NMA demand skeptics aren’t thinking outside the box, Boeing exec says

Feb. 13, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Skeptics who question Boeing’s market demand forecast of 4,000 airplanes for the New Midrange Aircraft aren’t thinking “outside the box,” says Randy Tinseth, VP Marketing.

Tinseth heads up the team that prepares Boeing’s annual Current Market Outlook for the next 20 years.

Boeing’s CMO forecasts a need for about 5,900 small twin-aisle aircraft (fewer than 300 seats but larger than single-aisle airplanes of more than 200 seats). About 4,000 of these are for the NMA.

Others, including Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and some key suppliers see the market as between 2,000 and 2,500. Leeham Co.’s own estimate is 2,300.

A little bit here and there

“You take a little bit from the top of the single aisles, you take a little bit from the bottom of the wide-body market, you stimulate some growth and, of course, you have a little bit of a numbers game because you’re replacing some aircraft,” Tinseth told LNC on the sidelines of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

Randy Tinseth. Photo via Google images.

conference in Lynnwood (WA) today.

“What’s different about this airplane is this isn’t a conventional airplane,” he says. “This is an airplane that’s all about changing the fundamental way the networks of our customers. Those who seeing a low forecast aren’t thinking out of the box.”

Tinseth says airlines will take the NMA and grow their business in much the same way they did with the 787. Tinseth told the conference that 170 new routes have been opened with the 787 since entry-into-service in 2011. About 700 787s have been delivered.

Filling a gap

“The NMA is a mid-market aircraft. We have short haul. We have long haul Now we have mid-haul aircraft. This will be the first aircraft that will be the mid haul aircraft that does in many ways what the 787 has been able to do,” Tinseth says.

Ron Epstein, the aerospace analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, did an in-depth study of the NMA for one of his research notes a few years ago. On a later panel at the PNAA conference, he remains skeptical Boeing can produce a plane for the $65m-$75m airlines and lessors want.

“That’s a hard hurdle,” he says.

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group, appearing on the same panel with Epstein and consultant Kevin Michael of AeroDynamics, sees two distinct Middle of the Market requirements—one for a single aisle airplane and another for a twin-aisle. He pointed to the concurrent development of the Boeing 757 and 767 are the example to follow.

“It’s really two different markets, two different production costs and two different operating economics,” he says.

Not one airplane, but two

Michael said Boeing’s current drive to vertically integrate its operations might not make sense for one aircraft program (the NMA), but would for two (the NMA and the New Small Airplane to replace the 737). “Maybe not at the same time,” he said. This could produce “a steady stream of work into the 2030s,” Michael said.

Although Boeing has said there will be no cannibalization of the 787, Epstein disagrees.

There will be some cannibalization of the 737 MAX 10 at the bottom and the 787-8 at the top, Epstein says.

He agrees there will be some stimulation like the 787. But some of the wide-bodies currently being used on the routes for which the NMA will be designed results in cannibalization.

It should be noted that in his presentation to PNAA, Tinseth shows the NMA replacing the A330/340, the 767 and 777-200ER/300. Missing are the 757, larger 737s and the 787-8—a selective set of examples, noted a few delegates afterward.

Some also questioned just how stimulative the NMA will be for new routes. While Boeing touts 170 new routes opened by the 787, some failed. More to the point, skeptics asked, was how many of the 700 787s delivered were needed for the 170 new routes; and that the average stage length for the 787 is 2,000-3,000nm, a figure similar to the A330.

“What you think the stimulative demand is for the new markets is the variable,” Epstein says.

99 Comments on “NMA demand skeptics aren’t thinking outside the box, Boeing exec says

  1. Not as though Boeing hasn’t been wrong in this space before – anyone remember the B787-3?

    • 783 was just a treat creted for the Japanese airlines to fit 767 gates created via stunting the 788 wings. Win a customer 🙂

      OT: my impression is that Mr. Tinseth is working closer to the border between creative fantasies and strongly deviating from fact.

      • That’s obviously not quite the ‘middle,’ then…
        And if, indeed, Randy II believes this is “in many ways what the 787 has been able to do,” why re-invent it? IIRC, Randy I (ie his predecessor, Mr Baseler) spent much time proclaming the 787 as addressing the MoM – a region not previously discovered, I think.

        • not previously discovered. ROFL.

          John Leahy: a plastic copy of the A330 🙂

          As it is the A350Mk1 had an acceptable number of orders.
          What it could not compete with was “that drug like rush”.
          But you can’t fight hysterics with facts ( or a hard product) anyway. only with time.

      • Or, indeed, the earlier A330-500 – perhaps in its 195-tonne sub-variant form?

          • Airlines were in 2004 already looking for an NMA aircraft and airlines not interested in compromised derivates of the 330-200. So if AB wants to compete in this market its either nothing or a new aircraft.

            Maybe BA is climbing up to high in the capacity and range tree, a wing for a two model aircraft will be a compromise. Maybe whats needed is a single optimized model with two model possibilities above and below?

            Primary model: 250 Seats, 4500Nm,
            Shrink: 220 Seats 5000Nm,
            Stretch: 280 Seats 4000Nm.

  2. As predicted the NMA-program most likely 2 aircraft which is underlined by the reported increase of engine thrust requirement for the twin-aisle to around 50Klb.

    This thrust/range creep may actually play in the hands of AB making engines available for future developments of their own? The 40-45Klb engines would not have suited AB, something around 50-60Klb could?

  3. The B787-3 was a bad mix of longe range aircraft with de-optimized wing. An optimized NMA could be a good offering.
    There is no existing market to look at. Makes estimations difficult. A380 shows that airlines sometimes have difficulties to market different aircraft sizes. But it may also become a huge success.

    • Shortening the wing is the easiest way to make a long range aircraft more suited to shorter range.
      The other way to make the most of shorter range is deactivating the centre fuselage fuel tanks and choosing the lowest thrust rating of the engines you buy.
      Optimising for short range – as the Dassault Mercure was , and that was really short range- normally means having flaps etc for the plane to climb very quickly to cruise altitude.

  4. Looks like the NMA could cannibalize 787-9 orders? BAC most likely eager to get rid of the 787-8 in any case.

  5. Interesting. Carefully left out numbers are always in the air. How many new routes were opened by the 2000 767s and A330s in the same period? Does Randy have numbers on that? Do a google picture search on “A330 watercanon”..

    By the time Boeing can field a 797 (2025), Airbus has pushed 3000 A321NEO’s into the market (if no more are ordered..) of which growing number are 4000NM capable variants. Affordable and excellent performers on 700-1000NM citypairs too.. OEW <50t.

