Filling the Middle Of the Market gap

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus and Boeing had completely different views about the product strategy for the “Middle of the Market” sector (MOM), both for today and the future.

Officials presented their views on how to fill the “Middle of the Market gap” at the Air Finance Journal conference in Dublin.

The Airbus view is: “We got it all covered”.

Boeing’s view is: “Not so fast, there is more to it than meets the eye.”

Airbus and MOM

Airbus’ view was presented by Richard Owen Walker, head of Investor Marketing at Airbus. His presentation showed that “with our A321neo and A330-800, we cover the MOM market.”

From the low end, the A321neo in normal version covers a market of up to 200 seats with a range coverage of 3,000nm. This is enough for transcontinental flights within USA and many other routes on a MOM market.

Should the A321neo not be capable enough, you can go for the 97t A321LR version and your useful range increases with 950nm, Walker said. This covers all the routes flown by Boeing 757 today.

Should the seat capacity or range still not be enough, Walker said there is the A330-800 which, with 230 to 270 seats and up to 7,500nm range, covers the rest of the MOM market.

“We understand that Boeing sees a gap in the market,” Walker said. “There is a gap in the Boeing product offering. Sales of the 737 MAX 9 stands at 220 units, according to the Ascend database. Compare that with 1,400 orders for A321neo.

“At the other end, the 787-8 has stopped selling,” he said. “[The 787] sold 1,200 aircraft since program start in 2003. In the same period, our A330 sold 1,197 aircraft. The 787 was supposed to kill the A330, not sell equal with it.

“So while we don’t see a MOM gap in our offering we can understand if Boeing does,” Walker said.

Boeing and MOM

Boeing’s James Billing, Managing Director Market Analysis, had a different approach. Billing said the MOM work is exciting as it’s the last chance to create a new aircraft for an uncovered segment. If it happens, it’s not going to happen again soon.

He then pointed out that MOM is different. It’s not about adapting something existing to cover the segment in a sub-optimal way. He warned about viewing this market with today’s aircraft and operational ideas. The LCC’s did not happen because they were more of the same.

Billing then showed there is a gap in the Boeing product line. The gap between 737 MAX 9 (178 seats) and 787-8 (271 seats) is around 100 seats, similar to the gap that Airbus has, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Boeing’s present lineup. Source: Boeing.

He then made several observations around the characteristics of an MOM market:

Upgrade of market:

When a new aircraft would be entering this market, after 2025, the market is not the same. The market will have grown by 100m passengers in Asia alone, Figure 2.

Figure 2. Air travel growth’s geographical distribution. Source: Boeing.

Present aircraft will not be large enough to handle this growth, Billing said.

Fragmentation of market

Billing said a new aircraft specifically made for this segment can fly routes economically that existing aircraft cannot. This will create a new fragmentation of the market. Over the last few years, aircraft with new capabilities opened some 400 new routes that existing aircraft could not do. They did not have the economics.

“Think about what would be possible with an aircraft specifically adapted for the typical MOM routes,” he said. “It would have wide-body capabilities at single aisle economics.”


Finally, there is a large replacement market. Up to 40% of the market is replacement of existing aircraft in this category which are less suited for the job, he said.


“My job is now to talk to operators to understand if 10- to 20-years from now there will be a market sufficiently large to motivate its own aircraft for this segment. Is there a chance to give this segment its own aircraft? We have’n the answer to that yet.”

184 Comments on “Filling the Middle Of the Market gap

  1. Hello Bjorn
    If I understand well, it is a “free” article.
    But it looks like you need to be logged to see figure 2.
    Best regards

  2. If Airbus was to create an A322, how long can they stretch the A321 before major changes are needed?

    • The A321 has a significantly more complex high lift arrangement. This incurs cost.
      stretching the A321 would place higher demand ( limited rotation ) . more cost?
      my guess would be a future proof upgrade into a higher capacity model would require this to be simplified.

      changing cross section : there is a reason there is an efficiency dip around for small twin aisle arrangements.
      A flat oval section is no solution. Structure wise it is a nightmare and window seats are placed in the smallest radius section of the fuselage encroaching on feet and head/shoulders of passengers.

      • The A320 wing is an old design by now. If Airbus did the A322 with a 37k PW1137G Engine they would design a brand new carbon wing. This wing would be carried over to the A320/A321 as well. The key is T-O at lower speed/rotation angle allowing the A322 to be stretched aft as well as fwd.

        • I concur with your view… The 320 series needs very little in terms of cabin and cargo dimensions… (AirSpace cabin design brought into this airframe also) But a new wing that can be used throughout the 320/321/322 range (the big sellers) would take the neo well into the end of next decade. Only do what is necessary… Overdoing it is a waste of resources amd carries too much risk.

          • Oh… And the DOOR 2 is replaced as a full size boarding door… On the 322 To help turnaround’s.

        • There is the carbon wing plane flying now which is planned to go to 230 seats – the Irkut MC-21-400

          Trouble is its made by the wrong manufacturer, but if Bombardier assembled it and sold it as their own it would be ‘disruptive’ as they say.

          • It is a bit to small and to not range enough. Strange design spec when they have proven skilled aero and structures designers/manufacturers to fill a gap in the market. I guess it is a political order for a Russian A320 and not really what is found on top of Udvar’s which list.

      • side by side double bubble layout based on the A320 fuselage diameter is structurally simpler and lighter than wide oval, would give 10 wide twin aisle passenger space, two rows of ld3-45 containers in cargo, provide significant lift and an opportunity to hide all the satellite antennas that currently muck up the aero in the valleys of the double bubble

        additionally, moving the wings/landing gear aft and moving the engines to a rearset overwing configuratation (a-la hondajet) would allow shorter (therefore lighter) landing gear while maintaining good rotational angles.

        • There is a chance that a LD3 optimized light weight design fuselage (carbon A330) and slender carbon wings for the 4500nm range would be better keeping required thrust below 40k.

  3. “My job is now to talk to operators to understand if 10- to 20-years from now there will be a market sufficiently large to motivate its own aircraft for this segment. Is there a chance to give this segment its own aircraft? We have’n the answer to that yet.”

    The answer in my view is there is little chance. I imagine a little man in Toulouse just waiting for the announcement from Boeing with his finger poised and twitching over a button marked ‘A322 new wing’

    • In my opinion a new wing is to much but I could expect something Boeing like: folding wing tips.

      Also the trigger to build the A322 is not Boeing. It will be enough costumers asking Airbus to build that aircraft.

      • There is this self-deploying / -folding patent around.

        could be.
        Reduction in High Lift complexity …

      • No the trigger is to build A322 is a possible Boeing move. Airbus now owns the 200 seater narrowbody market. They have zero incentive to be the first mover and waste money when they don’t need to. They can afford to wait and see what Boeing does and then react to that. My money is on an eventual re-wing of the A320NEO with the stretched A322.

      • Maybe not a new wing, but a much cheaper chordwise A346-type wing insert in order to increase wing area. That would lead to a substantial increase in the volume of the wing and thus an elimination of the need to carry ACTs. In order to maintain a high aspect ratio and compatibility with ICAO Category C requirments (i.e. wingspan < 36 m), the wing would have folding wing tips (e.g. the self-deploying / -folding ones that Uwe mentioned).

  4. I agree with Boeing vision. Airbus mentioning the A321LR closely covers the 757 range might be correct. However United pulled the 757 from the Atlantic because it doesn’t have the range to cover the most profitable citypairs reliably. Creating a PR drama for United..

    It seems 4500NM and 200 seats in a realistic 2 class with beds would do. An A321LR + 10-15% in range, capacity, wing, crew rest etc.

    • The 757 already is heavy on fuel use.
      If you add further cost via tech stops
      the attractiveness of a paid off airframe
      diminishes quite a bit.

    • Enter an A321LR re-engined with a RR UltraFan engine in, say, 2025, and you’d get your 4500 nm-plus range and 200 seats in two classes. If anything, the A321LR would very likely grow into an even more potent MOM….

      • I think what you are proposing is the nearly paid for MOM-killer Airbus will come up with if Boeing go for the MOM.

  5. I was just on an A321 the other day,it took forever to disembark. The A330 800 is too heavy.
    Boeing have gone for something cheap and temporary with the 737/10, so I think that there’s going to be some action from Boeing soon. Airbus are either asleep or are very good at keeping things quiet.

  6. In an Airbus-MOM environment, more often than seldom will be raised a Crew Rest issue onboard A321LR and pending the way you solve Crew Rest, it will confiscate a number of seats in what is an otherwise already limited capacity cabin, specially if the operator is a Legacy airline with a three or four classes differentiated product offering. The module economics will dilute over the remaining available seats until whether trip yields can sustain the service becomes questionable. This points to the conclusion that MOM service could well be best adapted for LCC service in preference to Legacy service. For the airframer, the choice of the optimum MOM module needs to take into account these considerations. They entail a need for A321LR MTOW to reach say 104 metric tonnes, another 7 tonnes to go or you fly freight payload limited ?

  7. Boeing must go for it, otherwise they are toast. Go for it means CFRP wing and fuselage and next generation engines. In particular they need to swallow their pride and move to fuselage panels, not barrels. Airbus got it right, Boeing got it wrong!

    They can do it, but they have been burnt by the cost of the 787. Hope they do!

    • FWIW, Airbus could IMJ future-proof the A380 fuselage and move to composite panels on a next generation A380-derived twin family while retaining the existing wing, the entire empennage section (already composite), the lower centre fuselage (centre wing box and MLG bays) and the cockpit section (Section-11) would be retained as well (e.g. Section-11 on the A350 is also metallic) — in addition to all existing systems.

      • The A380 center wing box already is the biggest CFRP item ( still?) around.
        .. and the wing skins are multilayer laminated Al.
        .. part of the fuselage skin is GLARE.

        IMU weigh savings were destined to go a different way.

        • The center wing box would not be changed.

          Large bending moments occur on the centre fuselage. That’s why it’s all metallic on the A380. Also, the lower fuselage is under compression (compressive strength) and there’s a reason why GLARE is not used there.

