the lower end of the MOM sector and the A330-200/800 fills the upper end.

Aligned on MOMA/NMA

The NMA seems to be evolving into a 4,000nm-5,000nm airplane in 2-3-2 coach 767

Mike Sinnett, VP Product Development, Boeing. Photo via Google images.

Mike Sinnett, VP Product Development, Boeing. Photo via Google images.

replacement. Or so it appears.

But Eccleston and Sinnett, in the separate interviews, say this isn’t so, yet.

“If your objective is to replace a 767, there is no single point the airlines are converging on,” Eccleston said. “Is it 4,000 miles? Is it 5,000 miles? Is it single aisle or twin aisle? If you talk to Airline A in the US, he wants a single aisle. He wants twin aisle economics but in a single aisle airplane. If you talk to Airline B, he wants a twin-aisle because he wants to go 5,000 miles and he wants a versatile airplane. If you talk to Airline C, ‘I just want the lowest cost, whatever that is.’

Airbus Americas president Barry Eccleston. Photo via Google images.

Airbus Americas president Barry Eccleston. Photo via Google images.

“There is no convergence in the airlines I am talking to. I think the same is [true] in Europe as well. There is no convergence that says ‘this’ is truly the Middle of the Market spec.”

“I would say we’re studying a market space as opposed to replacing a specific airplane,” Sinnett said in his interview. “There are aspects of the market space that look like missions that some 767s have done and there are some aspects of that market space that 757s have done.

“Technologies and configurations allow us to create a configuration that can do some of each of those missions. The hard part will be defining specifically with our customers where the market is and which of all the different needs is most important so we know where to optimize,” Sinnett said.

“I wouldn’t think of it as a 757 replacement or a 767 replacement. It’s really more of a study about that market space and trying to figure out what configuration best meets the market requirements. There are different ways to do it and we’re still in the process of talking to our customers and figure out what they need.

“Then, we have to figure out is that something that hunts.

“We haven ‘t said specifically it’s going to be this configuration or that,” said Sinnett.

Airbus likes what it has

While Boeing continues to evaluate what an NMA should be, Eccleston says Airbus is positioned just fine.

“We’re perfectly happy doing what we’re doing right now. The 321LR is finding a lot of market success and a lot of market interest. If you want to replace a 757, the 321LR does exactly the same job. It has the same range and the same number of passengers, but you’re doing it 30% cheaper,” he said.

(Some US airlines disagree, pointing out that in their configuration, the A321LR carriers slightly fewer passengers than the 757.)

“In that circumstance, we’re very happy with the success the 321LR is achieving. There is still a lot more we can do with the single-aisle airplane,” Eccleston said.

If there is one thing the industry has taught us in the last several years, it’s a really good idea to take an existing platform and improve it rather than do a clean sheet airplane.

Although Airbus claims the A330-200/800, and the A330-200 light gross weight Regional version, cover the upper end of the MOM sector, there have only been 10 sales of the -800 since it was launched. A330-200 standard sales have dried up as airlines move to the larger A330-300. The A330-200R sold about 150 two China and to a European carrier, but that’s it.

“I’m not the least bit worried about that because I know what the airlines are talking to us about,” Eccleston said. “When you start talking about a 767 replacement, certainly here in North America, people recognize the A330 is reliable, it’s fuel efficient and it’s cheaper than the 787 and oh, by the way, it has the same payload and range. It’s the closest thing the world has today to the 767 replacement.”

What about tomorrow?

If airlines like the A330 today, he obvious question is what about tomorrow?

“Suppose Boeing or we decide to make a new Middle of the Market airplane. If we could actually agree on what that is, it is probably going to need an engine that is 50,000 lbs thrust. Don’t tell me 45, because the airplane is only going to grow, it’s going to need more thrust. It’s going to need 50 on day one anyway and probably more than that to grow over the life of the program,” said Eccleston.

“How many proven 50,000 lb thrust turbo fan or unducted fan engines are there right now? Do you think there will be by 2025, given the engine business today?

“A 50,000 lb engine with a gear box in the middle of it is a lot of shaft horsepower and a lot of heat. That’s an engineering challenge of a magnitude beyond producing a 30,000 lb engine. I think 2025 is probably a little aggressive to me. Twenty 27 is probably still a little aggressive. Twenty 30 maybe, but by then maybe you have an unducted fan anyway.

“The point is, none of have an engine to build an airplane around even if you could figure out what the airplane is.”

737 MAX 10

Boeing is studying a stretch of the MAX 9 to support 737 sales and to counter the sales success of the A321neo, which is slightly larger than the MAX 9. Boeing continues to study various iterations and has been talking with customers for the better part of a year about this airplane.

One possibility is to use either the CFM LEAP-1A used on the Airbus A321neo or the LEAP-1C designed for the COMAC C919 in place of the 737’s LEAP-1B. The larger 1A or 1C requires taller landing gear and other changes.

The 1B probably needs more thrust, in the form of a thrust bump on take-off, but an iteration Boeing is looking at uses no thrust bump.

“We’re looking at a couple of things,” Sinnett told LNC. “We haven‘t arrived at a hard configuration yet because we’re still talking to customers. There are versions we can do that’s a stretch. There are versions we can do that don’t require a thrust bump. We’re trying to figure out where the sweet spot is. I think we’re pretty close. We’re not ready to talk about what that is yet. But there are a number of different options. We haven’t figured out if there is going to be a thrust bump or not.”

Eccleston’s view of what the MAX 10 should be is notable.

“If you had asked me back at Farnborough [Air Show], my personal guess as an industry observer is that the MAX 10 would take our LEAP engine with a larger fan and crank up and articulate the landing gear, stretch the airplane and call it the 10-and-a-half, or call it whatever you want to call it,” he said. “To me, that would make the only viable, affordable option that Boeing could have that might approach the 321neo and LR.

“To me, a simple stretch of the MAX 9 with the same engine, that engine is going to be awfully, awfully stretched. It’s already running pretty hot with that small fan. I don’t see that as being attractive to the airlines I’m talking to anyway, to make it a 757 replacement and put it on the Atlantic. I just don’t see it.”

Airbus is ready to respond

But if necessary, Eccleston said Airbus is ready to respond.

“We have a suite of improvements for the 320, and when the time comes, we’re ready to start bringing those in,” he said.

The market often talks about an “A322,” a slightly stretched A321 with a new wing and larger engines that truly becomes an unrestricted trans-Atlantic aircraft with greater capacity than the 757 in international configuration that includes lie-flat seats.

Airbus COO Customers John Leahy refers to an “A321 Plus,” without detailing what this will be.

Eccleston declined to offer details about the “suite” of options available to Airbus.

The industry may not have to wait long to see what direction will be taken. Observers expect Boeing to decide before the end of this year what the MAX 10 will be and the program will be launched.

Then Airbus can decide what it will do.

94 Comments on “Airbus, Boeing agree on NMA–for now

  1. Boeing really should start working on a new clean sheet single aisle family. With a MAX 10 they just spend a lot of money on a compromise. If Airbus then replies with a 322 they are not better off than now, but with a couple billion less on the bank.

  2. “The industry may not have to wait long to see what direction will be taken. Observers expect Boeing to decide before the end of this year what the MAX 10 will be and the program will be launched.
    Then Airbus can decide what it will do.”

    And that, I believe is the biggest problem that Boeing has to contend with. Whatever they plan to do can quickly and easily be one-upped by Airbus because they have a more capable base aircraft on which to build…

    Boeing should have bit the bullet and launched the NSA aircraft when they had the chance. I feel that the reward from a programme like that would have far outweighed the obvious risk involved. Right now, with Boeing, there are way too many uncertainties ahead of them.

  3. “I wouldn’t think of it as a 757 replacement or a 767 replacement. It’s really more of a study about that market space and trying to figure out what configuration best meets the market requirements.”