    If the 797 is a big aircraft, it’s a big aircraft. With typical big aircraft costs. No Miracles, airlines don’t Dream, sorry.

    Boeing seems late again. Maybe they have been talking / reviewing too long. More then 5 yrs.

    • Keesje people sometimes refer to an A323, how does that differ from a theoretical A322?

      At some point I thought that AB’ response to a smaller NMA and/or NSA could be a postulated A322 size aircraft but with Li-Al fuselage, etc, basically an NSA?

      • I seems to me the A321LR is a stretch for long flights. It is smallish with long haul cabins, range restricted and slow for long haul operations. But it’s good value: cheap, available & flexible.

        http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1369195

        An A322 / Plus-Plus / A325 or however you name it, could address many of the inherent limitations the A321LR has. It seems most agree the wing has become the limiting factor. A slightly bigger wing / gear could improve performance (range, MTOW, speed, wingloading). The price to pay would be costs, time to market, commonality and efficiency on shorter flights.

        https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-w0yvq58-h2M/WVuATjJFU0I/AAAAAAAABK4/RKFBEiw4WT83RjRqZa3UdwaP8kURPFHOQCLcBGAs/s1600/Airbus%2BBoeing%2BA322%2BMoM%2BConcept%2Bkeesje%2B737%2BMAX%2BA320NEO.jpg

        • Thanks Keesje. Looks like AB will have to strike the right balance with a new wing for the 322’s for mission range (2000-5000Nm?). Stretch to accommodate long range cabin and ~200pax in lower density layout.

          Effectively an B757-200 in capacity and range?

          • “Effectively an B757-200 in capacity and range?”

            You have that with the A321LR.
            IMU Keesje’s object of desire is a small markup in capacity and a larger one in range. .. and no need for ACTs.

          • Not really. The A321LR gives up pax for range.

            At the 757-300 level the fuselage gets too long for fast turnarounds.

          • If you give an 47m long A322 an 40m wing with more fuel capacity and enough thrust for around 105T Mtow you should be able to fly 200pax around 4500NM?

        • The 321LR’s first Transatlantic crossing test flight (CFM-engines).

          http://c.newsnow.co.uk/A/924238123?-303:3665:3

          Stretch the 321 by ~3m, give it a 40m (CAT-D) higher speed wing (CFRP) with higher fuel capacity, long range cabin, 2 exit doors before wing and the 322 could start to crystallise.

          As said somewhere else, give CFM an opportunity for a proposal to a 35-38Klb engine for the 322, MTOW ~105T, range ~4500Nm.

          EIS 3 years before the NMA?

          • It is right on, Airbus does not have to wait for the 797 to do the A322, the biggest 797 version will need a new Airbus aircraft anyway and Airbus can cash in on the A322 while waiting for Boeings suppliers to develop all the expensive parts, systems and engines for the 797 then pick and choose for their own light widebody. Airbus might need Udvar to tell them this and place a lauch order at Farnborough this summer.

          • Plus a CFC wing made by Bombardier Northern Ireland ?

            if Boeing can ‘redesign’ its 787 wing for the 777X, surely Bombardier can do the same for its Cseries wing for an A322

          • I think Airbus is fully capable of designing their own wings.

            While they barely managed it, they did so on the A350

          • Of course. But you missed the point of the Northern Ireland factory having the expertise and equipment on hand. I was only suggesting that Bombardier do it as a modified Cseries wing, which they are best qualified to do in the shortest time.
            Airbus starting from scratch is nice when you have years and billions to spend. Being nimble can be ahead of Boeing ?

          • You think Airbus has been wearing down the skids on their rocking chair all the time while twiddling their thumbs?
            Watching over time my impression is that Airbus is a lot more proactive while following a foundational master plan than forex Boeing.

          • @ Uwe, I concur that this must have been designed in outline for some time. The iterative nature of Airbus development would suggest that they are a lot closer to a hard design than Boeing. If they intend to stretch the capability of the A321 then the design effectively writes itself. Perhaps one fundamental issue is how far the CFRP technology has moved on since the A350, particularly in manufacturing technique.

            The A321 is going to be considerably cheaper to buy and run than the NMA. If Airbus launch they could destroy the NMA premise before it is born or at least force it up the food chain to a B787 shorthaul version

        • At the lower end of the MoM product space AB has almost all its ducks in a row.

          New saddle / wingbox / landing gear arrangement plus a new composite wing = better shape, better profile and better performance with no weight penalty.

          Lengthen the fuselage by 4m out to 48.5M means another 30 seats at 32” pitch — pretty close to 240 of these seats in total.

          Then comes the weight gymnastics / MTOW = 107T plus.

          OEW up 3T — more real estate plus bigger engines.
          Payload up 3T — 30 more passengers.
          Fuel load up 4-7T — up 15 to 25% depending on passenger load.

          That should take the nominal range out to 4,600NM if required — reducing the current MoM gap by 25/30%.

          All based on a pretty low risk enhancement to the current A32X component set / platform.

          You could mix and match the chunks / modules to provide some variety.

          A321 ULR — extra 8-10% range with new wing / wingbox / landing gear for The mythical 5K NM range.

          A322 LR — 4,500 plus NM range to cross the Atlantic and then some with more passengers than a B757 200.

    • Hello Keesje,

      Regarding: “If the 797 is a big aircraft, it’s a big aircraft. With typical big aircraft costs.”

      In the concluding part of his 6 part paywall series “Could an NMA be made good enough?” on this blog on 4-27-17, Bjorn Fehrm had a different conclusion regarding 797 costs. See the not behind the paywall bullet points from the introduction of the final installment of this series below.

      “Summary:
       An NMA designed to the principles in our articles will have a seven abreast dual aisle cabin. The cabin will increase passenger comfort in the 200 to 260 seat range and speed ground operations.

       Careful design of the fuselage, paired with a modern wing and engines, would produce an NMA with “dual aisle comfort and single aisle economics.”

      https://leehamnews.com/2017/04/27/nma-made-good-enough-part-6/

      • “Todays single aisle cost replicated by future NMA wB”

        Now apply the same to a 6 abreast single aisle design.
        You will get single aisle performance for .75 of (current) single aisle cost 🙂
        Compare to the 787: The Dreamliner was attributed with gains from various newfangled uber tech improvements.
        But the actual airframe gain over the “dead in the gutters” A330 was largely limited to the engine gains.
        result: A330NEO vs 787 is ~~~a wash today.

        • The difference in seat mile cost of the 339 and 789 is most likely going to be small and only a function of then 787 denser seating layout.

          How do you value nearly 1″ wider seats and 2 vs 3 middle seats for the 330NEO’s, think more than the ~5% (?) claimed better seat mile cost of the 787’s!

