How Airbus can kill the Boeing 797

Artisit concept of the Boeing 797. Rendering via Google images.

May 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus can kill the business case for the prospective Boeing 797, the New Midrange Aircraft also known as the Middle of the Market Airplane,

All it has to do is move first, instead of waiting for Boeing to launch the 797, something considered likely next year.

If Airbus launched what is commonly called the A322, a larger, longer-range version of the A321neo, the new version would become a true replacement for the Boeing 757, meet economics of the smaller 797, which has a working title of the 797-6, at a much lower capital cost.

Studies underway for some time

Airbus has been working on plans to enhance the A321neo (the A321neo-plus) and go even farther (the A321neo plus-plus) for nearly two years.

In an interview with LNC at the March 2016 ISTAT meeting, Airbus COO Customers John Leahy declined to comment whether aircraft tweaks will add some improvements to the current A321neo (which at the time hadn’t even flown) to further lower the fuel burn. He also demurred on speculating what an “A321neo-Plus-Plus” response to a 737-10 or Boeing MOM airplane might look like.

(Since then, as the 737-10 design settled in to a mere stretch of the 737-9, Airbus sniffs that it doesn’t have to do anything to respond to the latest 737.)

“Let’s wait and see what they do [about the NMA},” Leahy said a year ago. “I rather liken the situation we’re in with the 350 and 787. We watched what they did and then we had the luxury of sitting down and saying, ‘what should we do to add value?’

“Let them do whatever they need to do in the Middle of the Market,” Leahy said.

Iffy business case, so far

The business case for the 797 so far remains iffy. LNC believes Boeing “has” to do the airplane, because of the weakness of the 737-9 and 737-10, and the clear trend toward essentially abandoning the 787-8. This creates a huge product gap for Boeing.

But designing and building the 797-6 and 797-7 at a cost that will permit sales in the $70m-$80m range is problematic at best.

(The 797-6 is roughly the same size as the Boeing 767-200 and the -7 is about the size of the 767-300.)

Much of the business case appears to rest on tying aftermarket service contracts for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) with 797 sales, LNC’s market sources tell us. Wells Fargo aerospace analyst Sam Pearlstein reported the same in a research note last month.

Furthermore, the market demand remains a question. Boeing now claims there is demand for about 5,000 airplanes in the MOM sector. If so, this could comfortably support Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

But others—LNC included—believe the market, while significant, is quite a bit smaller than 5,000.

Entry-into-Service

The most commonly discussed entry-into-service for the 797 is 2024-2025, though LNC has heard it could slip to 2026. The EIS depends entirely on engine availability.

The engine needs to have 45,000-50,000 lbs thrust. CFM and GE Aviation would jointly produce one, said Safran in its recent earnings call. Safran is 50% owner of CFM, with GE owning the other 50%.

Rolls-Royce also said publicly it will compete with an entirely new engine.

Pratt & Whitney would offer a larger version of its GTF.

Since CFM and RR are pursuing entirely new engines, while PW would up-scale its GTF, PW may be in a position to provide Airbus with a powerplant for the A322 before CFM and RR could offer a new engine for the 797.

Getting the jump

Might Airbus be able to offer an A322 with an EIS two or more years ahead of the 797?

If so, launching the A322 sooner than later (and at a much lower cost will put Airbus in a position to capture the lower end of the MOM Sector. This will undermine the case for the 797-6—and this reduce the business case for the 797-7.

And this is how Airbus might kill the 797 before it gets off the ground.

161 Comments on “How Airbus can kill the Boeing 797

  1. Boeing dawdles. Airbus wins. If this happens, it would be a body blow.

    • Not convinced. The 737 MAX-10 could do most of the missions. Once that roles out the NMA debate will go on the backburner again.

      • Not the longer range thin inter-continental missions that currently use the 757.

        • The -10 is very limited and Airbus is right, its still not a real competitor for the A321CEO let alone the NEO

          • True, but what I really should have said and din’t itereate is that I don’t think it’s snough for Airbus to feel like they need to make the A322 NEO. They may, but even if they do, I don’t expect Boeing to panic and make an NMA when the 737 MAX-10 can cover a reasonable portion of those missions.

            Boeing may just have to right this one off. This is the price they have to pay for the EIS problems, sot, and manufacturing pipeline Boeing used for the 787.

      • The 737 MAX 10 is a great airplane with outstanding technology that has insurmountable handicaps. The airframe itself is a piece of junk, especially the fuselage. Boeing rushed through widening their 707 fuselage in 1956/57 as a knee-jerk reaction to mitigate defection rates to the Douglas DC-8, whose fuselage width was 147 inches (12.25 feet). The 707 went into production at 148 inches, one inch more than its competitor. As an elderly citizen of 60+ years old, this regrettable fuselage keeps getting recycled, first in the 727, the 737, the 757 and then in further updates to the 737. Boeing had a chance to launch the Y1 project and give the 737 series the retirement it deserved as the NG approached the end of production. Unfortunately, it decided to build the 737 MAX as band-aid solution. Now it finds itself at a crossroads. But it is NOT too late! Boeing should finally launch the Y1 project RIGHT NOW! Launch the Y1 series that spans the 145 to 270 passenger segment, beginning with 797 that spans the upper end of that segment! And to boot, give its future sibling, the single-aisle co-designed/co-developed “Boeing 808” (having a fuselage width of at least 13.25 feet) a common type rating. They pulled off a common type rating for the 757/767 series, so a common type rating for the 797/808 would be do-able.

        Going back to the MAX 10, it is simply a joke and a total compromise. Its introduction would continue to add operational inflexibilities to the industry, such as long minimum take off distances, excruciating unload/load times at the gate, limited cargo volume, etc. Furthermore, Boeing should be rebuked for not seriously considering a telescoping landing gear and new wing for the MAX 10, which would have been the absolute barebones minimum. At the end of the day, maybe this will be a good thing, because it will seal the fate of the MAX 10 as a highly undesirable variant. It will have painted Boeing into a corner such that it will have no choice but to do a cleansheet Y1/797/808. When the 808 is introduced, they can simply let Embraer and Bombardier swoop in and own the 100 to 140 seat segment, something that would be a good strategic decision because the trend to upgauge is not going to change. Optimizing the 808 for 165+ passengers would be a logical move.

        • Granted the fuselage has issues but to the best of my knowledge they are vastly latter in program not the original 707.727 commonality.

          It was going to glued joints and then not looking at the consequences that caused that.

          While I am not close to an expert, there have been comments that Boeing could only do that on a derivative and it would not be approved for today.

          Boeing ha had blow out issues on the mid and latter 737s ad well as the 757 and inspections needed to monitor both. That tells me is an engineering approach not because they widened the fuselage back in the 50s.

          I have not heard of Airbus with any similar issues. Doesn’t mean they are not there .

          One a side note, I saw an A320CEO that ANA is retiring come through, wing sure looks dated with all the stuff hanging off the bottom.

          It also looked so small I had to check it was not an A319 or A318.

          Kind of cute comes to mind.

    • Really? Last time airbus was bragging about a game changer, it was A380 which is now shot. Program is closed, no one buys more A380s and they haven’t even broke even on the R&D.

  2. A stretched A322 with a 757-sized wing wouldn’t really need a new engine. With a larger wing – presumably incorporating the Airbus-patented downward folding wingtips, the current 35,000 lbf thrust class engine (PW1135G-JM ) for the A321neo should be able to do the job. Of course, a new engine would improve TSFC and should also be just about perfect for an A321neo-Mk.2. Airbus would also likely be looking at re-winging the A320 and A321 with all new composite wings (A320-800 and A321-800), as well – leading to a joint wing development for maximum synergy.

    • So if Airbus go the route of new composite wing, new engine and a modest stretch what sort of money are we talking? 5-8$bn and EIS by 2022. Pretty small change given the potential volumes they can sell. It is difficult to see how this leaves much space for Boeing at all in this sector. It reduces their NMA to a marginal offering but presumably forces their hand on some sort of NSA

      • @sowerbob

        I reckon that R&D costs should be slightly below your estimate. However, what would give the A321neo-plus-plus a critical competitive advantage would be — among other things — a significant reduction in production costs achieved via composite wings manufactured in ovens at atmospheric pressure.

        Choosing an out-of-autoclave process to make the composite wing is one of the riskiest bets that Irkut has made on the MC-21 programme. If it works, the MC-21 will become the first certificated airliner with a composite wing made in an oven at atmospheric pressure. The decision is also critical to achieving another of Irkut’s objectives in the MC-21 programme: lowering costs. Irkut chief executive Oleg Demchenko has estimated that ovencuring reduces production costs by an order of magnitude compared to an autoclave.

        http://eng.irkut.com/upload/FlightInternational-16.pdf

        • New wing, more fuel, a bit longer fuselage with the same engines?

          And a downward fo0ldling wing that creates more ramp incident’s as well?

          • @TransWorld

            It’s the combination of a larger wing and folding wingtips that will give the A321neo-plus-plus a significantly lower wing-loading and a high wing aspect ratio — or similar to how the 777X with a bigger wing and higher wing aspect ratio (etc.), but same MTOW as the 777-300ER, will have 105,000 lbf thrust engines instead of the 115,000 lbf thrust engines that are required for the 777-300ER.

            Also, I would expect the A321neo-plus-plus to be sitting higher off the ground by some 0.4m – 0.5m and with similar door sill heights as the 757. For example, the ground clearance for the wingtip (tip chord level) of the 757 wing is between 4.67m (15′ 4″) and 4.90m (16′ 1″), while the ground clearance for its engines is between 0.74m (2′ 5″) and 0.86m (2′ 10″). Thus, a 3m long downward-folding wingtip would still have a ground clearance of more than 1.5m (>4′ 11″) — or about twice the ground clearance of that of the engines. I can’t see, therefore, how ramp rash to a downward-folded wingtip would be a such a showstopper.

          • “And a downward folding wing that creates more ramp incident’s as well?”

            Downward folding wingtips is indeed a bad idea.

          • @Normand Hamel

            “Downward folding wingtips is indeed a bad idea.”

            Why?

