Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

By Scott Hamilton

March 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The soft launch of the Boeing 737-10 and the prospective Boeing “797” Middle of the Market aircraft easily were the headline news items to come out of the annual ISTAT conference in San Diego last week.

The “797,” as the MOM-sector aircraft was unofficially dubbed, brought enthusiastic reaction.

The MAX 10, not so much.

Reaction was tepid at ISTAT

Two leading lessors, AerCap and Air Lease Corp, were decidedly cool toward the MAX 10.

I wrote ALC’s reaction in a paywall piece last week:

Overall, market reaction to the MAX 10 is tepid, based on LNC’s interviews. One key reaction comes from John Plueger, president and CEO if Air Lease Corp, one of the most influential customers of Airbus and Boeing, is cautious about the MAX 10.

Boeing’s planned entry-into-service, according to market intelligence, is 2020. Plueger thinks this is too late—it needs to come a year earlier.

“We are simply telling Boeing that one key issue is the timing,” he told LNC in an interview at ISTAT. “For introduction of that airplane, we felt it had to be earlier, in 2019.

“They know that we are a very big A321neo customer and we were a launch customer of the A321LR. The time is critical because y 2020 there will be a lot more neo sales and neos being leased. That airplane continues to grab momentum. When you have a product that is grabbing momentum like that, time is your enemy.”

Plueger said ALC is concerned about the number of sub-types Boeing is creating for the MAX.

“You have the 7 MAX, the 8 MAX, the 8 MAX 200, the 9 MAX and now the 10 MAX,” he said. As an asset-owner, “that is a significant concern of ours in addition to the timing. There might not be enough of a seat differentiation between the 9 MAX and the 10 MAX.

“We’ve also asked Boeing to look at the performance of the airplane, and of course, price is a big consideration.”

Plueger said MAX 10 orders will “possibly” cannibalize the MAX 9.

Positive reaction to MAX 10

On the other hand, Peter Chang, the president of one Chinese-owned lessor, CDB Leasing, viewed the MAX 10 positively. CDB has nearly 250 airplanes in its portfolio leased to Chinese and non-Chinese airlines.

Peter Chang, president and CEO of CDB Leasing.

“I think MAX 10 is a solid airplane from a market sense,” he told LNC in an interview at ISTAT. “I think that among the Boeing operators who have been deprived, it’s a gap airplane. By definition, their requirement has been bottle-necked for quite a while, some of it because of the success of the A321.

“I don’t see the significance of a fleet comparison between the Dash 10 and the 321. It’s not going to change the outcome of either operator,” he said.

“If you look at the Dash 10 by itself, it already has accumulated a requirement over time because it hasn’t been here. A Boeing operator is not going to switch to an A320 fleet just so they can have access to the A321,” Chang said.

It must be noted, however, that some airlines split their orders between the Boeing 737-8 and the A321neo, such as American Airlines and Korean Air. Regardless, Chang expressed optimism.

“Our customers who are Boeing operators are just delighted. They say things like, ‘Why didn’t you do it earlier? We can’t wait, can we have some now?’

“I think it’s an opportunity,” Chang said. “I don’t see it as a niche aircraft. It already has its own market. I think it has its own place. Whether or not it becomes the equivalent of the A321 and represents 40%-plus of the narrow-body fleet of Boeing, that remains to be seen.”

Boeing officials project that the combined MAX 9 and MAX 10 share of the MAX sales will be about 25%. The MAX 9 represents just 9% today.

“The Boeing operators I have met, all of them, in concert, would like to have the MAX 10. They welcome the introduction, even in 2020.”

Some are Chinese carriers and some are not.

Liking the 797

While the MAX 10 received mixed reviews at ISTAT, the prospective Middle of the Market airplane, dubbed by Air Lease Corp CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy as the 797 (we’ve been calling it the 7M7), received enthusiastic reception from United Airlines.

Boeing didn’t talk about the 797 in its presentation and generally has said little about it. However, the airplane is generally described as a twin-aisle aircraft with 2x3x2 seating in coach, having 4,500nm-5,000nm range. It would be a two-member family: a smaller, 220-seast 7M7-8X and a larger 260/270-seat 7M7-9X in three class international configuration.

In other words, about the size of the 767-200 and 767-300/400.

Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines also appear interested.

LNC believes, like ALC’s John Plueger, that Boeing must proceed with the NMA because the product gap is just too big.

Airbus pooh-poohs the NMA—no surprise there—and claims it’s got the market covered with the A321neo and the A330neo. We partially disagree on the latter point. The A321neo is a tad small and short-ranged and the A330-200/800 is “too much airplane,” in our view, meaning from a range and structure standpoint.

Plueger thinks Boeing could start offering the plane before the end of the year. A program launch in 2018 is the most widely-discussed target date.

134 Comments on “Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

  1. Imhpo, one reason that makes the “apple-to-apple” comparisons of the B737Family vs. A320Family quite difficult is the aspect of Cargo.

    Every airline/airport has a different approach to Cargo Operations in terms of business prioritization and profitability, cargo and baggage handling process, palletization, man-hour rates, etc..

    I wonder how do the various models handle this aspect?

  2. Mr. Chang’s comments are actually very interesting and sobering.

    For Airbus to win over Boeing customers Airbus will have to consider launching the A320(Plus) and A321XR (New wing) as a “complete package” in order to do so. This can be done at relatively low cost, risk and short time.

    The A322XR is a more difficult and costly decision relating more to the lower end of the 797 than 737Max10 market?

  3. Of course Airbus is going to publicly claim they have the market covered. In a way, they do have it covered, mainly because there is no relevant competition there. Once Boeing goes ahead with MoM, this will change, even if Airbus still publicly claims they have it covered.
    But the reality will be that Boeing will have a much better product for this segment and Airbus will then be forced into taking some sort of action.

    What that action, or reaction, will be is the multi million dollar question!

    I had been thinking for the past few years that all of this talk of no new aircraft until 2025-2030 was a bit overblown. Although I must admit that maybe the change of characters at the top of Boeing’s structure, exit stage left Mr. Mcnerney, might have quite a bit to do with this change in outlook.

    I always figured a dual aisle had to start with at least 7 across.

    What could we expect a launch date for a Boeing MoM to be?

  4. “The A321neo is a tad small and short-ranged and the A330-200/800 is “too much airplane,” in our view, meaning from a range and structure standpoint.”

    I agree, the A321’s may have unbeatable operating cost, capacity, comfort and cargo capability at this stage. Matching the 757 range isn’t good enough for the next 10-15 yrs. The 757 fell short and United pulled it from the Atlantic.

    “.. the airplane is generally described as a twin-aisle aircraft with 2x3x2 seating in coach, having 4,500nm-5,000nm range. It would be a two-member family: a smaller, 220-seast 7M7-8X and a larger 260/270-seat 7M7-9X in three class international configuration. ”

    That seems pretty large / expensive / costly for the requirement.

  5. Is a 2-3-2 configuration for a 7M7 not going to negatively affect its belly cargo ability due to the different containers it would require compared to all other widebody aircraft?

  6. The 797 is a must, but it must be a carbon fibre aeroplane. If Boeing launch Airbus will launch. The issue is engines. 10% or even 5% improvement over the GTF/LEAP cannot be done by 2020. Six years is a minimum for a new engine with that kind of improvement

    Interesting times, but I agree there will be at least one but I think two new airframes roundabout 2025. Afterall both Boeing and in particular Airbus will have significant engineering capacity available between now and 2025

    • Keep in mind that the aircraft currently occupying the middle of the market (Boeing 757/767, and the retired A310) are all designs from the early 80s. Building a successful aircraft in that space does not require new technology – playing it save will still revolutionise the segment, as all current aircraft are so outdated. Adapting current engines and air frames, even when saving production costs by using less composite materials, should give a comfortable -30% seat/mile costs over the 757/767.

      Boeing doesn’t need to take the risks like they did with the 787 which resulted in the cost explosion. They should aim for a “small Dreamliner” with scaled up LEAP engines.

      • Agreed, but Airbus are committed to carbon fibre. So if they do respond with a new airframe then it will be carbon fibre. If they just rewing the A321 and stretch it again then that is different

        • Wehrheim :

          Boeing had the tech risk retired and handled well.

          It was the bey0ond grossly mucked up management that made it the financial bust it still is..

          The scattered all over the world with no oversight was on huge mistake. Not only did they not have a clue as to who was not getting what done, when it bit them, they then had to crate a team for each site to deal with it. That team had to have engines, logistical experts and management experts.

          If it had been in Everett, one team could have handled it.

          Included in that mismanagement was fastener issue, a bit under the radars but tht was huge. Those who had them hoarded them, their contracts depended on them supplying their part.
          Others had to few and could not fulfill their end.

          Contactors who had no Capability (Chancy Vought) nor the ability to do get up to speed were so, hosed up they had to be bought out.

          Again a management bust.

          Tech risk was pretty close to zero factor. The tech issues almost all traced back to management , including the battery system that was far flung and no coordination with 4 major players, none of who talked to teach other.
          1. The charger was made by a little nit noid entity of BAE that specialized in business aircraft security systems. They had never touched a battery charger and had no background in battery system period. Totally insane.

          2. The lack of oversights allowed Yuasa to hose up there end. When they got the investigation going on that, they found that Yuasa was building a clean room battery in a filthily hall. Saft which was the right choice would never do that.
          They also found that part of the battery structures were being hand hammered into its final shape. That was a major quality control failure that it was wildly inconsistency for a battery that requires precession.
          The nail test to see about shorting out and the stupid decision for the worst chemistry (volatile) for that battery type.

          The wing join was a weight reducing issue. Again a management decision, the original design was fine.