          Could be ironic if the 339’s seat mile cost are actually lower than the 789 resulting from the T7000’s.

          • It’ll be interesting to see the real numbers of the a330neo performance after it’s test/route proving. Real vs. real on various sector lengths etc. The new wing/join looks very smooth.

          • The 330NEO is starting to look like a solid package, if the T7000’s can show some XWB genes things could prove better than expected.

      • ” An NMA designed to the principles in our articles will have a seven abreast dual aisle cabin. The cabin will increase passenger comfort in the 200 to 260 seat range and speed ground operations.”

         “Careful design of the fuselage, paired with a modern wing and engines, would produce an NMA with “dual aisle comfort and single aisle economics.”

        Explain how that second paragraph can be true.

        A 7-abreast fuselage cross section has approximately 75% more cross sectional area and 30% more wetted area per unit length than a six-abreast single aisle fuselage section. Assuming the pressurisation is the same between the two aircraft, the pressurisation hoop forces will be 30% greater in the widebody – to keep the stresses the same the weight of the cross section of the frames will need to be greater, and the circumference also proportional to the diameter- so about 75% heavier. The floor will be heavier as it has to traverse a wider gap, and the beams deeper to cope with the greater bending stresses.

        Against that, the 7-abreast fuselage will be shorter than the six-abreast, but all else being equal only by 6/7 or 15% or so.

        Whatever weight saving technology you use on the 7-abreast to make it competitive against the narrowbodies of today, you could apply to a narrowbody alternative – so this doesn’t defend the widebody against the narrowbodies of tomorrow.

        A heavier aircraft with more drag needs a bigger engine, a bigger wing, a bigger set of stabilizers and a stronger gear and more tyres and bigger brakes. It’ll use more fuel. It’ll costs more to buy, to fly, to insure, to land . . . and probably to crew.

        A narrowbody will be less comfortable – true – but I’d suggest that airlines competing trans-Atlantic against the likes of Ryanair won’t have to worry too much about luxury. If this NMA were a narrowbody, Ryanair and their ilk would be the ones placing the orders I think.

        As for speed of ground operations – more significant on short haul than on 4500 NM routes. I believe the few minutes extra boarding pax will be easy to make up on an eight hour flight. A red herring.

        • “A narrowbody will be less comfortable – true…”
          But it need to be? If comfort is the goal is it really necessary to have two aisle? if comfort is the goal, add say 8″ to the 320 fuselage (already wider than the 737) and each seat can be 1″ wider and the aisle 2″ wider. A side benefit will be more over-head space and faster boarding as people will be able to pass each other in the aisle.

          I wonder if that width could accommodate 4 lay flat pods abreast? Providing incremental revenue.

          • To be blatantly honest, an A320 is more comfortable than an 787 on a 6 hour flight.

            If you in economy on an 787 with tray-table in the seat, IFE under the seat, you pray for a tail wind.

          • “.. side benefit will be more over-head space and faster boarding as people will be able to pass each other in the aisle.”

            How so?
            Any single person can still block the aisle while twirling his bags for to stow in the bins. In my experience people lose speed when they have ample room. Tight quarters and even the most thick-skinned individuals will feel the pressure … to move on

        • It is usual Boeing marketing.

          I remember the 787 being praised as a super comfortable 8 abreast economy “Dreamliner for passengers” and at the same time in secret as a super efficient 9 abreast “Dreamliner for airlines”.

          In the end this sucks for passengers. Hopefully, 9 abreast à la AirAsiaX doesn t get standard on the 339.

          • Passengers increasingly have an alternative – it is called premium economy.

            But most of them are cheap and don’t want to pay for it. So they get what they deserve.

      • An NMA designed to the principles in our articles will have a seven abreast dual aisle cabin. The cabin will increase passenger comfort in the 200 to 260 seat range and speed ground operations.

        That’s a red flag for me.

        You add 1! seat per row compared to SA and have a useless 2nd aisle.
        For 6-8h missions, you really don’t care bout another 15mins on boarding, as you go one dorr anyway.

        Boeing shows passanger comfort doesnt count, otherwise Y in B787 and B777 should be empty.

        I dont know what fuselage Boeing want to end up with. For 8 and LD it’s A330, for 9 it’s B787.
        For 7 it’s B767 with all it’s downsides.

        I don’t see any engine.

        I’m not even sure how much market is left between A321neo/lr B737-10, A332, A330neo B787-8.
        Seems for most B767s airlines did order A330 or B787,
        or even went up to B777/A350.
        For most B757, they orderd A321/B737.

        • This will also be doing shorter missions very likely in combo with longer ones (air wise the first one is 1500 miles, don’t ask about road wise!)

          Anchorage – Seattle – Miami say.

        • Huge market.

          Big jump between 50T OEW at the top end of th3 current SA market and 125T OEW at the bottom end of the current TA product space.

          Cabin width with SA at 146” and TA at 207”.

          Range from 4,000 NM to 6,500 NM.

          The BA froth about the way the B787 was going to transform point to point travel was just that froth.

          No matter the amount of lipstick applied it is still a TA lard bucket.

    • Hello Keesje,

      By my reading of the following quotes from news articles that have appeared within the past year, it would seem to me that the senior management of Delta Airlines, Qantas Group, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Emirates, and United Airlines have a much more favorable view of the 797 than you do. See the links for the full articles.

      “The airline’s boss, Ed Bastian, said he wants to be one of the first customers for the planemaker’s anticipated mid-market jetliner. The chief executive officer expressed his enthusiasm for the aircraft, dubbed the 797 by analysts, in a recent message posted on Delta’s internal website.”
      “You’re going to see us participate in Boeing’s middle-of-the-market campaign,” Bastian said. “I hope that we’re going to be a launch customer on that program as well.”

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/delta-ceo-eyes-launch-customer-status-as-boeing-mulls-797-jet
      **********************************************************************

      “Qantas sees the prospect of Boeing developing its proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) specifically for short/medium-haul routes as “fantastic” and is working with Seattle to help define the design.”

      “We’re really excited about [NMA]. If they do that it, that’s going to be a great aircraft,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told FlightGlobal at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. “It will be a great transcontinental domestic aircraft.”

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/qantas-excited-about-nma-and-assisting-boeing-with-443696/
      **********************************************************************

      “Norwegian is “very interested” in Boeing’s proposed New Midsize Airplane design, says chief executive Bjorn Kjos.”

      “We’re looking at the new middle-of-the-market aircraft,” he says in an interview ahead of the delivery of the Oslo-based carrier’s first Boeing 737 Max in Seattle on 28 June. “That’s very interesting.”