            A downward hinged wing tip device on a large commercial aircraft wouldn’t necessarily be more exposed to damage from ramp rash than the engines. Like the engines, the wing tip devices would be large and noticeable. Under the wing there should be sufficient space between the engines and the downward folded wing tip for the safe operation of ground vehicles. The Airbus patent allows for much simpler actuation and locking devices than the Boeing method which has to work against gravity. During flight, with the wing tip device in the flight configuration, the bending moment generated about the hinge line is preferably reacted against the abutment surface of the wing. Thus, the bending moment is preferably no taken by an actuator or locking mechanism but is instead taken up by the primary wing structure.

            IMHO, folding wingtips is the right move forward, but I’m not sure if the relatively skimpy folding wingtips on the 777X demonstrates what’s possible. For example, assuming that the raked wing tip is a perfect triangle – a folded wingtip that’s double in length and chord will have 4 times the area – and consequently, it will be much heavier and require much more robust actuators and locking mechanisms. The folded wing tips on the 777X measures 3.75m in length (i.e. an increase from 3.4m as originally envisaged)*. Now, the ground clearance on the outer wing on, for example, the A380 and A350 are, respectively, about 6.5m and 7m. Assuming that you’d need at least 1.5m of ground clearance for the Airbus patented downward folding wing tip – a folding wing tip on these aircraft could have a length of at least 5m in order to ensure a sufficient ground clearance. Interestingly, the wing tip device may take a number of forms – according to the invention. Hence, it could take the form as that of the current A350 wing tip – namely an upwardly extending winglet (i.e. in the flight configuration). Also, because the hinge line is oriented at angle to the flight direction, an upwardly extending winglet would not add to the span when in the ground configuration. If the height of the upwardly extending winglets were, say, 3m – and assuming that the A350 wingtip device is similar to that of a blended winglet that adds about 45 percent of it’s physical length to the effective wingspan — you would add 2 x (5m + 1.25m) = 12.5 metres of increased wingspan to the wing. So, it may look as if both the A350 and A380 wings would be able to have wing tip devices that could be up to 3 times as large (in wing-area) as the one that’s going on the wing of the 777X, while having much lighter actuation and locking devices that would be required for a 777X-style folding raked wing tip of similar size.

            Conclusion:

            1) Single aisles and twin-aisle aircraft can have 2 x 3m and 2 x 5m downward-folding wingtips, respectively.

            2) The wing tip is folded down in the ground configuration during taxiing. While the folding wingtip on the 777x must be activated before the aircraft reaches the runway, the downward-folded wingtip is only activated during take-off

            Since the wing is swept, the hinge line is thus at an angle to the direction of flight. The wing tip device therefore presents a larger frontal area when it is on the ground configuration than when it is in the flight configuration.

            For take-off, the wing tip device is first configured in the ground configuration. The aircraft then commences the take-off run. There’s no lock on the wing tip device in this configuration, and the hinge is sufficiently free-moving to allowing the wing tip device to rotate from the ground configuration towards the flight configuration by virtue of the drag acting on the device. As the speed of the aircraft increases and the device rotates upwardly, the drag decreases but the device begins to generate sufficient lift to assist in moving itself to the flight configuration. The actuator is also used to assist in this movement, until the wing tip device reaches the flight configuration. At that point, the lock is engaged to prevent the wing tip device falling back down under negative-g flight conditions.

            For landing the process is reversed. Namely the Lock is disengaged (for example at the same time the landing gear is deployed). As the angle of attack of the aircraft decreases as the nose is brought down, the lift/drag forces on the wing tip device decreases to the point that gravity overcomes it and the tip returns to the ground configuration. In this scenario it is not actually necessary to use the actuator at all.

            https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=GB&NR=2524827A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=20151007&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP#

          • Are downward-folding wingtips going to be any more vulnerable than split scimitars?

          • The MoM is seen as a 757/767 replacement, both had wingspans >36m and falls in Cat D, why then folded winglets/tips for a MoM?

            On the MAX10, maybe Boeing should fit 4 x JT8D engines to give it enough thrust? There is the new 200 seat Trans-Continental from Boeing!

          • @Roger

            Downward-folding wingtips on a twin should IMJ be no more vulnerable to ramp rash than the outer engines of a quad-powered aircraft. Same thing with split scimitars.

          • @Anton

            It’s absolutely essential for an A321neo-plus-plus to fall into Category C when parked (i.e. wingspan 36m.

          • Thanks OV-099. See the 757 wingspan is 38m, is it classified as Cat-D?

            This is dangerous, I am a mining guy and only know how to break things.

            Question for the aeronautical engineers, from my matchbox calcs. An A350-900 with a 65m wingspan, 84K-Lb engines has a MTOW of 280T.

            So a 36m scaled A350 wing on an “A322” with 35K-Lb engines could have a MTOW of ~115-120T? Know its not that simple but an answer will be interesting. Thanks.

          • @Anton

            115-120 tonnes MTOW is way too high — at least for the initial version.

            1o5 tonnes MTOW and a 160 m2 wing would provide for a wing-loading in the same neighbourhood as that of the A350-900 — i.e. wing-loading is equal to MTOW/wing-area (kg/m2).

            The A350-900 has a wing aspect ratio of 9.49 — i.e. aspect ratio: (wing-span)squared/wing-area.

            If the A321neo-plus-plus would have a wingspan of 42m (i.e. 35.8m fixed span when parked with two 3.1m downward-folding wingtips), the aspect ratio would be: (42m)squared/160m2 = 11 — a significantly better wing aspect ratio than that of the A350-900 (NB: please do note that the aspect ratio calculation is greatly simplified as it doesn’t take into account the shape of the wingtips etc.).

            Now, wings with high aspect ratios have lower induced drag than wings with low aspect ratios for the same wing area.

            http://www.gremline.com/index_files/page0013.htm

            Hence, with all things being equal, lower induced drag at take-off will result in lower take-off thrust required due to the lowering of the induced drag component. Therefore, an A321neo-plus-plus — as described above — wouldn’t really require more thrust than the present engines on the A321neo.

          • Thanks again OV-099, there are actually things here that will make me appreciate every flight more.

            One thing I must, say my first twin-aisle flight was on an short haul A300B4 flight, and it took off “as the devil was behind it”.

          • Part of the problem is people who do not work on ramps and how you get around an aircraft for various purposes.

            Something handing down right in front of you is easily avoided.

            On the other hand, something that is “above you” is much less so.

            Traffic does not run under engines (nothing fits to start with)

            Traffic does go under wings if there is clearance and it certainly goes around them.

            While the Scimitar does hang down, its still up there and worst case you hit it, structural integrity is not affected.

            I don’t know if in a bad case they simply remove and cap the winglets or have kits on hand to replace.

            A jointed wing that gets hit is going to be a grounding issue and for some time.

            The joint is going to be affected, the wing itself is going to be damaged.

            As a working type, I just don’t see any logic to it other than Airbus wanted to come up with something Boeing had not.

  3. An A330-minus could also be a possible threat for the 797-7 from above.

    • An A330-100neo for instance? Airbus had planned a shortened version of the A330-200, but never realized it. Now, as a A330-700 with RR Advance engines, it might work, but I guess it would need new wings, which raises the cost. Perhaps we’ll just see regional versions current neos.

      • Suspect the wing box would need reducing/lightning, pretty big proposition

        • Still cheaper than an all new plane (This could become a running gag at Airbus).

          • If the A330-800 I is not flying (selling) why would anything else mucked around with?

          • With TW on this one, as the a332/338 is the closest viable alternative to a MOM I am also scepticle of themarket size, if there is a 5000 unit marketing for the MOM then Airbus should have no trouble selling a couple of hundred of the currently available nearest thing.

          • A330-100neo need lots of weight reductions and Airbus can 3D print bit after bit and decide if it should stay 3D printed, cast or machined. I also need a new slender wing with new wingbox and a fuselage made of Al-Li alloy. For Engines I propose a CF6-80E3 that has all the good GEnX stuff in it. It would be the lightest and most cost effective 52-58k Engine. Will see if GE/CFMI go this way for the 797 or if they just select a scaled-up Leap or a scaled down GEnX. Think GE can make the CF6-80E3 for 63% of the manufacturing price of making a scaled up LEAP.

        • I guess the old A310 wing box was smaller than the A330 wing box.

          On the other side a new wing box and a new wing on an old fuselage? Why not use a more modern fuselage? A350-100?

          • @MHalblaub

            Suggestion:

            For the early 2020s:

            1) A330-derived twin with A310-sized wings incorporating downward-folding wingtips in order to fit into Category C aircraft stands (i.e. wingspan less than 36m when parked).

            For the late 2020s:

            2) A350-derived twin with A330-sized wings incorporating downward-folding wingtips in order to fit into Category D aircraft stands (i.e. wingspan less than 52m when parked).

            Together with the A321neo-plus-plus, option one would take on any Boeing MOM in a pincer movement, while option two would be designed to replace the A330neo and 787.

      • There are six orders for the A330-200neo, and eight for the A350-800. The market does not seem interested at all in the smaller versions of twin aisle jets.

        • Unless the airline really needs the ranger of the smaller models, the larger model offers significantly more revenue potential for only a small incremental increase in operating costs.

          We see the same thing with all widebody families. Even the 787-8 is now only picking up a handful of new orders each year.

          • Ralfw: Its the A330-800NEO thought I thing DOA is more accurate.

          • Certainly not DOA as it will be the platform for freighters and tankers once A330-200 production ceases.

          • If not model of the A330-800DOA are not made, then a tanker would require an all new certification for a limited number.

            It will soon (does) have competitor from the KC46.

            The freighter has not sold at all well and the 767 looks to have that slot locked up pretty good.

            More likely you will see the continuation of the A330-CEO for that aircraft.

        • @TransWorld @RaflW

          The A338 is laid out for other profiles than the MoM, so I don’t view it as 797 contender.

          In the article behind the first link of this post, modifications on the A330 were also mentioned. I think possible regional versions are meant there.

          Without knowing what Boeing is planning, it is hard to speculate how Airbus could react to a 797, but since there’s not much space between an A322 and an A338Regional, I think it’s plausible that Airbus might do a bit more than just lowering the MTOM an derating the engines.

          @MHalblaub

          I think the A350’s diameter is a bit too much for such a short version.

  4. Hi Scott

    I am slightly confused about your comment re abandoning the B737 -8. I was under the impression it was the one possible ‘sweet spot’ in the MAX line up.

