Could an NMA be made good enough?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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March 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: After showing there exists an NMA (New Midrange Aircraft) gap, the next question follows: Can an aircraft be made for the segment that can carve out a big enough slice to make it a worthwhile effort?

It’s a tough question. Any new aircraft will cost at least $10bn to develop for the airframe alone. To this one shall add the engine development. There exists no suitable engine for such an aircraft. To motivate the investments, the aircraft has to bring a substantial performance improvement compared to existing aircraft. Can it?

Figure 1. The NMA takes more and more the shape of a 767 replacement (A United 767-200). Source: United

We go through the key areas that can bring improvements and check if enough progress can is made until an NMA entry into service in 2024 or 2025.


  • Existing aircraft are either too little or too much aircraft to fill an NMA role.
  • By careful design choices, especially for the fuselage, a new aircraft can achieve the required performance.

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