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/norwegian-very-interested-in-boeing-nma-ceo-438904/
      **********************************************************************

      “Emirates Airline president Tim Clark is impressed with how Boeing’s proposed New Midsize Airplane (NMA) is challenging long-held airliner design principles but thinks airline leaders may be too risk-adverse to embrace radical ideas.”

      Clark says he was shown the design during the concept stage and liked what he saw: “With its design optimised for low-cost and fast turnarounds with twin-aisles and lower freight volume, I have to say I was pretty impressed, although not perhaps for us.”

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/paris-emirates-clark-likes-boeings-nma-design-id-438685/
      **********************************************************************

      “United Airlines is very interested in Boeing’s potential middle-of-the-market aircraft, says chief financial officer Andrew Levy.”

      “It has a lot of merit and, if they decide to launch it, we’d be very interested in considering it,” he says at the ISTAT Americas conference in San Diego today.

      “United needs an aircraft to replace a range of mid-market aircraft, including its transatlantic Boeing 757-200s up to its Boeing 767-400ERs. Scott Kirby, president of the airline, said in January that the 767 is the only aircraft in its fleet that it does not have “line of sight” to a replacement.”

      “The A321 does a nice job but it doesn’t quite meet all the needs we have out of Newark, that being said the 757 didn’t either,” says Levy on the A321LR.

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/united-very-interested-in-boeing-mom-concept-434905/

      • Oops: don’t do the *****55***** thing.
        That ruins formatting for the whole page.

        • AP has it well listed.

          At issue is can they make the aircraft that does it at the price they need to.

      • Usual list of tyre kickers, rent-a-quotes and publicity hounds.

        The number of B757s and B767s in service has already reduced significantly so what were these aircraft replaced with?

        • I think I have to beg to differ on the numbers.

          Are they doing what they used to? Not a lot are going to be freighters.

          But a lot are going to other carriers. Trickle down aircraft as it were.

          • 767 :: 69% active ( built: 1109 active: 762 )
            757 :: 65% active ( built: 1050 active: 686 )

            Sales wise the A330 seems to have displaced the 767.
            Boeing cut into that cookie via the 787 more or less a 1:1+new engine product to the A330.
            Again sales wise 757 were displaced by 737 and A320 family craft, top heavy on the A321 slot.
            757 use was pushed into TATL flights ( sucking up slots with low capacity flights ).

  6. Doesn’t this smack of the ‘partnering for success’ routine we have seen on the B787. I have no doubt that a niche will be found for the NMA, whether it is big enough to merit a programme costing $20bn is another matter.

    The whole basis of this programme is predicated on the ability to drive down manufacturing costs significantly. That seems to be a tad risky to me. In simple terms why would the NMA suddenly become massively cheaper to build? Does this suggest that recent programmes were designed to be built without proper regard to cost?

    I am sure some cost reductions will be achieved and aggressive cst reduction at the design stage (target costing if you wish) is a powerful tool. At the same time being reliant on this to be able to build a competitive product seems to include the wishful thinking that led to the B787 debacle.

    • The 797 cost reduction of manufacturing is to a big extent what Electroimpact can deliver in automation to Boeing.
      Looking at car factories productivity development from year 1990 until now it is massive. The aircraft build process has not had similar improvements until yet. Boeing hopes it will be the new 797 that does it. in huge volumes at low cost. There will be few blue collar hours building them in Seattle compared to the 1990’s 777.

      • Maybe larger volumes but they are not going to his 737/A320 volumes.

        The reality is there are a lot of jobs there, they just are higher tech.

        Someone has to tune and monitor and repair and setup the machines.

        And then there are the suppliers of the machines themselves and all the industry that generates.

        Been doing Generators and switch-gear and boilers and building controls for 40 years and no end in sight.

  7. I believe the NMA sweet spot is 280 all economy seating, good for up to 7 hours flight.

    At this size, a 2+2+2 or a 3+3 wide aisle configuration will be more fuel efficient. The Trent 500 can be brought back with an upgrade to fit this new plane and thus reduce the overall engine development cost.

    Such plane will replace the B767-300 and the A332. It can create longer versions to win market share from the A333 and the A339.

    Boeing should be talking to Embraer to see what they learned from E-Jets’ double bubble fuselage, and bring them as partners to create and built the NMA.

  8. AP_Robert , I agree with many there is a significant market for aircraft in this segment. If we add up all the A300s/A310s/757s/767s sold in recent decades and add the 787/A330s “miss-used” to fly regional missions today, there is a market for at least 2000-3000. I support that figure.

    Now of course the airlines are supportive. They always are, they want choices/ options. Airlines you mentioned (DL, QF) where cheering the Dreamliner early on & committed to large numbers. To cancel / buy A330s later on.

    I think, if the requirements is 260 seats/4500NM in a reasonable configuration, a 2-3-2 is (~10-15t) heavier/costlier then a (15% longer) 3-3 fuselage. Plus the latter has more AKH capacity. Wings/engines ~ the same. And that doesn’t go away. Airlines have engineers too, that don’t even look at marketing brochures and most never heard of Randy. Not out of the box guys. In the box guys, producing forecasts & costs. Airbus won’t sit on their hands and see, they never did.

    • Hello Keesje,

      Regarding: “I think, if the requirements is 260 seats/4500NM in a reasonable configuration, a 2-3-2 is (~10-15t) heavier/costlier then a (15% longer) 3-3 fuselage.”

      Mr. Fehrm had a significantly different conclusion in his “Could an NMA be made good enough?” series of articles. I don’t feel that I should reveal article contents that were behind the paywall; however, here are some more not behind the paywall bullet points, this time from the free teaser introduction for part 3 of the series, which was posted on 4-6-17.

      “Summary:
       It’s possible to design a dual aisle fuselage with the same perimeter per seat abreast as a single aisle fuselage.
       This will make the central, cylindrical, section have competitive weight and drag characteristics.
       The larger diameter of the dual aisle fuselage will increase the size of the tapered front and rear sections however.
       It’s still possible for an NMA fuselage to be as weight-efficient as a single aisle fuselage, measured per transported passenger.”

      https://leehamnews.com/2017/04/06/nma-made-good-enough-part-3/

      • It may be possible, but never happened before. You have to compare to what is relevant, not to something from the past / inferior.

        If you take the latest available technology to do a very good 2-3-2, you can use the same technology for a 3-3 too.
        The second aisle just isn’t for free. Additionally you might waste space below the deck and in the crown of the cabin, that isn’t for free either.

        https://i.pinimg.com/originals/df/4b/9a/df4b9a7796b01a4eaffa9cdb6e393d50.png

      • Again I think BAC marketing has done an excellent job with the NMA, they created blind anticipation.