    Bu in reality thats what it will be. It will be more like either of those. Theres no in between there. Its NB or WB. That simple.

    • Actually there is, an elliptical cross section fuselage which would give twin aisles space with single aisle operating costs but of course it comes with it’s own set of challenges.

  4. “If there is one thing the industry has taught us in the last several years, it’s a really good idea to take an existing platform and improve it rather than do a clean sheet airplane.”

    That goes hand in hand with my experience that customers strongly invariably tend to express their wishes in ( known to them ) existing solutions.
    Usually they are incapable of abstracting the real objective out of this to present it standalone.

    • yes. Its the same with house designers. When they take their wish list and put it all together with the building code requirements, the future owners will say: Thats not what I want or thats too expensive or both.

      Remember airlines never would have gone to widebodys if it was only ‘what they want’

  5. If Boeing can do a 18 pax bigger 737-10 with improved wing, have trans continental range and sell it for 55-75 MUSD it will capture a good slice of the A321 market. Many runways are long and letting the 737-10 using it all will make those routes possible even with an original size but thrust bumped LEAP-1B30 as rotation angle will be more limited.

    • I seem to remember it is called bounded rationality or as I think it ‘lazy thinking’.

      Having said that I can’t see a space for a twin aisle aircraft below the A332. the simple fact is that the A332 can be sold for pennies given all capital and development costs are fully amortised.

      That leaves scope for a more capable NSA type thing, larger and longer ranged than the MAX 8 and that runs up against the A322 or A323 development, more length, more wing but essentially an A320 derivative at low cost.

  6. “Airbus, Boeing agree on NMA–for now”

    There’s one market force that decides, because they pay the guys quoted above, the factories, supply chain, all aircraft and all salaries & mortgages there are; the airlines.

    I think Boeing and Airbus are further down the road than they suggest. The importance of keeping the competitor in the dark is huge at this stage.

    “If ..then” ‘s from key airlines are kept behind closed doors.

    Besides the sketches I made in ’12 I have seen little clues from Airbus on family developments. http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/AirbusA320NEOfamilyconcepts.jpg

    Two brand new super efficient 35-40klbs engines are fighting for dominance too.

    • I agree, we have two super efficient engines coming on the market with substantial scope for refinement for years to come. It would be a madness to go beyond these in the MOM consideration for some period of time. What is currently available to power this mid segment?

      I think the MAX 10 issue will force some serious thinking as Boeing has effectively ceded the existing MOM market to Airbus at both top and bottom end. A new wing for the A321 must have been designed in outline and is sitting on the ‘to do’ list of Airbus but as in all good chess games you manoeuvre your opponent into the false move first of all. I would not like to be a Boeing strategist but they have pulled some excellent moves in the past.

      • Increasing thrust from 35.000 to 40,000 lbs of thrust should be doable with the current engine architecture of the PW1135G-JM engine. If needed, the core and fan could be scaled up. For example, a larger fan having a diameter increase of 6 inches, would have about a 15 percent larger frontal area in order to keep the same bypass flow and bypass ratio as the PW1135G-JM engine.

        40,000 lbs of thrust and a new wing having about the same wing area as that of the 757 wing, should allow for a MTOW of around 125 tonnes, which IMJ should be enough for both a larger 753-sized single aisle with true transatlantic capability (i.e. <4,500 nm range) and an optimised short ranged twin (i.e. <3500 nm range) — as descibed in my comment below: http://bit.ly/2e9KnTy

        • Correction

          which IMJ should be enough for both a larger 753-sized single aisle with true transatlantic capability (i.e. >4,500 nm range).

          • Trouble is that 40K GTF might be 5-7 years away, they have to get the current versions that are actually on wing for the A320 (30K) up and running before seeing how much the existing gearbox can handle. 40K suggest a fan boost as well. No one would want a 40K engine that just had half the life of the 32K one.

          • @dukeofurl

            The PW1135G-JM engine for the A321neo has a maximum engine thrust rating of 35,000 lbs of thrust. Increasing the maximum thrust rating by 15 percent should be IMJ doable with a slight scale up of the core and increasing the fan diameter from 81 inches to 87 inches.

          • I have a feeling this is going to be a case of natural progression. 2% PIPs already planned=a few more miles or a few more kgs. Next thing is more PIPs or a thrust bump, a few more miles/kgs. How close will the existing architecture be in 10 years time to genuine 4000+ miles?

            Airbus will sit and wait to see what Boeing do, and respond with something a bit different, because truth is the big two never compete exactly on anything, there are always differences in approach. Airbus has an advantage if the MOM is a single isle, they can develop the A321 cheaply to counter a Boeing challenge. That’s a big reason for Boeing to make their MOM a twin isle. There just might be space under theA330 for it, but it would need to be a lot cheaper than A330 and capable of being stretched into an A332 replacement. Can they do it for the price? Hard to say but they need something which Airbus doesn’t compete with to get their margin up and secure cash flow.

            All things considered I have to agree with Normand that they should really concentrate on replacing the B737, that’s a guaranteed market and the MAX is living on borrowed time.

  7. A market friendly 50K engine probably is not on any engine manufacturers horizon.
    The market between the A321neolr and the 767 is not that great.

    • Thats why I think it needs to be a narrowbody. To cover A321/22 up to about 757-300. Gives you a larger spectrum and covers that whole segment of customer that ultimately just want the cheapest plane and with no overlap against widebody to cannibalise the 787. Im glad to see it looks like Boeing will probably do a MAX-10 /10.5 in the meantime if they do anything. Its a smarter choice.

  8. Eccleston’s view of what the MAX 10 should be is notable.

    “If you had asked me back at Farnborough [Air Show], my personal guess as an industry observer is that the MAX 10 would take our LEAP engine with a larger fan and crank up and articulate the landing gear, stretch the airplane and call it the 10-and-a-half, or call it whatever you want to call it,” he said. “To me, that would make the only viable, affordable option that Boeing could have that might approach the 321neo and LR.

    “To me, a simple stretch of the MAX 9 with the same engine, that engine is going to be awfully, awfully stretched. It’s already running pretty hot with that small fan. I don’t see that as being attractive to the airlines I’m talking to anyway, to make it a 757 replacement and put it on the Atlantic. I just don’t see it.”

    I fully agree with that one. It would enable Boeing to push back a moonshot MoM 10 years. http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1341593

  9. The MAX 10 with the Leap 1B is the logical option for current 737 only operators. Commonality at low cost with 9 or 12 extra seats.

    Boeing can use the Leap 1A and GTF on a new platform. How much thrust can they get out of these? Maybe 40K. Same trick as the 777x, use it on a longer wing, 40m, and that translates into quite a bit of MTOW at short runway performance.

    Airbus frames the question in terms of transAtlantic. Is that the primary market where the A321 is pulling ahead? Boeing should look at building a new airplane in the 3000nm market with 10% to 30% more floor area than the A321. The next step for Southwest and a replacement for others with domestic 757 and 767s.

    For a more capable aircraft, wait until the 45 to 50K engines are developed to build a 4500nm to 5000nm aircraft.

    Use the same fuselage for both aircraft. For me, preferably a 14′-4″ outside diameter 2-2-2 tube, in various lengths from 46m to 58m.

    Airbus Jedi mind trick to deny the obvious will not work. There is a huge gap between the A321 and the A330. A jump in Mtow from 100 to 250, a jump in engines from 33K to 68K, a jump in wingspan from 36m to 60m. A vast untouched expanse of market.