          The only direct tech failure I can think of was the electrical panel that melted down and did not isolate as it should have.

          • And the structural changes, which ‘contractor’ got that wrong , and the assembly fasteners, whose fault was that

          • Boeing got it wrong.

            The assumption that you can trust a contractor to deliver is naïve.

            You have seen it over and over again. The Takata Air Bag issue in spades.

            Some will admit they have a problem, most will cover it up in the hopes they can untangle it or in some cases, just hope they do not get found out. Often fixing it means you have to confess you had it screwed up.

            I was once at a meeting on why the new building systems had so many mechanical system problems.

            The mechanical contractors engineer was laying it all out and his statement is startling true.

            We made a significant number of mistakes.

            Looking at the VP, he said, you made a major mistake by not having your mechanical systems representative on site full time for the last year.

            He is play9ing catch up getting both familiar with the new system and then having to figure out where the problem is. It can be any one of 4 or 5 contractors as its multiple trades and entities that are involved on any given system.

            You simply cannot replace having your eyes and ears that represent your company and not someone else.

    • “The issue is engines. 10% or even 5% improvement over the GTF/LEAP cannot be done by 2020.”

      We’ll have to see.

      P&W already announced last year a 2% PIP over the originally forecasted baseline (which was reportedly 1-2% over guarantees).

      As the GTF is a scalable technology, it is not clear to me how does the Efficiency improvement and Weight reduction effects of the GTF change with scale.

      As one tries to push further the efficiency of the “Classical Architecture” (by increasing P3, T4, Bypass Ratios and consequently LPTs), the advantage Delta of the GTF Architecture increases.

      From what I have read it seems that both GE and RR are also playing around with the GTF architecture.

      Imhpo, also believe that an Open Rotor solution is out of the question for a potential B797.

      • PW is having serious issues with the GTF. We have been told that there has been more than 50 premature engine removals in what is a very small fleet. That kind of removal rate more than wipes out any SFC advantage and then some. Airlines are not happy so I think PW will address reliabilty before any PIP

        • “PW is having serious issues with the GTF.”

          Are we talking now about present product issues or future potential?

          PW is having reliability/durability issues with various individual components in the gas machinery (fan blades, compressors, burners, turbines, bearings, etc.), that have no serious impact on the basics of the Principle of Architecture. Have not seen reports about problems with the Fan Reduction Gear reliability/durability.

          The PIP release and the abovementioned Entry-Into-Service component weaknesses are not necessarily connected.

          While these component durability weaknesses may cause serious inconvenience for a given operator (and to P&W who probably has to cover these issues under warranty), from an engineering perspective they are only minor specific technical issues which can and will be fixed in a short time.

          They however have no impact on the basic principles of the GTF architecture and its future potential.

          When did we see the previous “New Concept Design” gas turbine engine enter service in Commercial aviation? It was maybe 35 years ago with the CFM56-3B1 replacing the JT8D?

          • Not arguing about the architecture. I think GTF does have a future. For whatever reason or reasons there are maturity issues that are causing a significant number of engines to be taken off wing.

            Please remember airlines now expect engines to remain on wing for 20 to 30 thousand hours

          • Ferenc

            You are missing up replacing an existing aircraft with a new one

            As this is an all new aircraft it does not have benchmark of 5% or 10 or 15% improvement.

            It has the current tech engines to work with and that is plenty good

          • See the The Times of India by entering “pw gtf removal” in google. I admit the number now quoted is 42, but this time the quote is from a “regulatory official”, apparently. Earlier news said more. So the numbers are varying! But still a lot given tge number of planes in operation

          • 42, of which two-thirds are related to the #3 bearing. It’s an issue, but really not a fundamental one. IndiGo and Go Air are apparently both satisfied with P&W’s support on these problems.

    • @philip
      You are right, the engine is the biggest issue. Or so it appears if not behind the screens RR is ready to make a matching “Advance”. They are sure looking for some wings to hang this engine under, as the A380neo future looks rather bleak currently.
      P&W would have to develop an all new engine while they are having their hands full with the GTF. Not very probable.
      What has GE to offer? Only an updated GEnx-2B (747)? Or maybe a new version with a smaller core?
      Boeing will have to offer exclusivity if they want a “perfect” engine for the 797. If they get only derivatives, probably a choice between two.

      • Think GE is doeing the opposite, keeping the GEnX-2B core with some GE9X stuff and develop a new LP system. Just look at the RB211-535 that got the RB211-22 /-524 core and a new LP system to have the mass flow thur the core to get lower EGT and Required Life for an Aircraft doing 5-8 cycles/day.

        • Gundolf:

          I think that is incorrect. From what I have seen in bits an pieces, P&W has the basic engine designed for a larger category aircraft. Unknown if it was the MOM or A3300NEO.

          A new system of any type has a series of steps. There is the broad brush layout, there is the conceptual design, there is details design and then final design.

          Those all have different groups working on them.

          Once the engine is launched down the chain for production, those resources become available for a new project.

          Right now P{&W is in the final end issues of the bits and pieces that did not work out as intended and were not caught in test (probably due to their current lack of experience with that)

          Optimum is simply a refinement of an engine and a pylon integration that does not require a wing be designed to a given engine.

  7. Reminds me of the similar 2011 discussion; NSA, 737 re-engine. Everybody fully focused on what Boeing is going to do.

    2011 Paris Airshow: Boeing fully confident they have everything under control and will decide later how to move forward later that year. 22 Jun. 2011 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJzRsodeYes

    Same guy, 4 weeks later, around the right table with the wrong guys. Boeing never recovered (60-40).


    This could happen again if Boeing drags their feet. If Leahy reaches agreement with big Boeing customers on a bigger 4500NM A322, Boeing would be invited again to do their best counter offer in say .. 3-4 weeks?

    • Get on with it Airbus.
      I’m amazed how little information is leaking out from Boeing and Airbus. Is this 7 abreast going to be 7.5,so you might be able to squash 8 in? Might Boeing be anticipating some (more) help from the US government as this could fit the key requirement?

      • Another seat (N+1) takes 1/Nth width away from every seat. @7across that is 15%, quite a step down in width.

        • I see your point, doesn’t scale so well as the diameter decreases.

        • Hi Uwe. Maybe someone technical could answers this.

          Was wondering about the pros and cons of a 2-3-2 (767 – 186inch cabin) vs “Wide Single Aisle” for a 220-240 seat aircraft flying 2000-5000Nm sectors, from an aerodynamic, OEM and fuel efficiency points.

          Using the A320 as departure point (146.4″) with 3-3 seating, middle seat 21,” and 32″ aisle will give a cabin width of ~164″;

          18″/21″/18″/ – 32″ Aisle – /18″/21″/18″

          This should be fairly comfortable seating for medium haul and nearly an double aisle. The aisle represents ~20% of the cabin width while the 2×20″ aisles in a 767 ~22%.

          Which aircraft will be the winner in seat-mile cost and capex cost if similar materials are used for the two aircraft’s main components?

          p.s. (This could also be arranged 2-2-2 with ~18″ seats and 2 x 19″ aisles, but the aisles represent ~23% of the cabin width. Maybe this could be used were real quick rotation is required on “short-hops”?).


        • Hi Uwe/Scott,

          Will a “twin aisle front section” for a theoretical ~ 210/220 seat medium haul (4000-5000Nm) single aisle A322XR improve embarking/disembarking issues?

          A first/business class with 4-6 rows of 1-1-1 followed by 3-5 rows 2-2 premium, then standard 3-3 single aisle. This could reduce typical seating by ~10 but improve pax movement in the front? An example;

          23″seat/-24″ aisle-/23″seat/-24″ aisle-/23″seat (First/Business)

          21″/21″/ – 32″ aisle – /21″/21″ (Business/Premium)

          18″/18″/18″/-20″aisle-/18″/18″/18″ (Economy).

    • Thanks Keesje,

      Always like your links. As said many times the A320Plus (168 seats, ~3800Nm?) for me is a must for Airbus to sustain the Goose that is laying the golden eggs. (Maybe offer it with a 28-30K-Lb Leap 1A only that is specifically optimized for this aircraft?).

      It could use the current A321’s upgraded landing gear and it’s slightly modified wing with new wing tips, but should still stay within the 36m CAT-C restrictions.

      This could also be offered as the standard wing to the A321SH (186 seats – or 240 seat high density) which targets the shorter haul high density routes and LCC’s, max range ~3000Nm. Use current certified engines (31 K-Lb), this should give good field performance.

      The 321LR to be upgraded to a “321XR” with new wing, landing gear mods (MTOW 100-103T) and effective range of 4800Nm using 33-35 K-Lb engines.

      The 322XR market is not clear in my mind, something different is needed with long term sustainability. Don’t know if the market just need a long range stretched 321 that is a try-to-be 757-200/300’s or 7M7’8’s?

      The A320NEO to stay as is and “replace”, the 319.

      Airbus could throw a curved balled at Boeing by offering an A320LB with a lower thrust 1B (~25K-Lb?) engines for MAX8/9 operators (Max7, if happens, targets longer range) that wants something smaller, shorter range (~2500Nm) with lower purchase price but don’t want to go to the smaller CS300’s or similar but at least retain engine commonalities.

  8. Coulple of thoughts:
    1. On the 737 front, does Boeing pull the 737-9 and replace it with the -10 (or is there really room for 5 models?)
    2. for the 7M7 can Boeing do this by using the current 767 fuselage made from AL-Li with a few aerodynamic tweaks, carbon wings, glass cockpit and new engines – sort of like the 777X?