        It will be like a “Black Friday” sale, people queuing, rush in, grab anything from the shelve without looking at the prize or think if they need it.

        • Like AP, I think Boeing has worked out the general layout.

          Saying they would have wasted space is like telling me I don’t know how to load bank a generator.

          Their design criteria is predicated on not wasting space.

          Its also stated clearly its not about belly freight per long haul (probably some but only high priority stuff like AK does with its Gold Streak service)

          Of course its not been done before, that is why its a new market.

          No one flew an Airplane before the Wright Bothers did and there were a boat load of people who didn’t think it could be done.

          Man to the moon? Ditto

          Space X with a 5 million pound thrust launcher that returns 3 stage to be reused?

          I am not saying they can do it, but they do know what the outline has to be if they are going to do it.

          • “No one flew an Airplane before the Wright Bothers did ”

            Not completely correct. The US aviation pioneer/inventor John Joseph Montgomery had ‘manned controlled heavier than air flight’ well before the Wright Bothers.
            The missing link was of course ‘powered’
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Joseph_Montgomery
            I dont think the basics of engines were available at the time for him and the Wright Bros were pushing the boundaries for their unique engine design.

          • Yes and we did balloons a lot as well,. gliders, yep.

            Manned, powered and controlled flight., no.

          • Ballons aren’t heavier than air, so are ruled out.
            Montgomery had the trifecta first, took a while to add powered.

            Shame hes only commemorated by a light airplane airport in San Diego

  9. Two aspects here :
    (1) CMOs are written by OEMs not to impress market observers (airlines, journalists, avgeeks, analysts …) but to channel the focus of shareholders and of their own Governance. The general idea is to prepare for the next Product Strategy meeting. What we read in Randy’s latest outlook is Boeing are preparing for a ATO go-ahead in the NMA segment, clearly over-emphasized;
    (2) the spin about “twin aisle groundworthiness with single aisle trip cost efficiency” sounds good but omits the negative of learning curve entry point with any clean sheet design, unless buried in high risk programme accounting sand-in-the-eye (cf the 787 disaster). Randy’s NMA supputations do but enhance the relevance of Airbus’ winning combination of A321LR + A338 NEO, of wich both are industrially mature and whereof BTW the former can be offered at any time in the twin aisle guise with perfect continuity of – ie no measurable recess upon – the learning curve.

    • And ‘mature/understood/MRO’ are all real world benefits of taking very much updated current, frugal, and available aircraft models.

      Couple that to risk, delay, over-weight issues of new models and it gives marketing folks good sales fodder.

      Add again the cost to develop a clean sheet… And the low initial sales price of frames… The slow ramp up… Etc. Etc.

      A new NMA would have to be ‘amazeballs’ to succeed.

    • A338 NEO part of a winning combination. Surely you are joking.

      What is it down to one customer? Good luck finding financing or a lessor who owns it.

      • No offense taken, TexBoss … let’s say it is a typo : at your election, replace the ‘8’ in A338 by a ‘9’ or a ‘0’ as you prefer, or the whole type designator by Anton’s A357, why not (see below) ? What I wanted to imply is whichever NMA Boeing could push forward, Airbus has the answer ready – up front, in numbers, cheap and reliable = industrially mature ! Airbus will pull the carpet under the feet of any NMA, drying out the market before any clean sheet NMA can come out in any significant numbers, turning it into another ‘programme accounting’ hazard ?

        • An A357 for example will have the same fuselage length/width ratio as an A320.

  10. The harder you look at it the more you must come to the conclusion that 2-4-2 is the smallest efficient twin.

    I think it’s quite funny how far out the guys at Boeing are going to avoid (at all cost?) to admit that Airbus had got it perfectly right in 1970.

    I would not allow my engineers to go for an oval (flat) shape of the fuselage, as that will make the hull heavier (!), more expensive to produce (!) and reduce freight capacity at only slightly reduced drag/fuel consumption.

    So the two remaining questions for me are basically 1) which materials and production methods to choose and 2) which length and span.

    If we go for the best possible solutions here we won’t be very far away from the A330-800 and -900 dimensions.

    Regarding materials: CFRP for the wings is a no-brainer nowadays, but the fuselage could either be built in Al-Li or CFRP. If CFRP then most probably not the 787-barrel type, but large panels, maybe even a two-piece fuselage like this:

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/images/de_havilland/20lg.jpg

    Or for example the Honda Jet:

    https://d2n4wb9orp1vta.cloudfront.net/cms/0512HPC_FOD_120316_LRfuselodge.jpg;width=560

    But then, it would be more considerate to develop a single-aisle with such kind of production.

    So all in all: No new engines available yet, no revolutionary production system or materials, too much pride to swallow… My prediction is that the 797 will not be launched in the near future.

    • Since the 777 is circular and that is the alleged path to automation on the NMA, it seems like simple geometry could keep design and manufacturing costs low. A 2-4-2 could have a 212″ outside diameter, smaller than the A330, and still have 20″cc aisles and seats, with the cargo bay shrunk for new smaller containers. Same with the 2-3-2 at 192″, smaller than the width and depth of the 767. Or 172″ for a 2-2-2.

      • I think at 172″ and 2-2-2 the fuselage would be curving pretty severely, restricting the shoulder- and headroom for the window seat pax — the same effect we see on CRJ and ERJ regional jets today.

        • If it is geometrically proportional to the floor of the A320, it should have more cargo height, more cabin height, less curvature, and less inward angle at a window level than the A320.

    • These are my words.

      There’s no sense in bringing a 2nd aisle to add jsut one more seat compared to a SA.
      It seems the A300 fuselage is about the right size – so it’s down to the wing.

      Airbus could actually wait for specs and simply get some old A300/310 desings out take what they have from A330neo and cut the wing -add some more flaps to get it up faster and it will become a midrange airplane.
      A sort of revive of the A300 might be better than another A321neo stretch.
      That idea of an A330neo regional has been around for a while.

      Issue is the engine – anywhere you look, there’s a gap between 150kn and 300kn thurst.

  11. If there are about to be 1500 single aisles produced a year, I don’t think 200 Boeing NMAs a year is that farfetched.

    There seems to be a trend towards the simplicity of a standard aircraft type. Rather than buy an aircraft tailored to 1,200nm and 150 seats, airlines will just buy a 737-8 or an A321. The same will be true with the NMA, airlines will buy lots and use it at 2,000 to 3,000nm range anyway, just like the 757, if the capacity is right.

    When Boeing says 225 or 275 seats, what is the baseline number of seats on the A321LR for comparison? Airbus’ figure of 206 seats? How many on a similar 757?