          An A380-derived twin engine version using a 350-type composite fuselage would be even better for an 80 m to 85 m stretch (i.e. 10 – 15 tonnes in weight savings).

          Furthermore, by re-designing the A380 fuselage it could be optimised for 11 abreast on the main deck. By raising the floors (and doors and windows etc.) by some 10-inches — in addition to a re-sculptured thinner fuselage frames in the area between the floors and windows (compensated for by thicker skins etc.), IMJ Airbus would be able to increase the effective internal fuselage width by up to 20 inches. In short, you’d get exactly the same seat-bottom, armrest and aisle widths at 11 abreast as you’re getting today at 10 abreast — that’s about 50 additional seats for an A380 twin-engined derivative having the same length as the current A380-800.

          • As I understand it, the current A380 already has the best economics in the sky on a per-seat basis… if you can fill it. Building a bigger plane with more seats doesn’t solve that problem.

            It’s like the old sales joke – “We’re losing money on every sale but we’ll make it up in volume!”

          • In my opinion the A380 problem is that the wing is optimized for heavy loads, but the most A380s are use on mid range flights like Dubai-Europe or London-USA. For these flights the loads are not heavy, because you don’t need to carry much fuel.

            The solution would be a stretched A380 with unchanged wing and unchanged engines. It might be reasonful to replace the middle fuselage section made out of metal by a longer section made out of CFRP barrels.

            Another place for optimization is the height and thickness of the second ceiling. If they would lower it, there would be enough width for an additional row of 18″ seats. The structural loads of a lowered ceiling shouldn’t be a issue, because the A380F was planned with the second ceiling at this level. But to make it possible, they need to integrate overhad bins vertically into this structure. Because an overhead bin needs about three frames of width, they have to redisign the ceiling in a way that the horizontal ceiling stiffeners are only need every third frame.

          • Phillip:

            Bjorn has stated its pretty much a wash between panels and the spun fuselage. 6 of one half a dozen of the other, neither is wrong.

            You may still believe Leahy spin that they can replace entire panels but that’s pure nonsense. You damage an area you patch it.

            I will go with his take, he knows that stuff.

        • @Arcanum

          As I understand it, the current A380 already has the best economics in the sky on a per-seat basis… if you can fill it. Building a bigger plane with more seats doesn’t solve that problem.

          If a same sized A380-derived twin with a comfortable 11 abreast seating one the main deck — withsome 50 more passengers than at 10 abreast — would have a 40 percent reduction in fuel costs per trip than the current A380, it would essentially eliminate the competition.

          • The A380 has a marketing/PR problem not a performance problem.
            Too much negative meme instantiated.

            Same issue as the on technical grounds completely satisfactory answer from Airbus for the 787 had.

            The Drug Like Rush did not allow it.
            Takes time for the hypnosis to wear off and customers getting back to real.

            Same for the carefully installed Twin better than Quad meme. Voided any real and balanced comparison.

          • @Uwe

            Despite all of the FUD that has been thrown at the A380, Airbus has still managed to sell just short of 300 units (not counting orders not likely to be delivered). That’s not too bad IMO.

            However, the current version does not take full advantage of the inherent superiority of the platform. That would change in a big way with a next generation A380-derived twin.

  8. The MOM has always reverted in my thinking to the B767 or something with similar configuration and capability but with enhanced efficiency. That being the case I end up with the same questions that remain unanswered:

    1/ how does it compete on a cost basis against the NB competition at the lower end – a mature product

    2/ how does compete against the capability of a A330 800 at the upper end – a mature product

    And critically

    3/ what chance is there that the cost of the programme (minimum $15bn) will ever be recouped in such a highly competitive part of the market?

    • FWIW, a MOM in my thinking would entail both a larger single aisle (i.e. >> 738 and A320) and a twin aisle optimised for significantly shorter range than the current entrants. The A321 is >> than both the 738 and A320, thus it’s already a MOM under this definition, while the twin should be A332/A338-sized and outfitted with a much smaller and lighter wing (i.e. A310/A330/767-sized wing).

      • I agree with you that this is a two ended area. Normand, not heard from him for a while, I hope he is okay, often points out his opinion that a Boeing twin MOM would be a one model product and an economic failure. I guess Airbus might be able to reuse some/most of the A330 airframe with a smaller wingbox and newer smaller wing plus new engines optimised for shorter routes, or if the Boeing MOM was too expencive just re-engine and modify the wings of the A330-200 to create a cheap if not optimal twin isle MOM competitor

        • But remember Airbus need do nothing, the MOM is a Boeing agenda item. The status quo is perfectly to Airbus’s liking. The B767 sold in the region of 1,000 (before f and tanker versions), is that sort of market volume sufficient in volume to make it pay?

          I believe this could be Boeing’s ‘Waterloo moment’ if they take the bait. The upside is limited, the downside is huge and surely they could do something better with the investment funds.

          An alternative use of cash could be to invest in a new, larger wing for the B781 to allow it to compete better with the A359. This will protect the investment in two lines by increasing demand qqand take the fight directly to the A359/1 in a way that seems to be missing at the moment.

          • Maybe, maybe not. That is the interesting aspects is its a lightweight econo baby wide body not the long range wide body.

            I am not saying they can make it work, but I do agree there is a huge gap there.

            Read my post latter on, Airbus does not have it covered.

            There is nothing economical in that region, either its a luxury market that pays or its a scrabble market that is hard to pay as the range and pax load of the A321 is limited.

          • Well, Airbus actually did something: The 330-regional, first delivered to Saudi Arabian in August 2016. For that occasion, Airbus claimed: “The A330-300 Regional is optimized for missions up to 2,700 nm (5-hour flight) covering short to medium haul routes and offers significant cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 tons. The reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs will result in an overall cost reduction of around 20% compared with today’s long-range A330-300.”

          • Its a paper aircraft.

            You don’t carry fuel, you leave the tanks emptier

            Its still an extremely heavy airframe compared to single aisle that is optimized for medium-long distant flights.

            That is not what Boeing is proposing, right or wrong the thinking is an optimized single aisle like aircraft and probably mind wide body.

  9. Meanwhile, in other news, the A350-900 will soon start to be delivered with a wing twist change.

    The site is currently working on wings for 10 A350s at a time as Airbus ramps up production to what will be its highest ever level for a wide-body plane. The factory handed over 72 A350 wingsets last year, and is now working on aircraft no. 144, Gerrard said. The next milestone will be to incorporate a twist in the -900’s wings that’s being introduced with the -1000, he said.

    • This is the problem for Boeing. Airbus are moving forward with CFRP. Specifically Airbus know they can get more out of the A350 by just tweaking it. Same with RR and the Trent XWB. This spells trouble for both the 787 and 777

      Boeing must move forward or Airbus will clobber them by ramping up production and using the profits to build their own MOM with proven technology. Boeing can do it, but they are blinking (“who binks first!”+)

      • Philip: I have bad news for you. The 787 was the FIRST CFRP aircraft. You do realized that? Wing and all?

        The fact that they are tweaking it just tells you they mess things up and now have to fix them!

        • But the tecnological approach of barrels has potentially been a dead end. Given their time again would Boeing go that route? I think not, marginal additional weight benefit but at considerable production and assembly compromises. This is the story of the B787, tech marvel that is providing little future transfer into other products

          • What I do know is Boeing researched their end.

            Regardless of management screw ups and failed execution, the rest has worked and worked well.

            The reality is Airbus had not and they made do with what they could manage.

            The fascinating aspect of it is that what they managed turned out to be very workable. But that was post hind sight, they were scrambling at the time.

            The big chest thumping think about panels vs spun fuselage is puree nonsense.

            You are going to patch a damaged panel just the same as you would the spun.

            I will not claim to know which system is better, I see it as automation vs labor. Lots more hand work on the making of the A350 parts and assembly vs less on the 787. Wings are the same.

            Spinning may not be the way to get an oval fuselage shape.

            Will have to see. Barrel may be dead end, or it may work for the lower and upper ends and not in between.

            Probably a dilemma for Boeing if it does not.

            That is part of what makes it so interesting.

            Classic design trade off inside a tight envelope.

  10. Boeing engineering can do an accurate guestimate on what Airbus has to do to bump the NEO into MoM territory. How much investment / ROI, time to market etc. New wing / wingbox, 2 new 48 & 53 m fuselage etc. , 4-5 billion, 4 years. engines 40k lbs are there. They can come up with a pretty accurate profile within days.

    Apparently they decided to gloriously withdraw upwards & fill in the 787-8 space in the process. Issue is a 2 aisle will always be heavier than a single aisle <250 seats. Plus Sales is probably getting frustrated with the MAX. They get tired pushing a second best solution for another 5 years.

    I've been pushing a CRFP big NB fuselage as compromise for a year now. It would cover some clear advantages over A321 and up provide growth up to 280 seat/5000NM territory.

      • Love it! CGI über alles. 🙂

        flat double bubble with trusses in the cabin to keep it in form.
        engines side by side.
        cockpit window arrangement uncertifiable ( IMHO).
        perfect for a 4 color glossy.

      • take a step back from the D8 because while highly aero efficient it is not structurally efficient due to the flat(ish) sides and top and bottom

        the side by side double bubble though, made of constant radius tubes with a vertical stringer at the join can be almost as structurally efficient at a single tube, provide 10 wide twin aisle and two rows of LD3-45 in a greatly reduced crossection compared to other 10 wide aircraft while gaining significant lift from the fuselage. going with rearset overwing engines and moving the wing and main gear back allows shorter & lighter main gear while maintaining good rotational angles and reducing FOD hazards. Additional fuselage lift provides an opportunity for smaller, lighter wings, further reducing weight and drag.

        this give you a twin aisle A321 equivalent that is only 24 rows long at 220 pax (vs 40 on A321) resulting in dramatically lower turn times, less need for extra structure to hold up that long tube, would quite likely end up being weight competitive and 10-20% better aerodynamically

    • I nice looking, aerodynamically attractive concept. People in the know explained flat pressure vessels are heavy and engines so close together must be certified as one. An uncontained failure of one takes out the other as starting point.