    • Bruce, regarding your Nr. 2: The 767 fuselage is higher (213″) than wide (198″) to make space for the (unpopular) LD2 container. If you use the smaller LD3-45 (same as A320) you can make a lighter plane with better aerodynamics.
      Besides, it you take out pretty much everything else, there is little incentive in using that old shape.
      I agree with your idea of a 777X-kind of plane. Especially when it comes to the production methods, which Boeing has just developed for the 777X with a mostly robot-built aluminum fuselage and carbon wings.

  9. a 7 abreast 797 with LD3-45 cargo and 18″ seats/20″ aisles would not need to be that much larger in overall diameter than the A320 (166″ vs ~146″)
    this is due to the relatively high floor of the A320 which enables the LD3-45s to be used at all resulting in the widest part of the fuselage being at floor level. by making a 20″ larger (inside diameter) tube, you can move the floor down (relatively) resulting in the widest part of the tube being at elbow/shoulder height.
    take into account the structural thickness savings enabled by a CF fuselage and you end up with a tube probably only 16-18″ larger than the A320.
    that results in a 25% frontal area increase over the A320 (which hurts) but putting a modern aero optimized cockpit, wing join and tail section should be able to mitigate much of the crossectional drag

    • “..that results in a 25% frontal area increase over the A320 (which hurts) but putting a modern aero optimized cockpit, wing join and tail section should be able to mitigate much of the crossectional drag ..”

      25% more for 15% cross sectional capacity increase.

      All else is available for any other airframe too.
      IMU a major detractor: this MoM needs _design exclusive_ advantages! Incremental improvements are available to all ( ok : most ) market participants for their existing frames.

      Airbus once estimated <10% exclusive gains for a "from new" NB craft. Boeing admitted this by going MAX after NEO.

    • While the 767 is the most comfortable 2 aisle plane (x maybe the A-380) the 7M7 should, IMHO, be 2-2-2 not 2-3-2 in economy. Allowance for LD3-45 still allows a lower floor putting max tube width in near perfect level for the passengers. Having 2 aisles they can be a little narrower and thus you can do with a tube only 12-15 in. wider than A-320.

      2-2-2 is such a comfort and convenience game changer (quick load/unload, 4 aisle and 2 window seats per row (1-2-1 in front cabin)) that it will render ALL other configurations second rate. To replace 763 capacity you use a long tube with bigger of two wings and for max-8 (or a little below) capacity you use a shorter tube with a smaller wing and have fantastic turn around time. Maybe 4 total lengths and you replace 737, 757, and 767 with one airplane.

      To get mileage out of the MAX development work you start this new development from the top down.

      If they go with a 2-3-2 aircraft they will have to also do a new 3-3 aircraft sooner rather than later if they want to compete with the 320, 320.5 and 321.

      • Why would an airline buy a larger diameter airframe that holds the same number of passengers abreast as before, but obviously a larger expense to carry airframe and passenger around as compared to before?

        I would be very surprised indeed if either OEM goes for a 6 abreast dual aisle configuration. 7 abreast would be the minimum. It does not matter to the airlines what the yankee class pax find comfortable.

        Also your idea of using narrower aisles is most likely a non-starter. There are minimum widths mandated by FAA & EASA and most, if not all, airlines are pretty well at that limit.

        • The 2-2-2 has better turn times, better cabin circulation in the air, more premium aisle seats, and is a nicer wide cabin all around.
          Apples to apples, say for the same seating, a 2-3-2, 48m, 16′ o.d. fuselage, versus a 53m , 14′-4″ o.d. fuselage. The fuselage weight and wetted area is about equal. The frontal area on the 2-2-2 is 25% less. The vertical and horizontal planes on the 2-2-2 can be smaller. The one advantage to 2-3-2, it could sit 10″ lower, but maybe it needs the height for engine clearance. We’ll see which way they go.
          I think a 3-3 53m aircraft is a dog. Stretching the 2-2-2 to 53m is a more optimal aircraft at that length structurally and for passenger circulation. But Airbus can build a 53m A323, with 7 exits on each side and 300 seating, and then we’ll know.

          • I think what 9-abreast 787 and 10-abreast 777 have clearly demonstrated is that operating economics trump passenger comfort.

            The only benefit to the airline of 2-2-2 is somewhat faster turn times, but this MoM aircraft wouldn’t target short haul markets – it is probably going to operate on 5-8 hour stage lengths where a 10 minute improvement in turn time is negligible.

            As a result 2-2-2 Y is a non-starter, no matter how much we might enjoy flying it.

          • In addition to faster turn times,
            More interior volume for systems, freight, and overhead compartments. Better cabin passenger and crew circulation in flight. Better depth of fuselage for structural bending at 175′ model.

            And most of all, the value of better seats. If there was no value to better seats, every A350 would be 10x with 28″ pitch, and the 787 and 777x would be dead.

            2-2-2: 2 aisle seats with one person to move for, 2 aisle seats with nobody to move for, and two window seats one from the aisle. Versus 3-3: 2 aisle seats with two people to move for, two middle seats, and two window seats two from the aisle. How much value can the airlines extract from this I don’t know. There is now much more specific value attached to every part of air travel than just the generic seat, so I think airlines and customers will gravitate towards the value of aisle seats.

          • If passenger comfort were the primary driver, neither airlines nor pax would be flying 9-abreast 787s or 10-abreast 777s. And yet they are.

            In the end, passenger comfort is pretty far down the priority list when choosing a new aircraft or buying a flight.

          • Hi Thysi,

            I avoid 787’s and airlines flying 777’s with 3-4-3 where I can. Just wondering why these airlines do not offer more Econo+ seats with 2-4-2 (787) and 3-3-3 on 777’s.

            The floor space taken per seat by 2-4-2 at 34″ pitch is ~23% more than 3-3-3 at 31″ (787), but the passenger seat mass should be ~20% less for that floor space. Don’t want fancy food, extra drinks or special check-ins. Charge 20% more for that seat but make more available, I would like to enjoy my flight of 10-15 hours.

          • Sadly most passengers don’t care so they buy the cheapest tickets: it’s a race to the bottom.

            Premium economy is the best option for you and me, if your airline offers it.

          • Just wondering if there is not place in the market for a Premium Low Cost Carrier?

            Instead of 29″ non reclining seats go to 32″ reclining. Same “service”. Instead of paying X30 for a ticket make it X36, your bus ticket is going to be X40 in any case.

            In many instances the LCC’s niche is the number of destinations they service.

  10. To keep the purchase price of a “797” under control the development and manufacturing costs should be contained.

    Using the 767 as starting point is a save option but I can’t see where all the weight savings will be that requires only 40K-Lb of thrust for a 250 seat twin aisle with a 4500+ Nm range?

    If it was ~45K-Lb thrust it could work with a 767 as base with an efficient wing and less fuel that have to be carried resulting from much more efficient engines.

    The A330-200 and 767ER have fairly similar passenger capacities at around 250 (2-Class), the 767’s OEW is however some 30 Tons (25%) less than the Airbus. Therefore if Airbus wants to compete with a ~250 seat class twin aisle aircraft in the MOM market it is more in need for a clean sheet design or “major re-build” than Boeing is with the 767.

    What is the possibility that the 7M7-8 is a 757MAX and the 7M7-9 is a 767MAX with common flight decks, pilot ratings, etc.? This will keep development and risk costs.

    This is most unlikely but the 767-200(8) and 300(9) the mostly likely candidates do to a MAX/NEO if it is the preferred route?

    • @Anton I don’t dispute that the A332 is “too much airplane” for these types of missions, but the “A330-200 and 767ER have fairly similar passenger capacities at around 250 (2-Class), the 767’s OEW is however some 30 Tons (25%) less than the Airbus” comparison doesn’t sound right to me.

      First, layout-normalized passenger capacities cannot be equivalent. The B764 cabin is 2m longer than the A332, but seats 7-across instead of 8-across. If you lay them out in all Y with a reasonable seat pitch (just to make the comparison easiest), you see that the B764 needs ~7 extra rows to make up its width deficit. Can’t do that with a cabin that’s only 2m longer.

      Second, the OEW weights aren’t 30t different. The B764 has an OEW of 104t while the A332 has an OEW of 120t, so a difference of about 16t. If you downsize to a B763 the difference becomes 30t, but then the A332 has a marked capacity advantage.

      • If you take the “super simplistic” approach of looking at payload derate per range increment ( MZFW and upwards) the A332 takes about 6% less fuel and for more range at that than the 764.

      • Hi Mike,

        The 767-300ER’s OEM is quoted at ~92T. Interesting enough is the A300B4-600’s OEM is around 88T and has a fairly similar seating capacity and range as the 767-300.

        I am not a technical guy but it make sense if the A300 could be a base of departure for a A3xx-MoM rather than A330? But this will basically be a new aircraft and not sure what the developments cost difference will be between an A300-MoM and a clean sheet MoM will be?

        Technical drawings etc. must be there and certain components still in production with the Beluga SST?

        Maybe Airbus should find out what priorities Airbus clients have rather chasing after what Boeing clients want? Think Airbus is bleeding with the 787-9 and losing a consumer base. Therefore an 330-900Er (787-9) or 330-1000 (787-10) could be more important to retain clients than trying to win over staunch 757/767 users?

      • The A330 with a revised wing and some structures and swap to Al-Li fuselage will lower empty mass, mainly from the wing and wingbox. Using the space for the A340 extra landing gear for fuel will shrink the wing even more. Airbus most likely is working on 3D Printed replacement parts and additional machining to carve out mass and take a few more tons out of empty mass.

        • Thanks Claes. It will be interesting if someone can do something on air frames along the lines the Bjorn is doing on engines.

          Will be interesting to see the weight and cost breakdowns of major components for a selection of aircraft. For example, A320 fuselage 50%, seats 5% of its weight, 787 wing 20% of its cost, etc.