    • Hello Ted,

      Regarding: “When Boeing says 225 or 275 seats, what is the baseline number of seats on the A321LR for comparison? Airbus’ figure of 206 seats? How many on a similar 757?”

      In a 3-21-17 post on this blog titled “Is there an NMA gap”, Bjorn Fehrm cited the following seating capacities for the A321 neo and 737 MAX 9 in Leeham’s standardized seating configurations.

      A321
      Domestic Two Class: 194
      Long Range Two Class: 153

      737 MAX – 9
      Domestic Two Class: 180
      Long Range Two Class: 142

      In his March and April series “Could an NMA be made good enough?” on this blog, Mr. Fehrm used seating capacities of 220 to 260 for the NMA in a “medium range configuration” which I believe was pretty similar to Leeham’s standard domestic two class configuration.

      Currently, Delta’s most common seating configuration for domestic 757-200’s is 199 seats, and their transcon/transatlantic 757-200’s have 168 seats with lie flat seats in first class (which Delta has started calling Delta One when there are lie flat seats). The A321’s in Delta’s fleet are so far all in a domestic configuration with 192 seats. All the above sited Delta seating configurations have First Class or Delta One (but not both), Delta Comfort, and Main Cabin (aka economy) sections.

      • Here is a link to Mr. Fehrm’s 3-21-17 “Is there an NMA gap?” post on this blog.

        https://leehamnews.com/2017/03/21/is-there-an-nma-gap/

        Below is a quote from this post.

        “Normalized means: we keep the relationship the same between business class seats and economy seats, around 15% business of all seats.

        It also means that all passengers, be it narrow-body or wide-body, can get their second meal before reaching the long-range destination. We have the same number of serving trays per passenger irrespective if you fly an A321LR or 787-8 over the Atlantic. And the same number of passengers per lavatory.”

    • The MoM’ster will be optimised for 8-12 hour flights.
      Consequently any seating plan will need to include lie flat units in First and Business.

      Any Super Sixty sized SA with real estate for 300 plus LH economy seats — 32” pitch — soon falls away to a total of 210/220 if lie flat units are put up front.

      33% of floor area for 12% of passengers.

      I would treat the BA passenger numbers with a certain amount of scepticism until they provide hard numbers.

      How many passengers does a B787 hold if it is set up in a 4 class layout?

  12. What I do have to wonder is when Tinseth brings in the A330/340.

    Those were not and are not NMA market aircraft. A300 maybe (though heavy and fat) . 767-200 but also heavy.

    777-200 and 300? Is the guy smoking some of that fabulous Washington State Weed? And he is charge of the marketing effort. Ergh.

  13. The other factor not to be underestimated is that this is the first major move by Boeing (not just picking around the edges) in really full automation of the build process.

    Part of the business plan will be amortizing the cost across the next aircraft to come out of the process.

  14. Where would the VC10 fit into this equation?

    Long thin routes @ 75T OEW going out to 5,400 NM nominal range with engines that were still in the steam age?

  15. “What’s different about this airplane is this isn’t a conventional airplane,” he says. “This is an airplane that’s all about changing the fundamental way the networks of our customers. Those who seeing a low forecast aren’t thinking out of the box.”

    I like the creative use of “not conventional”. Of course it’s a conventional plane. Tube, wings, engines. It’s conventional in every way, except it’d be the first in a while (since the 757/767) to be designed at a very specific range/capacity combination.

    But basically, Boeing desperately needs people to believe their numbers, because only with their projected numbers does the business case make any sense for a new development. It’s obvious that business case is tough to make, and Boeing find themselves in the exact conundrum I expected in this comments section time and again. Which is a good opportunity for me to repeat a prediction of mine from June 2014m when the NMA was still the MOM or 757RS (source: https://leehamnews.com/2014/06/27/new-airplanes-nearing-fruition-a330neo-757rs-buzz-increasing/):
    “As for the 757 replacement – I know there’s a lot of noise out there about it, but I’m still not convinced we’ll see it launched any time soon. Consensus is that a clean-sheet 757 replacement would only make sense as part of a family, and that family would have to be the 737 replacement. Boeing are not going to launch a 737 replacement in 2018/19, at a point when MAX hasn’t even been in service for more than one or two years.
    I can’t see them launching the largest member (i.e. 757 replacement) first, either, because a) that’s just the nich that sees the most noise, not the market segment with the highest revenue potential, and b) launching with the largest member and optimising around that would make the 737-8 replacement a shrink – which isn’t ideal for what is likely to be the highest volume member of the family.
    I expect to continue to see some noise from a couple of airlines and possibly some FUD from Boeing itself regarding 757 replacement. But eventually, A321neo (probably with some additional improvements) is going to get the lion’s share of that market for now – with Boeing tweaking the 737-9, but otherwise sensibly unwilling to launch a 737MAX/757 replacement before 2020 at the earliest, with a ~2028 EIS.”

    That in mind I take note that, according to Scott’s notes above, Boeing have actually shifted the mark a good bit to the right – they see the NMA replacing A330s/A340s/777s, rather than the 757. Which means they’re no longer looking at the 757/A321LR market, which is – see my comments above – a niche that would be most sensibly incorporated into the 737 (and A320) successor family. Instead, they appear to be looking at a market that impedes very much indeed on 787 territory, but with a bit less range.
    In other words, they’re as boxed-in as they were four years ago between killing the 737MAX early, or offering a cheaper alternative to the 787 with less range. Well, at least they seem to be leaning towards that second option now – but that still doesn’t make a convincing business case to me.

    Happy to be proven wrong, of course.

    • The supposition is Boeing has to shrink the 797 which it would not do.

      Its two lengths already.

      The discussion is can they use the same build approach and systems in a single aisle.

      797 the replaces the 737-10 (existing and those that want common will stay with the -10 , those with A321 withe common stay with it)

      The 737RS then is a maximized variant for maxim of 200 seats and as noted by AP, reality is normal service, less.

      A shorter version that covers the notional 130 to 160 Seat range.

      Any link up with Embraer covers under that.

      • The MAX9 has now been certified, most regarded as a “dog” (including me), but having a look at again. It has been branded as a longer range aircraft with an aux tank.

        But, for airlines flying typical 500-2000Nm routes it should offer better seat mile cost than the 737-8, take out the aux tank an operate in high density layout and/or more belly revenue?

        Was wondering why BAC didn’t base the “200” model with extra door on the MAX9, guess Ryanair?