      • you chewed on my words! :-))

        From an engineering perspective there is an efficiency abyss between single aisle and twin aisle designs.
        In years gone by this abyss has silted up ( or been homesteaded) on the NB side while the WB slope shows cliff losses. But it stays an abyss.

    • I also think that this is their best option. It could be 2,2,2 seating also for fast boarding. The seats would be a little narrower but would be 4 aisle seats (most people’s favorite) and 2 window seats per row. This. I think, would be a real game changer. It replaces and improves upon both 37 and 57.

      It needs two sets of wings, a big one for long range and up to 757 length (200, 300 or in between?), and a smaller one for shorter range and shorter fuselage. The fact that they went the simple/cheap/less capable route for max 10 makes me hope they are saving their resources for (something like) this.

      Also agree that that the 7810 with larger wing would make that line much more complete and perhaps take over for the 778.

      If only they would just hire me to be CEO and I’d do it for just $1 million/year. Well they should probably hire Keesge instead.

  11. I think Boeing has more validity here than Airbus, that’s a twist.

    First: The A321 is a very good aircraft, but, 3000 nm range with 200 seats barely gets you across the US.
    So, typical mission in the winter with adverse winds, fuel reserves etc and ????????????

    Sure the LR has its place but you give up Pax for range.

    So then Airbus jump0s to the A330-800 which will not be made and its, you have to be kidding.

    We just went from a 3000 mile aircraft lightweight single aisle to an older design wide body with a 7500 mile range and up to 400 passengers (we are talking the econo regional here) apples to apples, stuff an A321 and stuff the A330.

    So, while there may not be enough market for Boeing to create an all new aircraft for, Airbus certainly does not have it covered.

    Any coverage is too costly (A330) or limited (A321 an version)

    • I think you have summed it up pretty well, my read though is it will come down to oil, market size and what exactly Boeing can come up with at what price. P+W powered A321NEOs will get a PIP in 2019, and a few more by the time a new Boeing NB can enter service, each adding a little range, plus one belly tank might make it a good enough trancon plane, not sure what current US transcon operators are doing? I think I heard that they have one optional tank. Airbus can drop their prices and make it pretty hard for Boeing to get ROI from a large mid range NB. On the upper side the A332 sort of started as a large MOM made from a cut down long range aircraft, which seemed doomed to failure at the time. I can imagine Airbus “reorientating” it back to shorter missions by re-twisting the wing again and re-engining with new tech engines optomised for shorter routes than the 800. They could even do a “new” aircraft on the basis of the A330 like I pointed out above. Either solution keeps the same production system, which is a massive saving. How much they need to do depends on what Boeing offer and what it costs. I suppose they could even do their own MOM earlier than Boeing as they will have the resourses more readily available than Boeing by the looks of it, not that there would be any point at present, but with no share buybacks, or al least big ones, they will have the cash if they need a reply.

      • I think that is what is intriguing on this. There clary is both a too little too much range gap as well as pax gap. When an A330 can carry (even a200) 350 people and the next thing down you can only carry 180 (more fuel tanks) and still barely get the range, that is a gap.

        How does a seriously tweaked A330 or 767 compare to a design specific for the segment? How much would the tweaking cost to really be competitive ?

        Its a given that the inherent weight of the A330 and 767 are dead meat. Efficiency is also never going to be nearly as good.

        And you can only sell for so low.

        So the huge question is can Boeing design and make something like this at an efficient build/low cost ?

        Its really a hugely challenging exercise in design. It should be one for the engineering books.

        I am not saying they can, but I am saying they have it identified correctly.

        I don’t blame Airbus for trying to cover it the way they are, I just don’t buy that it is covered. Either option is pretty cripoled in opeaing eocnomisc comparison.

        Hull cost and an ROI is a differnet story.

        Propuls should benetir equaly with a spec MOM deisng.

    • @TW

      Although I agree with your analysis I do not agree with your conclusion. In the absence of any other current model between A321 and A332 they have this segment to themselves. There are currently the ‘least worst’ option. Obviously a MOM changes that but only in the future and only if Boeing or someone else decides to take the plunge.

      It is surprising that all older candidates B757/767, A300/310 have been retired, or is it instructive of the difficulty in making this segment work for the OEMs

      • I am a bit puzzled. I am not saying that Airbus does not have a very superior product at the upper end of the single aisle market, they do.

        On the other hand, it is not a MOM. Its at best a trans continental US with full or close to full passengers.

        The 757 can do that with ease.

        That is still not a 4500 mile range aircraft that would be unrestricted Trans con US as well as Trans Atlantic (where even the 757 is not a consistent answer).

        Yes you can add tanks to the A321LR and remove Pax and get a semblance of it, but its not a 757 and the economics come into paly as to what you can get the passengers to pay and if there is a return in that.

        Boeing puts 40 people in a BBJ and lots of tanks and can fly 6000 miles. A BBJ is not a commercial passenger aircraft.

        The 757 was not all that economical relatively speaking, just more so than a twin aisle. Also good in high an hot so flexible.

        You can’t claim to serve a market if you don’t have the aircraft that can do it and make money.

        The A321 can’t because it does not have the range/pax ability. Its pretty thin and marginal for returns at best, maybe not at all.

        An A330 simply can’t any more than a 767 can.

        What it means is that baring a really lucrative route, there is no way for Airbus to serve it (nor Boeing)

        Its simply not severed (by anyone)

        To say Airbus has it covered is a spurious claim.

        Airbus has aircraft above it and below it and that is all they can say.

        • i have a we bit of difficulty bringing your narrative on “A321 Boys can’t jump” together with the reasonably hard facts provided by payload/range charts where the A321LR more than covers the 757-200 ( except for that rather small region around the MZFW corner.)

        • @TW

          Your last sentence is what I was saying, the status quo favours Airbus. The only point I was making is that it is incumbent on Boeing to make the first move. They must show their hand

          • Got it and I agree.

            Boeing has themselves in the coffin corner. Airbus does not have to do anything. Only if Boeing does and it looks like a threat.

            And then it gets more interesting in what Airbus would do.

            An A321 stretch and wing would not compete with a mini wide body in my opinion.


            The problem with loo0king at the paper on the A321 is that it lists max range.

            That does not take into account headwinds and fuel reserves, diversions.

            As Bjorn has demonstrated, that slices into the listed by a lot.

            I got to enjoy one of those trade offs in the 80s.
            What was supposed to be a straight flight from Salt Lake Utah to Anchorage AK could not due to the very hot weather and a full passenger load.

            Rather than dump passengers and baggage we stopped in Seattle to fuel up.

            In the age of cheap fuel that was not an issue.

            Trying to do the same on a route that is at the ragged edge in real world terms now is not. People don’t like it, mucks up schedules etc.

            So then you jump to a 767 and hope you can fill it up enough to make it pay.

            Ergo the trade offs

            Probably the worlds most interesting juggling act we seldom see.

  12. Why not spend the money to fix the 787-8 and make it competitive?
    Turn this into a true MOM plane by pulling cost, weight & range from it.

    • The problem goes back to the same thing as the A330.

      The 787 is a very long range aircraft.

      Ergo it has wings, tanks and structure to carry that weight.

      It a very heavy aircraft relatively speaking for a short range flight.

      There is a window you can de-fuel and still do fine, but take it too far and the next aircraft down eats your lunch on economics (the A330 has done some of that on its so called Regional version which is just paper for carrying less fule).

      And then there is the price, all that whiz bang range cost a lot of money to achieve.

      So you pay a lot for an aircraft.

      Boeing has identified this as a single aisle price market at what is a mini wide body need.

      The aircraft has to be much lower cost than a 787 and that’s extremely difficult if not impossible to do.

      Otherwise you take all the lack of efficiency at short range and cost of the 787 and you have to get enough revenue out of your seats (not cargo in this segment) and then make it pay .

      It doesn’t so with a 787 or A330 regional or not.

      Sometimes a driver can make it work. Japan uses the 787 for inter island which is very short. They jam pack passengers in for that.

      They used 747s in a domestic Japan version at one time.

      China is buying some due to slot issues. That’s a relatively small market and will go away when their fast trains are fully networked.

  13. @MartinA

    “Normand, not heard from him for a while, I hope he is okay, often points out his opinion that a Boeing twin MOM would be a one model product and an economic failure.”

    Hello Martin, I am well and was just taking a pause. But the MoM is a subject I cannot resist commenting. Because if done right it could save the show for Boeing. And on the other hand if bad choices are made it could put Boeing into a precarious position.

    My view about the MoM hasn’t changed much. I still think Boeing is in a damn if you do-damn if you don’t kind of situation. If one of the Big Two makes a move it will likely be Boeing first, because Airbus is in a more comfortable position right now. The latter does not cover the entire segment, no matter what they say, but they have a very interesting proposition with the A321 and its potential derivatives. On the other hand, I think Boeing has hit a wall with the old 737 platform, for it cannot be stretched into a small MoM. I think Boeing understands that, and that is the reason why they are proposing a brand new MoM.

    The essence of my thinking on the Boeing conundrum about the MoM is that they should try to do the MoM and 737 replacement at the same time and with the same platform. Also, I think it is impossible to perfectly optimize a MoM, because it falls into a category that is too big for a single-aisle and too small for a twin-aisle.

    The main problem is that a brand new small twin-aisle would be too expensive for the airlines to make it profitable fro them. That is because of its relatively small capacity versus its acquisition cost, and despite the fact it would have a lower operating cost. In other words it’s too big to be cheap and too small to be profitable. Only a big single-aisle can do the job, but with a limit that leaves an important gap in the upper segment of the MoM.

    Boeing has an opportunity here to replace the 737 while addressing the need for a MoM aircraft, in one fell swoop. What I am proposing for Boeing is the equivalent of a six-abreast C Series that would be optimized around what an A320.5 would look like. That would make the latter the base model. With such a platform Boeing would be able to easily cover the 160-240 segment like Airbus does right now; but with a more modern aircraft, like the C Series is for the 110-160 segment, with the CS100/CS300/CS500.