    Thanks

  5. I am wondering how to “flip” the article. Because to me it seems Boeing can’t catch a break. If they move ahead first (787/797), Airbus will be into the position to adapt themselves and make a decent competing product that is a significant problem for Boeing (A350/A321++). However if Boeing acts on Airbus, they can’t seem to get it right (A320NEO vs. B737MAX, A321LR vs. B797, A380 vs B747-8). Is Boeing so inflexible that they cannot properly adapt to a superior product launch? Or are they too reluctant to bite the bullet and really blindsight Airbus?

    • Oh I think they can get it right, if they want to, but they have never quite convinced themselves they need to until it’s almost too late.

      Take the A320 vs 737. With the benefit of hindsight one can see that Boeing should have started working on a replacement the moment the first A320 took to the sky. Why? The A320 is a bit taller, and a bit wider, meaning that it could be scaled up / down / any-which-way and fitted with bigger engines more easily than the 737.

      I reckon that means that a seasoned observer back in the early 1990s could have concluded that the current success of the A320 was inevitable. If in 1990 Boeing had replaced the 737, we’d likely not be having any debate about the matter today; they’d have at least shared the market with Airbus, instead of basically ceding the whole market to them.

      All of this comes down to the time spent developing the requirements and specification of an aircraft. Requirements capture is, in all fields of engineering, only successful if one truly goes into it with zero preconceptions, and fully accepts the answers it gives no matter how contrary to company wisdom. It costs time and money, and it can be a hard lesson for engineers (I am one) to learn.

      Toyota did it honestly with QFD in the 1970s, the American car makers bodged QFD to make it fit their preconceptions. Look at Toyota now…

      So I reckon that Airbus are just better at thinking about what it is that customers actually need and want a lot more than Boeing. I can’t think of a single Boeing aircraft that has a clear advantage either. Even the A380, despite its “problems”, is wildly successful for the airlines that have really, really gone for it, and it’s the only way of expanding one’s market when operating out of slot congested airports.

      Setting all that aside, if all Boeing did was to clone the A320 they’d be better off than they are now. Ironically I think that the thing that would limit the sales of an A320 replacement is the continued availability of A320, or a Boeing clone.

      • While I agree on the 737, yes people did see it as an issue. I certainly did.

        Anyone with a minimal knowledge of architectural (structural in this case ) restrictions (which is what this is) could see that you would always struggle to match the A320 in the years ahead.

        I advocated that the so called Classics should be the last 737, the NG should never have happened.

        Tube engines were an outdated concept by the mid 60s. Any engine guy could have told you that probably by the late 50s.

        Both side have made mistakes.

        Both will have to figure out how to dig themselves out of them.

        Keeping in mind as odd as it is, the 737-800/8 is on even terms with the A320CEO/NEO.

        Its the lack up an upside that is killing them.

        Credit to Boeing engineers to keep it about even
        where they could.

        Credit to Airbus for coming out with a good single aisle when they did.

        They did have the clear advantage if knowing it had to have longer gear as the larger engines were solidly there and they knew the path forward.

        • Boeing did a great job with keeping the 737 alive, struggles with the MA9/10 must have made them realize they have “hit-the-wall”?

          If they cunning they should launch an NSA in size between the 321 and projected 322, ~48m? (fuel capacity and MTOW for ~4500Nm).

          It should not be “tech-dripping” but relatively low cost to develop and build. But a big step forward using (current) GTF’s, Al-Li fuselage, CFRP wing (aspect ratio ~10), fly-by-wire, 787 commonality cockpit, etc

          Be wider than the A32X’s (+8″ – 18″ seats, 26″ aisle – medium haul, or 17.5″ seats, 32″ aisle – short haul- LCC’s). Take containers but also have ~10+% lower operating (fuel/maintenance) seat mile cost than the competition.

          An-all-in-one solution, not only for the US, but many other markets.

          • Boeing should license the MC-21 from Irkut once it has proved itself. I can’t see UA selling thousands on the export market, so a deal to split up the World into different área should be posible, and Boeing board could rest assured that development costs are paid for. Import a thousand experienced Russian engineers to get started. Maybe not súper cheap but less risk and cheaper than NSA and could be develoed into an A321 killer.

          • There is place for lateral thinking here.

            Boeing-Embraer-Irkut.
            Airbus-Bombardier-Comac (MoM).

            And don’t throw away the Russian Aviadvigatel PD-18-R, 40K-Lb GTF, that is currently in development.

        • Transworld, now if Boeing had 1) employed you and 2) listened to you it would have turned out to have been worth billions to them. Their loss, it seems.

          Boeing engineers have done a good job, but whoever is in charge of specifications has had nearly 30 years to make a decision.

          • Certainly spot on but management never listens so a voice in the wilderness.

            Boeing engineers have done a phenomenal job on the 737, the last rabbit out of the hat surprised me.

            It also was a lot more mods (costs) than the simples ones Airbus did on the A320 series.

            As engineers, we pull rabbits out of the hat to keep something going until it can get replaced or fried correctly.

            That also is the path to standardizing deviation , it becomes the norm, and then you do it again.

            When it fails it fails big time.

      • ” I can’t think of a single Boeing aircraft that has a clear advantage either.”

        If we’re talking an existing aircraft: the 777-300ER has had no competitor and generates large profits with 700+ deliveries.
        If we’re talking a future aircraft: the 787-1000 will be unbeatable in its segment.

        I’m not sure that an Airbus output advantage of around 3 narrow bodies per month (+/- manufacturing difficulties) really constitutes “ceding the whole market.” Backlogs don’t tell the story about what your production line is confident in building.

        Boeing has been earning a ton of profit out of the 737 line, much more then Airbus is able to do with the A320 line so I suppose we also have to be careful on how we quantify “success.”

        The duopoly in narrowbodies in ending. How the duopolists respond is very interesting. Airbus’ focus at immediate presence is to exploit the relative youth and growth in the A320 platform and sell the expanded family of aircraft to an airline. The orders for the A321 inform us that this is a successful strategy.

        Boeing really hasn’t told us what they are going to do. All new MOM/979? 767-based MOM? 787-based MOM? Undercut everyone and sell a cheap 737 to Southwest forever? MOM/NSA dual production like the 757/767? Cede the narrow body market since profits will be thinner going forward?

        My gut is that Boeing would rather lose market share in the NB market while the market sorts out the successful airliners from the also-rans than to earn thin profits on a large investment. The only way Boeing would fight for 50% NB market share is if the NSA is far superior to the competition.

        • There are going to be winners and losers here, only time will tell.

          Boeing has hit the wall with the 737 for aircraft larger than the MAX8, that’s where Airbus advantage is. The single aisle market however appears to be getting saturated and there are production backlogs of many years.

          If Boeing is prepared to go the extra mile and build a 737MAX10+ with new wing and undercarriage to facilitate PW1100/LEAP1A engines the 737 could however be good for at least another 10 years in the single aisle market. This will bring Boeing closer to the time Airbus is anticipated to launch a NSA.

          The new wing and under carriage could be used for a MAX9+, with high density seating options it could find favour with LCC’s when they require replacement of pre-MAX 737’s and/or airlines looking for longer range single aisle capabilities (4000 -4500Nm).

          Airbus is vulnerable in the 220-300 seat twin aisle market with the aging A330’s design. Boeing has the technically good and modern 787 air frame.
          A new 7 abreast twin aisle will introduce another production line/type, rather do something with current 787-fuselage?

          There are >1000 B767’s and > 1000 A330’s that will need replacement in the next 5-20 years, by then 787-8 will also start requiring replacement. Airlines seems not to have appetite for the A330NEO’s and therefore an opportunity for Boeing to gain further ground in the twin aisle market.

          An 787-M, size between the 787-8&9 (~59 m lenght), 250-60 seats, 5000Nm range, new wing and wing box, engines X, etc could be sculptured to fill most of the replacement requirements and potential future medium capacity/haul demand/growth from the Far East/Asia/India.

          ME airlines could also be interested in serving more “smaller” destinations in or increase frequencies to destinations in the Europe’s, Asia, India, Indian Ocean Islands, Africa, etc. It could also have many applications on the intra-Australasian routes.

          This will give Boeing production line and airlines fleet commonalities with cost and efficiency benefits to both.

          An 787 line-up could then consist of 787-M (250-60 seats/~5000Nm), 787-9 (290 seats/7500Nm) and 787-10 (330 seats/6500Nm).

          To compete Airbus will have to build a new aircraft, which they are not likely to do in the short term and more likely to go the “band-aid” route. An 787-M could basically eliminate Airbus from the <300 seat twin aisle market and also bring the 787 program closer to profitability.

          This will give Boeing some 10 years to develop a new (wider) single aisle that will focus on the 160 – 220 seat market and negate the development of the MoM. By then the A32X's will also show signs of its age.

          Actually I write all of this in the hope that Airbus will start catching a wake-up.

        • Garrett

          How do you make out the b737 is more profitable than the a320 please, is it a cost thing or a revenue thing please? I would be interested in your take as I believe there are a number of competing arguments

  6. In aviation, its all about weight… Lets remember this MOM plane concept is essentially a higher capacity type plane designed to carry more people in the shorter-haul domestic type market. Flying larger, longer thus much heavier wider body type aircraft that take more fuel thus adding more weight thus adding big $$$ to the bottom line is not something airlines want and can afford to do right now. The domestic market is very profitable for all airlines flying the current narrow body type and they rather add additional frequency than capacity to meet the demand and only using their larger wide body fleet in extreme situations domestically. Even Airbus admitted it’s experiment with the 310 didn’t work in the domestic market and vanilla versions of the 767-200/300 also didn’t perform well again due to higher weights which means they are classified as a heavy flight thus airport operational fees are higher, more flight staff $$$ are required etc. Its funny to read reports of a Boeing concept that seems to look and sound a lot like a 767-type plane in dimensions and capacity!
    The A321 currently sells well and in my opinion with their planned tweaks should make the most sense creating a much more affordable offering to the airlines wanting a domestic or even a medium range thin haul route aircraft. Boeing’s concept in my opinion is flawed at least for the domestic sector and isn’t that what the MOM was all originally about…

    • There has never been a light and durable widebody. Boeing can be first and if it proves itself they can charge much more than $70 millions each. If it can take +240pax in Comfort and fly 4500nm + cargo gives a value around $150Million or more. Can it fly faster than the A321 it will make a difference on cross Atlantic and cross Continental flights, especially if gates accomodate access to several doors at once. Selecting the right Engines will be key for the economics and durability. Ideally it will have the A330 cross section of 2+4+2 and LD3’s but be lighter and more durable for short hopping. Just all morning departures in the big US cities will be on 797’s as the US airliners system will to upgrade to bigger Aircrafts and they will get priority in slot allocations. Airbus have to do the composite wing A322 and do major weight reduction on the A330RE. The question is if it is sufficient or they have to redo and rewing the A330?