    • I do not agree with your conclusion that Airbus needs to go clean sheet if Boeing offers the 797. I am quite sure that upgrades to RR Advance and/or Ultrafan engines have been considered while designing the A330neo’s new wing, so around the EIS of the 797 Airbus can release an A330neoII at a very competitive price level. If Airbus rewings the A321neo (and maybe stretches it a little) it’ll offer both, a NSA (with no Boeing contender) and a twin aisle that can compete with the 797 economics.

  11. On the MAX, did the center of gravity move forward? What are the plug lengths on the MAX 7? I read conflicting information. Some reports said the aft plug was longer, 46″, which would make sense to balance out a forward move of center of gravity. If so, this doesn’t help the MAX 10. Moving the gear back may make a front heavy aircraft for take off and landing.

  12. Is there a possibility that Ryanair might be out there with a Max-10 240 configuration?

  13. Airbus rewinging the A321 is the stalking horse Boeing has to think about when strategizing their new aircraft. The 757 wing was 38m, the 707 44m, the DC-8 45m. How close to the A321 should Boeing go? A 42m wing? Airbus could leapfrog that with a 45m wing on a 5,000 nm 757-300 length A322, but will that sell, because the 757-300 didn’t.

  14. Cargo is not a significant part of the assessment of Boeing estimates on this market segment.

    Right or wrong, its not a factor, it needs to haul pax luggage and that is it.

    Rather than read what Boeing has laid out, I keep seeing reference made to other aircraft markets and or replacing g a current one.

    Red the whole listing and then assess.

    I don’t say they are right, but it should be discussed within the context of what they are shooting for.

  15. Scott:

    Your original MOM thinking was Boeing could not design an aircraft at low enough production costs to do this market segment.

    Is that still the thinking for do you believe Boeing can do it?

    • @TW: I don’t see how Boeing can produce a MOM for the $60m range in order to sell it in the $70m range.

      • Scott

        A significant issue to raise here is the considerable increase in development cost of new aircraft in recent years. I will ignore the B787 debacle but looking at say A330/340 development costs ($3.5bn) vs A350 costs ($12+bn) we see an increase by a factor of greater than 300% and you could suggest developing 2 models rather than one should have cost more. Over the same period CPI has increased by 58% in the U.K. And 69% in the U.S., I would expect EU numbers to be ball park similar.

        This suggests that the development costs are becoming more significant over time and imwas wondering why that was, is it due to the level of system integration? Or is it due to the increased regulatory/compliance issues?

  16. Some aircraft are double bubble, or some complex shape, like the 707, 767, or A380. The ovoid shape is difficult on the passenger bubble, because the pressure wants to make it circular. Is it an option on the freight bubble with the struts to help the structure? How much lift is gained by a flatter lower fuselage?

    • I think a good question is how efficient is the wider bottom fuselage in regard to the integration with the rest of the aircraft structure.

      Or is it small enough not to be an issue or does it indeed add?

      I know on the blended wing it works, but this is a different aspect.

      One example I know of was that with the F-35 in the vertical lift version, that fan and how fat the fuselage had to be impacted the aerodynamic efficiency of the other two versions.

      All those engineering trade offs are very interesting

  17. “It would be a two-member family: a smaller, 220-seast 7M7-8X and a larger 260/270-seat 7M7-9X in three class international configuration.”

    This would make the MOM the same size as the 787-8 and 787-9 respectively. I can’t see the point of making the MOM that large. The only difference would be that it is optimized for shorter range than the 787.

    Here is a list of 787 operators with a 3 class international configuration (J, Y+, Y)

    All numbers from seatguru.com.

    787-8: Total number of seats

    British Airways: 214
    Japan Airlines: 161
    American Airlines: 226
    United: 219
    China Southern: 228
    ANA: 169

    787-9: Total number of seats

    British Airways: 216
    Etihad: 231
    ANA: 207
    American Airlines: 276
    Virgin Atlantic: 264
    United: 252
    Aeromexico: 274
    Air France: 276
    Japan Airlines: 194
    Vietnam Airlines: 274

    It sounds like Boeing plans to make a 787-8 and 787-9 medium range versions. It seems like the planed MOM will be the same size as the 787.

    • Meg,

      You are comparing 3 class layouts with what will probably be a 2 class layout.

      Even if the aircraft were to be the same size as the 787 (I doubt the fuselage diameter will be the same), it will be designed to carry a lot less fuel and to fly many more cycles.

      • According to the article the proposed MOM, in a 3 class international configuration should have 220 seats for the smallest variant and 260/270 seats for the largest variant.

        “It would be a two-member family: a smaller, 220-seast 7M7-8X and a larger 260/270-seat 7M7-9X in three class international configuration.”

        All the seat number for the 787 I have listed in my previous post, are 787-8 and 787-9 in a 3 class configuration, J, Y+ and Y class.

        The proposed MOM would be identical in size as the 787, only a shorter range and lighter version.

        • You are absolutely correct with regard to the quoted size counts.

          But this seems to be a bizarre twist in the MOM saga. At the same size as the 787, does it really make sense for Boeing to develop another airframe that’s the same size? 787 likely cannot be built cheaply enough, but at this size the potential 797 would surely cannibalize 788 and (more importantly) 789 sales as well.

          Not to mention that at this size range Airbus would be able to respond with an A338R/A339R combination, at a far lower development cost than the development of a completely new airframe, and thus probable also be able to undercut Boeing on the pricing.

        • Good catch. Looks more like domestic. I’d say, equivalent seating would be:
          A321 180
          A332 300 (2/3 more seating than A321)
          797-8 225 (1/4 more seating than A321)
          797-9 270 (1/2 more seating than A321)

        • Meg,

          Sorry. That’s what I get for not reading more carefully.

          So it is going to be a 8 (probably 9) abreast widebody.

          Scott had mentioned a 2-3-2 configuration and stated that this was a 767 size range.
          I don’t know offhand what the fuselage diameters for the 767 and 787 are but I was under the impression that the 787 was significantly wider (8 or 9 abreast seating, compared to 7 abreast for the 767 & 7B7(797).

          • The 767 is 2-3-2 (168″ cabin)/18″ seats), A330 is 2-4-2 (204″/18″), the 787 is actually an “8.5 seater”, in most configuration it is 3-3-3 (216″ inch/17-17.5″). So if Boeing wants to use a single current airframe it can realistically only be the 767’s.

            If it is a new airframe it could be a “narrow 2-4-2″ at ~198” with 787 (3-3-3) size seats with one inch is stripped off each of the aisles compared to the A330, depending on the relative position of the cabin floor.

            Such an aircraft will actually have a good seat/aisle ratio. An 2-3-2 could however win on the aerodynamics’ front and be better suited to 220 seat model.

            Something unlikely but not impossible? Go for a 767MAX (2-3-2) for the 220 seater and a totally reworked 787-8.5 for the 260/270 seater. This will retain a lot of commonalities for airlines currently using 767’s and 787’s (AAL, Delta, United?) and for Boeing manufaturing them.

          • Or maybe the MOM will turn out to be a new optimized version of the originally planed 787-3 variant.

            If I remember correctly the planed 787-3 has the same fuselage length as the 787-8, only that it as a shorter wingspan, only 52 meters, making it a category D instead of a category E aircraft. Both 757 and 767 are category D aircraft.

            Maybe Boeing will make a weight optimized version of both the 787-8 and the 787-9 with only a 52 meter wingspan. This would definitely have a great cost per seat on short to medium haul. But I question where it is to large for the market. Why not just misuse the longer range variants?

  18. I could imagine quite another bus: A400
    In case the engine will some day be more reliable a twin engined version with an additional deck for pax could make up another real air bus.

    Twin aisle, maybe even double decks, cruise speed not much lower than a jet.

    • First, it has some of the biggest Turbo prop in the world (Russians may have bigger on the Bear_

      To then double the size? Hopefully the gearbox would be fixed as well and not have a 1000 hour life on it!

      Its also not laid out for out for passengers (military folks who have no choice don’t count!)

      It also heavy for the mission with floor and Ramp.

      It has far too many wheels.

      Its optimized for a military mission not a civilian operation.


      • The fuselage diameter seems slightly smaller than A300 fuselage design. So a passenger main deck with LD3-45 on the lower deck should be possible.
        The A400M is just 45 m long compared to the A330-200 at 59 m.
        The ramp is not required. Tailplane could be much lighter. Also the landing gear could be reduced by several wheels. Less flaps due to longer civilian runways…

  19. I actually see a lot of sense in this. Let’s compare the gap first: A321 can take 236 pax and A330-8 can take 406 (same class, dense layout, completely comparable, don’t believe what Airbus says). Now whereas A321 is the longest (and supposedly most economical due to that), A330-8 is shorter of two A330 variants. The economical widebody A330-9 fits 440 pax, which means the gap between most economical narrobody and widebody is pretty much double. The width of fuselage pretty much decides upon optimal range as well. Widebodies can fly further because of wing, shape etc. than narrobodies, and narrowodies have a range sweet spot of up to 3,000nm and widebodies say… 8,000nm max.

    One of issues with narrow widebody is that so much of space is wasted in second aisle.

    However, I can see a potential for say 330pax streched dense layout, 5,000nm range airplane. It would likely be 4.9m cabin width, essentially 20inch aisle and 18inch seat wider than current narrowbodies. It would probably be somewhere around 54-55m long (streched version) and would have that 5,000nm range as sweet spot (i.e. designed and inherently optimal due to wing size etc.).

    In terms of operating costs this could potentially beat A321 (fleet commonality is an issue obv) and most economical widebodies on 3,500-5,000nm missions.