    • Without a plane, no engine maker will develop an engine. It has to be done in paralel. Probably in the usual partnerships: Boeing with GE and Airbus with RR. It would be very interesting also for P&W to make this step back towards the big engines, but they are really streched with the GTF that I don’t see any capacity on their side.
      If you look at it closely it becomes obvious that also GE might not be too keen on another development. They too are quite busy with the Leap-1 and the GE9X. Derating the GEnx is most probably not good enough.
      RR is busy developing the Advance and Ultrafan. It appears the Advance will be a very large engine, suitable for the large widebodies. So maybe the Ultrafan? But that engine is 10 years away from production, maybe more.
      In short, in the next couple years there is no modern engine available for a small twin-aisle like a 767 succesor.

  10. I really think airbus are covered with their ability to do an A321-Plus [as leahy calls it]. The cross section of the cabin, seat width, continerized cargo, ‘ability’ to turn door ‘2’ into a full size boarding door in any ‘stretch’ [allowing for easier/split boarding/turnaround – as an option or as a defo in the PLUS-trans-at model], add a new wing that can also be used for the 320/321-regular models and they have a great product line to last them into the 2030’s. I too believe there will be no HUGE leap in engine improvements until then.

    It is investment… but it is something that will generate good returns and make the model relevant well into the 30’s. There is little reason to change the ‘tube’.

    • Yes, that’s where I saw the idea first. I think the goal is to build an aircraft that is differentiated from the A321, not a carbon copy, and is considerably lighter than a 767-300. I’m thinking about 45K engines, 45m wingspan , at 140t MTOW.

    • I don’t see airlines wanting a twin aisle with 2-2-2 seating as 6 across is currently being done with 737’s and 320’s. Comfort is not a major consideration with the carriers. I for one would love 2-2-2 seating but I dream on.
      I don’t want to sound like a broken record,but I still feel an interim solution would be a 767-200MAX. The line is still open, a low cost option, and a 5000 mile range to also cover for the 757’s.
      I don’t know how much of a fuel burn improvement new engines would provide, but with a weight reduction program and some new wing tips, it could be an attractive option to sell.
      The 737 has had 4 iterations, the 747 had three, why not the 767?

      • The A380 gave comfort, by far the best experience in economy and that has been rejected. We are beyond the tipping point regarding comfort. How depressing!! It is all about yields until someone (??) decides to change matters

      • More work needs to be done on the 767-2C to make it a light weight competetive MoM. You want new carbon brakes and revised landing gear, new APU, new databus for 787 boxes, Centralized maintenance computer, slender carbon wing, fly by wire, maybe adjust floor height to optimize pax/cargo, new 787 windows, revised fuselage using Li-Al alloy to handle the cycling and bigger windows, new Engines/nacelle of around 40-50k thrust that can handle the cycling. So it is a 777-9 like makover first to pass the A330 Technology level then make it much lighter and cheaper. Maybe Boeing can get the USAF to pay for the preliminary and detailed design work for 400 engineers under 2 years as part of an KC-46B design? Then move to full scale development with the 737-MAX design engineers as their design, analysis, certification and parts concessions work winds down.

        • “Maybe Boeing can get the USAF to pay for the preliminary and detailed design work for 400 engineers under 2 years as part of an KC-46B design?”

          Please don’t discuss this sort of scheme in public because this may give the impression that Boeing is on military welfare. 😉

          • To cut the Boeing welfare on the AF1 program they most likely could make the new 747-8I version by cannibalizing the special boxes and equipment from present AF1 (VC-25) sn 001, just having one VC-25 in operation and then when the new is Air Force certified pull the last VC-25 in for cannibalization to the new AF1 sn 002.

          • It may not be wise at this stage to reduce government welfare because if Boeing goes ahead with the NMA it will likely need more welfare, not less. 😉

          • The cost is not in the parts. i.e. you do not gain much by cannibalizing. And the parts are probably outdated anyway.

            The budget is dumped in an anthill of busy planners and “integrators”. See the “Marine One” experience.

  11. “If your objective is to replace a 767, there is no single point the airlines are converging on,” Eccleston said. “Is it 4,000 miles? Is it 5,000 miles? Is it single aisle or twin aisle?

    This kind of brings us back to a post from myself from last week:
    To me, talking about redefining the 757 replacement market as MOM and then trying to cover the 737-9/A321-to-787-8 category with it, seems like an attempt to somehow make the projected market appear large enough to justify development of a new aircraft when actually, the business case isn’t quite that solid at all.
    (Never mind that this particular size category requires venturing into that scary, uncomfortable “single- or dual-aisle?” twilight zone.)

    To me, the statements from Boeing and Airbus also underline that indeed the business case for a new plane isn’t that solid. The different demands in the NMA niche are so wildly varying that it’s nigh-impossible to cover them with a single plane. It actually makes it a bit weird to even be talking about a certain niche if requirements in it vary so much.
    Trying to cover them with a newly developed plane might end you up with something that’s poorly selling because it’s too optimised for certain missions or too general a design to cover the various special cases.

    So when I now read “I would say we’re studying a market space as opposed to replacing a specific airplane […] Technologies and configurations allow us to create a configuration that can do some of each of those missions. The hard part will be defining specifically with our customers where the market is and which of all the different needs is most important so we know where to optimize”, this makes a lot more sense to me.

    The reason is that it definitely includes the possibility that there is not going to be a MOM/NMA plane as such, but rather a combination of variants covering that niche. Which in turn means that the rumoured 737-10 plus maybe an optimised 787-8 on Boeing’s side and the A321NEOLR plus the cheap and cheerful A330NEO (again: possibly optimised for some missions) on Airbus’ might just be exactly what’s going to constitute the coverage of that NMA niche for the foreseeable future (until an A320/737 replacement is launched).

    This also falls in line with Scott’s own comment: “If there is one thing the industry has taught us in the last several years, it’s a really good idea to take an existing platform and improve it rather than do a clean sheet airplane.”
    Although I have to admit this seems like a bit of a change of heart considering he so far expected Boeing’s MOM/NMA plane to be launched in 2017/18.

  12. “If your objective is to replace a 767, there is no single point the airlines are converging on,” Eccleston said. “Is it 4,000 miles? Is it 5,000 miles? Is it single aisle or twin aisle? If you talk to Airline A in the US, he wants a single aisle. He wants twin aisle economics but in a single aisle airplane. If you talk to Airline B, he wants a twin-aisle because he wants to go 5,000 miles and he wants a versatile airplane. If you talk to Airline C, ‘I just want the lowest cost, whatever that is.’ “There is no convergence in the airlines I am talking to. I think the same is [true] in Europe as well. There is no convergence that says ‘this’ is truly the Middle of the Market spec.”

    Scott, was Eccleston talking about statute miles or nautical miles?

    Now, as there don’t seem to be a convergence among airlines how typical MOMA/NMA aircraft should be defined, may I once again suggest that what that market segment would accommodate, is both a larger single aisle with true transatlantic capability (i.e. <4,500 nm range) and an optimised short ranged twin (i.e. <3500 nm range). In order to keep the development costs at a minimum, the larger single aisle should be derived from a current single aisle platform, while the optimised short range twin should be derived from a current twin aisle platform.

    Boeing’s options: A re-engined and re-winged 737 MAD MAX family (i.e. MAX 11 and 12) — with the MAX 11 being about the same size as the 757-200 and the MAX 12 stretched by 10+ frames over that of the Max 11 — and a re-engined and re-winged 767X family; both of which could share the same basic wing and engine.

    Airbus’ options: A re-engined and re-winged family based on the A320 (i.e. A323, A324, and A325) — with the A323 essentially being a re-winged A321 and the A325 having about the same fuselage length as that of the 757-300 — and a re-engined and re-winged A310X family; both of which could share the same basic wing and engine.

    • Re-winged, as an all new CFRP wing on a 737? Would the 737 go to fly by wire? Where would the authorities draw the line on what is a 737?