      • Claes:

        Those cost figures are from Boeing. Now if its really more a 767 replacement then that changes things.

      • Agree, the problem with all the talk about new tech to make a WB as economical as an NB is that the same tech soon ends up back in an NB. Lógical enough when you think of the marketing size. If Airbus lose sales of their biggest cash cow new tech A321 will be quick on the scene.

        • I agree Airbus will design a response. Either a brand new wingbox+wing and Al-Li fuselage (or GLARE in some version) with a minor stretch to the A320 to A320.5 (to supersede the 737-8 in pax and range) and A321 to the A322 or just tweak the A321 wing with an upward folding wing extension. With a brand new carbon wing and wingbox it will be interesting to see the UK response if they pay-up or let Bremen-Germany take over.

  7. Great to hear it confirmed as a possible project. Airbus made the correct fuselage dimension decisions starting back at the a300/310/330… And the a320… And even the a350. They’re really setup for a derivative development cycle for the future. Good on them.

    Excited to see more

    • “Great to hear it confirmed as a possible project” ???

      The Boeing Mom has been ‘going to be announced’ for some years now.
      Hasnt happened as the airlines are wary, shown by the deferring of capital expenditure on existing orders

  8. Scott,

    If Airbus does follow through with the A321neo ++with all of the proposed enhancements, how is it any different from the 757-300, minus a sharklet here or there. You’d still have a long single aisle that burdens airlines that want quick turns, not to mention that more passengers need a place to put their carry on luggage and so on. Thanks

    • In direct comparison the A321++ better the 757 in pretty much every single aspect.
      Let’s begin with with size of the cabin: The Airbus is wider and so offers better seat width and better storage. The larger body also allows containerized freight.
      Do I need to mention fly-by-wire?
      Most importantly the specific fuel consumption is two classes better. The combination of FBW, carbon wings, modern aerodynamics and the latest generation of engines makes a world of a difference.
      No need to mention that the new engines are also much more silent, which is great both for the passengers and all people living near airports (and reduces the airport fees).
      You might actually put it the other way round: As the A321++ will be significantly better than the 757, it will replace it as fast as they can be built.

    • @Rotate: You are correct, which is why an A322 is likely only about 12 more pax.

    • Quick turn-arounds are a must for short segments, but we’re talking about planes that can fly 4,000-5,000nm. A longer turn-around is far less essential when you’re only flying two or three segments a day. The A321+, A321++ and MOM are not really intended to be used for one or two hour flights.

      • Stealth66,

        I can’t speak to how 757’a and 767’s are used across the entire airline industry, but at Delta, which is the airline I usually fly, 757’s and 767’s are used for one to two hour flights, as well as for longer flights. It seems that Delta sees these aircraft as something that can be used for shorter flights that sell more than 180 tickets (the seating capacity of their 737-900ER’s).

        Here is a week in the life of Delta 767-300 N144DA according to Flight Aware. This airplane is configured with 30 First Class seats, 35 Delta Comfort seats, and 196 Main Cabin seats (AKA Coach, Economy, or Steerage), for a total of 261 seats.

        5-3-17 Salt Lake City to Atlanta 3 hours 38 minutes.
        5-3-17 Atlanta to Detroit 1 hour 50 minutes.
        5-3-17 Detroit to Atlanta 1 hour 52 minutes.
        5-4-17 Atlanta to New Orleans 1 hour 49 minutes.
        5-4-17 New Orleans to Atlanta 1 hour 34 minutes.
        5-4-17 Atlanta to Orlando 1 hour 19 minutes.
        5-4-17 Orlando to Atlanta 1 hour 44 minutes.
        5-5-17 Atlanta to San Diego 4 hours 8 minutes.
        5-5-17 San Diego to Atlanta 4 hours 16 minutes.
        5-6-17 Atlanta to Los Angeles 5 hours 10 minutes.
        5-6-17 Los Angeles to Atlanta 4 hours 6 minutes.
        5-7-17 Atlanta to Los Angeles 5 hours 7 minutes
        5-8-17 Los Angeles to Atlanta 4 hours to 11 minutes.
        5-9-17 Atlanta to New Orleans 1 hour 22 minutes.
        5-9-17 New Orleans to Atlanta 1 hour 16 minutes.

        8 the 15 flights completed by this 767 from 5-3 to 5-9 were of less than 2 hours in duration, i.e. more than half of the flights (53.3% to be exact) were of less than 2 hours duration.

        Here are 5 days in the life of Delta 757-200 N672DL, also according to Flight Aware. This airplane is configured with 20 First Class seats, 29 Delta Comfort seats, and 150 Main Cabin seat, for a total of 199 seats.

        5-5-17 Quito, Ecuador to Atlanta 4 hours 47 minutes.
        5-5-17 Atlanta to San Antonio 2 hours 18 minutes.
        5-5-17 San Antonio to Atlanta 2 hours 15 minutes.
        5-5-17 Atlanta to Baltimore 1 hour 53 minutes.
        5-5-17 Baltimore to Atlanta 1 hour 53 minutes.
        5-5-17 Atlanta to Detroit 1 hour 41 minutes.
        5-6-17 Detroit to Las Vegas 3 hours 59 minutes.
        5-6-17 Las Vegas to Atlanta 3 hours 46 minutes.
        5-6-17 Atlanta to San Antonio 2 hours 23 minutes.
        5-7-17 San Antonio to Atlanta 2 hours 16 minutes.
        5-7-17 Atlanta to Quito, Ecuador 5 hours 26 minutes.
        5-7-17 Quito, Ecuador to Atlanta 5 hours 10 minutes.
        5-8-17 Atlanta to Saint Martin 3 hours 47 minutes.
        5-8-17 Saint Martin to Atlanta 4 hours 7 minutes.
        5-8-17 Atlanta to Santa Ana 4 hours 40 minutes.
        5-9-17 Santa Ana to Atlanta 4 hours 30 minutes.
        5-9-17 Atlanta to New Orleans 1 hour 23 minutes.
        5-9-17 New Orleans to Atlanta 1 hour 19 minutes.
        5-9-17 Atlanta to Detroit 1 hour 51 minutes.

        6 of the 19 flights (31.6%) completed by this 757 from 5-5 to 5-9 were of less than 2 hours in duration, and 10 of 19 (52.6%) were of less than 3 hours duration.

        In view of the above statistics, which I believe to be roughly representative for Delta’s 757-200’s and 767-300’s (767-300ER’s and 767-400’s would probably be different), it would seem to me that turn around times are a relevant concern for any aircraft that is to take over, at same point in the future, the types of routes that Delta today flies with 757-200’s and 767-300’s.

        • Good points. Airlines like to mix and match longer ranged planes with shorter flights. keeps the daily utilisation up as thats what brings in revenue.
          Turnaround times are very important for US carriers that rely on their mega hubs as they use their ‘daily ramps’ when planes arrive and leave at certain times. Dont know that other major carriers in the world as a general rule work the same and an extra 5 mins can be accomodated

        • Couple things:
          Delta is in the process of retiring the non-ER 767s. Several were parked last year, not sure the timeline for the rest, but I believe they are down to only 4. Yes the 2-3-2 main cabin makes for relatively fast turns, but the other costs make this (lovely) bird not very viable any more.
          Obviously a clean-sheet 2-3-2 MOM would not have the fuel burn or maintenance costs of these 767s, but it would have high capital costs.
          DL seems to be hanging onto their 757-300s, which are not good for fast turns. I flew one MSP-LAX last year, and a domestic 767 back, in fact.
          DL also took a nice size tranche of A321s, which are aimed at roughly the same missions as domestic 757s. So they seem comfortable with roughly 37-42 seatrow single aisles for daily multi-sector flying.

        • My real point was “A longer turn-around is far less essential when you’re only flying two or three segments a day.”

          Your data for the 767 really supports this because of the low number of segments it flew – on two days it only flew one segment.

          Turn-around time for a plane flying less than a handful of segments a day is not critical.

    • If you turn the Door 2 [emergency door in a321neo/ceo] into a boarding door in a a322… you get some benefit of double gantry entry or split-flow entry [like in door-2 entry widebody]. That would assist in seating passengers… kinda like an 320 size from door 2 turning right… with business or more economy front of door 2 for the left turners. Splits the loading flow/direction.

      Simples – a little extra weight – and could be offered as an ‘option’.

      F

      • Lufthanse actually uses to board their A321 via door 2 in FRA. However, this option will vanish, as, as of my understanding, Airbus will move production from A321neo to A321LR/ACF with door 2 replaced by two over wing exits…
        But, let’s see what happens. I’m more excited on what happens at the wing development.

  9. I think it is in Airbus’ interest to wait until Boeing is fully committed to a bigger 797 MoM program.

    The most unfavorable thing for Airbus would be if Boeing launches a brand new Boeing 320 NSA family; a little larger, lighter and more efficient (7-10%) than the A320 NEOs. Covering 170-250 seats comfortably, up to 4200 NM in various subtypes.

    No, better first let Chicago commit to a 767 sized MoM, get 737-9/-10 MAX production going and start converging into to 777-8/-9 production.

    Then re-launch the A320 line, with the new optimized 200 seat version (A320 NEO Plus) everyone has been asking for, and 2 4000NM capable A321/22s (without auxiliary fuel tanks).

    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/AirbusA320NEOfamilyconcepts.jpg

    • keesje, you hit the nail on the head. This is clearly Airbus strategy. What I don’t get is how the Boeing management can make such a grave strategic blunder and dig their own grave?
      Of course they should with all speed replace their venerable 737. Why don’t they do it? Here is what one of the smartest guys said about this problem: “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will”. Yep, Steve Jobs.
      Boeing doesn’t want to touch their “winner” 737 and Airbus says “thank you”.