    Potential buyers? MEB3 to serve virtually any European city, Turkish Airlines to service cities which they are doing with stopovers with 737s or widebodies with low freq, all airlines in Europe struggling with congested airports, BA, LH, AF allowing servicing most of TATL with nice frequency. This NMA 797 will not be useful for LON-PEK or LON-SIN, but when I think about CDG-Calgary or Ottawa or Caribbeans, plus NYC to virtually all European airports etc. – it starts to make sense. Not to mention replacing narrowbodies in Asia where airport congestion is becoming more and more of a problem. Plus, two aisles allowing some savings on turnarounds – seems like plenty of arguments for Boeing salesmen at least.

    The multibillion question is – can this justify billions of R&D? I do think if it’s marginal, the risk for both manufacturers is that if they miss out this MoM market – there’s certainly no place for 2 separate R&D programmes leaving one manufacturer without MoM and the other with monopoly.

  20. I think we are going to see a relative increase in Boeing to Airbus orders due to airlines seeing that Boeing is planning and building new aircraft. Just the perception of a new 797 in the Boeing line-up could swing airlines to buy 737Maxes instead of A320’s for example.

    The 737Max8 is more NEW than the 320Neo is relative to there predecessors.

    What concrete have Airbus clients to look forward to in the foreseeable future? The 330Neo, which appears to be a minimum effort upgrade, of a 1992 aircraft with new engines (that seems to be missing in action?) and new wing-tips. The basic design originates from the mid-1970’s A300, then that was a pioneering aircraft. An 321LongRange with no real range, another feeble effort?

    Airbus marketing: “We’ve got it covered”, and that is were it stops. Chaos with the 320 P&W engines and its deliveries, A350-900 delayed deliveries and cancellation of big A350 orders. Forcing airlines to take 350-900’s when they actually wanted the 800’s. Certification of the 350-1000 which nobody “seems to want”. A380 fading away. The A400M debacle. Not very comforting for Airbus airlines! Do you blame SIA for warming up towards Boeing?

    Boeing: 737Max8 certified and ready for early delivery. Test flying of the 787-10 and 787Max9 to start soon. Option of a MAX10 (how good or bad it may be) to airlines. Start the ramping up for 777X construction and production. Launching of the new 797 MoM on the horizon.

    Wonder if Quatar, UAL or similar could convince Boeing with big orders to build a B737Max10+ with landing gear and wing modifications to accommodate the Leap1A engines?

    If Boeing launches a MAX10+ Airbus it’s “toast”, even more so if these upgrades are offered to MAX8/9’s. Fortunate for Airbus it seems that there are people on the Boeing Board that feels sorry for Airbus?

    Why it “whees” me off? I am from a country with a smallish (~60 aircraft) all Airbus fleet, I like their planes. They are really more comfortable to fly in than the Boeing’s when you are at the back. But that can change very quickly for a fleet that is ripe for renewal!

  21. Anton: “The 737Max8 is more NEW than the 320Neo is relative to there predecessors. The 330Neo, which appears to be a minimum effort upgrade, of a 1992 aircraft with new engines and new wing-tips. The basic design originates from the mid-1970’s A300, then that was a pioneering aircraft.”

    You say that the A330neo is an upgrade of 1992 aircraft. Fair enough. Then you add that the design originates from the mid-1970’s A300. Fair enough again if you have the fuselage in mind. Now, let me do the same thing for the 737 MAX 8, using your own language: The 737 MAX 8 appears to be a minimum effort upgrade of a 1967 aircraft with new engines and new wing-tips. The basic design originates from the mid-1950’s 707, which was then a pioneering aircraft.

    Don’t get me wrong, the 737 MAX 8 remains today a very interesting proposition. I believe it is better sized than the A320 in terms of capacity. It’s extra seats make a big difference. But its advantage stops there and the 737 as a whole as nothing else to offer that distinguishes it from the A320 family. That’s why the balance now tips in favour of the latter.

    The only reason the 737 is still offered is because Airbus maintains it under the artificial respirator and refuses to pull the plug. Airbus has a card up its sleeve that it can pull out anytime: a simple stretch of the A320 that I like to call the A320.5 and which I believe would kill the MAX 8 instantly.

    Now you ask, if it’s a killer why is it that Airbus does not launch immediately? Because they are too smart to do so. If they did Boeing would not waste its time chasing the NMA rainbow and instead would do what it should have done six years ago, that is developing a New Small Airplane.

  22. Thanks Normad, I am generally not grumpy but am frustrated with Airbus.

    The A320Plus (168 seater) should have been launched “long” ago to be better competition to the MAX8, they could have shaved of 500+? orders from the MAX8 and possibly some from the Max9 and gave Airbus clients a better aircraft. Take your point on the NSA, but the 797 is about to go and Airbus don’t have it or the MAX8 covered. If Boeing do a MAX+ with 1A engines as well Airbus will be in real deep stuff.

    But its easier and cheaper to slap on new engines to the current 320, it sells well because it is a good aircraft. Makes me think of my kids, a pass is good enough, why put in effort for a distinction.

    But my biggest gripe is with the A330-900(Neo). Now they are looking for MTOW increases to 245T and “beyond” but don’t want to spend money on landing gear upgrades etc. but still want to compete with the 787-9?! The aircraft is without engines and already acknowledges its short comings.

    Why didn’t they launch the aircraft with “proper” landing gear that can handle 252-254T MTOW’s (and ~195T MLW), the addition of 8-10T fuel could have brought range to around 7400Nm.

    And back to landing gear/undercarriage, it also could have been lengthened as part of the launching upgrades by ~8-12 inches so that it can take 118″ XWB engines if required. This also would have given the T7000 engine approximately the same ground clearance as the current T700’s.

    There are XWB75’s and 79’s that were “certified” in April 2016. An A330-900XR with MTOW of say 252T and 7400Nm range could have been flying now with 75K-Lb XWB engines?! I know this is over simplifying things but talking about principles.

    Whats Airbus going to do about the 787-10? I can see the Middle-East Airlines flying long haul with 777X’s and shorter (2000-5000Nm) “thinner feeder” routes with 787-10’s. There are several options to Airbus in the 320-360 seat medium haul market, but next thing you know it’s to late.

    Penny wise and pound foolish, like Boeing with the Max9’s and 10’s, but Boeing had a reason why they did it, the”797″. Lets hope Airbus has one, but I am not over confident. In their defense the A400M and A380 is not helping them.

    Hopefully they will not try to stretch the 350-1000, that could be their final downfall. There are other fish to fry, although less glamorous but more profitable.

  23. @Anton

    I have been reading this blog since 2011 and have never seen anyone so gloomy about Airbus. On the other hand there are also a number of people quite gloomy about Boeing, starting with myself.

    You anticipate Armageddon at Airbus but you seem to be completely oblivious to Boeing’s own problems, which in my opinion are much more serious. Your view appears to be very one-sided. You showed us how antiquated the A330 was but never mentioned anything about the 737, which is much older. You mentioned the A380 but not the 747-8; the A400M but not the KC-46. You talked about the A400M debacle (really?) but never said anything about the 787, which arguably is the greatest industrial flop of all time. Now you bring forward the A330 landing gear problems but don’t seem to realize that this is nothing compared to the 737’s own landing gear problems. You also complain about airlines having to cancel A350-800 but remain silent about the 787-8. And there is the A350-1000 that “nobody seems to want”; but what about the 777-9 and 777-8? They are not exactly selling like hot cakes either. Even the 787 is not doing so well today, after what looked like a very promising start.

    Nothing is perfect at Airbus, that’s for sure. But it benefits today from an excellent product strategy and there is tremendous consistency from one design to another. Yet Boeing is doing much better on deliveries, while Airbus is going through one of it’s most difficult period. But this is a temporary situation and Airbus is not to blame. Airbus is in the process of completing a well thought-out product development plan. Its portfolio is full of fresh designs and only the A380 remains problematic. The A320 family has 60% of the market to itself. And the A330 is more relevant than ever. The A350 is a brand new platform that has an enormous potential. I wish I could say the same for the A380, but I can’t. In my opinion it is doomed. But Airbus itself is definitely not doomed. If we cannot anticipate any bold moves on their part in the near future it is because they have already done what they had to do when it was time to do it.

    Meanwhile Boeing is playing catchup and there is a considerable amount of risk in its product portfolio. Yes the NMA is very exciting and the prospect of a soon-to-follow NSA makes it that much more interesting. But in the meantime they have the 777X to bring to market. It’s a fantastic platform, but thanks to the A350 it has started to show its age. Like the A330 it remains a very desirable aircraft though. But it is quite a bit bigger and the risk is commensurate. The 787 is more difficult to assess. It certainly has a bright future, but is unfortunately hampered by its troubled past. As for the 737, those who say that it is the winner have been handed the wrong envelope.

    • Hi Normand,

      My apologies if I derailed on this. Its just that I am passionate about Airbus and don’t want to see them messing it up, but also see that Boeing has a few “t/T? rump” cards up their sleeves?

      Boeing orders keep on ticking over, although at a slower pace. When last was there a decent Airbus wide-body order? Maybe Air Malaysia’s fleet decision and see what UAL does about their 350-1000’s order will be barometers?

      On the other end I have a gut feel that the 777X is not going to be all Moonshine-and-Roses?

      Maybe I am impatient, but would like to hear good news from Airbus at some stage? Even if the A330-900 can just get into the sky, but not 6 or 9 or 12 months late.

    • Normand:

      While I agree with most of it, the constant desire for a comparison between the A400 and the KC46 continues to be seriously questionable if not outright wrong.

      Other than a military procurement, they have nothing in common.