    Acquisition cost is a key point of my reasoning about the MoM. Any new aircraft design is likely to be very expensive to develop, and that is why an aircraft manufacturer has to make sure the market is large enough. The MoM, as currently defined by Boeing, fits the bill for market size, but not for cost.

    • Good to hear from you, I don’t think there is any point in Boeing aiming at less than 737-8 size either. C-series, future MRJ stretches, what will EMB do next and isn’t there talk of an SSJ stretch in the works as well? Too much competition with newish designs by then partly or all paid for. Start at the 737-8 size, give it longish legs to get away from the CS-500, then stretch it to go after the A-321 market seems smartest. Maybe a stretch further into the 757-300 size if anybody wants it, but I think that depends on airports being willing to supply two airbridges, the original 757-300 was a flop. The biggest problem with a twin isle MOM is I calculate that Airbus could offer an A330 derivative under $70 million now the Euro is so low, and I can’t see oil staying over $80 USD barrel for any length of time, negating fuel savings a fair bit.

    • Agreed the MoM should be the foundation of the Max replacement with one diameter for both. The best way to get single aisle cost is with a single aisle. Build on a 757 size wing for a 5000nm+ range aircraft with 190-250 seats and a smaller wing for the 737 market, 138-185 seats. A wider cabin designed for 18″ seats and a wide aisle can also be configured for 17″ seats and two barely legal aisles. You could even reuse the big wing on a short range 2x3x2 or 2x4x2. Use the 777X as the design basis.

      • Normand: Also good to hear from you.

        I have nto a clue if the MOM could be morpehed into the 737RS.

        I do disagree, to quote “I think the 737 has hit the wall”

        I would amend that to “The 737 absolutely hit the wall two generations ago!!

        Back to the interesting part, there is a segment, there is a market, can you design a product that sells at a price Boeing can make money on and the airlines can make money on?

        Airbus saying hey have aircraft above and below it and then claiming they cover the market is pure silly. They don’t serve it at all (nor does

        Shades of Boeing twisting of reality.

        And yes Boeing is against the wall and it will be interesting to see what they do or do not pull out of the hat.

        I have no idea if you can engineer a viable solution to the MOM (Viable make money for Boeing and the airlines) but its doing to be interesting to see.

        And then how much of that can be morphed into a 737RS. and is that enough to make one or the other viable?

        Engineering challenge of the century!

        • “Engineering challenge of the century!”

          Hi TW, it is indeed a tremendous challenge. And I am afraid Boeing might have to wait for new technologies that are not readily available today. But can Boeing afford to wait any longer? I think they can for the MoM, but not for the 737. The only solution I see is a big narrowbody with an extra wide single aisle to facilitate egress. This way Boeing could hit two birds (NSA and MoM) with one stone, the 737XNB, in a similar fashion to what Airbus did with the A350XWB, which answered two challenges, the 777 and 787, with a single platform.

          • Unfortunately egress does not pay the fuel and labor bills.

            If they do it they have to do a optimal design, you may be able to spin some systems off but not a lot else I don’t think (electronics , AC etc)

            Or they could borrow it all from a very up to date 787.

            It would have to be radical, bold leap and all that. D8 is interesting, I am not an aeronautical engineer so can’t say if its feasible, but something along those lines.

            I would think the engine issue could be resolved with a bulkhead between them or different location.

            And they still have that single aisle issue.

            Again, challenges and most interesting for the end result.

  14. There is another MoM option for Airbus: A310neo.
    Just the old A310 with better engines and slightly enhanced wings (sharklets, …) .
    That could be affordable.
    Maybe an A350-10 with far smaller wings and far less MTOW. This I guess would be to expensive.

    • Unfortunately the cross section is very wide and its heavy fore the mission.

      There is a reason it was far more successful in the A330 variant.

  15. By far the best performing solution for a true MoM would be a full CFRP plane of otherwise perfectly conventional build. With the advantages in strength, stiffness and weight you could make a really long body without a weight penalty. To speed up boarding and comfort for long distances a wider isle is all it takes, the 30 inch proposed by kessje looks about right to me.
    With the lower weight and improved aerodynamics the A321 engines would suffice, so not even a new engine would be necessary.
    Of course, such a plane would not come cheap to build and develop. I still expect it to be profitable as oil prices will keep going up and pollution rights will at some point become expensive.
    I think that neither the boeing-carbon-barrel nor the airbus-carbon-sheets are the right method to build them. Both don’t get the best out of this fantastic material. But I am sceptical that there is the engineer with both the vision and the power to get something like this going at Boeing.

  16. Airbus can rewing the A320 into a 757-300. They can’t make it into a twin aisle. To me, the obvious counter move for Boeing is to do what Airbus can’t do, and make a twin aisle of some description.

    • Think again.

      “make a new twin aisle” is the same scope for both airframers.
      i.e. a new standalone project.

      from an organizational and financial vantage point it should be easier for Airbus.

      • True. I was saying that Airbus can build a 757-250 or 757-300 for half of what Boeing can, so that may not be Boeing’s best next move.

        • So you say:
          Due to lack of perspective It is easier for Boeing to decide on doing a new “twin aisle”.

          … and it is less of a voluntary decission too.

          • ho hum.
            Frog on the hot plate of the stove.
            forced to jump and lands in the pot of boiling water. 🙂

            Though in the historic view Boeing hasn’t landed too badly on their earliest forced jumps.

            But looking at the mismatch between how they work through projects and how the share value developed they are consistently much better at accessorizing a potemkinesque scenery.

          • Uwe:

            Too bad you take it that way. Boeign engineers pulled some amazing rabbis out of the MAX hat.

            I am not saying they will, but often that is where you do your best is when the you know what is about to hit (or not hit) the pax jet fan.

            Boeing cold well continue to spiral down.

            Of course then the shares go as well.

            It will be interesting.

            Boeing is on the hot seat and will see if they live or die.

          • Too much eloquence in that statement even for you Uwe!!

      • If they wanted to Airbus can do a new small twin isle and stretch it to cover the original shorter range A330-200/300 market, replacing the A330 range with a new family of 250-300 seat 4500-5500 mile aircraft. As Normand has pointed out before a Boeing MOM would encroach on 787-9 territory if it was built then stretched. Or as I pointed out above barring some type of game changer (I don’t think it will be oil costs, but maybe a carbon tax?) Probably make a A330 version which makes up on price/capacity waht it looses in fuel economy.

        I really do agree that Boeing are in a dammed if you do dammed if you don’t situation and I really think they would have been better off renewing their 737 line. I also suspect that the warmed over “10” plan means they really plan to do nothing.

        • That is where you are wrong.

          Right or wrong, Boeing has identified that 4500 mile segment with some interesting caveats.

          Cargo is not a factor for a MOM. Cargo is a factor for the long range international flights.

          This is not an aircraft that is going to be stretched or shrunk, no idea if it has more than one length.

          The design if they can make it work is range limited deliberately and low cost, also deliberately.

          Its a focused mid range aircraft that could not compete with single aisles on their routes (other than incidental) and it can’t match a 787-9 on its routes.

  17. In 15 years, Airbus and Boeing will both be making a 2-2-2 or 2-3-2 twin aisle and selling plenty. It’s the small sport utility vehicle of planes, sure it costs slightly more to push through the air, but the comfort and added space is an overriding factor.

    • Agree, hope its 2-2-2, Boeing (I’m U.S citizen) and 7 or 8 years, not 15. The comfort of all aisle and window aircraft would be a real game changer (NO MIDDLE SEATS!!!!!) and in its longer range/length versions take sales from the low end of the existing twin aisle offerings.

      • 2-2-2 seating would be great, but when did airlines care about passenger comfort? No airline would give up a row of seats merely for the customer. AA tried “more room throughout coach” and it did not deliver positive results from the flying public. The only “game changers” are aircraft with lower fuel burn.
        Passengers have given up on the idea of flying being comfortable. So a new generation of LCC, Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Easyjet, Ryan air are the fastest growing segment of air travel. Airlines don’t care about the passenger and flyers only want low fares.
        Look how many carriers are adding seats to already tight seating layouts. AA a few months ago said they were adding seats to their 737-800’s to match Delta’s planes. It used to be airlines wanted to offer a better product than their competition, now they openly admit the customer is not their top priority as they all offer the same product.

        • I think you are right that there is a price only market. With the basic economy fares, charging for bags, charging for overhead bags, and seat guru, there is more of a dialing in of value. 2-2-2 represents higher value seats, plus some other benefits, turn times, cargo, cabin comfort, structural depth of airframe, so I don’t think it is cut and dry. However, if comfort is of no value to pilots or passengers, then a CFRP rewing 737 at 50m with today’s GTF engines might be cheaper than a new single aisle.

          Then again if Boeing builds a clean sheet 2-2-2 at 100t, that can take off from Midway with 200 seats for SW, Ryanair can put in 240 seats and harvest the value of the extra aisle. So even LCCs may like it.

  18. Billing said that the 787-8 takes 270 seats. You need close to an all Y configuration in order to achieve that. A

    The 787-8 is in reality usually configured between 210 and 250 seats. This seating makes the gap in the product offering smaller.

    In a premium heavy configuration the 787-8 has 150-160 seats (eg. ANA/JL), and in the other end an all Y LCC configuration with 290 seats (eg. Norwegian).

    • NB seating numbers appear “taken back”.
      Where is the MAX200 and the 9MAX on a row or two away from the A321@ 240 .-)

      This “helping the impaired viewer” aspect is a constant feature across all Boeing publications.

      the actual gap then goes from 220 ( MAX9 max capacity ) to 210 ( your lower regular seating for the 788 )
      strange gab at -10 🙂

      • you need to compare apples to apples when comparing capacity of different aircraft. saying a 737-9 configured at 220 is in any way comparable to a 787-8 at 210 is farcical.

        max-200 is just a dense pack single ULCC configuration of the 737-8, not actually a different aircraft. should they show every single possible seating configuration for every aircraft?