      • It is possible that the 797 be the 737 replacement. As most customers operating from big airports migate to the A321 size it is just a matter of time until the market is centered on the next size.
        Boeing most likely is talking to UAL, AA and Southwest and make sure by year 2017 they make money flying it and Boeing a profit making it.

      • If Boeing was to replace the MAX 8 with a fly by wire, container cargo hold, and CFRP wing, when should that enter service? 2025, 2030, 2035? What’s the optimum strategic move time wise? Engine, CFRP fuselage, single pilot? Not that cut and dry.

        • It will be Embraer that has more chance of making just that plane- if they think ahead and get licensed production of the Irkut MC-21
          Thats exactly the plane you have described, which will be making first flight later this year.

        • You are right, do you want to design the last turbofan Aircraft or the first UDF Aircraft. The risk of being the first waiting for a reliable Engine while money is pouring out can be devestating. Most likley will the fuselage be Al-Li and the wing, wingbox and tailplane be CFRP, fly by wire and maybe very slender wings that need computer stabilization not to go into flutter. The Engines one more iteration from GE/RR/PWA with huge bypass ratio and superlightweight carbon nacelle.

          • Just wondering if such a high tech aircraft is really needed for “workhorse” duties?

            Maybe for 6+ hour sectors where an aircraft will only do 2 -3 (max) flights a day.

    • Good points Keesje.

      If I was Airbus I would have considered a stretched A322 with 3500Nm range (Intra-Continental) and A321XL (Inter-Continental) with ~5000Nm range. (But also, the sooner Airbus realizes the A330NEO in its current form is “dead” the better for them – Think one of Boeing’s happiest days days was when Airbus canned the A350-800).

      The A321XL and A322 could use the same new wing, “current” 35K-Lb engines, same undercarriage etc for similar MTOW’s. This can be done at relative low cost due to a lot of similarities.

      The 230-260 seat Inter-Continental remains a tough one, for optimum efficiencies this require a new aircraft, market size always a question. For me this is the “real MOM”.

      If Boeing can nail down a 787-9 “Lite” (~5000Nm range), possibly lighter and cheaper wing and wing box, with say the 64K-Lb engines of the 787-8 initially (Ideally a “787-8.5 Lite” with ~55K-Lb GTF’s?) This could become a real headache for Airbus if Boeing then develops a larger (180-240 seat) NSA instead of the MOM and keep on optimizing the MAX8?

      • This us what they are posturing towards I think. A 787-3 type, stripped down somewhat will be their answer to a widebody NMA from Airbus. They have no real answer to an A322 NEO but they would modify the 737 MAX-10 to deal with son of those missions if they really felt they had to.

        From Airbus’ point of view, the A322 NEO looks like a possibility, not because they can make money now but in the future. It would be a chess move to force Boeings hand to move first on NMA, and hand Airbus the opportunity to respond.

        Its all idle speculatuon but I xould see this being the chain of events:

        1) A322 NEO
        2) Boeing 757-2X/3X(new wings, new engines, other clever Boeing tricks)
        3) A325 (entirely new plane)

        • Sorry my 2) is wrong. I think Boeing would respond with 2) 767-X based on 787 tech.

          • No I was right the first time. Fun to speculate. The NB sector is just too important compared to niche MOM.

    • about the 4000NM capable A321/22s (without auxiliary fuel tanks).
      It might be useful to read about the new wing box that AIRBUS officially announced earlier this year:
      “Airbus announced it has created the first-ever single-piece composite center wing box. According to the company, the wing box leverages advances in composite technologies, including the molding of complex parts combined with continuous fiber.

      The company is calling it “an important evolution of [a] structural component that provides support and rigidity for an aircraft’s wings.”

      The new technology was designed by research and technology teams at Airbus’ Toulouse and Nantes facilities in France as an upgrade to conventional multi-part center wing boxes. Airbus says advantages of the new version including a 20 percent reduction in manufacturing costs.

      According to project leader Denis Soula, Airbus was assisted in the wing box project – which already has demonstrated its feasibility – by STRUCTIL and JAMCO, developers of preform production technology; and carbon fiber lay-up specialist CORIOLIS.

      The next objective is to prepare the single-piece composite center wing box for industrialization using a full-scale demonstrator, with the goal of readying it for use on next-generation aircraft. Airbus believe the project “holds great promise for future aircraft.””
      new composite wings+new wing box= no need for auxiliary fuel tanks even for 4000+NM capability

    • Totally. We should all place a white furry cat on out laps { I can see Leahy doing it], swivel around on our chairs and go… LEEEET THEEEEM MOOVE FIRRRST…. MUHAHAHAAAA.

      • Airbus built the first fly by wire airliner with its first flight in Feb 1987, dont you think Boeing has been sitting with its furry white cat for too long ?

        • Surely James Bond movies suggest that the villain always loses, possibly due to too much feline activity. Do senior Boeing executives have cats? That seems to be the pertinent question being asked

    • New 767 size plane would probably be a big mistake. Must provide capacity of A-320 (or maybe Max 8) up to capacity of 753. 2-2-2 or 3-3 with wide aisle and wide middle seats. Two wings. Start w/the 752/321 sized one then fill in downward (two more sizes) and upward (one more size). Replace 757 and then 737 (in that order to get return on Max investment)

      A 2-2-2, even with 737 width seat/armrests, would be a revolution in comfort/convenience (4 aisle, two window and NO middle seats). First class is then 1-2-1 (all aisle, two window) .

      The tube ID could be 13′-0″ to 13′-2″ (17″-19″ bigger than 737) and OD about 14′ (just one ft. bigger than 320). IMO (insignificant though it is) this would change the game in Boeing’s favor.

      If this doesn’t pencil out just build a new single aisle a bit wider than the 320 series (a Boeing MC-21) with two wing sizes and replace first the 757 and then the 737 (they would still get to sell the max for +/- 10 years).

      • Somewhere the last week or two Keesje posted a link to a wide-aisle single aisle 3-3 with 1-2-1 up front (“Greenliner”). Maybe not a bad solution for ~220-250 seats size an 2 – 5 hour sectors. But does the market size warrants a new aircraft?

        Large single aisles up to 220 seats, twin aisle variants 270+ seats.

        So the 230 – 260 seat gap is still there and might remain. The question is who can offer the best 220 seat medium haul single aisle and best medium hail 270 seater?

        For Boeing an 767-MAX3(00) and NSA could be a sensible option?

    • You think Airbus is bluffing with the news about shopping a stretch of the A321? I think that’s possible too. Airbus is asking their suppliers increase GLARE production by a factor of 50 to support an aircraft production rate of 70 per month. I don’t think that would be necessary unless they were considering a clean-sheet narrowbody replacement.

      http://www.compositesworld.com/blog/post/day-one-highlights-from-2016-cfk-valley-stade-conference-

      http://www.compositesworld.com/blog/post/the-resurgence-of-glare

      • Also got a feeling Airbus is working on something new that will cover the upper end of the single aisle and lower end of the MOM market (180-240 seats).

        The 320 (and potential Plus) could cover the 140-180 seat market for still a long time. For the <140 seat market CS100/300 type aircraft is the solution

      • @Cascadian

        You don’t have to make an all new aircraft in order to take full advantage of high volume GLARE panel production that’s only now ready for full implementation. In fact, GLARE panels would be quite suitable for the upper forward and upper aft fuselage of the existing A32Xneo-series. Of course, the production infrastructure would first be developed for the A321neo-plus-plus — for later to be introduced on the A32Xneo-series.

        • Right, I should have remembered that one of the upgrades in the 777-X over the 777 was a new fuselage material.

          Cheaper and lighter are reasons enough to make the change, but since GLARE is so much stronger than Al/Al-Li, I’m wondering if there are additional capabilities that could be designed into any new derivatives, like sea-level cabin pressure or ultra-long stretches (like up to the 80m limit)?

          • (The ultra-long stretch comment assumes that problems like cannibalization are ignored and passenger loading/unloading are mitigated through multiple exits and/or the use of a twin-aisle configuration.)

  10. Is it possible to incorporate a common type rating for the entire hypothetical new NB family (what I will call A322 (the neo plus) and A325 (the neo plus plus) along with the re-winged A320-800 and a A321-800, to the current common type rating of the A330neo and the A350XWB? To me that would make for a really compelling across the board offering, If so Airbus should preempt Boeing in a launch, as there are still a lot of 757’s, 767’s as well as first generation A320’s and 737-800’s that will be coming up on replacement cycles in the next five years.

  11. I thought the 321 already replaced the 757? Could have sworn I read that here.

    It’s probably tough to kill a model that isn’t even public or defined, and of course has no customers at all. A clean sheet will always have certain advantages relative to an older derivative, and family options, along with how it will dovetail into NSA, and of course as mentioned mro contracts, are just some key attributes. This next composite wing/frame will be fascinating to study as the applications continue to mature, once the completed frames start rolling out of Charleston.

    The antipathy toward MoM here is somewhat related to the whole Charleston/Boeing labor decisions, I think.

  12. Airbus can build a cheaper single aisle 757-200/300. A twin aisle will cost both manufacturers the same amount. Aircraft circulation is an issue for higher passenger counts at boarding and in flight. 2-2-2 is a good solution for passenger counts of 200 to 250 at any and all ranges. Southwest will eventually need a 200 seat aircraft with an optimal wing for 3,000 nm range. Is this to be a new single aisle 3-3, or twin aisle 2-2-2? The 2-2-2 fuselage can use two wings, one small span with single axle gear for light weights, one large span with double axle gear for higher weights.

    • I disagree with that Ted. I think Boeing would have the edge with the 767 replacement both in terms of cost and value. The 787 cost them but rewards thrm that much. I think they would offer a pkane very similar to the 787 and make it cheaper tgan Airbus could. They might do just that if Aurbus build the A322 NEO.

  13. I think what is missed is the pizaz factor of an all new vs a derivative.

    And to me it looks like they would simply split the market if Airbus does go with the A321+.

    More capable if not ugly capable of the 757-200 mission but not a 767light.

    But if Boeing has a huge gap in that market area, where does that leave Airbus?

    • @Keesje

      IMO, it’s pretty obvious that if the shoe was on the other foot with respect to the A321neo vs. 737 MAX-9/-10 situation, Boeing would never even have contemplated making an all new twin-aisle MOM aircraft.