      For A and B there is no economic case to replace the current 36m wing. But there is the unknown scope of opportunity in developing a new 40m wing for the A320, or for Boeing the 737 or a new fuselage. As you say, with thrust bumps to the current engines, so some time and treasure saved there.

      • @Ted

        AFAIK, the 737MAX is using a similar fly-by-wire spoiler system as that of the 767.

        As for the wing, I’m talking about a span of about 42 metres for the twin and 40.5 metres for the single aisle. With two 3 metre foldable wingtips, you’d have Code letter C (i.e. < 36 m) for both the single aisle and twin aisle. For the latter, a game changer?

    • ” .. both of which could share the same basic wing and engine.”

      I don’t think a wing for both a narrow body and wide body aircraft will fit either type well.
      Only modern type that comes to mind is the Beluga.
      We have a range of historic craft that were done that way though: rather outstanding the Tu-95 and Tu-114 combo.
      ( Actually all the examples are bomber to pax plane upgrades. The most intriguing one the Paxliner based on the Handley Page Victor V-Bomber. never build.

      • @Uwe

        Yes, I’ve been thinking about the Tu-114. 😉

        The wing should primarily be optimised for the larger and longer ranged single aisle aircraft (i.e. up to 10 hour flight times, 4500 – 5000 nm range).
        Since the twin aisle would be optimised for short range — just like the original A300-B1/B2 — any performance shortcomings due to a possible less than optimal wing, should IMJ not be of much consequence. Again, what I’m talking about is an A332-sized aircraft having a 757-sized wing and a wing span of about 42 metres , incorporating two 3 metre foldable wingtips, in order to make the twin aisle compatible with Code letter C (i.e. < 36 m) aircraft stands — a game changer?

        • I’d like to repeat what I said before:

          Wing, wingbox, fuselage are ONE synergistic UNIT .

          A modern wing with area similar to a 757 would carry a heavier airframe today. ( Look at the A310 where Airbus made the transition to a critical wing design. 757 is not. 767 was a small start for Boeing and even the 777 or the NG wing seem to not be “fully there”. it is imho not conducive to judge wing designs solely by their date of conception.)

          you can obviously do a high similarities design based on a common systems aproach. Airbus seems to have done that from the get go ( fully fledged plan introduced on tha A320? ).

          • @Uwe

            Due to the wider fuselage and centre wing box (i.e. by about 1.6 m), an A310X would essentially have two added 0.8 m segments at the root (i.e. wing root inserts), leading to a slightly different lift distribution for the wing on the larger widebody. Furthermore, the trailing edge flaps could be increased — just like on the A321 and A350-1000 — in order to raise the maximum lift coefficient and further increase the overall lift capability of the wing. In short, therefore, we’d be looking at two essentially identically manufactured wingboxes for both the single aisle and wide-body, but where some of the moving surfaces would be slightly different and operated at different settings.

            As for the 757 wing, it’s got a wing loading similar to that of the A350-900. In fact, aircraft wing loading trendlines seem to be decreasing, not increasing. So, wheras the 757 wing has a wing loading similar to that of the latest state-of-the-art WBs, it’s got far to low of an aspect ratio. That’s why you’d want to incorporate folding wingtips on at least the larger single aisle aircraft — and preferably, on the wide-body as well.

    • was Eccleston talking about statute miles or nautical miles?

      Nautical

  13. I thought it was interesting how neatly Eccleston stitched the case together quite neatly as to how impossible the 797 is and therefore there is no reason for it.

    My take is hmm, you are not the one designing this are you? So where do you get 50 k thrust from, and you are dissing GTF with a very heavy hot gear system (which is mandatory to make this work) (P&W says it scales up fine and I believe them)

    A330 is not a 767 competitor, the A300 was and it left the slot. You pay a huge price for range not needed in the MOM sector.

    What he does describe is a big gap between the A321 and the A330, aka “we cover the low end and the high end.

    A321 is not a 757 replacement, it is both good and credible. And we are not talking 757 anyways

    And there is no doubt you could buck up the A321, but if you were competing against a twin aisle? Maybe not so much. At best you finally do

    I continue to think its wait and see.

    Boeing conundrum is that if they come up with a new single aisle, it needs to be better than anything Airbus can do to the A320 (20%?) And there seems to be no tech that does that.

    So you factor in that maybe there is a place in between A321 and A330 you can twist the fork that Airbus has no response.

    Then do the single aisle when Airbus is trying to deal with that.

    • “So you factor in that maybe there is a place in between A321 and A330 you can twist the fork that Airbus has no response.”

      I don’t t know if that space exists to a degree that is significant enough to pay for the required development program.

      • That’s the big question of course.

        None of us has that information. Boeing has data and information as does Airbus.

        Boeing seems to think its there if they can make and sell the aircraft at low enough price. Therein lies the issue, only Boeing knows for sure how that stands.

        I am not saying yes or now, but I do look at 1200 787 sales and its, hmmm. They identified the market, they screwed up the producing.

        Have they identified the market again and know better how not to screw up the production this time?

        • @TransWorld
          I think it all boils down to this:
          Have they identified the market again and know better how not to screw up the production this time?

          Scott’s whole post was about the fact that “the market” hasn’t really been identified by either OEM.
          That size gap between the 737-9/A321NEO and the 787-8/A338 isn’t a market in itself.
          Requirements with regard to number of aisles, range, etc. within that capacity gap differ wildly.
          So instead of “the market”, that gap actually consists of a number of divergent markets with a limited amount of overlap beyond the raw number of seats.
          It appears to be tough to make the case that any single one of these markets is large enough (or overlapping enough with another one) to warrant a new development. In fact, so far neither OEM has even found enough impetus to even justify the relatively minor investment of a tailored revamp of an existing variant, say an A322NEO or a 737-10.

          I thought it was interesting how neatly Eccleston stitched the case together quite neatly as to how impossible the 797 is and therefore there is no reason for it.

          Well, he wasn’t talking about Boeing’s potential contender specifically. He was talking about the gap between the A321NEOLR and the A338 in general.
          And his comments are largely mirrored by his Boeing counterpart.
          So trying, as you do, to paint this as a simple “trying to put down the competitor’s product” statement falls a bit short in my opinion.

          A330 is not a 767 competitor, the A300 was and it left the slot.

          Sorry, but that’s an attempt at rewriting history. The A330 for all intents and purposes was the chief reason the 767 went out of fashion as a pax plane, and the reason Boeing launched the 787. Yes, the same has happened the other way round with other models.

          You pay a huge price for range not needed in the MOM sector.

          A newly developed plane with less capacity and less range might still end up being more expensive, because it’s, you know, newly developed.
          Which is part of the conundrum faced by Boeing and Airbus, as told by their own words. They have to actually find a set of missions and requirements that can reasonably be served by a single plane (or small family of planes). That plane then still has to have a broad enough appeal (i.e. sales potential) to warrant a new development.

          Because of this, all along I’ve said I find it very hard to see a dedicated new MOM/NMA plane happening on either side of the Atlantic. Enhancements/stretches of the A321NEO/737MAX, sure. New development, no, unless as the first step into launching the 737/A320 successor families.

          So you factor in that maybe there is a place in between A321 and A330 you can twist the fork that Airbus has no response.

          Neither does Boeing at this point.
          All both OEMs can reasonably do at this point is to enhance their current lineup, i.e stretch/enhance the 737-9/A321NEO or enhance/shrink the 787/A338.
          Both OEMs agree that despite years of talk about this, neither can really find a sweet spot that could be covered by one specification of airplane.

          • I will disagree with parts of that.

            The only agreement I see between A and B is there is a gap. A says its covered (though how you can have a bridged gap that you say is not is a bit beyond me – its more, we have something on top and bottom, ok, obviously ) and B says gaps is not bridge by what anyone has on top and bottom.