        • The exercise was to show that Boeing carefully selected “fantastic” setups to make their point.
          You should be able to “see” the apples to bananas just like the bananas to apples comparison.

          • no, they selected the same standard 2 class seating for their smaller planes and standard 3 class for the larger ones as they have used for years. just like airbus does (although boeing and airbus use slightly different standards)

            point is, anything coming from boeing or airbus is of course going to be tailored to make their case, as that is what they are trying to do. fortunately we have Scott and Bjorn to sift the BS for us and present unbiased interpretation.

    • “Billing said that the 787-8 takes 270 seats. You need close to an all Y configuration in order to achieve that. ‘
      Well one airline with nearly all Y gets another 50 more than that. Jetstar gets 335 with 21 business and 314 economy. They fly Australia to japan and to Hawaii for their longest routes.

  19. The A330 and 787 are bigger by quite a bit than the A321. In seating at least 50% bigger. By weight, payload/range, and wingspan, about 2 times the A321. Big gab, no Jedi mind tricks will obscure the void. For routes that don’t require giant cargo loads, there is a better aircraft solution that doesn’t pay the drag penalty for the giant cargo hold.
    MoM market is several aircraft in my book. I would imagine the bulk of A321neos will end up in the same 500 to 1,000nm node. That market is an aircraft 25% more seating area with standard 3,000nm range. About a 40m wing that folds into a 36m gate. Could be single aisle or twin, 1.25 times the A321. Second market is 25% more seating area with 5,000nm range, 45m wing, 1.5 times the A321.

  20. For a MoM concepts so far ended up with a 2-3-2 cross section using new materials engines etc. Problem seems if you e.g take e.g 35 row / 245 seats cabin 7 abreast, there is a better alternative. Reduce the cabin cross section by one seat and one aisle / 40 inch and stretch the fuselage 5 rows. A same capacity but significant lighter alternative is there..

  21. Let’s cross-examinate the capacity of MAX-10 = MAX-9 + 66″ = 1100″ + 66″ = 1176″ – 10″ = A321 – 10″ … deduct 20″ for legroom up front in row 1 less passageway @ emergency exits overwing = 2 x 10″ less ditto aft of the wingbox = 36″ = (net) 1166″ – 20″ – 20″ – 36″ = free cabin space 1090″ … I can’t see how Boeing can fit more than 28 rows or 228 seats unless reducing the pitch to 27″ for a dozen rows or so ? (cabin length is from rhs doorsill 1L to lhs doorsill 4L = eg exactly 56 frames = 21″ x 56 = 1176″ for A321). Conclusion : when Airbus (resp. Boeing) assert that max capacity @ 28″ pitch of A321 is 240 pax (resp. of MAX-10 is 230 pax) they both get Pinocchio noses. It is safer to propose A321 = 231 pax/MAX-10 = 222 pax. With these cabin densities, the airport rotations will exceed 60-65 minutes. Return flights per 24h in TRANSCON service = twice, or less with curfew … Both aircraft become affected by the infamed “757 syndrome”

  22. You can only stretch a single aisle so long before you start having to take away seats to accommodate mid cabin lavs and/or galleys, then the stretch becomes counter productive. As well, the longer the tube, the more weight has to be added to stiffen it.

    I have no idea if the 321 is there yet, but eventually there will be a limit.

    I suggest Boeing consider the 767 MAX. Genx -2B’s from the 748, some aero tweaks and it’s out the door by 2020. It’s 80,000lbs lighter than the 788/338 with essentially the same gen engines. In fact, the gap is even bigger since the 788/338 seem to be too much aircraft for the MOM, and the bottom of the twin gap are the even bigger and heavier 789/339.

    That puts the weight advantage of a 767max at closer to 100,000lbs. Just think of the cost savings alone of 50 tons of aircraft materials. There would be no problem under cutting the bigger twin aisles on price.

    The 2B’s are only 1500lbs each heavier than the RB211’s currently installed on the 767 and around 15% more efficient, and there’s lots of room under the 767 wing. That’s right around the weight increase on the 320NEO for the engines. The final kickers are that they are already bleed engines and the 767 has a long history of sharing engines with the 747.

    Basically 200-300 seats, trans con/atlantic, (even near trans pac), range….with cargo.

    The 321neo gets the lower half of the MOM market and the 767MAX gets the upper half.

    The best part is that the aircraft is still in production, as are all the parts needed for the mods, including the engines. Essentially, the only new bits needed would be pylons.

    Sure, for under 200 seats and 3000nm, the 321neo would be the way to go, but above that, the 767max would take over.

    • Been saying the same thing for a long time. If the 737 while being older than the 767 and yet it has had 4 upgrades, the 767 is the right size, I figure the -200 as the -300 enters the 787-8 territory but then again, the -300 might be a good 787-8 lower cost replacement. The line is still open and it could be a low cost option for the airlines and for Boeing.

      • And Airbus can raid their parts bin…..

        A310 sized fuselage
        A330 nose flight deck
        A350 systems and FBW
        A new carbon fibre wing and empennage

        All brought together on the existing A330/350 FAL

        A ‘new’ MOM for $5bn

        Slight problem is it needs an engine

  23. Classic Boeing . . . study forever and dither . . . 737 max redux, 737-10 redux . . . meanwhile the market place has moved on . . . hats off to Airbus for understanding the marketplace and making decisions

    • I think that’s both accurate and incorrect.

      Airbus did indeed dither in face of the 787 challenge.

      Boeing just did not deliver ion the 787.

      Eventually Airbus wound up with a very interesting mxi. Have to see how it does long term but definitely interesting .

      As no one is selling well how it all plays out is a bit out beyond the horizon.

      A330NEO sales not stellar either. Maybe enough to pay for the NEO but not making money territory.

      And we don’t know what happens with the 800

      • for Airbus the 787 sales success was not really an engineering challenge. IMU Took a day or two to sink in at Airbus.

        • Hmm, more like A330 Rev 1 to 3 or 4 and then the A350.

          Day or two turned into 4 years?

          What is also interesting is we are back to A330 Rev 1 and have to see how that does.

          • I think what Uwe is getting at is that the price/cost relationship of the B788 did not add up. In the UK BMC introduced the mini in 1959. Ford were worried about the success until their engineering dept pointed out it cost more to produce the car than they were selling it for. I get the feeling that Airbus started realising that the ‘success’ of the B788 was bleeding Boeing dry, at least that is what has turned out.

          • My theory is that the XWB was floated when it was predictable that the 787 would turn FUBAR.
            A330 would soldier on. while the 787 sales success turned Pyrrhic.

            ..(un)surprisingly that was the time when massive A380 hazing started. So Boeing was aware internally leveraging astroturfing for containment.

            I was rather taken back at the time. local sources where lackluster. Germans were busy with completely different things like navel inspection.
            English speaking fora and news sites turned much more technical information over. Though some participants and authors intensely lived american exceptionalism.

  24. Legacy exploitation of A321LR NEO in TATL service is with lie-flat sleeperettes in FC à la JetBlue TRANSCON (see Seatguru) @ 80″ pitch or 60″ askew 1+1 opposite the centre aisle and with Premium 2+2. The rest (E+ and YC) is 3+3. Compare this with H21QR (also LR NEO) and you get FC 1+1+1, Premium 1+2+1, the rest (E+ and YC) is 1+3+1… Summing up, going twin aisle, the loss of seats on main deck is less than twenty seats. On lower deck you’d have :
    – A321 fwd hold = ACT CIL CIL CIL CIL/ aft hold ACT ACT AKH CIL CIL vs
    – H21QR fwd hold = ACT AKH AKH CIL CIL/aft hold ACT ACT AKH AKH CIL (or ACT ACT AKH CIL CIL pending COL vs CIL arbitration)
    (CIL = checked-in luggage/ACT = auxiliary container tank/AKH = LD3-45 with payfreight/COL = carry-on luggage)
    Summing up, you get two, possibly three more AKH in H21QR, worth the equivalent of 20, possibly 30 extra pax in equivalent revenue generation, with on top the enhanced in-flight APEX conviviality and easy service of the twin aisle cabin, plus the quicker turn-arounds and faster CIL redelivery on top, pointing at H21QR on a long list of accounts as the better choice in particular for MOM operations.

    • Same story, if you can sell it you don’t need to optimize.

      Concorde cost a ton of bucks for a seat and they sold out.

      It still lost money. Somewhere in there you need bulk number and cattle class (aka Titanic) to pay for that luxury.

      You can make an A321LR fly 8000 miles with 40 people, but can you make it pay the rent?

      • “You can make an A321LR fly 8000 miles with 40 people, but can you make it pay the rent?”

        British Airways seems to think so.

        • FWIW, traditional full service network carriers make money with premium classes and rather lose money with cattle class.
          So it’s exactly the other way round: Luxury pays for cattle.
          (And Concorde did not lose money, at least with British Airways. It is estimated to have made them a billion pounds.)

          • Baloney!

            you need the scale gains from a larger plane ( to provide room for cattle class ) to make money on premium offers.

            Otherwise carriers would only use business jets with a handfull of premium seats and get stinking rich from solely ferrying the unbearable rich.

          • Every business only carrier ever has gone bankrupt. Problem is business pax are fair weather friends, as soon as money gets tight they move to cattle class, now the question is do they pick and choose cattle class, ie is that the reason airlines like SQ and ANA still do well, or do they just go from business to cheapest, I have my doubts about that, so I think legacy airlines are making a mistake when they try and make their tourist class worse than an LCCs.

          • Ahh but the rub is, there are very few routes this works on.

            Sure London to NY is one of them.

            But not that many flight and not that many destinations work that way.

            Either they have the bucks and their own aircraft or they are not quite so entitled and fly with the rest of us smucks!

          • TW, a few years ago Sandilands on Plane Talking wrote that he was once driving with an unidentified airline CEO or COO around Sydney Airport, when they passed the bizjets part of the apron said person looked sadly at them and and commented, “that’s where my premium pax are going.”