      • But then Boeing would have done something different about the 737RS and they did not.

        On the other hand Boeing did a bang on job on identifying the 787 market. Long term 1500 to 2000 is likely

        The screwed up the program but that’s a different story.

        Now a market area not served and a program well executed would be an interesting thing to see

  14. If Airbus is expanding the A321 for around 2 rows and adding 12 seats, will that really be enough?

    Assuming the A321LR seats 153 Pax in a true long-haul configuration as per this site, then the A321++ would end up with only 165 seats. The small A330 starts at 240 Pax, leaving still a gap of 75 seats in between. Is that not still too big?

    When comparing this with existing 757-200, which have roughly around 168-176 seats (Delta, American) or the Delta 757-300 with 234 seats, then an A321++ doesn’t seem to be so attractive as a replacement in terms of seats. It surely will have better economics, but it won’t be a real filler for the gap. Or is LHN’s 153 seat configuration a bit too generous?

    • The A332/338 don’t really fit 240 passengers in a 3-class long-haul configuration. For example, AF fits 208 passengers in its long-haul A332s with J/W/Y classes. So the gap between a long-haul A321++ and a long-haul A332 is probably only 40-50 seats.

      • Delta’s A330-200’s are configured with 34 “Delta One” lie flat seats at 80 inch pitch (1-2-1 with aisle access for every seat/bed, unlike in Mickey Mouse efforts to provide this level of service in narrow body aircraft), 32 “Delta comfort seats at 35 inch pitch (2-4-2), and 168 “Main Cabin”seats at 31 to 32 inch pitch (2-4-2). This gives a total a 234 seats in a three class long haul configuration, which is pretty close to 240 passenger capacity that Matth suggested for a A330-200 in an international three class configuration.

        http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/airports-and-aircraft/Aircraft/airbus-a330-200-332.html

  15. A32++, new CFRP wing , new double axle gear, taller gear. How big to go with wingspan? 40m, 45m, 50m? How tall to go with the gear for rotation of stretches and bigger fan engines? Pick a size, the 10 billion dollar question.

    • Airbus could put the cat amongst the pigeons if they launch the “A322” as an “all new” single aisle aircraft, fuselage, materials, wing, etc (“777X-like”) that will eventually replace the current 320/1 family.

      The 320/1 NEO’s “done”, the 350-1000 nearly done, 330NEO – not much in in it., whats next?

      Lest costly, lower risk, larger market size, engine availability/options, better returns.

  16. @Ted

    A321neo ++:

    1) New out-of-autoclave composite wing.
    2) New taller 4 wheel bogies.
    3) Slender wing (aspect ratio > 11), and having a span of 42 m (including 2 x 3.1m downward-folding wingtips) and wing area of 160 m2 — with a fixed wing span of 35.8 when the wingtips are folded during taxiing and when the aircraft is parked at terminals.

    Further explained in this comment:

    https://leehamnews.com/2017/05/10/airbus-can-kill-boeing-797/#comment-189574

  17. Plenty of room in the market for aircraft from several manufacturers with 40m to 50m wingspan. These aircraft will turn three A320/737 flights into two with better economy. On the other end, they will take traffic from the A330, 787, and A350 on the 5 to 10 hour flights where huge freight capacity is not used, with better economy.

  18. I believe Boeing will have to develop 2 airplanes at the same time again (757 & 767), to be able to keep its competitiveness against Airbus. Keeping the 737 for such a long period of time doomed them in the long term.

  19. At the risk of oversimplifying, why not a 757NEO? New wing, new engines, lower cost.

    • Plus the 757 has the same interior width as the 737. A Boeing MC-21 is a better answer.

  20. An alternate approach for Airbus is to look at it top down and accept that the A338/9 has a limited shelf life. If that is the case they could opt to play in the sandbox of the NMA secure in the knowledge that they have 8/9 years of A320NEO production in the bag. They could go back to their roots and develop an A300/310 size aircraft and try out all the new tech, composites etc basing the systems on the A350. All they need is an engine and they are very much in bed with RR so that should be available in the correct timeframe.

    As commented on by many above the A321 is already dominating its segment so why do more until necessary to do so

    • @Sowerbob

      In a response above to @MHalblaub I suggested the following:

      For the early 2020s:

      1) A330-derived twin with A310-sized wings incorporating downward-folding wingtips in order to fit into Category C aircraft stands (i.e. wingspan less than 36m when parked).

      For the late 2020s:

      2) A350-derived twin with A330-sized wings incorporating downward-folding wingtips in order to fit into Category D aircraft stands (i.e. wingspan less than 52m when parked).

      Together with the A321neo-plus-plus, option one would take on any Boeing MOM in a pincer movement, while option two would be designed to replace the A330neo and 787.

      The A321neo-plus-plus, A330-dervived twin and A350-derived twin would take full advantage of composite wing out-of-autoclave manufacturing, single-piece composite centre wing box* — as pointed out above by @flying frog — and full implementation of high volume GLARE** panel production that would be suitable for introduction on the upper forward and upper aft fuselage of the existing A32Xneo-series and A330-derived twin aircraft having an A310-sized wing. Of course, the production infrastructure would first be developed for the A321neo-plus-plus and/or a state-of-the-art A330-derived aircraft family — i.e. same size as the A338/A339 except for the wing, MLG and horizontal tailplane.

      * http://www.airbus.com/newsevents/news-events-single/detail/airbus-new-centre-wing-box-design-holds-great-promise-for-future-aircraft/

      **Links provided by @Cascadian:

      http://www.compositesworld.com/blog/post/the-resurgence-of-glare

      http://www.compositesworld.com/blog/post/day-one-highlights-from-2016-cfk-valley-stade-conference-

      • Maybe I am getting my facts wrong but from data I can get from Dr.Google the OEW for an 350-900 is only ~20T more than an A339. This implies for me that the 350-fuselage could be lighter “per passenger” than that of the 330?

        If so won’t it make sense to use this fuselage for a 270 seat aircraft with 5-6K nm range, new wing, wing box, etc?

        Basically the 330 replacement could be using the 350 fuselage?

        • @Anton

          The heaviest part of a large airliner is typically the wing. Please do take a look at the link below:

          Table 8.3. Aircraft component weights data (Page 237)

          —————–Weight (lb)————-
          ————-MTOW—Fuselage—Wing
          A320——162,000—-17,584—-17,368
          747-100—710,000—-71,850—-86,402
          A388—–1,190,497—115,205—170,135

          Link: https://goo.gl/QJBLPR

          For the A320, the wing and fuselage have about the same weight. However, for the 747-100 — and even more so for the A380-800 — the wing is by far the heaviest component. Of course, the A388 is heavily “over-winged”, but the fact of the matter is that aircraft optimised for long range routes will always have “more-wing” than aircraft optimised for medium and shorter range. The A330 is flying around with a very good wing optimised for the long range A340-300 — e.g. with a massive fuel volume storage capacity in the wing box — and although the current wing serves the A330 well, it’s still far too much wing for a properly optimised intermediate ranged wide-body, using state-of-the-art engines, requiring far less fuel storage in the wing than earlier generation aircraft.

          Thus, it’s not surprising that an A330-derived twin re-winged with A310-sized composite wings — i.e. 361.6 m2 (3,892 sq ft) vs. 219 m2 (2,360 sq ft) — would have wing-weight vs. fuselage-weight more in line with that of the short/intermediate-ranged A320.

          Finally, the A300/A330 circular fuselage has a significantly smaller cross-section than the double circle “double-bubble” A350 fuselage — and a circular fuselage will always be structurally more efficient than a non-circular fuselage. Furthermore, the fuselage slenderness ratios for the A332/A338 and A333/A339 is still quite favourable considering both cross-section and overall fuselage lengths, thereby requiring less fuselage strengthening due to the bending moment on the fuselage.

          • Addendum

            “If so won’t it make sense to use this fuselage for a 270 seat aircraft with 5-6K nm range, new wing, wing box, etc?”

            250 – 300 seat aircraft; or “option 1” which would be an entirely new class of wide-bodies; optimised for 4000 – 4500 nm range; two models with A338/A339 fuselage lengths; with new centre wing box, new smaller wing, new smaller horizontal tailplane and new MLG optimised for 100 tonnes lower MTOW.

            As I indicated above, “option 2” would be designed to replace both the A330neo and 787, a decade hence.

          • It will be great if Airbus take the dive and do this.

            But one question for me is what is the right size, the 332 or 333. Won’t the right size be actually between the two (332.5), or shorter?

            If Airbus wants to go all the way the 33Lite should be the optimum fuselage lenght and not “just” use one of the current two options? However, the 332 is actually not to far of the mark I assume?

            The A300 (~54m) and A332 (~59m). Interesting are the OEW’s,
            A300 (89T), A332 (121T), 787-8 (120T), 767-300 (86T), 757 (58T), 321 (49T) etc.

          • @Anton

            You’re right, length-wise the aircraft wouldn’t have to be exactly the same as the A338/A339. However, what I’m envisioning is to swap out the centre Section-15 (with wings) with an all new Section-15 (with wings), while basically retaining everything fore and aft of Section-15 — NB: Except for the horizontal tailplane (it’s too big).

            Here’s a link that shows where Section-15 is located on the A350 — so you get the idea. 🙂

            http://www.flugrevue.de/english/spirit-aerosystems-builds-a350-xwb-fuselage-section/496878

          • Again very informative for me, section 15 about a third of the 350-900. Can’t really shorten it much if section 15 is not shortened.

          • An A330 with a 52m CFRP wing, 55m length, new light engines and gear would be a nice aircraft.

          • @Anton

            The idea would be to let the new centre Section-15 be reinforced in order to take the added increase in the longitudinal bending moment (i.e. smaller wings leads to a higher fuselage bending moment, which btw is highest in the centre section). That’s why we’d want to maintain the length of Section-15. The forward fuselage (Sections 13/14) and the aft fuselage (Sections 16/17) from the A338/A339 should, therefore, be able to be re-used essentially unmodified on the new aircraft.

          • OV-099, what is the target capacity, range and engine thrust requirements of such a variant?