            A spin in this case is more self serving by A than B. B is going to put a lot of money on it and they are not noted for doing so unless they think there is a return. 787 is case in point that continues to be ignored.

            There never has been a wide body LR (to separate from MOM wide body) that has sold as well as it has in the same time period.

            So, as much as I respect Scott, the only agreement I find is the gap is there and reading what is said, it is not covered (bridged)

            The 767 did indeed chase the A300 out of that slot, The A330 found a slot above it that was not served and has done well and Kudos to Airbus (granted a lot had to do with the 787 production debacle) . 767 in order to beat the A300 was not designed to beat the A330. Still a very successful program.

            Where it stands we disagree.

            I don’t make any claims, all I have to work with is Boeing assessment, the logic looks to be solid if their assessment is true.

            Boeing is a lot further into doing it that Airbus is. Airbus has northing on the board to respond with as far as new. They can’t d-gap from the high end, they can make a longer more awkward A321 making it a true 757s, which was long and awkward. That still leaves a gap.

            There is nothing that says that the 797 would not share systems with the 7S7, but the two markets appear not to have any fuselage or wings in common.

            What make sense and works is a tough decision and I am not going to tell Boeing how they have to do it.

            I can see a major advantage if the MOM market is there to Boeing (much like the 787 took Airbus by surprise )

            Complacency can and does work both ways. Spinning it from either side does not change what can happen.

            We will see.

          • @transw*

            Afaics and to present this in the so popular black and white terminology:
            Airbus views the MOM area as an abyss where you can homestead the slopes. the slopes are moving sideways together with the abyss. ( to more range and slightly more capacity. But nonetheless the abyss is widening.)
            Boeing tries to present it as an unclaimed plateau, marginally lower than the lands left and right, ready to be homesteaded with a little bit of ingenuity.
            I’d lean more to the Airbus side for a realistic assessment.
            If wishes were castles …

            Well, we do have a comparable arena that is not A vs. B but but A+B vs jon doe. the smaller NB market. There the lighter frames can live further down on the slopes but their better efficiency does not open a wide plateau of opportunity.
            It stays a scavenging fringe.

          • @Transworld
            I will disagree with parts of that.
            You kind of ended up disagreeing with pretty much all parts. 😉

            The only agreement I see between A and B is there is a gap.

            I’d have to disagree here and agree with Scott that Airbus and Boeing, although their rhetoric is marginally different, effectively agree that there is a gap and that this gap isn’t really a single market, but a multitude of varying mission definitions, i.e. multiple markets that are hard to serve with a single plane/family.

            Airbus:
            “If your objective is to replace a 767, there is no single point the airlines are converging on […] Is it single aisle or twin aisle?”
            “There is no convergence in the airlines I am talking to. There is no convergence that says ‘this’ is truly the Middle of the Market spec.”

            Boeing:
            “There are aspects of the market space that look like missions that some 767s have done and there are some aspects of that market space that 757s have done.”
            “Technologies and configurations allow us to create a configuration that can do some of each of those missions. The hard part will be defining specifically with our customers where the market is and which of all the different needs is most important so we know where to optimize”

            So there you have it – both agree there’s not really one single market there.
            Of course, Boeing will talk a bit more about a potential new development because their 737-9 is losing out quite clearly against the A321NEO.
            Boeing is of course more likely to actually do something (737-10, 797, whatever) before Airbus does, but there is of course a reason for that.
            Their dismissal of the suggestion that the A321NEOLR is a good enough replacement for the 757 isn’t wholly unexpected in that context, either.

            A says its covered (though how you can have a bridged gap that you say is not is a bit beyond me – its more, we have something on top and bottom, ok, obviously )

            Again – if we believe the OEMs themselves, we’re not talking about “a” gap or “a” market. We’re talking about multiple markets that just happen to fall into that supposed MOM gap, which really isn’t defined by much more than the seat count (and range) delta between the 737/A320 and the 787/A330.
            Airbus doesn’t say they have these markets covered. They just state that they have the 757 replacement market covered by means of the A321NEOLR.
            Airbus also say that there are a few more markets in that seat count gap which are pretty hard to target because they differ so much. Boeing effectively says the same, except they can’t claim they have a replacement for the 757, because they don’t.

            B is going to put a lot of money on it
            You continue to ignore that Boeing hasn’t launched anything yet, and is still trying to figure out what to do, if they actually end up doing anything at all.
            So far, Boeing has just talked about a few ideas, chiefly in talks to customers. What exactly is going to get launched – a 737-10 (i.e. an A321NEOLR competitor), a 787-3 Mk II, both, or a brand new plane, or nothing, is not clear, nor how much money (if any) Boeing is willing to put into it.

            As a recap, this is what I already said it boils down to:
            TransWorld: Have they identified the market again and know better how not to screw up the production this time?
            anfromme: Scott’s whole post was about the fact that “the market” hasn’t really been identified by either OEM.

            and they are not noted for doing so unless they think there is a return. 787 is case in point that continues to be ignored.
            The 787 has hardly been ignored in any way, shape or form.

            The 767 did indeed chase the A300 out of that slot, The A330 found a slot above it that was not served and has done well and Kudos to Airbus (granted a lot had to do with the 787 production debacle) . 767 in order to beat the A300 was not designed to beat the A330. Still a very successful program.
            Again, you’re trying to rewrite history along with somewhat misquoting me. Yes, the 767-300 bettered the A300. And no, the 767 was of course not designed to beat the A330. It would have required some advanced messing with the space-time-continuum to achieve that. 😉
            But to suggest that the A330 just sort of happened, found its niche and the demise of 767 pax sales was in large part unrelated is, with all due respect, nonsense.

            Boeing is a lot further into doing it that Airbus is. Airbus has northing on the board to respond with as far as new.
            Again: Boeing haven’t launched anything other than ideas so far. Airbus has been doing its own studies. They’re not that vocal about them because they know the A321NEO(LR) is a clear winner against the 737-9, i.e. Airbus doesn’t have as much reason to get active as Boeing does.

            I can see a major advantage if the MOM market is there to Boeing (much like the 787 took Airbus by surprise )
            Uhm – we’ve been talking about this supposed NMA/MOM gap for two or three years already, including the continued suggestion that Boeing might do a NMA/MOM plane next. “Surprised” is not what I’d use to describe feelings at Airbus HQ even if Boeing launched something a 737-10, a 797, or even a 787-3 Mk II tomorrow.

          • A couplel of points

            The 767 did chase the A300 out and it was morphed into the A330, which was never foreseen.

            The base work on the A300 was such it was too heavy and that worked out well, but there was luck there as there never was any mention of stretching it.

            I don’t say they did not do it and do it well, but luck was a big factor that they were more than good enough to take advanate of. Its interesting what you can come up with when you are backed into a corner.

            If you read Aibuys comments, they do say they have it covred at the top and bottoms.

            And if you read Boeing literature on the subject, thjey dientiy it as a large broad market, and then sub define it as 2500 or so eing what they call MOM specific.

            So, I would called it a service gap that is being filled in the mean time by other means. Back in the day or shorter range, they just had fuel stops. As long as everyone had to make fuel stops no one had a competitive advantage.

            As Boeing has sold 1200 of the 787 (with a gob of the various conversion rights on top of that) I would say they did a magnificent job of identify a gap.

            Boeing certainly has the tech ready to go from the 737RS project, they have studied it a lot more than Airbus has.

            Boeing has a need to act, Airbus has good reasons to play a pat hand if they can.

            But if Boeing does make the business case then Airbus only reaction is more derivatives that won’t compete with the type of product Boeing would offer.

            At that point do they hold or get in full tilt?

            Same dilemma Boeing has put itself into in regards to the A321.

            I am not saying they are going to do it, but I do say they have a lot of incentive to look it over carefully and apply the tech they have bui9ld up to do so.