          • If they can manage it for sure.

            Heck I would too if I had the bucks.

  25. Sustainability of MOM newbuild operations vs narrowbody-derived compromised MOM operations (based on an existing vector sourced from a since long amortised FAL, eg A321) would require frog-leap technology advances, emerging from today’s technology pipes … the main thing we have is graphene structures, said to be ten times stronger than steel whilst @ 5 % the density, or 200 times more efficient … the challenge is to produce graphene in industrial quantities. Remains to be verified are mechanical properties (elasticity, resilience to fatigue etc) … Time horizon tbd, but graphene technology is making resolute advances in the right direction :

    • Graphene are a long time until they will be used in whatever product. Maybe in 30 years from now we will talk about the material to be considered for commercial aircraft, but I would expect them to be way to expensive for large structures even beyond that. So in this discussion graphene are of no relevance, sorry.

      • Says Barack Obama : We Can Do It ! … @ Gundolf : you’ll be surprised how fast graphene technology will evolve, because there the Engineers have really got hold of some very promising materials, and development timing is inverse proportional to the frogleap accomplished.

        Anyway, whichever, any MOM newbuild’s horizon at the earliest is for end of next decade, ie for 2028 or beyond, moving further back into the later horizon with every tweak incorporated onto A321 (or onto sister A322 when/if launched). Also A338 will be further tweaked, so Airbus’ MOM line-up is resilient until well into the end of next decade … So the one desparately needing graphene composites, graphene 3D printing, lost wax casted liquid graphene or whatever else we fathom could emerge through that famous pipe is Boeing in the first place, or else the MOM market stays reserved solely for Airbus to milk …

  26. In my view Airbus should design a new wing that will hold much larger amount of fuel for the A321/A322, ideally close to 20.5 tonnes from the current 12.5 tonnes. Another 6.5 tonnes are placed in the center tank, so in total you will get 27 tonnes of fuel compared to the maximum 23.5t in 93.5tonnes NEOs with 2 ACTs and 25tonnes in NEOLR (2+1/2 ACTs). The wing should be CFRP for neutral weight gain/loss vs. the current one. If they can move the fuel from the 3 ACTs, to the wing then they shave off 1.4tonnes. If they can shave off another 0.6tonnes from the rest of the frame that is in total 2 tonnes OEW gain, so the OEW remains the same. In theory if you can get 5% from improved wing a25ero and 3% from GTF PIPs (for 2022 introduction) you get to nominal 4220nm range from the current 3900nm. With the extra 2t of fuel you get another ~350nm for a total of 4600nm range. The MTOW remain the same at 97.5t; 27t for fuel, 18t for payload (185 pax) and 52.5t operating weight. An A322 (+4.5m stretch) with the same wing and the same MTOW would be at ~3600nm. The OEW will go to 55.5t and the payload to 20t(+4J+18Y). Fuel will have to be reduced then to 22t. So the A322 will take over the A321 in distances flown previously by A321neo. Any MTOW gain will enhance the range of the A322 close to 4000nm with the ACTs.

    • And there is the rub. You do all that and still only carry 185 passengers.

      I don’t say Boeing can make it work, but if it works the way they have it penciled out, you carry upwards of 250 passengers at the full 4500-5000 mile range.

      We have seen the fuselage length limits on the 757-200 and the 300 is worse yet.

      • I think the MOM challenge is to design an aircraft that is small enough to open new markets thru direct flights, optimized for medium-long haul, and at the same time do this in a profitable way.

        No aircraft has a lower cost per seat mile than the A380, but that doesn’t help when the airlines are not able to fill all those seats.

        “CV”s suggested aircraft seems like it is a highly optimized variant of the A321, a 200 seat aircraft with limited to no additional cargo capabilities except passengers bags. Nominal range is estimated to around 4600 nm. Since additional cargo capabilities are near nonexistent, real world range will be much closer to nominal range than it will be for a widebody with significant cargo capabilities.

        Your suggested 250 seat widebody with 4000-5000 nm range sounds like an A330-300 replacement. A legacy carrier will usually configure an A330-300 from around 220 seats (eg. Lufthansa) to around 260 seats plus (eg. American). OEM catalog nominal range is always without any additional cargo. A fully loaded A330-300 with 250 passengers onboard and extra cargo, is able to fly about 4000 nm. The neo will be able to so more than that.

        To me it seems like you want the Boeing MOM to be the same size as the 787-8/9, just optimized for shorter range? This would then become the A330 killer the 787 was supposed to be, but failed at.

        I think such development would come at a great cost to Boeing, and as a consequence it would be much better to “misuse” the 787-8/9 for those shorter routes, and at the same time retain the fleet deployment and aircraft utilization flexibility (can do long haul when needed).

        • I’d like to turn your attention to

          specifically taking note of this statement:
          “A lighter version, at 195 tonnes (430,000 lb), would have flown up to 8,060 km (4,350 nmi; 5,010 mi).[158] The aircraft would have had 5 per cent better specific fuel consumption than the A300-600, powered by either the CF6-80G2, PW4000, or the Trent 500″

          More weight from structure for bigger, better wing is an advantage. going from there to expansion of range assisted by load aleviaton of wing fuel ..
          In a way similar to why the 783 didn’t make much sense.

      • @TW If you want to carry 250 pax at 5000nm at this range A338 or B788 would do it and pretty efficiently, since they will be in the optimum point of the PR chart. The reason I am targeting 4600nm is for 3900nm real range (nominal for NEOLR) that will open more secondary cities in Europe or North America to major hubs on the other side of the Atlantic. MSP, STL, MKB, MKE for example in USA or HAM, LYS, HAJ in Europe. BLR and HYD in India will reach Europe in a very efficient way. It is a very different story to try to fill 185 or 200 seats and 250 seats every day from secondary cities where MOM’s bread and butter is. JetBlue or even Ryanair would be tempted to start TATL pairs with such an optimized frame that fully embraces their business model. The embarking/disembarking time I don’t think its an issue for planes targeting 8-9 hours flying time. Many people claim a 767MAX would be a viable solution for the MOM, but compare this frame for a mission of 3-4000nm to my proposed NEO^2 (NEO-S). The OEW difference is more than 40% (57.5t A322 vs. 80t. 762) for no more than 10 pax difference and I am assuming the 762MAX will not gain any weight during MAXing. Good luck with that. 763MAX would be an interesting plane without any close competition, but then think Boeing line up. All families will be comprised of single models. 738, 763, 789, 779. Not very appealing to airlines. And please before starting any claim about cargo, look at the number of cargo planes in the desert or the 25 widebodies coming out each month from Airbus or Boeing assembly lines.

  27. I think 4500-4700NM nominal range enormously improves the value of a MoM like aircraft. Because of the size of the Atlantic and city locations in US and Europe. The 757 clearly fell short.

    • Yes!

      I think a 200 seat aircraft (2 class) that is able to fly a scheduled flight time of up to (not exceeding) 10 hours, would be perfect. A long ranged narrowbody would probably be best, because of the economics.

      The 757-200 fell short, and I’m afraid the A321LR also lacks some range.

  28. Ya’ know, there’s a lot of talk about Boeing building some kind of magic “MoM”, but the more I listen, the more I think it’s empty rhetoric. Hey…after Boeing’s experiences with the 787, the 747-8 and the KC-46, I think Boeing’s management is well aware that another new Boeing aircraft program would just be another new financial debacle. Consequently, Boeing is using its new-found money to buy back shares ($19 Billion and counting), or just giving it away in elevated dividends. And I believe that this situation will continue until the aircraft boom is over and Boeing won’t even be rich in cash any more. Seriously, I think the 787 was the last new-aircraft development program Boeing will ever attempt.

    And when the 777 Cash Cow has died (and the 777x never becomes a Cash Cow), and the 787 is forever put under pricing pressure by the a330-900, and the 737Max is slowly eaten by the A320NEO – it will finally occur to people that Boeing doesn’t even have the cash to build a new aircraft even if they wanted too. I believe 2016 was the year of “Peak Boeing”: the year that will set the all-time watermark for Commercial Aircraft Profits. From here on out it’s going to be fewer 777s, unprofitable 787s and decreasingly profitable 737s for the long haul. I figure the year 2020 will be the reckoning – the year when 787 and 777 backlogs become noticeably thin and it becomes obvious to all that Boeing has blown it.

    But that’s just my opinion based on a lot of analysis. I could be wrong.

    BTW, here’s some stunning facts to consider (facts that give us a hint of the future):

    1. As of today, there are more A320s flying the sky than any airliner in history.

    2. Since the introduction of the Boeing 787, the Airbus A330 has outsold it and continues to outsell the 787 in 2016 (with no end to the A330 Victory Run in sight).

    3. Last year, the A350-1000 outsold the 777

    4. No one has placed an order for a 787-10 for over 2 years.

    5. No one has place an order for the 777x in over a year-and-a-half.

    • Considering this is a lull in orders, I would not be surprised.

      I would like to see the attribution for more A320s flying than 737s though.

      And agreed, Boeing has to decide if its going to build aircraft or turn cash over to shareholders with a very firm end in sight.

      • In July last year flight international had 2 more 737 of all kind (100-900) flying than A320. Since then there have been delivered more A320.

        • Airbus A320 family 6.510
          Boeing 737-600/700/800/900 5.567
          Boeing 737-200/300/400/500 945

          Source: Flight Fleet Analyzer data for 20 July 2016

      • If you look at the about 20 years timeframe from the first in service 737NG, Airbus has gradually eaten market share with the A320ceo family.

        Now there are more A320 family aircraft in service than all version of the 737 combined. Looking at the order backlog of the neo and MAX, this trend seems to continue.

        I think Boeing should design a new narrowbody family, a family that includes a MOM sized/range narrowbody. It is wise to this while the 737 backlog is healthy. It is time for Boeing to once again have two narrowbody families.

        • Eaitng so called market share and actualy deliveries are two different things.

          On the long time line yes sales market share should equate to real world

          But as they are both producing the same number of aircraft per month, then that falls short.