      The A400 is an all new military class transports that was more analogues to the 787 in its management screw ups (different ones, but same not so smart process)

      The KC46 is a built aircraft, been modded to a tanker. It issues were are a lower level, they were still mistakes, but we are not talking about engines that the gearbox that even when fixe3d is good for 1000 hours.

      The more accurate comparison is the A330MRT that has take the Australians 6 years to get working up to its full capability.

      And it is not as advanced a requirement as the KD46.

      Not that the mistakes that took place on the KC465 should have happened.

      • Hi Transworld,

        I don’t know much about the origin of the A400. Was it an Airbus driven product they wanted to sell to the Military or was it a requirement that the Armed Forces came to Airbus to be fulfilled?

        It is a real pity that this aircraft must put such big strain on the commercial aircraft division.

          • Anton: Kind of a mixed thing but in the reality, Airbus felt they could make a comerial type proeidon for a military rpogrms and offered it htat way.

            Unfornaly that is a no go. Not tyring to pick on the Europeans, but when all those outnries get involved theyu each have their own take on what they want so it all has to be “satisfied”

            Airbus found to their regrest that it did not work that way.

            Its my view that it was a Euproen Thertoe aircraft that is now a stragid airlifer with short filed cpaiblity.

            If anyone is really going to use it I doubt. You really do not want to fly a 200 million dollar aircraft into air space that has Manpads which is the norm today

            Engines were supposed to be made by P&W as purely a commercial transaction , then the Not Invented Here for military programs got involved.

            US does the same so not pointing a finger.

            Upshot was 3 or 4 European companies that never made a turbo prop formed an entity and made one that is not all that good.

            P&W has lots of experience and I think would have done fine.

          • Thanks Transworld. As and outsider it looks as if Airbus got the bad end of a stick here. Hope there is some light in the tunnel for them on this one.

            “Just looking” at the aircraft itself, could there be realistic applications in the civilian/commercial bulk freight market? Will re-engine it with turbofans be technically possible/viable? See the MTOW is 145T, could 4 x 26K-Lb Leap1’s be an option?

          • to what neferious purpose? 🙂

            A400M is a bespoke military transport.
            The only (semi)civil application ever considered
            is rescue/aid/supply work for the UN.

            Military transports re purposed for civil use are few in between. Couple of L100 ( but more often in semimilitary use ) French Postal Service had some Transall in use.
            one C17 ( Qatar afair.)

            What one could imagine is a beefed up ATR with twin TP400D engines.

          • Thanks Uwe,

            Just wondered if Airbus could recoup some of its losses with a Civil application/s? But, also don’t throw good money after bad money.

          • Just thinking back some 30+ years ago I had the (unfortunate) “privilege” to do several jumps out of the Transall C160’s, while paid by government, and guys waiting for you on the ground, but definitely not with a cold beer or packet of crisps.

            It was a great plane.

            Well, this is one big deviation from starting at the “797”.

          • You presented view appears a bit deformed.

            Airbus subsidiary CASA has been in the military transport market for quite some time.

            The basic civil certification was deemed a good solution as biggest common denominator for a wide range of interested parties. Some so small to be unable to even produce relevant requirements.

            P&W Canada did afaik not have an adequate engine available out of the box either. Creating a bespoke commercial entity “EuroProp” is established MoO here.

            Engine issues are mostly software process centered ( uncertified/untercertifiable toolset for the FADEC Software ) and a subcontractor issue (Avio newly aquired by GE.

            One could go out on a limb and assume that BAE and GE each went for a bit of sabotage here.

            Finally we see similar strange late issues in some other projects centered around Airbus. bad luck, happenstance or enemy action?

      • You are absolutely right TransWorld. All I wanted to show was that both Airbus and Boeing have problems of their own with large military programmes.

        It is certainly not easy for Airbus right now and I am of the opinion that the A400M programme has been poorly handled by Airbus from the start, political intervention or not. Still, I am not sure Airbus is to be blamed for the engine problems. After all it is an aircraft manufacturer and the TP400 was not designed nor fabricated by Airbus. It came under the responsibility of an ad hoc consortium that was imposed on Airbus. We have more or less the same situation with the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for which Airbus seems to be receiving a lot of undeserved flack.

        Yet I think it is fair to say that Boeing had from the start several problems of their own with the KC46. It has certainly not been all smooth sailing. That being said, those problems were quite different in nature and it is indeed difficult to make comparisons.

        • All points taken. My big concern/s as an Airbus supporter is what have Airbus to offer to offer in the seating and range categories of the 737Max8, 787-9 and 787-10 that have similar seat mile costs? The 350-900 is a brilliant aircraft but can’t cover everything.

          Not even talking about the 777-9 and “797”.

          If manufacturers were only allowed 3 aircraft (including variants) wonder what it will be?

      • “And it is not as advanced a requirement as the KD46”

        I find this “advanced” tag tedious and invariably misplaced.
        American and advanced appear synonymous. falsely though.

        What about “different” 🙂

        • A KC-46 requires less parking space than an A330 but also offers
          45 % less pallet space,
          40 % less cargo weight,
          45 % less airfields at required MTOW,
          25 % less fuel offload at 1,000 nm …

          Maybe “advanced” is translated best with “less”.

          According to the official calculations the KC-46 was about 1 % cheaper. For USAF price Trumps everything! Only airlines look also at capabilities.

          • I would say that last part is wrong.

            Alaska Airlines does not buy A380s.

            They don’t need that capability.

            The USAF does not need what the A330MRT offers.

            It works for others, what we need is tankers, not cargo.

  24. @Anton

    What Airbus is currently offering is in my opinion more attractive for airlines than what Boeing has to offer now and in the near future. There is no equivalent of the A321 at Boeing and that situation is apparently forcing them to make this ill-advised move of launching the NMA as early as next year, if we are to believe LNC’s intelligence services.

    If Boeing had asked me I would have advised them to concentrate instead on the SNA (Super Narrowbody Aircraft). That is a 737 replacement with a large fuselage and an extra wide single aisle and two wings: a 3,500 nm version (160-200 passengers) and second version of 4,500 nm (200-240 passengers). In other words two variant “families” based on the same fuselage, but with two different wings, for a grand total of up to four variants. With that there is no need for the NMA.

    This would of course leave the 240-290 segment empty. So what! There is a hole there and my advice to Boeing, or perhaps I should say my warning, is to make sure not to fall in it. For this hole might actually be a wormhole through which Boeing could find itself in the wrong universe.

    You are right Anton to point out that there is no direct equivalent at Airbus for the 737-8. But as the sales can attest to the A320 can hold its own against the larger 738. And like I said the A320.5 can easily be launched on a short notice if the situation warrants it.

    If you take a close look you will see that there is much more potential in the A320 platform than in the 737’s. The main problem for the latter is its ultra short landing gear that limits the size of the engines and the rotation angle, which has a detrimental impact on takeoff performances. The A320 does not have those problems and offers more cargo space and more passenger comfort. All that for a similar range. You may think that the 737 has more range but it does’t. They are about the same if you take the more stringent passenger/luggage weight reference that Airbus has always used.

    You also seem to have concerns about the 787 and 777. I can understand that because I had similar concerns when Airbus launched the A350. But I didn’t need to worry and neither should you. Initially I expected the A350 to be squeezed between the 787 and the 777. Instead it is the 787 that found itself squeezed between the A330 and A350. As to the 777 it is in a class by itself. In its second iteration (300ER) it became extremely successful; but in its third iteration (777X) it may be no more successful than it was when the 777 first came out. That is because it is getting old now and Boeing has to stretch it again to make it profitable for airlines. But that brings it dangerously close to the VLA category. It is certainly a nice place to be, but it is also more risky. Especially since the A350 will be available with similar CASM and less risk.

    That brings us to the 797. In my view a similar fate to the 787 awaits the NMA. There is indeed a good chance that it will get squeezed between the A321neo and A330neo. The A330neo will have more capacity than the NMA and therefore more revenues. It will also have more range, therefore more flexibility. All that for almost the same price probably. Because I don’t see how Boeing could offer the wonder that the NMA is supposed to be at the price airlines are willing to pay. The current sales pitch reminds me of the Dreamliner’s fourteen years ago.

    And the availability of the A321 and all its possible variants can only make matters worse for the NMA. For there is no way Boeing can offer it at a competitive price with the A321, while offering only marginally superior performances with the smaller variant. As to the larger variant I expect the A330neo to put a serious dent in its business case.

    • Thanks Normand, lots of food for thought here. Think the MoM could have its limitations due to airport and airspace congestion in future. Really only place for <220 seat singles and 280+ twins.

      My concern with the 321LR (185 seats) is that it seems to be a bit of a compromise aircraft at this stage, maybe its a "bridge" model? Ideally it should have been launched with the new wing and had a comfortable effective range of 4500Nm for Transatlantic? Hopefully there will be wing updates that could have use in the 320Plus (320.5) and "standard" A321.

      Maybe the stretched A322XR (200 seat – 2 class) is earmarked for the new wing and 103T MTOW, the lower-end of the "797" market. I actually see more application for this type aircraft for direct flights from an number of destinations in India to Europen cities or Central Asia to Far East and China for example than Transatlantic?

      Personally I think that the current single-aisle Transatlantic "craze" doesn't have a long future (the "Irish-connections" excluded"). Will make more sense if European LCC's fly from their hubs with larger twins into US LCC's hubs.

      Last but no least, thanks for your views/inputs.

    • Normand, after having another 24 hours of thinking some things are becoming clear and some more murky in my mind.

      I am actually not to sure about the A321LR in its current form. It has nothing “special” to it other than fuel capacity increase and higher MTOW, as far as I am aware?