            I am staying tuned, but its not an area where derivatives can operate economically.

    • “.. you can twist the fork that Airbus has no response.”

      Last time around that worked for Boeing on the marketing/PR side only. And it resulted in endless hurt that will form the environment Boeing has to work in for decades to come.

      • Uwe:

        I am getting a bit annoyed, I have repeatedly said over and over again that Boeing had the 787 market right, they blew the production.

        I have then gone on to state its based on they learned the production lesson.

        On this side of the pond we call that kind of comment lame.

        At least have a semblance of offering something original that acknowledges what I have said and recognized the discussion is based on that, not repeating an old hashed over statement.

        If Boeing can hit Airbus where they have no or a poor answer, that’s good business.

        Boeing did assess the 787 market right, you might want to think about that.

        • “Boeing did assess the 787 market right, you might want to think about that.”

          Obviously.
          They squatted on the A330 slot with a better mousetrap 🙂 be annoyed to your liking 🙂

          But what created the salesdorado was effected by overstating everything. SuperSexy, an all over efficiency feast of technicalwhirligigs.
          But what really made a difference was engine technology ( and that is available for the A330 too ), but that was kept rather low completely distorting where the gains where made.

          • Yes Boss, I do want to list precedent that it was allowed by you previously. Mike? Boeing guy?

          • Uwe: Ok, rather than be annoyed you are loosing my respect! Take that (grin).

            Seriously, airlines do not buy on techno whirly gigs. Or lets say for the most part. Oddly a number of the charter operations took 787s to, as well as small operators. They had to feel it was worth it.

            Now you could say that Boeing had to do the 787 because they had nothing to match the A330. True. Still sold a lot more 787s than A330 ever would have.

            They then fouled up the production and left Airbus an opening (well forced them into the A350) and Airbus finally came to the conclusion that A330NEO was viable (well we will see) . Certainly nothing clean and tidy about any of it on either side.

            As for the A330NEO, its been stuck in low sales, either its not what is broadly wanted (Hawaiian and Delta aside) and or its caught in the current down order issue (though the 787 continues to sell with two successes lately)

            You could also state that they sold the 787 too cheap to get market. Also true. Sheese I hate having to make arguments for people.

            In a lot of ways it reminds me of WWII and the taking of Rome by the Allies. Brilliant move to finally to break open the line, then Mark Clark in a burst of ego screws up the battle and lets the Germans slip though the ring so he can march into Rome, all hail Marcus Stupididous. .

            A program is a complete execution, from the design and tech to the management (how its built, where its built, the partners, source selections etc). Boeing got the first part right and blew the second.

            Right now my forecast of under 250 A330NEO over the life of the program looks to be fare more spot on than Hazy “late to the its a great aircraft party” of 1000 or more.

            As for Techno, in my world I have seen Bulldozers go all electric! Yep, down in the dirt crawler dirt pusher. they are finding not just cost benefits (question you have to ask does the higher efficiency offset the increased other costs?)

            I would never have guessed but the answer is yes.

            John Deere has found that even just diesel electric Loader is more productive if you just replace the direct link engine to the trany with a motor.

            Going onto motors on all 4 wheels and better still.

            Airbus dream is an all electric aircraft so that should tell yhou where its going.

            they simply were not ready to do a more electric and rightly went with known architecture of pneumatics.

            For what its worth that still leave the 787 the most advanced aircraft in the sky (passenger commercial) and a foot up on the next one as Airbus does not have the experience there that Boeing does.

            I would still rather be Airbus than Boeing. At worst they can make some lower cost moves that challenge at the lower end the MOM if it comes and any move Boeing makes in single aisle that threatens.

          • on “more electric” drive systems:

            This is a long standing trend that is going to peak in the future.
            I’ve worked in that research domain in the 80ties.
            ( the attractive sisters: Magnet-Motor and Magnet-Bahn 🙂
            Magnet Motor had designed proof of concept tracked ~Marder size and 8×8 wheeled military chassis ~Luchs size that could “jump” from behind embankments.
            There is really no room to teach me sucking electric eggs 🙂

            Still Boeing will have learned a lot … about transient technology that will not be relevant in the future.

            Airbus view that some of the electric stuff is not mature enough to _currently_ find a good place in airplanes holds for me. Keep in mind that Airbus has been and continues to stay at the forefront of “more electric” systems. the 2H2E setup is a much cleaner design. But they obviously won’t go into LaLa land like Boeing did.

        • I dunno if Boeing learned, the executive responsible was later out blaming the supply chain while ignoring Boeing management’s role in the fiasco. (Boeing was in charge of the program, but let bad suppliers impede much of it (had some good suppliers as well, they and Boeing suffered financially from the bad suppliers’ behaviour.)

          Sinnet had a key position on the 787, perhaps he is wiser from the experience.

          Some Boeing people said of the avionics signal database system for the 787 “Last time we said we’d never again develop a tool at the same time as an airplane – but here we are again.” And Boeing commercial did not listen to their military division which had the scars of fooling themselves on project progress and was trying to tell commercial of the trap.

          • This thread is a circus of maybes without costs. What is the cost of a new landing gear for the 737, for example?

            I’m of course partial to the 757, because of its superior nose – lower drag, lower noise, 767 instrument panels fit, windshields, and crew seats. That’s the proper front end for a narrow body airplane. And I wanted the 757-100, being a shorter field person at the time. (Unfortunately commonality with existing 737 fleets was a big factor to launch the 737NG, though I don’t know weight and cost factors.)

            Boeing had a pair of successful airplanes in the 757-767, can they be refreshed? (Yes, the 757 fuselage could be wider, the 767 does not handle LD-3 containers.)
            Why new? Fuel prices are down, but old airplanes have higher maintenance costs? Is there something about R-R’s maintenance costs? (The 757 having a choice of P&W or R-R engines.)

            OTOH, how about 1-2-1 in the Boeing narrow body fuselage? :o) Good for business use at least, comfortable though not business class seating.

    • Most likely will Airbus do the A322 with a new wing and 35-37k PW1137G engines after a long PWA engine validation program to make sure they don’t bite the sour apple from E. Hartford again. From the other end they might decide to reduce empty mass and range on the A330Regional ton by ton creeping below the 767 empty mass. Al-Li, CF6-80E2 with carbon fan and containment, 3D printing all brackets, reduced material thicknesses on all machined parts and reducing wing tanks allowing making the outer wings of carbon will cut empty mass bit by bit. We now know Boeing will most likely launch the 797 at 2017 Paris Air show with UAL as launch customer and they pay less than $100M ea. for 50-75 of them.

      • “We now know Boeing will most likely launch the 797 at 2017 Paris Air show with UAL as launch customer and they pay less than $100M ea. for 50-75 of them.”

        At that price Boeing will not stay in business very long. It reminds of the Dreamliner which was supposed to be real cheap while being very efficient. It was indeed cheap and efficient and that is why airlines bought it in record numbers. But Boeing never made money with it and perhaps never will.

  14. “A321 is not a 757 replacement”

    No ?

    I think the chances are growing Airbus simply launches what Scott describes as

    “a slightly stretched A321 with a new wing and larger engines that truly becomes an unrestricted trans-Atlantic aircraft with greater capacity than the 757 in international configuration that includes lie-flat seats.”

    A few major operators / lessors jump on it, like they jumped on the NEO, and Boeing is in scramble mode again.

    • Haven’t yet though have they?

      Haven’t stretched the A320 to compete straight up with the 737-8 either.

      I am not saying it won’t, but both of those much speculated dogs have not hunted yet.