          • @Anton

            Target capacity: 295 seats in a two class configuration – 8 abreast in economy.
            MTOW: 150 tonnes
            Wing area: 220 m2
            Wing-span with wingtips extended: 47m
            Wing-span with wingtips folded: 35.8m (Category C)
            Wing aspect ratio: 10
            Range: 4500nm
            Thrust: 45,000 lbf x 2

          • OV-099 these are very “ambitious” specifications. Just wondering if a 280 seater with 5000 Nm range will give more flexibility (range and high density seating options), also considering MTOW restrictions for airlines operating from hot and/or high airports.

          • @8

            The 295-seat aircraft (e.g. A330-600X) would have the same length as the A330-900, but a shorter 250-seat version (e.g. A330-500X), having the same length as the A330-800, would have a range in excess of 5000nm.

            Since the typical A330-300 route of today has an average stage length of only 2,000nm, it’s logical to optimise the aircraft around the 295-seat version. The shrunken version (identical MTOW) would have the performance that you’re looking for out of hot and/or high airports.

          • Thanks OV-099, makes technical and development cost sense.

            But is the optimum/market requirement maybe an aircraft in the middle (~275 seats) with two range options 3500/5500Nm, two MTOW’s and two engine thrust options.

            777-200 Standard/ER/LR type concept.

            Generally the requirement is for more range for the larger aircraft but due to single wings for 2 or 3 body sizes it works the other way round.

          • @Anton

            Please do keep in mind that the quoted range is for passengers and bags only. Additional cargo in the lower hold and headwinds, which both reduce range, is not accounted for. For these reasons, therefore, the range shouldn’t be anything less than 4500nm for the 295-seat version. Also, in order to keep costs down and keeping things simple, the MTOW remains the same for both versions. However, a third A300-sized version would also be a possible development. With an identical MTOW as the two larger versions, the range with pax and bags would be in the neighbourhood of 6000nm.

          • Thanks OV-099. End of the day is what the market wants, manufactures can viably produce and engine suppliers can produce.

            Think Airbus let their guard down when Boeing had problems with 787-8. Now the 787-9 is throwing serious punches in the twin aisle market, hurting Airbus. Deferrals of A350’s and weak 330NEO interest are of further concern.

            Looks like Boeing wants to dominate the twin-aisle market with the MoM and hang-in-there with the 737 for the next 5-10 years (with nearly 9000 NG and MAX orders its not bad going).

          • Happy mothers day to all the mothers and fathers.

            OV-099, a thing that was always bubbling in my head. What will the difference be between an 330-800(NEO) and 330-200″NCE” if it used the 338’s aerodynamic improvements, wing and other upgrades on say a 4000Nm sector?

            The 330-200NCE OEW will be ~3T less due to the heavier Tren7000 engines (will however require X more tons of fuel) but the Trent 7000 engines also have an aerodynamic penalties.

            Not sure if all GE 330CEO operators will be keen to switch to R&R? If there are enough demand for such an aircraft GE could potentially squeeze a few percent of fuel savings out of the CF6-80E1 (without major changes), some improvements on maintenance costs and on wing time will be a bonus?

            The list price of the Tent7000 engine is ~US$10-15 Million (each) more than that of the CEO’s. The CEO’s also have significant better engine ground clearance and may be a factor for some airlines.

            If an 330-200NCE with the earlier MTOW of ~230T and range of ~6000Nm (68K-Lb thrust) could be offered at very good pricing it could win significant orders and be an option for airlines that is in “urgent” need for 767-300ER and 330-200 replacement and have application to a new A330-200F?

      • Are they going to be doing all this development in conjunction with your A380-derived “super twin”? 😉

        • @Mike

          As you probably noticed, I’m envisioning using the existing A32x and A330 fuselages in the short-term for the A321neo-plus-plus and the bigger A330-derived twin that would be optimised for short/intermediate range. The A350-derived A330neo and 787 replacement would only come online by the end of the next decade.

          Also, you’d be looking at a high efficiency of commonality implementation due to a large degree of inter-product component commonality, which would dramatically decrease the cost. In contrast, a Boeing MOM aircraft would be all new and enormously risky if Airbus would respond with both an A321neo-plus-plus and “option-1” (as described above) in a pincer movement — and especially so if Airbus would have a first mover advantage — all the while with the 737 MAX not being replaced with a NSA which IMO is a much more important and pressing issue for Boeing.

          In the late 1970s Boeing concurrently developed the 757 and 767, while Airbus in the mid to late 2000s were essentially concurrently developing the A380, A400M and the A350. Meanwhile the market has been doubling every 15 years, or so, while both OEM’s have seen a significant increase in revenues (civilian LCA business). Thus, taking on more than one new programme at a time shouldn’t really be an issue if the decision making process is not beholden to the bean counters. 😉

          Seen in this light, therefore, I can’t see why doing the A321neo-plus-plus — and possibly a MOM-type aircraft based on the A330neo — with EIS some 6 years hence + an A380-derived twin with EIS in, say, 2025, should strain the company’s resources to the breaking point.

          As I wrote in an earlier comment, I tend to subscribe to the philosophy of getting the most bang for the buck. 🙂

          Applying the “lego” principle on a grand scale to state-of-the-art, low volume airframe manufacturing, is IMO long overdue. This can usually only be achieved with modular automation where the OEMs and their suppliers can add modules – such as aircraft components – or switch them off in line with market requirements. Of course, the situation is different for systems and avionics. With the large-scale introduction of automated composite manufacturing in the aerospace industry, at least we’re moving in the right direction.

          There are a few examples of “lego” aircraft, and unsurprisingly most of these aircraft evolved out of Soviet design technologies – just take the TU-95 bomber and TU-114 airliner as an example. Soviet design bureaus typically preferred using proven components and systems even if they represented a comparatively low level of technological sophistication. Also, they prioritised sizable production runs in order to ensure large quantities of end products – in contrast to Western aerospace manufacturing and design philosophies where low volume manufacturing of end products is typically the norm. However, the Soviets were second-to-none in aerodynamics (i.e. supercritical wings etc.), application of composites in aerospace and basic research etc.

  21. Boeing has no choice now, it cannot go with a MOM, as said above Boeing has to commit now to a 320/321/322 size aircraft, slightly wider fuselage and lighter, more efficent wings and Engines than the Airbus equivalent. This would scare Airbus who wouldn’t know whether to carry on with there single aisle product or do a total redesign themselves.

    • @james smith

      Both the Comac C919 and the Irkut MC-21 feature a wider fuselage cross-section than the Airbus A320. I’m not sure if that fact scares Airbus. The narrower 737 cross-section never seemed to have scared Boeing vis-à-vis the A320. Only with the 737MAX the 737’s low ground clearance started to be a real issue with respect to both the limits of its engine fan size and the restricted angle of rotation at takeoff for the largest member of the family.

      Fianlly, Airbus is IMJ targeting a revolutionary next step for an A320 replacement in the mid to late 2030s. The first major step would be a 100-seat regional airliner with EIS in 2030, or so. Until then, the A320-series will live on, despite of its “narrow” fuselage, in possibly one or two further iterations.

      https://www.theengineer.co.uk/airbus-and-siemens-investigate-hybrid-electric-propulsion-for-low-emission-aviation/

      • Due to that threat I think the MoM, 797 or what ever will be the next Sonic Cruiser.

          • Amazing how the options can float around in your head. From airliners point of view they want replace the 757/767′ (180-250 seats), range 3000 – 5500Nm.

            The the thread is how Airbus can hurt the MoM, but I think it’s Airbus that’s in more danger of getting hurt. If Boeing is going for an NSA or MoM Airbus only response will be variants of current aircraft, the new product will/should always better.

            But both manufactures will have to make decisions in this cat and mouse game and airlines will have to make up their mind of what they want.

            Manufacturers can’t build aircraft for every airlines specific route or requirements, they will and are going bust if not careful. Ryanair with one and Emirates with two aircraft types are not doing to bad?

            In short, anything that Airbus do with the 330 in the MoM market could be seen by airlines as another “band aid” aircraft, as is the MAX10 in the sibgle aisle market.

          • @Anton

            Boeing is in a lose-lose situation. They’re already late-to-market (big time) with Airbus now eating Boeing’s lunch with the A321neo. A MOM requires heavy investment and won’t arrive before 2025, at the earliest. It will remain a mirage if Airbus preemptively goes ahead with the A321neo-plus-plus, forcing Boeing to forego the market segment completely because the A321neo-plus-plus can be done for a fraction of the cost of a new build, while at the same time making the business case for a MOM untenable.

            Wouldn’t you agree, though, that it’s amazing that some people seem to subscribe to the idea that only Boeing can respond to a new aircraft with a variant of a current aircraft, while Airbus can’t.

      • If you make a wider fuselage like C919 or MC-21 you risk higher mass and aero drag for the same 6 seats per row. Hence you need lots of structures and aero skills not to get too poor range. Both C919 and MC-21 seems to lack range as advestised. The range required is trans continental USA with full load to be competetive in most markets.

    • Yes! Boeing should do a new A-320 to 757 size, 2-2-2 or wide aisle 3-3, two wing sets, etc. etc. Clearly the right answer.

  22. OV-099
    Hear what you say, but Comac and Irkut will take years to achieve the production ramp up and customer support that Airbus and Boeing have, so they are not a threat. Only Boeing could scare Airbus. Maybe Airbus will be forced to do another step and push back the 2030 date. the logical step now is for Boeing to replace the 737 and Airbus can blame no one but itself for pushing to hard. ie letting the neo++ slip when it didn’t need too.

    • @james smith

      We seem to be in agreement that the MAX is currently Boeing’s achilles heel. Where we differ, though, would seem to be on Boeing’s options, going forward. I don’t share your concern about the A320’s cross-section, though, and it’s something I would consider being sort of a red herring.

      IMJ, Boeing is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Any all new, but conventional tube-and-wing NSA (New Single Aisle) would not EIS before 2025, at the earliest. A NSA should also have a life span of at least 25 years. If Airbus targets a revolutionary replacement for the A320-series to EIS in 2035, or a few years thereafter, Boeing would run the risk of seeing their all new NSA having a severely curtailed production run. In short, the right time for doing a NSA has IMO passed – Boeing chose to do the MAX instead. In fact, one could argue that Boeing should have chosen to bite the bullet back in the mid 1990s and developed a NSA at that time, instead of the 737NG.

      What are the options going forward?