      Hopefully they will be launching an A321X with new wing in the not to distant future. On the other end of the spectrum…,

      Apatite for the 319Neo and 737Max7 seems to be low, these generally targets longer thin routes.

      I believe there is a niche market (that can surprise in size) for a 2000-2500Nm “A319S” using the smaller fanned ((ground clearance) 26Kb-Lb Leap1B (Max8 engines?)) for smaller/”rougher” strips/destinations!!?

      It could even use the 321’s wing and breaking system for better field performance. This could rattle a few feathers but also open new and sustain current destinations for airlines.

      The A319(S) “sport” can fill a market demand where airlines have uncertainties with E190, CS100’s, etc. It will also have some commonalities for Airbus and Boeing users. (“Cherry-on-top” will be Max wing tips and engine nacelles”).

      “(See it as a cross between an AMG and Hummer)”.

  25. Anton: “I am actually not to sure about the A321LR in its current form. It has nothing “special” to it…”

    The A321, or any of its variants, don’t need to have anything special because it has no competition. Unless you have the NMA in mind. But then it will have something very special indeed: its price tag. What you need to understand Anton is that today the A321 finds itself in the same position the 777-300ER was when it was introduced a while ago. Even the A380 was not able to dislodge it and it took an entirely new concept like the A350XWB to destroy its business case. That being said, if Boeing thinks that it can do the same with the NMA they are seriously mistaken. But I have been proven wrong in the case of the A350XWB and I may very well be proven wrong again in the case of the NMA as well.

    Anton: “Apatite for the 319Neo and 737Max7 seems to be low, these generally targets longer thin routes.”

    Indeed, Air Canada intends to use its CS300 on long thin routes, like Vancouver-Boston for example. If the appetite for the A319 and 737 -7 has disappeared it is mainly because of the CSeries.

    Anton: “The A319(S) “sport” can fill a market demand where airlines have uncertainties with E190, CS100’s.”

    The A319, in its sport version or any other, is competing with the CS300, not the CS100. It is a nice aircraft and sold in great numbers until the arrival of the C Series. But today it is considered too heavy and cannot compete with the CS300 even though they use the same engine.

    Like I said before the A320 is a nice family of aircraft while the 737 is a actually a dysfunctional family. Unfortunately Boeing is in denial and I am afraid they will soon start building a new house (NMA) on shaky ground (737).

    • Normand, this is what was I getting to with Airbus, don’t say Boeing is not guilty.

      “The A321 don’t have to be special because it has no competition”. So its all about the competition, don’t mind the airlines/customers?

      If it can be better, why don’t they make it better? Obvious, making money is more important than giving clients your best. OK, business is business, but there is also suppose to be pride in your product and drive for excellence. That’s were I come from in any case!

      The A320 sells well, why make it better? The B787Max8 has better seat mile cost etc. than the A320, why not build the A320Plus that could be better than the MAX8. “Don’t bother, the loyal Airbus clients will buy the 320 and/or 321”, although they want a 320Plus.

      Why give the 321LR a new wing, easy, there’s no competition, why bother! An A322 with new wing, yes, because there could be a 797.

      “If you have the only Hamburger stall in town why give your clients a meat-patty if you can get away with a soy-patty”?

      Now the Airbus comment of “we have it covered” makes sense to me. “A hamburger with no meat”! (Maybe that’s why they want to open “Sushi-Bars” now?).

      In the long run these attitudes bites back at you. See the A320 family orders for 2017 stands at -6, the A330Neo zero for 2017. Balance for A350 orders for 2014/5/6/7, a total of 9. Not sure but Boeing’s order book for 2017 may look different?

      • Taking customers hostage seem to have been more of a Boeing attitude. ( Still? probably a bit out of fashion now 🙂

        Airbus seems to have spent significant amounts of money on improving their offers continuously. So you admonishment doesn’t stick too well.

        In the same move Airbus can now create attractive product offers by rather cost effective measures. ( for a while. … )

        • Uwe you appear to be near Airbus where the “tyre hits the tar”.

          Why has things gone so quiet on the Trent 7000 side? A flying aircraft could sell itself better in the case of the 330-900 I think?

          AirAsiaX is by far the biggest customer with 66 A330-900 orders, they are apparently known to be “mind-changers”? They only have 22 aircraft (A330-300’s) in service.

          There orders (including 10 A350-900) looks a bit ambitious for me at the moment. If something goes pear-shape with the A330-900’s order it could put this aircraft into turbulent air.

          • “Why has things gone so quiet on the Trent 7000 side? A flying aircraft could sell itself better in the case of the 330-900 I think?”

            Afaics and at the moment Trent 7000 (un)availability reflects RR’s delays on the “host engine” Trent1000TEN.

            No idea how this will resolve.

          • Hopefully this will not result in cancellations? Maybe get the Trent700 on the wing and get a “A330-9” certified. A bridge between the A330-300 and -900, it could save/win time, save US$20+ million on purchase price and lower OEW by 3 Tons. You never know, maybe UAL will like something like that with the current GE engines?

            Will give Airbus time to work on landing gear upgrades for the increase in MTOW which they actually said they want?

    • I’ve introduced the concept of “magic range” on occasion.

      In a group of capacity variants of the same basic airframe ( swapping capacity for range ) interest for the smaller models will vane when range for the next larger model exceeds a specific limit. You see that on A332/A333, A319/A320 and now A320/A321. over time it is an upwards moving wave.
      the more efficient newer small NB craft do not create a new wave but float slightly higher ( and thus longer ) on this receding wave. In a similar fashion an A320.5 will not make much sense as the market currently is stradling ist position ( sales parity A320/A321). When available things will have moved on already.

      Airbus currently appears to work in a “convert potential airframe “energies” into kinetic “sales” energies.
      I do wonder when that rabbit fount will dry up.

      • Thanks Uwe.

        That’s a mouth full for someone like me. Apologies if I interpret this incorrectly, please do correct me if I am lost/wrong.

        Basically the current A320 has grown into A321, due to time lag optimization should actually be for something between the 321 and 322 (321+/320.5). Lower ends have grown into the A320 and others collapsed to the 320 size, therefore its good sales success?

        On the other hand the historical A321 could already have outgrown the 322, so the “MoM” (~240 seats), (a market that is debated if it exists), is the growth of the 321 and is ” currently real”, but not in 5 years.

        This 240 seat market could either explode to the A330 size or implode to the 321.5 (321Plus).

        Priorities should therefore be the development of a slightly bigger A321 (from 186 seats) to 321.5 (201 seat – 2 class) and not 220 seat 322?! The A320 remains the A320 due to a combination of factors but have also grown into the A320++/A322- which is the 200 seat 321Plus.

        A new “A330 size short-medium haul” (~280seats) could be the next priority for Airbus after 321Plus?

        Also, the Max8/9/10’s actually will become the MoM’s of the single aisles?

        Interesting thoughts.

      • Uwe,

        I wrote a long reply trying to clear may head. The summary is actually easy, I think. In 5-10 years from now the aircraft requirement/for the short-medium in haul market/s are;
        Single Aisles: 150 seats and 200 seats.
        Twin Aisle: Short/medium 280 seats (medium haul 320/340).

      • Don’t make the mistake of the A380 by thinking to far ahead, or to some degree A350 and 777x, which are already taking about a third model. Focus on one optimized model.
        Go for the sweet spot from the get go. 50m (165′) 2-2-2 with 4,500nm range.

        • Hi Ted, think I am pestering people at the moment.

          Think the 2-2-2 / 165″ you refer to will give?

          6 x ~18″ seats and 2 x ~20″ aisles.

          Was wondering what the pro’s and cons between that and a 3-3 wide single aisle will be for a 200-240 seat air-frame?. The “wide single aisle” with wider middle seats for 4500Nm having a width of ~158″ (~12″ wider than the A320 cabin).

          For economy:
          18″/21″/18″/-Aisle 26″-/18″/21″/18″.

          24″/24″/-Aisle 44″-/24″/24″.

        • “Go for the sweet spot from the get go.”

          How to create a plane with no real future 🙂

          • Which one, the A380, 777x, or A350-1000? The last of the flying boats.

          • Uwe,

            The A300B4-600R has an OEM of some 34 tons or so less than the 330-300, where are the main weight differences?

            My first twin aisle twin engine flight was in a 300-B2 from a Hot-and-High airport, and it got out of there as if the devil was behind it. Flew the same route often in old 707’s, and it was always a white knuckle event to get out of it.

          • About a ton per m fuselage length difference (~5t).
            For the remainder look to the wing.

            But! see:

            An A300 fuselage length A330 would have had better sfc than the original though that had much less structure/weight.
            i.e. the A330 “carries its weight well”.

          • Thanks Uwe,

            Seems the 220-240 Mom “debate” is all about Transatlatice, how big and sustainable is it that really?

            Will 260-280 seat aircraft (less flights) not be the better answer for Airlines, Airports and the ozone in the long run.

            For that size what will the optimal fuselage be from aerodynamic and weight points;

            2-3-2 / 186 inch (767),
            2-4-2 / 204 inch (330).

            A fuselage length between between the A330-200/300 (“850”) could potentially work for Airbus if it is build with materials similar to the A350 and main structures for an aircraft with a maximum range of ~6000Nm.

            Developing of an improved/new engine (Non-GTF) engine in the 50-60K-Lb thrust range should be relatively “easy”.

        • Agree 2-2-2 is it but they probably won’t follow that advice. Hope they do!