      • A320 fam. sales has sucked in production for years to come.
        Currently we see a “change of the watch” from A320 to A321.
        The moment you start a (new/re)design you also start to “fixate” available technology into that process.
        ( a good example is the 787 battery. IMU a tech holdover from the Sonic Cruiser. Same for massively watercooled power electronics.)
        i.e. it is good practice to really dive into a design as late as possible. ( but not too late 🙂

        • From an in the trenches (not aircraft but computer control mechanical systems) I have to tell you I fought that battle and was never in the fight.

          I love Pneumatics (bleed air to aircraft types). You know they just don’t care? I have not seen a NEW system that has air as the power sources (computers being the pilot devices which is control term for a small output that connects and does a big job)

          I have successfully integrated the two in older systems and avoided major costs replacing the existing air as a power source and the low voltage/current demand computers do the controls)

          Its called a hybrid system and works well, easy to trouble shoot, low cost parts.

          I think Boeing take was Sonic Cruiser had nothing to do with it, bleed air is going away. Ditto battery. No matter how much I argue, all the latest techs disagree, all electric is where its going and that is the bottom line.

          You can’t wait to the last minute on a design , you have to get it in the supply system so that its there , tested and proven (hopefully) and in number when production starts.

          Airbus is going to the LI battery on the A350, I don’t get that either, but they are, so its enough of an advantage its worth doing so on both aircraft.

          The world is going all electric and that is the way its going, not what I wanted it to do. I don’t get it, but no one asked me, I do try to accept that which is, not what I want.

        • What Boeing did in the late 70s is of interest.
          When sales were slow they still put some money into thinking about the optimum fuselage cross-section for future products. When the future looked better they were ready to move – the 767 resulted.
          And they were doodling with ways to get common flight decks, which they achieved with the 757-767 combination.
          Plus keeping abreast of new technology, without committing to adopting it.

          BTW, Boeing thought ahead on configuration/range – the 767’s designers expected to make a three-engine version, choosing a big wing and details such as naming engines Left and Right in the flight deck so a Center could be slotted in. (Unexpectedly acceptance of twins in oceanic/remote emerged so the trijet was not needed, the big wing gave airfield performance and increasing range for versions of the twin.) In contrast the A310 was an attempt to use the A300 fuselage essentials for a smaller capacity airplane, small wing, growth path from it already existed (the A300). Of course Airbus then went smaller with the A320 series, to have an offering in that market. At the same time as the 767 Boeing was developing the 757

          Engines were of course a huge enabler, at PW we signed up for an airplane that on paper was 3,000 nm range – handy for going deep into Mexico/CA out of Vancouver BC compared to about 2,000 nm of 737 classic, relatively early in production 5,000 nm was available. That was 707 territory (an airplane nearing the limit of feasibility for more range with the engines it had – add more reserve fuel and you burned half carrying it to the point of need). USAF does seem to like the re-engined CFM-56 version, which replaced the version with 707-320C turbofan engines, itself re-engined from turbojets as were early 707s. And the 757 turned out to have amazing range.

          (PW operated a couple of 707-138Bs, the Qantas short-body special. They’d been re-engined, adding a glove over the inboard wing leading edge to give more area forward.)

          • And more history akin to the A310: Douglas and Lockheed didn’t have the sales income/finances/guts to produce twin-engine derivatives of the DC-10 and L1011. Lockheed did shorten theirs to the -500 version for intercontinental routes which could use the fuel volume and weight capability, but weren’t competent at selling commercial airplanes. I didn’t trust Douglas – guess who is no longer in business.

            If someone wants a side exercise, dig into why business jets were so far behind airliners in range. They’ve been playing catchup. Albeit the airliner may be much more costly to operate as a business jet, being much larger, useful where a company has parts and supplies to transport. (As Freeport mining did with 757s, albeit they had a business jet too, publicized when they brought the geologists who discovered the BreX gold scam to HQ, an urgent mission. Having first extracted them from immediate danger with a helicopter.)

          • Interesting viewpoints.

            Let me reflect this a bit.
            The initial A300 was a short to medium haul airframe.( Smaller than intially planned due to engine limitations.)

            The A310 with a brand new wing design ( early supercritical profile ) expanded this into the medium to longer range market. ( for the timeframe )
            Advances on the A310 were folded back into the A300-600.
            The A320 was a neccessary interlude to go full hog on FBW and the “abstracted airplane model” while not getting entangled in unavailable ( thrust wise ) engines.

            The 767 was formed from the compromise to build a longer range twin frame around the then available engines with a less than optimal conservative wing design. It had to have a smaller less efficient cross section to get along.

            767 and 757 merged late in the design cycle. Nothing apparently planned from the get go.

            My guess would be driven by the then apparent move for a common interface on the Airbus family.

    • I don’t see a stretched A321 being equal in all respects. Operating at hot and high airports and operating off short runways are the domain of the 757. A stretched A321 may be a stretch too far.

      • IMU full range and hot n high/short runway don’t go together all that well on the 757.
        The “final” boost in available thrust for the LR’s engine offerings was said to explicitly address hot n high requirements.

        I suppose the A321 will be seen lacking even if its range and payload capabilities significantly exceed the 757.

  15. “It’s rare when Airbus and Boeing agree on product strategy.”

    With all due respect, let me rephrase this: It’s rare that both Airbus and Boeing don’t know how to tackle a particular market segment. There is a reason for that. The MoM segment is located in the middle of an undefined zone between narrowbody and widebody; between single-aisle and twin-aisle. This becomes obvious when we listen to what Airbus and Boeing have to say on the subject:

    1- Each said there is no consensus yet among customers for the Middle of the Market airplane (MOMA).

    2- Is it 4,000 miles? Is it 5,000 miles? Is it single aisle or twin aisle?

    3- There is no convergence in the airlines I am talking to.

    4- I would say we’re studying a market space as opposed to replacing a specific airplane.

    5- The hard part will be defining specifically with our customers where the market is and which of all the different needs is most important so we know where to optimize.

    6- Then, we have to figure out is that something that hunts. We haven’t said specifically it’s going to be this configuration or that.

    7- Suppose Boeing or we decide to make a new Middle of the Market airplane. If we could actually agree on what that is.

    • Yea that’s another way of putting it.

      Airbus disagrees because they don’t want to give Boeing any ammunition (like it would stop them if Airbus says no?)

      Boeing thinks there is and is not sure how much and looking at the cost to try.

      Other than that they are in complete agreement!

      • You could interpret that in a still different way.

        Airbus is happy for Boeing being busy in their sandbox with its MOM toy.
        Watching from the sidelines.

        • Agreed, we will see if it serves them any better than it did on the 787 (boy did they diss that one) (and yes guilty in this case of one trick pony thing, repeat of previous comments)

          1200 sold is not so disable I don’t think. Shame they mucked up the management end.

    • “The MoM segment is located in the middle of an undefined zone between narrowbody and widebody; between single-aisle and twin-aisle. ”

      So the MoM is located in some kind of abstract reality and therein lies the problem. In reality, I thnk it’s safe to assume that flying wing design aircrafts are a long way off – could be several decades away. In the real world, the MoM basically spans (more or less) either of the folllowing:
      a) 737 – 757
      b) 767+

      Current technology / investment doesn’t bridge the gap between a) and b)
      In terms of fuselage width, it’s either narrowbody or widebody so in the next decade, it’s either an augmented 737 MAX or a brand new aircraft. In the latter case, I still think a lean narrowbody is the smart move. Let’s not forget that the shift in the market itself plays a huge part. Widebody demand is lagging not least due to the fact that widebodies are too much plane for the MoM segment for many customers. Meat consumption tends to increase as developing countries become more “developed”. Boeing won’t go for a lower cruise speed.