          Its not like Ford and the Mustang. Wildly popular the first year and they shifted things around so the 2nd and 3rd year they increased production dramatically .

          I know there have been ups and down more so for Boeing but year in year out they make the same number.

          So actual market share is currently a wash.

          If Boeing can’t sell 42 a month in 2020, that’s where the sales beings to show but that is still sales share, market wise its 51/49, then 52/48 etc.

          Or, Boeing does what they need to and upend the apple cart.

          Where I do see Airbus doing well is the A321. As the 900/9 is not a real competitor, they have to be making better money on that.

          That is a real impacts financially .

          Other aspect is Boeing put a lot more money to upgrade the 737 that Airbus did the A320 series. More money to Airubs.

    • Funny but the last year I have been asking myself why Boeing partners with EMB to market the KC-390, and Saab for T-X, and Lockheed for B-21 tender. Does this mean that Boeing’s management see more money in marketing and services than production? Will we see in thirty years time Boeing turned into the aeronautical equvalent of a car dealership? I can’t help wondering, but it is a while since they got a big state of the art military program, only bits and pieces lately, and it looks like their own management don’t feel confident dealing with a clean sheet of paper on the commercial side. Very, very sad.

      • If they don’t change what they are doing they may not even be a dealership.

        So we see the possible futures.

  29. This may be a stupid question, so maybe someone can educate me.

    It sounds like a twin aisle is not efficient for the MoM seat count, but a single aisle becomes too long, with boarding and exiting issues.

    A747 fuselage is wider in the front (vertically) and then tapers down near the wing area. So I’m thinking, why couldn’t a MoM use a similar concept?

    I’m thinking of a fuselage with both a twin aisle section and single aisle section? The fuselage would be wider horizontally (more oval) in front of the wing, either 2+2+2 or 2+3+2. Then around the wing it would taper to a narrower 3+3.

    This would make boarding and unboarding faster, since there are two aisles in the front half of the aircraft. This would also reinforce the class system, which airlines really like. (High class in the twin-aisle section, low class in the single aisle section)

    My first thought is that an oval fuselage may not work in the horizontal direction, or would exceed the height of the 3+3 section, causing drag issues. But I’m also thinking that this transition could be handled in the wingbox area, where there’s often some extra bulk protruding out from the fuselage.

  30. It’s an interesting thought experiment, as to what would happen if Boeing stopped today with new aircraft programs. There’s a lot of aerospace engineering talent in the United States still. It would be fascinating to see what would fill the void.

    • It’s an interesting thought experiment, as to what would happen if Boeing stopped today with new aircraft programs.

      What would fill the void?

      Why not “AeroX” (subsidiary of SpaceX) — OEM for next generation aircraft using disruptive technologies such as electric and hybrid propulsion.

  31. I’m intrigued by MAX-10 designed for the low MOM end. They say it rotates at take-off around a point pushed backward thanks to a fancy aft-pointing kink in the MLG structure, or is it around the rear axle of the boogie ? Anyway, the fuselage is stretched another 66″ = three Boeing 737 NG fuselage frames of 22″ each = 1m68 beyond MAX-9 … can anybody of the privileged insiders here tell me how many of those frames are added up front of the wingbox vs how many are added back aft of the wingbox ? Because to my appraisal, three frames is not so much, so maybe the balance of the aircraft would tolerate those three frames being added all three UP FRONT, then you concentrate ($$$$ oblige) on reworking the pipes/ducts/wiring etc for only the fwd fuselage section, leaving the aft section untouched or close ? … This reflexion brings to my fertile mind a feeling of uneasiness … could it be that Boeing intends to let its newest MAX-10 champion fly with a BALLAST hidden hush-hush somewhere in the aft tailcone, without telling the world ?

    • Ballast would be inefficient but if it has the performance and the airlines are happy with it, what would be the problem?

      • @ Aero Ninja, the problem is this : take a ballast of 200 kg … that’s about the weight of two pax with luggage, so it generates a delta fuel consumption (on the cost side of the yield equation) 0f twice 40 grammes of fuel per nm, so if we assume four daily flights of 1,000 nm each, times 340 days per annum = 54.4 tonnes of spilt fuel/year per aircraft times the number of units in your fleet … now then because of that ballast, you cannot fill up your aircraft to maximum payload, so you lose twice the ticket RASK on each and every flight … let’s estimate this in the context of Norwegian (738) : twice 0.71 NOK = RASK which add up to 0.71 x 2 x 1,000 x 4 x 340 / 8 in Euros or 241,400 €/year per each aircraft of lost revenue (on the revenue side of the yield equation) … times 200 units in the fleet out there, or you spill the equivalent of the list price of a factory-new 738 every year. Now, I’m not worried for Norwegian, Kjos went for the A321LR …

        • and I forgot to convert the nm to kilometers, so you need to multiply by a factor of 1,852 … CQFD

          • I understand all about weight, thank you very much.

            You implied that Boeing were to somehow secretly hide ballast in the tailcone of their aircraft as if it were a big no-no. Obviously not the desired solution, but depending on the circumstances, a perfectly legal solution.

            Considering that the customer gets a full weight report with delivery of the aircraft, this “secret, additional weight” conspiracy theory of yours seems a bit …. unrealistic.

            My question was somewhat tongue in cheek because, and sorry that I have to repeat this, if the customer is happy with the performance, they don’t care if their is ballast in the tailcone. The corollary being, if the plane does not meet the performance that was specified, they will be unhappy. This is all irrespective of secretly hidden ballast being installed in the tailcone.

            Ok, they would probably prefer that it wasn’t there, but if the aircraft meets the performance specs, there is no real problem.

          • Looks like the 707-820 might have needed some ballast.

            Plus, don’t the new engines on the MAX move engine weight more forward, which needs to be balanced with more weight aft? Some articles say the 737-7 stretch is 30″ forward and 46″ aft. If all this is correct, it is definitely working against the 10.

            Perhaps they should stretch the MAX 8/200, 30″ forward and 40″ aft. More airplane, no gear change.

  32. Seems like Trans World has a problem with Airbus claiming they have the MOM covered.

    So it might be a bit hyped (WOW, Airbus or Boeing hyping something) but in their eyes, they have it covered or are at least happy with the way they have it covered and are happy with their future plans for it. Some of the people seem to believe that Airbus only has one or two plans going forward. I am sure that they are continually looking at multiple options, as are Boeing.

    It seems that the big difference between the two companies, which many here over the years have bemoaned, is the basis on which the decisions for these options are made.

    I think most would agree that Boeing is not satisfied with their coverage of the MOM and that the solution to getting satisfactory coverage is not going to be easy to find or execute.

    • .. Boeing is not satisfied with their coverage of the MOM ..

      No way around for Boeing to define their brainchild MOM to exclude anything the competitor offers. ( by an iron grip on definition and by maiming capabilities reach of available products )

      “Bold move into regions were no airframer ever went before”.

    • Aero Ninja:

      I wish people would read what I say and not what they think I am saying.

      I have a problem with Boeing or Airbus making spurious claims.

      Airbus does not have this segment covered. They have an aircraft above it that is very economical for its mission (A330-900NEO) and they have a very good aircraft below it (A321CEO and NEO)

      That’s why its called a GAP. They have nothing in between.

      Of course Airbus is happy, they have Boeing in a corner in the single aisles with the A321 and are even on the A320.

      I don’t blame Airbus for being happy with that state of affairs.

      Well done to Airbus and luck that Boeing is so stupid as to have kept making the 737 instead of replacing it.

      The A330 was a lot of luck based off a good job done on the A300 series which was not a hot seller. Some luck it fitted cargo schemes for FedEx and UPS and sold there.

      You can tell from Airbus statement they dread finding Boeing can make a MOM. That because they do not have it covered.

      When I wrestled I was in between weight classes my first year. To help the team out I moved up a weight class for the tournament .

      When I got to the top wrestler, they whipped my butt. Because I could not compete with the muscle they had.

      So, our team had it covered, but it was lame at best. I wound up taking 3rd only because the guy I wrestled committed two fouls.

      Otherwise I was a 4th place finisher plane and simple.

      If Boeing can make it work and does go for it, then Airbus has noting to compete in that segment because they do not have it covered.

      Coming in 3rd, let alone 4th does not cut it there.

      • “The A330 was a lot of luck based off a good job done on the A300 series which was not a hot seller. Some luck it fitted cargo schemes for FedEx and UPS and sold there. ”


        From your post it sounds like you think the A330 is just a “Lucky Airplane” that somehow made good. I can’t imagine why you think it’s an accident. Maybe it’s one of the all-time Great Planes? I mean, the A330 is the plane that ended the 767 and helped destroy the 777-200s business case, and has faced down and forever beaten the 787-8. Additionally, the A330-900 is going to put pricing pressure the Boeing 787-9 from here on out. Is it any surprise that more A330s were sold last year than 787s? Or that the A330 has outsold the 787 since the 787s introduction?

        The 787-8 was the plane that was going to obsolete the A330, yet after $20 Billion in development costs and $30 Billion in Defferred Production Costs the 787 is still being outsold and will never – not ever – turn a profit on the program.

        As a result of all this, I would say the Airbus A330 is an aluminum-wrapped legend with wings: a bonafide Money-Maker and Heart-Breaker. And….not just “Lucky”.

        • With all good work there also tends to be luck.

          You really need to go back a bit on the whole thing.

          The 767 was deigned to outdo the A300. It did.

          Then Airbus stretched the A330. I have yet to see anyone ever claim that was the original intent. They picked a good fuselage width for the A330, not so for the A300.

          That in turn put a grip on the 767, but I will note that it is still going strong in tankers and freighters. They also made 1000 of them before the tanker and latest freighter orders.

          Best thing Boeing did for Airbus was to chase it out of that segment (maybe that and the 787 production debacle)

          If Boeing had done their job right, they would have sunk the A330.

          Boeing hosed it up and gave the A330 an opening that Airbus took full advantage of.

          They then took what had been spurned (A330+) and turned it into a 787 competitor (which they tried to do in the first place.