    • “I like the creative use of “not conventional”. O…”

      remember: no more Moonshots. 🙂

      IMU this starts to look more like “smoke and mirrors show” that culminates in a lack luster redo of the 788 following the metrics of the original bespoke A350-800XWB 🙂

  16. Now the NMA is suppose to replace the A330/340, 767, and the 777-200? That’s crazy. There are many new planes playing in those segments. A 767 replacement can not replace a 777-200. Whatvabiutctge 787? What this means, is that may have given up on competing with the A321NeoLR with a 757 sized plane and are truly concerned about the A330 Neo and the A350?

  17. Hopefully AB is thinking outside the box, many are always talking 330Lite etc, an outside the box thought from the African bush.

    Take the 350 fuselage, new centre section, wing box, CAT-D wing (300 Sqm) you could have;

    1) A350-200, 250 Seats, 5500NM range,
    2) A350-300, 290 Seats, 4500NM range.

    A330 replacement (360 Sqm wing),
    1) 250 Seats, 8000Nm,
    2) 290 Seats, 7000Nm,
    3) 325 Seats, 6000Nm.

    Same fuselage, 3/4 wings. A350-200 to 350-8000. An entire wide-body family, same interiors, cockpits, etc. Production optimization.

  18. is there a twist coming to the NMA tail?

    ….looks 350 based with Ultra fan engines, much smaller wing and very different looking wing “outer box”.

  19. Here are some excerpts from a 2-17-18 Motley Fool story on Delta and the 797.

    “Last year, Boeing (NYSE:BA) strained its relationship with U.S. airline giant Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) by attempting to have big tariffs imposed on Delta’s purchase of CSeries jets from Bombardier. Many pundits saw Boeing’s trade complaint as a risky move that could alienate a key customer — especially after Delta ordered the Airbus (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) A321neo last December instead of Boeing’s 737 MAX 10.

    However, these fears weren’t justified. Delta isn’t going to make bad business decisions just to punish Boeing. In fact, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian wants the carrier to be a launch customer for Boeing’s proposed “middle-of-the-market” jet, according to Bloomberg.”

    “That said, the broad outlines of Boeing’s plan have come to light. It’s envisioning a twin-aisle aircraft with an elliptical fuselage to improve fuel efficiency. The 797 would have two variants: One could hold 225 seats in a typical international configuration, with 5,000 nautical miles of range, while the other could seat 275 and fly up to 4,500 nautical miles. Boeing is targeting a 30% unit-cost improvement over its aging 757 and 767 models.

    Based on these parameters, the 797 would be an ideal aircraft for routes from the East Coast and Midwest to Europe. It would also work well for the busiest transcontinental routes and for some routes to Latin America.”

    “Boeing intends the 797 to be a much-needed replacement for its 757 and 767 jets. It would be somewhat larger than the 757, with more range, while being similar in size to the 767, albeit with somewhat less range. Delta Air Lines is the largest operator of both of those older models, which explains its enthusiasm for the 797.

    To be fair, the A321neos that Delta recently ordered can replace the 757s that it uses on domestic routes. If Delta upgrades some of those orders to Airbus’ new A321LR, it would also be able to replace 757s used for longer routes — primarily to Europe. That said, one big disadvantage of the A321LR is that its auxiliary fuel tanks take up a lot of space that could otherwise be used for cargo.

    On the other hand, the alternatives for replacing Delta’s roughly 80 767s are far from ideal. In late 2014, the carrier ordered 25 A330-900neos from Airbus to replace some of its older 767s. However, while the A330-900neo will have much lower unit costs than the planes it will replace, it will probably have about 40% more seats than Delta’s 767-300ERs.

    Some of Delta’s 767 routes may be able to handle the additional capacity. For others, 300 seats would be way too much capacity and would undermine unit revenue. The 797 would be far better than any other option for international routes that can’t handle a 300-seat aircraft.”

    https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/02/17/delta-air-lines-wants-the-boeing-797-asap-heres-wh.aspx

    • Hello AP, which models will BAC launch 1st?

      If its the smaller AB could respond with an A321+/322 if its the larger it will take orders away from the 787’s?

      • Hello Anton,

        Regarding: “which models will BAC launch 1st?”

        From what I read in news stories, which is all that I know, there hasn’t been a decision to launch any model as of yet. I suppose which model goes first, if a go ahead decision is reached, depends on what the customers who place the first firm orders want first. For the 737-MAX, the 737-8 was the obvious choice to go first due to it having by far the most orders.

        I do think it is true that we should not think solely in terms of taking orders away from existing models or “replacing” existing models. Back in my elementary school days in the San Francisco suburbs in 1960’s United Airlines was the dominant carrier in San Francisco. If memory serves me correctly, if you wanted to fly the 260 miles from Santa Barbara to San Francisco on United in the mid 1960’s, you would most likely be flying on a 44 seat twin piston engine Convair 340, in the late 1960’s United retired the Convairs’s and started serving this route with 727-100 tri-jets with about 110 seats. When I lived in Santa Barbara for a few years in the mid-1980’s the typical equipment used by United were twin jet 737-200’s with about 110 seats. In the 1990’s United used mostly 30 seat Embraer turboprops on this route, today United uses 50 seat CRJ-200’s on this route (about six flights a day on weekdays).

        Thus, since the 1960’s on the San Francisco to Santa Barbara route, United has replaced Convair 340’s with Boeing 727-100’s, which were replaced by 737-200’s, which were replaced by EMB-120’s, which were replaced by CRJ-200’s. In not one case, has the “replacement” been a simple upgrade or stretch of its predecessor. Perhaps what triggered a switch in aircraft type used for this route was the emergence of a new aircraft type that offered a previously unavailable combination of seating capacity and operating economics?

        The US transcon version of the above story would be DC-7’s / Constellation’s with four piston engines replaced by 707’s/DC-8’s with four jet engines, which were replaced by DC-10’s/L-1011’s with three jet engines, which were replaced by 757/767 jet twins ,which were replaced by A321’s and 737’s morphed from short range small airport planes to transcon planes by stretching, re-winging, and new engines, to be replaced by????

        There is much hate for the 737 in the reader comments here, but for my money United’s switch from 737-200’s on SFO/SBA to noisy high vibration little regional turboprops and later little regional jets, both with no first class, was a massive service downgrade. Today I have much more free income than I did in the 1980’s; however, I am far less likely to fly rather than drive from SBA to SFO due to the service being offered and equipment being used by the airlines on this route.

        http://departedwings.com/the%20airports/SBA/Santa%20Barbara.html

        • Regarding my statement in the above post: “In not one case, has the “replacement” been a simple upgrade or stretch of its predecessor.”