      • To go from a four to a five-abreast is no big deal; to go from a five to a six-abreast is no big deal either; but to go from a single-aisle to a twin-aisle is very difficult, and something has to give. If we look at the small widebody aircraft history, none were very successful. The A310 was too big for the number of passengers it carried. The 767 was certainly more successful but was eventually superseded by larger widebody aircraft like the A330. For the smaller a widebody aircraft is the less efficient it becomes. That is the main reason why I don’t think it would be a good idea for Boeing to make the MoM a twin-aisle. It’s like trying to build an efficient V/STOL, civil or military, it’s never been done despite several attempts. To design an efficient small widebody aircraft is like attempting to square the circle.

        • Are you taking into account the 8–10% boost in lift that an elliptical design would provide the NMA?

          • No I wasn’t. Because an elliptical fuselage is a big compromise, perhaps an unacceptable one. I am open to innovation but this can be very costly. Remember the Dreamliner?

            Besides, it has been determined from the start that customers don’t want to pay much more for a MoM than they would normally have to for say an A321LR. And an elliptical MoM would be very expensive indeed, because the fuselage would necessarily have to be made of CFRP, since it is weaker and must be reinforced, which would make it heavier. It also has a limited cargo capacity, an important consideration in this segment. This solution for the MoM may not be like trying to square the circle, but more like trying to reinvent the wheel by making it elliptical.

          • Normand:

            I do remember the Dreamliner, quite successful aircraft.

            What tech actually failed that was not a management derived problem?

            I know the batteries were a debacle, but that was subed out to a fine European firm, Thales, who subed it to BA who subbed it to Secruat Aviations (for the charger alone)

            The monitor borad was built by a complety diffetn Japanes mfg.

            The batteries were built in abysmally filthy conditions for a battery that requires a clean room .

            All those were management decisions. Anyone in their right mind would have chosen SAFT as the sole supplier of the whole system (yep, love em, great product, none better, gold standard)

          • The elliptical body can hade a cargo hold with LD-3’s with trusses in the middle and thru the widebody pax compartment as well, like the MIT Drela D8 derivatives. The key is designing a lifting fuselage with low mass and drag allowing smaller wings. One option is to have the engines in the wingbox close to the ACM’s and using carbon fiber drive shafts to the aft mounted fans sucking up the boundary layer all around the fuselage.
            The aft mounted fans must be able to take distortions, massive amounts of rain along the fuselage and ice ingestion.

  16. Boeing needs to do what they did with the 757 and 767 and develope the new 737 line with a new 757 line. Look your starting point is the 737 8 a 737 9 and the 737 10 and in addition at the same time you develope the 757 2 and a 757 3 all common everyting and you cover seating from 150 ish up to 260ish. Do them at the same time but offer the 757 2 replacement first with the 757 3 and then when thats done your ready to roll the new 737 line a year or two later.

    • Agreed, this is the way to go, but make the new fuselage about 4-6 in. wider than A320 for more comfortable 3-3 seating.

      Or they could go up 12-14 in. from the 320 and have 737 width seats with two isles, 2-2-2. Having 4 aisle seats and two window seats would be a big step change, a really different (better) experience, perhaps enough to really drive passenger preference enough to create demand.

      I know it would create huge preference for me: no middle seat blues, no climbing over two people to get from window seat to aisle, no or less people climbing over you, quicker boarding and exiting.

      Perhaps that design just cannot be made cheaply and light enough but it would be great to fly on.

      Just don’t recreate the 707, 727, 737, 757 cabin width!!!!

      • Yes, I think it is just a matter of a paradigm shift. Remember when all cars were low prior to the minivan? Air resistance was deemed the most important factor. Hondas were tiny. Compact cars were the future. After all, squeezing into the smallest space to save a few pennies was supposedly the name of the game. Then came the minivan, SUVs, and full size trucks for all. Look at how much the Honda Accord has grown in size and volume over the decades.

        The actual cost of extra volume is not that great in vehicles, or aircraft. Given the ability to pay the true cost of the extra volume, and not be blackmailed for three to ten times the cost, people will pay it every time.

        Extra leg room, what is the true cost? The weight of 4″ of fuselage divided by six people? $10 or $20 at most. What’s the extra cost of 2-2-2? Not that much, and offset by time savings for the airlines and intangible cost benefits like happier passengers and crews.

      • The A320 is already 9 in. wider inside, and 10 in. outside, compared to the 737. As for the 757, its cabin width is about the same as the DC-8’s, which is itself 1 in. narrower than the 737. Making the fuselage about 4-6 in. wider than the A320 means 14-16 in. wider than the 737. That being said, the seat width may vary from one airline to another, for the same aircraft type.

      • Airlines won’t go for a wider plane unless it can fill that extra space with another seat. A wider plane means more fuel consumption,we all think in terms of how we would like travel by air, airline thinking is 180 degrees apart.
        I remember flying TWA from IAD to LAX. Wide seats, good leg room, a hot steak dinner. Those days are gone forever for the coach passenger. The new normal is here to stay.

  17. Ironically, the company that would best positioned to develop a MoM is Bombardier. That is because for a five-abreast like the C Series the comfort zone is the 125-175 segment. Above that a six-abreast is a must.

    BBD could someday develop a bigger airplane which would overlap with the largest C Series variants with a medium range six-abreast. So a customer who would need the capacity but not the range would choose the largest C Series variants, while another customer who would need more range, for the same capacity or more, would be able to make a selection among this new six-abreast family. The latter’s comfort zone being the 160-240 segment. This six-abreast, let’s call it the D Series, would be some kind of hybrid between the 737 and 757.

    The dead zone is between 240 and 290. That small segment is too big for a single-aisle and too small for a twin-aisle. Therefore we should all pretend that it does not exist.

    • Can they stretch the upper cabin for 6 x pax on the Cseries fuselage- I think its not a true double bubble- while keeping the same lower fuselage ?
      Then do what Airbus did on the A340 wing, insert a narrow section mid chord on the wing to give more area-span should still be ok.
      Since modifying existing plane is king this is the one.
      As for naming, they started in wrong place , existing product line should be Bseries, while developed 6 abreast becomes the Cseries.

      • I think BBC has enough on its plate right now and for the next 25 year’s.

        • I think it was Bombardier had too many plates on the table at once.
          I saw a photo of the Learjet 85 composite fuselage barrel which was a single section from front bulkhead behind nosecone to rear bulkhead near engines. The composite wing was was developed as a much smaller version of the Cseries. All for nothing now and doing it as the same time as the 5 across Cs100/300 nearly broke the company.

    • Some old DC-9/MD-80 operators will buy it due to its familiar 3+2 seating. Already Delta, Swiss, Canadian ordered it, soon SAS; Iberia and American will order it by reflex along with Alitalia when they get some cash.

  18. apropos business (small ) jets.
    They show the same scale problems rockets have.

    the payload fraction for long range aircraft is massively weighted towards the fuel fraction ( in relation to the “real” payload. Only with the advent of better fuel economy and smaller lighter systems did the equations balance to more transport range capability reaching the smallest offerings last.

  19. I wonder why this discussion doesn’t raise the engine issue. There is no modern engine of 40-45Klbs of thrust of LEAP or PW GTF level of innovation. Airplane design should start from availability of engine and its fuel burn, which will result in capabilities of range, load, empty weight and other design characteristics. I have never heard on engine topic for such new middle class airplane from GE and PW.

    • I had the exact same thought. I recall that the argument against the NSA was that there were no such engine available. Apparently this is not a problem for the NMA.

      Anyway, the NMA design is restrained by some sort of Catch 22 straitjacket: On the one hand if it has recourse to advanced technologies it will be more efficient but also more expensive, and no one will want to buy it. On the other hand if it is designed to be cheap it will not be a state-of-the-art aircraft and will therefore be less efficient, and again no one will be interested.

      I don’t know if it’s the air we breath, or the water we drink, or the food we eat, but it appears to me that the world has gone crazy lately. Or perhaps it always was and I hadn’t noticed before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.