      Well, if Airbus can develop a re-winged A321neo-plus-plus, Boeing could IMJ also develop a re-winged 737 MAX-9-plus-plus with an all new and taller MLG — in fact, a direct 757 replacement. It would use the same nose gear as the MAX and would sit on the ground in a nose-down attitude — or similar to how the A330/A340 ended up in a nose-down attitude on the ground due to the (re-) use of the entire nose and nose landing gear bay of the A300 — i.e. the A330 has a taller MLG than the A300 and the nose gear had to fit into the A300’s nose gear bay.

      This would obviously not be the preferred option, but it may be the only reasonable one going forward. Any twin-aisle MOM option could likewise be based on the 767.

      Yes, the A320 fuselage cross section is better for a longer fuselage that’s equal in length to, say, the 757-200, primarily due to the A320’s cargo container capability in the lower hold. However, the lack of container capability in the lower hold didn’t prevent Boeing from selling more than 1000 757s.

      As for your last point; with the recent revelations about the plans for an A321neo-plus-plus, I can’t see where Airbus supposedly is letting it slip.

      • I am not so sure about many airlines appetite for a revolutionary NSA on 20 years, risk and cost. Maybe for aircraft in the 100-150 seat market?

        Believe that still for a long time the majority of aircraft units that will be required will have 150 – 250 seats and lots/most orders coming from LCC’s?

        If there were no aircraft in production with these seat capacities and you could start clean sheet what will it be?

        For me a slightly wider single aisle 32X with 180 seats and a 240 seat all new 767-300 size aircraft. Both “conventional” Al-Li fuselages and CFRP wings.

        Commonalities in development and production methodologies could make these very competitive. The 2-3-2 will basically be a (1/3 larger copy and paste) 134% scale product of the single aisle. Maybe this is an option for Boeing if they can develop 2 aircraft for the cost of one?

        • @Anton

          The competitive business for Large Commercial Airliners (LCA) can be viewed through game-theoretical modeling, where decisions by one player are dependent on the moves expected of the other player. In game-theory terms, the response from Airbus vis-à-vis a Boeing MOM must be viewed as a threat, changing Boeing’s potential rate of return for developing the MOM. In short, if Boeing goes ahead with the MOM, Airbus is obviouskly planning to undercut it using an aircraft based on an existing design.

          Likewise, if Boeing would expect Airbus to launch an all new revolutionary single aisle aircraft in the early to mid 2030s, surely they would be getting ever more hesitant towards launching an all new but conventional NSA replacing the 737MAX in, say, 2030. In short, if Boeing would go ahead with the NSA, Airbus would be threatening of undercutting the NSA with an all new revolutionary design.

          Furthermore, the airline industry cannot IMJ continue to ignore the elephant in the room: carbon emissions. Up until now the public and the airlines have not demanded significant change from the OEMs. If in the longer-term, however, the public and the airlines would start exerting pressure on the manufacturers to design and produce aircraft that can work on alternative fuels, the OEMs would have to commit serious resources in order to get new revolutionary aircraft off the ground and making them a viable alternative for airlines. The technology already exists in other transportation sectors — the LCA OEMs just need that extra push to be able to translate it to commercial planes.

          IMJ, one way or another, carbon regulations are coming big time to the global airline industry. Never mind that climate change denial in the US is the original “fake news”, the imminent change in global greenhouse gas emissions regulations is poised to leave the US behind in a world embracing action on climate change. Due to repeated policy failures in the US (i.e. “voluntary standards” etc.), the US aerospace industry will be under no pressure from the current US government to improve the fuel efficiency of aircraft — a competitive disadvantage in today’s world.

          Finally, thanks to this large elephant in the room starting to appear on the horizon, Airbus and Boeing will have to take into account one additional factor in their game-theoretical modeling — and plan accordingly. Perhaps this is why Boeing seems to be sticking to the MAX for as long as possible.

          • This is a well laid out representation of the Airbus/Boeing tussle.

            Is the A321-+-+ the Airbus Sonic Cruiser?

            But while the two are having their own dog fight the third dog can get the bone?

            The C919 is flying, there could be many more in 20 years from now in markets that Airbus and Boeing intended to build super-tech aircraft for.

          • @Anton

            The A321neo ++ is going to be an evolutionary development programme — except for possibly out-of-autoclave manufactured wings. In contrast, the Sonic Cruiser was a “dumber-than-dirt-idea” (quoting Bill Sweetman).

            On its face, the Sonic Cruiser was a dumber-than-dirt idea. The industry’s shared, consistent experience of supersonic flight was that you did not want to cruise at Mach 0.98; cruising at a faster speed would actually reduce drag. Boeing knew this, and admitted that the Sonic Cruiser would need to have bigger engines and burn more fuel than a classic subsonic jet, but the company argued that passengers would pay the premium fare necessary. How much more would they pay? No one knew. Boeing had done no studies or surveys, because that would have blown the secret project’s cover.

            Boeing had been having a tough few years. It had spent most of 2000 pushing warmed-over versions of the 767 and 747, with no success, and was losing ground to Airbus. It seemed to me that Sonic Cruiser was either a desperate gamble or a public diversion. But the irrepressible Mulally would not be stopped. In July he told unions that it was “a 100 percent go.”

            http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/cult-sonic-cruiser-180956241/

            IMHO, it’s not altogether inappropriate to look at Boeing’s sales pitch for a MOM-type aircraft as either a desperate gamble or a public diversion.

          • These are indeed interesting times, to many options. Think the LCC’s skewed but also stimulated the airline/aircraft market.

            Just hope the 321-+-+ is not an overstretch (757-400) to compete with the postulated smaller Boeing MoM.

            It will make technical sense to me if the “322” is a slightly bigger (20+) seat 321 (3500Nm) with new wing to “replace” the current 321. Then make the 321 with new wing, 322 engines, MTOW etc the “Long Ranger” (4500Nm effective range).

            This will create the ideal sweet spot/gap for the long discussed/anticipated 320Plus (320.5/325) between the current 320 and 321 (=MAX8).

            In short: 320 “Minus” (LCC’s/2500Nm), 320Plus (170 seats/3500Nm), 321XL (185 seats/4500Nm), 322 (210 seats/3500Nm), A330-500 (250 seats/5000Nm).

  23. This is a great game.

    Remember how Boeing flatfooted most pundits moving from the SonicCruiser to the (Nightmare?)DreamLiner.

    Under the cover of proposing building the Sonic thingy…Boeing gathered the intelligence needed to dream right… in the open. ok, execution was challenging but that just 30+B$ under the bridge.

    Now, under the cover building this new twin aisle plane, Boeing is actively talking…& listening hard (i am sure).

    It could conclude it should launch an NSA/clean sheet. Or whatever.

    Cannibalization, min sale cost threshold, no new NEO like engine leap, + + +, etc. as everyone is arguing can be hard challenges. But they are not empty headed (i.e., not idiots).

    If they can survive a 30+B$ blunder, they may decide to bet on another. After all there is all that buyback gravy. Sure, the board would fire them. Pockets first. But… still a lot of gravy.

    With our friend in the WH, it probably may provide some cover $$-wise in the next few years from defense.

    So let’s not count them out. Sure Airbus is in a good position. But it took them 3+ ply to respond with the right A350, starting first with a tired platform. The folks in Toulouse are still no entrepreneurs…

    Only Boeing saved Airbus as the former could not execute. Some people learn though. It happens.

    • “The folks in Toulouse are still no entrepreneurs…”

      Your friend, the Entrepreneur-in-Chief could probably tell them a thing or two about entrepreneurship — Trump Shuttle, Trump Casinos, Trump University, Trump Mortgage etc.

        • That said, Boeing did catch Airbus with their pants down on the 787.

          Failure to execute wrecked the chance to put the hurt on Airbus who did indeed flail.

          Time will tell if both sides are smarter now, one side or the other is or neither is.

    • The A350 is not the answer of Airbus to the 787. The A350 is an attack on the 777 market. The tired platform with a new engine option sold more aircraft since introduced than the Boeing aircraft in its category.

      • Boeing went trough a bad experience with 787-8, the have learned valuable lessons, things are changing. Airbus is/was hoping/counting-on that 787 blues will continue, but it’s not.

        The 787 will become a twin aisle 737, the 330NEO wont become a 320NEO story.

        Did the A380 became a 747, no.

        And the (787-X) 787-9 787-10 777-8 777-9 pairings will make life difficult for Airbus in the twin aisle market.

        If Airbus continued with the original 350-800 (787-9 killer) and developed a lighter 330-200 with new wing, center section, 60K-Lb engines with 5-6K Nm range instead of the 338/9’s things could have looked very different?!

        The 338 cant compete with the 787-8/(X) and 339 cant compete with 787-9, the 350-2000 wont compete with a 777-10.

        Maybe Mr.Trump is good to Airbus in that the 350-1000 could become a better 777-300ER replacement than the 777-9 and the 350-900 better replacement for the 777-200’s than the 777-8 because of decreasing capacity demand, but he could also have killed the A380?

        If Boeing knew what is going to happen they could have build an 777-8 with 8500Nm range before the 777-9 and 777-8″LR”.

  24. The guys in to Toulouse are still no entrepreneurs..

    A300 Big Twin, A310 MoM, FBWA320, A330/340 small LH machines, A380, A400, NEO..

    That must be the prestige/ job creation department, correct?

    😀 😀

    • (displaying a (fake) puzzled face :-)) :
      At 56% government created/paid/induced/gravy-ed GDP… what else could it be??

      ok, ok, nimm es nur mit einem Körnchen Salz… ich versuche nur witzig su sein!

      Ya’ll have a nice weekend.

        • Keejse:

          A340: flop

          A400: not what I call a success in any way shaper or from

          A380: barely breathing.

          Entrepreneurs and tech achievements are two different things.

          A300/310: More in line with DC10/MD11/L1011. So so. A330 was the winter (finally) and aided by Boeing to a huge degree.

  25. Narrow body long haul is a hype. Nobody want’s to sit 8 hrs in a small tube, therefor wide body will be the winner in the end. Specially with a growing economy people will pay more instead of less for comfort. So LCC’s will have plunging pax vs Legacy’s when using narrow bodies. I already know a number of routes which where done by the 737 by Dutch operators and are out 1 or 2 years later.
    But Boeing should hurry. They are already years behind Airbus. They just react. If they can make the 787 shorter, instead of longer they might have a chance. Building a new one from scratch will take too much time.

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