          The type of aircraft popular for a particular type of route at a given time may have gone through a series of upgrades or stretches, for instance the Constellation went through models 049, 649, 749 and 1649; and the 707-320 was a stretch of the original 120, and the 707 “B” models replaced straight jet engines with low bypass fanjet engines; however, in all cases there eventually came the day when the replacement was something with a very different design and seating capacity. US transcontinental service is no longer offered with either four engine piston or four jet airliners, and no matter how much you stretch a Constellation or 707, and no matter how much you improve the engines or substitute lighter weight construction materials, I don’t think this will change. The design and configuration choices that were optimal when these aircraft were designed, are no longer optimal for current traffic levels, and currently available power plants and construction methods. Eventually there comes a day when you need to start with a clean sheet instead of upgrading or stretching.

        • Regarding my statement in the above post: “which were replaced by DC-10’s/L-1011’s with three jet engines, which were replaced by 757/767 jet twins ,which were replaced by A321’s and 737’s”.

          It occurred to me after I wrote this that on US transcon routes with enough premium business to support lie flat seating sections, the US Big 3 are currently using mostly A321’s and 757’s rather than A321’s and 737’s, with the occasional wide body at peak times. The 757 has yet to be replaced on these routes. American uses A321’s (with 102 total seats), Delta and United use 757’s, (142 or 169 total seats on United, and 168 total seats on Delta). Is 102 to 169 seats the scientifically determined optimum number of total seats for a busy US transcon route, or just the least bad choice possible with currently available aircraft choices?

          Domestic non-premium configured A321’s and 757’s at the US big three have higher numbers of total seats, for instance 192 seats for Delta A321’s and 199 seats usually for Delta 757-200’s.

        • Hello Anton,

          To get back to a question you posed above, I do think it is true that the smaller proposed 797 model would compete for orders with A321+ and A322, and that the larger model might compete with orders for the 787.

          A better statement of the idea that I was trying to get across when I wrote above that : “I do think it is true that we should not think solely in terms of taking orders away from existing models or “replacing” existing models”, would be “I think it is important to keep in mind that while over periods of decade or two a particular type of aircraft tends to be replaced by something similar with incremental upgrades, over longer periods of time time, there are major changes in the aircraft configuration and seating capacity favored for particular types of routes. At a particular point in history, it may or may not be the case that what will appeal to airline customers most is an upgrade that improves incrementally on the performance of the aircraft type they have been using on a particular type of route for 10 or 20 years, or whether some completely different configuration and seating capacity might be more attractive for their present route structure preferences and traffic levels.

          • Thanks AP. You know I wear an Airbus cap, whoever builds a new aircraft in this class should look at a workhorse with low maintenance and reliable engine. Airlines could need is a twin aisle and believe a “slim” 8 abreast fuselage most likely the most efficient. (You can for example reduce the fuselage of the 330 by reducing seat width to 17.5″ and further if Li-Al alloy is used).

            In an aircraft family there is usual the one model that hits the sweet spot, and getting this right will determine the success of an “797” for example. Simplistic that sweet spot for me is around;

            250 seats, 5000Nm range, 50Klb engines? Getting the right wing for the sweet is a major factor.

            When considering China as major market this will slot in between the C919 and 929.

        • Thanks for the link AP, brought back some memories, especially the Dash 7, you could get into some real “white knuckle” landing strips with that.

          As you like details a did a few quick cals of cabin widths vs x-abreast (assume round shape) relating to the NMA “story”. Economy layout.

          Aircraft/Metre of circumference per seat;
          A320/2.07,
          B767/2.26,
          A330/2.21,
          A330″Slim”/2.15 (-7″, 17.5″ seats, Li-Al fuselage)
          B787/2.01,
          A350/2.08,
          B779/1.95.

          The 787 figure was expected due to 17.2″ inch seats, the 779 figure surprized me.

          Conclusion/s. If the 797 is 7 abreast it can’t be spherical. If AB wants to compete in the larger MoM category it should be A350 fuselage based, 57-60m length, 250-280 seats, 5000Nm, new wing, centre section, etc. Frontal area could pivot things back to a “slim” 8 abreast?

          Sure BAC looked at similar options with the 788. Think new centre section and wing boxes the big calls? Wing “easy”, around 50m span and 300Sqm.
          surface. End of the day engines holds the key in the form of RR UF’s?

          • Personally I think from an AB perspective that a medium haul A350-“700” with ~275 seats (5000Nm range) could be “A Game Changer” for the Airbus wide-body family and airlines that are or will operate other 350’s.

            It will take potential orders away from the 330NEO’s but ensure that these orders are not going the way of the 789 and larger of the 797s way.

            Last but not least, with the 788 fading and BAC developing an 797 could be the best marketing AB could have wanted for airlines needing the range of the 338?

  20. Below are some remarks about the 797 vs. 787 vs. 737 vs. A330 vs, A321 attributed to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in an Australian Business Traveller Story dated 2-22-18. See the link after the quotes for the full story.

    Joyce talked up the Boeing 797 as “a lighter aircraft than some of the widebody, twin-aisles that we have today.”

    “It has a range that’s designed to fly transcontinental and maybe into South-East Asia so it’s not over-spec’d for the domestic operation.”

    Qantas previously planned for the Boeing 787-9 to take on east-west routes, but now sees the Boeing 797 as a better fit.

    “Our thinking has evolved,” Joyce told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the airline’s first Dreamliner delivery in Seattle. “While the 787 as with the A330 are pretty powerful, they are over-spec’d” for domestic flights, “so the economics do not work.”

    However, with a larger passenger capacity than the airline’s current Boeing 737 workhorses, there’s also scope for it to take on the popular ‘triangle routes’ from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane.

    “We’re now at the cap of 80 movements an hour for four or five hours every day already” Joyce explains.

    “By 2026, when this aircraft is proposed to be produced, the airport will probably completely full by then. So the way to grow will be bigger and bigger gauge aircraft,” with the added appeal of the Boeing 797 being able to do its ‘turn-around’ from inbound to outbound flights as fast as the Boeing 737.

    “The A321neo long-range aircraft is a very good aircraft as well. So we want a competitive dynamic to make a decision on what the medium- to a long-term replacement for the domestic Qantas fleet is and if Boeing decides to produce this aircraft, we’ll have alternatives and very competitive alternatives and that would be very exciting for us.”

    https://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-ceo-increasingly-bullish-on-the-boeing-797

    I am writing this on a Delta A321-200 at 36,000 feet somewhere over Colorado. I fly often between Atlanta to Salt Lake City on Delta, usually on this route I am on a 737-900ER or 757-200, this is the first time I have ended up on an A321 on this route. According to the flight tracker on the seat back video, the length of this route is 1588 miles (probably statue miles).

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