          One of the biggest A330+ critics has then turned into the greatest A330+ proponents.

          So yes there was luck involved and also a good tech work done.

          What I also know is mechanics who hate working on the A300./310. It may be a great bird when it runs and a miserable thing to work on at the same time.

          Not the sort of information you get out of public data.

          Right now not much is selling so we won’t know how the A330+ fares in the long term.

          We also do not know if the 787 ever makes an ROI.

          How lucky can you get your competitor just hoses one thing up after another on a perfectly viable program turning it into the financial disaster of all times?

          I got to fly an A300 in its early days. Long over the water route in Asia. I am thinking, man, I do not like this. I want 4 engines.

          We made it. Seemed an ok bird, 767 like. Not a DC-10 which I did not like.

          • All airbus wide body craft before the A350XWB have the same cross section @222″.

            Let me tell a different narrative:
            The initial 767 was concurrent with the A310.
            ( nice article on Flight Global around from that time, good read. )
            Boeing took a smaller cross section to achieve longer range, Airbus took a fundamentally new wing design while keeping the cross section.

            While the 767 evolved and sold well the A320 was developed ( binding much devel capacity )
            Then the A340/A333 combo was introduced.
            The more efficient cross section (from A300) stunted further 767 sales. 767-400 counter did not really work out.
            This forced the 787 less than a decade later ( more or less directly sitting on the at the time more successful A330-200 slot.
            see: a Chinese copy 🙂

          • @TW

            You persistently refer to the B787 program being the problem. I feel we have to put a lot at the door of the original design as well. To see a state of the art new build barely outperform the incumbent shows that Boeing got something wrong.

            I feel it is down to the fuselage sizing above all. The 787 and 777 were designed around 8 and 9 abreast respectively. This gave an almost inconceivable (now) 19+ inch seat for both and wide aisles. This proved uncompetitive against the smaller 18 inch seats that Airbus was touting.

            The only way to gain the performance hike was to take the 787 9 across. So the original spec for the 787 damaged its chances considerably. The 222 inch width of Airbus appears to have enduring appeal as the best compromise in terms of weight, egress, passenger comfort etc etc

          • Personally I think Boeing’s big mistake was in definition, they defined the 787 with too long a range, got talked into it I suspect by airlines who wanted to move a lot of belly freight, not a good market these days. IF Boeing had taken straight aim at the A330 they would have built a much lighter, much cheaper 250 seat 5000 real mile, well, come to think of it a MOM, and the economics would have thrashed the heavy long range A340 derived A330-200. The 787-9 would then have started as a 300 seat 4500 mile aircraft. 10 years of continual development would have added range. Some operators might have complained that they wanted more cargo but the A330 would be dead and buried and same operators would have been left with no choice in the matter..

          • The A330 cross section is not more efficient it is less. I carries more people better and as a large aircraft has that scale to work with.

            The longer the better and that is what made it function so well, it grew into its width.

            Note the A350 is wider still. Also longer.

            As the 787 has sold something like 1200 Aircraft, I don’t begin to see that as a bust.

            Airbus made a good recovery, but if Boeing had executed a real viable plan, they would have been on the ropes.

            Boeing didn’t. Shade of Mark Clark going to Rome in WWII. Screwed up the battle plan for his ego and let the German Army escape a beautifully executed trap.

            Boeing need a lot less Mark and a lot more Patton at the Battle of the Bulge (note a nice man, but his army and staff was so good, they turned an attacking Army on a dime 90 degree, marched 90 miles and attacked, that does not happen by luck)

            Sadly Boeing is Mark and not Patton.

  33. Uwe:

    Really? Can’t you accept that Boeing noted this first, defined it and now Airbus is knocking it?

    I can readily agree that Boeing may not be able to make it work, it may b e impossible engineering wise with the material and the restriction of a lower price.

    But at least give them the credit when they ID that there is indeed a clear gap there, not to mention its not served.

    ” Boeing is not satisfied with their coverage of the MOM ..

    No way around for Boeing to define their brainchild MOM to exclude anything the competitor offers. ( by an iron grip on definition and by maiming capabilities reach of available products )

    “Bold move into regions were no airframer ever went before”.”

    • “Really? Can’t you accept that Boeing noted this first, defined it and now Airbus is knocking it?”

      No other place to go. That imho is not “inventing” in my book that is “retreating”. ok it both ends in “ing” 🙂

    • “Meanwhile, here’s a video on the Beluga XL where Airbus, among other things, is paying homage to the Super Guppy.”

      And…of course. That is the Airbus way. Airbus realized the “Supper Guppy” was the greatest thing since sliced white bread, so they used it as much as they could until they needed a replacement: which was even better and more imaginative than the “Super Guppy”.

      There is no shame in admitting that the other guy has a better idea, accepting the idea, and then moving on. Airbus can do this. Boeing can not do this. As a result, Boeing built the “Dreamlifter”: an electrical and hydraulic disconnect nightmare that can’t even pull it’s nose into the the factory to unload!

      Does the nightmare ever end?

      • And these days 500 in the air and quietly buzzing around the planet reliably hauling passengers where they decided they wanted to go.

        • I think you misunderstood him. He’s talking about Beluga vs Dreamlifter, not about the 787. Airbus is amazingly wise when it comes to designing airlifters, or Boeing is spectacularly shortsighted in the same topic. Dreamlifter is a dead end, it cannot be accommodate in a loading facility like Beluga, it has to be loaded/unloaded on the tarmac, and it cannot carry the midsection of the 787-10. Boeing seems to design it for exactly one use-case.

          • Damn, some grammar mistakes again. I’d love to have 5 minutes grace period after posting in which comments can be edited!

      • Looks like there is an EASA limit for 5 frames to fly on an “experimental” cert.
        Reason why there are five ST Belugas.
        Same for five new XL Belugas.
        The original set of 5 will at some time in the future have reached their service life. but overlap was to reach quite a bit into the next decade.
        Either Airbus makes the effort for a full cert or another frame will be “belugaed”.

        There was an interesting document around disseminating this and the wide spread of options how the next Beluga should be derived when the transport expansion was up for a decision. Lost at the moment, someone may have a link around?

    • True, however the A330neo and 737-7 stretch have been launched, despite Airbus and Boeing initially dismissing the ideas as dead. The A320 stretch and rewing of the A321 and 322 you have described are only a matter of time. It is mutually beneficial and easy money for the airlines and Airbus. The only question is how long they go with a single aisle? One stretch to 50m, or two stretches to 49m and 53m?

      What is the concept of the 30% fold down middle seats on the Greenliner?

      • The XWB as last iteration of the A350 replanning process was no longer an A330 capacity range offer.
        The moment the 787 had reached a sane state an A330 remake was thus mandatory for Airbus. ( or giving up on products that offered 788/789 size capacity)
        Doing this reengine with a “just bleed added model” of the newest engine hung on the 787 to go beyond originally projected sfc numbers is a fine irony.
        Same for the finished product hugging its designated killer closely on performance.

        The 737-“8-1″MAX is a simplification of production logistics for a subtype now in low demand.
        I expect the 788 to go away on cost grounds when the backlog is done.
        It will be interesting to see if the 737-10MAX will turn into a sought after expansion of Boeing’s NB range.

        A Similar “last” stretch for Airbus is difficult to see.
        They don’t float “Testballons”. For Airbus that is Fan dominated territory.

        Long distance coaches have 2×2 seating and more often than not telescoping aisle seats. For boarding you have wide ( well relative … ) aisle while in cruise you can move the aisle seat 1..3 inches into the aisle.
        I realize that this could collide with crash worthiness of the seating.

  34. I think it was quick boarding / deboarding on short flights/ the narrow seat 2-2-2 configuration.. If one of the aisles is jammed you can change lanes.

  35. There’s no tangible feedback so far from the current Boeing ATO-tour in the market … after all, airline fleet planners (such as eg Ron Baur @ United) are clear-sighted experts who readily will call a dead duck when they see one. They are not easily impressed whenever confronted with another “Paper Airplane” (borrowing John Leahy’s words) and if relevant, they will tell Boeing to go back to their drawingboards if MAX-10X doesn’t meet their MOM expectations …

    So let’s stay tuned !

  36. An example of advance in fabrication was Boeing’s no-jig assembly of 767 flaps.
    Precision of manufacture of pieces allowed assembly without a jig, using pilot holes and aligning tools like clicos or advanced version.

    Rather a contrast to years of early 707 production which had holes in floor-beam all over the place, repairers had to get Boeing to provide replacement seat tracks without pilot holes so they could drill to match mating pieces and sometimes had to repair a mating piece due to short edge margin. (Boeing had moved to using pilot holes in production.)

    • (Measurement tools have advanced greatly, such as articulated arms that know the position of the tip of a stylus that can be placed on a part and recorded.
      All to be used with eyes open, unlike the R-R assembly techs who didn’t notice the out of round bore of a shaft in an engine Qantas had come apart on an A380, and Boeing’s 737 vortex generator goofup.

      (Well into 737 some operators were reporting a vertical bounce on newly delivered aircraft, quite noticeable in flight deck, something was vertically forcing the tail. Boeing did flight tests, even made an extended tail cone for flight testing (the 737’s tail cone is not optimum for aerodynamics). Finally someone checked the location of vortex generators on the wing – oops! Somehow the locating template was not being positioned correctly or had been remade wrong (I forget), turbulence from the VGs was going across the horizontal tail surfaces.)

      Which reminds me of Lockheed’s problem with outer wings built in California – short edge margin on rows of holes leading to early fatigue cracking. Touring production in Marietta, where wing production had moved to, I discussed that with floor personnel. They had a good SS strip with holes the special drill fit into, to locate fastener holes. I asked how they located the strip – manually, by measuring. Right I said, there’s how to get the whole row wrong.

      (Read history of the A-12/SR-71 for horror stories of Lockheed’s messy California production, and of the XB-70 for sloppiness in keeping feet clean.)

      • Keith, do you have any references of books where we can read about these horror stories? I am interested in both the SR-71 and XB-70.

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