          • A passengers dream, 2-2-2, but it would never sell. A 2-3-2 with a 5000 mile range, and 220-240 seats would fill a spot that the A321NEO-LR cannot. I don’t see the A321NEO-LR as a true transatlantic plane, headwinds westbound would almost require a fuel stop or serious weight restrictions. For east coast cities in the states, it might work for European cities on the edge, LIS,DUB,SNN, but not for larger cities like CDG,FCO,MUC,etc.
            Its a hard call for Boeing to make but its an area that Boeing needs to address and soon.

    • Hi Normand/Uwe,

      Maybe I over reacted again in an a-typical manner. Think you guys convinced me (for the moment) that a slightly bigger A321 (321Plus/321.5) with new wing is a higher priority for Airbus than the A320Plus at the moment.

      “Keesje” earlier had a link to possible A320 developments. The A321Plus fits into that links A322XR which is a ~16 seat (3 row?) stretch of 321 with MTOW of 103T, etc.

      The wing will move the aircraft into CAT-D in any event. An “overcapacity” wing is likely better than something that “just fit the bill”?

      • What I wanted to say was that a A320.5 does not make much sense.
        Then what Airbus did was to create “soso” subtypes that get bought but are not hot sellers. then you let the environment ( engines, aero pips ) boost them over time into the center of a _future market_ .
        The A321 is a good example but it is also the last simple blossom in their basket.

        • “What I wanted to say was that a A320.5 does not make much sense.”

          I totally agree with you. If Airbus were to bring the A320.5 to market it would kill the business case of the 737-8 and that would force Boeing out of retirement, or wherever they spend their time nowadays. And that is something Airbus wants to prevent at all costs. So the A320.5 is a definite no-no! 😉

          • Are you real about this. So what you want to do? Don’t want to build a proper plane to wake up the competition.

            You seem to be a good guy following orders. But if Airbus wants to spend near to zip on real development in the next 3-5 years its scary.

        • Uwe, to be very honest here to tell where I am coming from on the single aisles (the twin aisles story is even more complex).

          The current fleet is predominantly Airbus consisting of >15 year old 319’s, 12 years old. All competing airlines have ordered 737MAX8’s for the most profitable routes of 500-2500Nm. The MAX8 guys could undercut by 10-20+% on tickets.

          Current single aisle fleet size ~40, need a single aircraft solution, including that for a small LCC “sub-airline”. Anything smaller than 100 seats “history”, ditch!

          The short to medium haul growth potential (20 or so units?) is in the 200-250 seat market, 3000-4500Nm range. The current 321’s do not make the cut on H&H field performance, the 797 may resolve this.

          In 10 years time there will be a new Boeing single aisle to replace 737’s when the MAX8 orders of today that are due for replacement in 15-20 years.

          The conclusion, MAX8′, a pedigree you can trust. (Sorry but the MAX9/10’s shocking on face value, a Boeing so-so!).

          Message to Airbus, give the airlines a champion aircraft, not a so-so! The only real champion they have at the moment for me is the 350-900. Cant expect the A320 to pull you through for ever?

          China is building one, next the China 330. Wish they want to start building engines so some can choke on their cucumber sandwiches.

          The ultimate Champion was the 747, the A380 is/was an Ego plane at the wrong time, someone lost the plot.

  26. “In a group of capacity variants of the same basic airframe ( swapping capacity for range ) interest for the smaller models will vane when range for the next larger model exceeds a specific limit.”

    That is why I believe the NMA will have a hard time to compete with the A330neo. The latter will have more range and that means more flexibility for operators. Of course the A330 would be too big on certain routes, because it is quite a large aircraft compared to what I expect the NMA to be. But then there will always be the A321neo to fall back on. However the latter might not have the required range. That is when the NMA would be preferable. But airlines will have to figure out its CASM versus its selling price to see if it’s worth it.

    Yet I am convinced that in some cases the NMA will be worth its acquisition cost; on some thin routes most likely. But I don’t expect the kind of sales that are projected right now. What I expect instead is more like the 777 in its first iteration: slow sales. Like for the latter Boeing will soon find out that the bigger the better. In my view the smaller variant of the NMA will see little interest from the airlines and will be a niche aircraft, like the CS100; while the larger variant will be dangerously close to the A330neo. What Boeing needs from the start is a 797-300ER. The bigger it will be the more value it will have. Same thing for the range. Otherwise a single-aisle would be a must.

    Boeing has nothing to offer right now between the antiquated 737 and the state-of-the-art 787. The latter has an ultra long range while the former can hardly cross the Atlantic. In terms of range the A330neo will fall exactly between the 797 and 787, but with more capacity than the former. That is where the airlines will start to realize that the A330neo might be the best compromise in most cases: On the one hand it will be less pricy than the 787, but with a still respectable range, and on the other hand it will generate more revenues and will have more flexibility than the NMA; and all this for a similar acquisition cost.

    • No Problem Normand.

      Just another personal view here along some of these lines.

      I think that an A350-1000 could potentially have a good future as a “medium” haul (lower MTOW variant) aircraft in 3000-6000Nm high density sectors, more so than the 7000+ sectors, if weight reductions could be applied and a suitable XWB engine (~90K-Lb?) with improved fuel consumption could be developed/optimized for shorter routes?

      Less on-board amenities will also be required for shorter flights that could push seating to 380+? (No stretch required). Some examples;

      London-Bejing: 4400Nm,
      Tokyo-Seattle: 4200Nm,
      Atlanta-Frankfurt: 4000Nm,
      Paris-NY: 3200Nm.

      Why do you need to fly these with 777-9’s?

      • Apparently Air Canada is very happy with the 787-8 between Toronto and London.

        • As I’m sure you know, Air Canada flies many different aircraft to LHR ranging from A319 (from YYT) to 777-300ER.

          • My point is that you said they are happy flying the 788 to LHR, which I have no doubt they are, but I suspect they are also happy flying the A319, 763, A330, B789, B77L and 77W to that same city. (OK maybe the a bit 77L less so unless it is carrying a lot of heavy freight)

            It’s about finding the right aircraft for the right city pairing at the right time of day to meet demand.

          • Well, from your reply as well as your original comment, I must conclude that you did not understand what I was trying to convey. I made that comment because I did not expect AC to use this type of aircraft on that kind of route and be delighted with the results. Because as you know the 787 was meant to be used on long thin routes. So that AC would be so happy using it between this particular city pair surprised me. What I gather from this is that the 787 must be an extremely efficient aircraft. In other words it can generate revenues even when used outside its comfort zone. This adds considerable flexibility to any operation.

          • I happen to agree with you that the 787’s economics are excellent even on relatively shorter routes, but I would hesitate to extrapolate that based purely on this particular datapoint. Using that same logic, AC is “delighted” to use the even longer range 77L on this route, but that doesn’t mean that its economics are outstanding on this kind of hop (when compared with a similar pax capacity A330 or B789 for example).

            FWIW, the 787 can (and does) have outstanding operating economics but when you use an aircraft like this on a shortish route, you are potentially overpaying on the capital side vs. an aircraft more optimized for the route. (Although in AC’s case it is widely rumoured they got quite a deal on their 787 fleet.). You do gain in flexibility – a mid-range aircraft can’t go long but a long one can go short.

            In addition, the airline bears some extra operating costs from engines that are more powerful than needed and an airframe structure that is heavier than necessary because it is designed to carry much more fuel than necessary – along with potentially higher landing fees at the airport due to higher MTOW.

  27. Anton: “Are you real about this. So what you want to do? Don’t want to build a proper plane to wake up the competition.”

    I have done everything I could in the past six years to wake Boeing up but they were unable to hear me because they have been put into a deep coma by Airbus. You see, back in 1994 in Toulouse they have imported this high profile American agent and he has ever since kept himself busy teaching them all the tricks to distract the competition. This may sound like fake news, but let me reassure you that it is not.

    • Normand I believe you, this is a big money game, but a real world for Airlines.

      But as I said somewhere else, Airbus not offering the 320Plus (320.5) or new winged A321 for order now will change at least one airlines decision to change to a Boeing B737MAX8 only fleet in the single aisle market.

      Why MAX8? In 15-20 years time there will be a new NSA from Boeing when these need replacement, Airbus most likely not, they will be spinning some stories?!

  28. A Boeing 738 only fleet makes sense. For it is unbeatable on economics and remains the most interesting variant of the 737 family. Personally I am quite disappointed that Airbus doesn’t launch the A320.5, but my conspiracy theory, or perhaps I should say keesje’s, because I think he is the one who started it, tells me that Airbus does not want to push Boeing to the wall. I think they are afraid that Boeing will launch the NSA sooner than they would like. But they don’t need to worry so much because Boeing is loosing its time and its money on a foolish project called the NMA (Not My Aircraft). As for the new A321 variants I think Airbus is just waiting for Boeing to make the first move.

    • Where Airbus “strategy” fails on this is that when an airline jumps the ship from A320 to MAX8 the next change is from 330’s to 787-9/10’s instead of 330NEO’s and/or 350’s.

      If Boeing can add 1000-1500 Nm range to the 787-10(ER) the 350 is toast. But this will require major changes, possibly even new wing. Don’t know if the GEnx could be bumped up to 80K-Lb?

      This could make the 777-8 “redundant” in the short term and they can focus on the 777-9/10?

      An 777-(200ER)MAX8 (7500Nm range) with XWB84 engines and “jazzed-up” wing could be an interesting twist (paper plane).

      Fortunate for Airbus Boeing is messing up with the MAX9/10’s, but that could be their strategy to push airlines to the “797-8”.

    • Normand, don’t think this is going to surprise you. The best option for single aisle for sectors of <2000Nm with B/2-2 (at 36") and E/3-3 (at 32") at the moment gels out to be the 737-800NG's (opex, capex, delivery times) while the 320NEO heading towards the winner in a one class 31" due to cargo (LD3) and seat width marketing spin-offs.

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