A321neo plus a stretch too far for NMA: Avitas

Published 05 Mar 2018 by Airfinance Journal

Special to Leeham News.

March 8, 2018, (c) Airfinance Journal: A leading appraisal firm questions whether Airbus should respond to Boeing’s proposed new midsize aircraft (NMA) simply by enhancing its existing product line.

John Vitale. Source: Airfinance Journal

“There is a gap, a natural gap that needs to be filled, so I am not sure whether the A330 coming down…and the A321 coming up, fills the gap,” said John Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Avitas, speaking on a panel of appraisers at Airfinance Journal’s Korean Airfinance event, adding: “Airbus claims the A321 has all this range and that they can put in as many seats as they are talking about. Well, no you can’t in an equal comfort level.”

However, Vitale acknowledges a possible further stretch by Airbus of its A321neo, the A322, or enhanced versions, such as the ‘A321neo-plus’, or even an ‘A321neo-plus-plus’“pushes out the timing of the NMA aircraft.”

Redux action?

Vitale recalls a similar move by Airbus when Boeing came to market with talks of an all-new narrowbody aircraft. “Airbus moved the needle with the Neo,” he says, adding: “I think we all can agree it was a successful strategy for Airbus.

However, he admits any move to enhance Airbus’ existing programmes does not eliminate the “gap that needs to be fulfilled somehow.”

“But perhaps Airbus is waiting for a second-mover advantage to see what Boeing comes out with, so they can design something that is just a bit better with the second one.”

Boeing’s forthcoming mid-sized aircraft, informally dubbed the Boeing 797, is expected to come to market in 2026. The aircraft would have two variants: one with 225 seats, with 5,000 nautical miles of range; the other could seat 275 and fly up to 4,500 nautical miles. Boeing is targeting a 30% unit-cost improvement over its 757 and 767 models.

Speaking on a fourth-quarter earnings call, Air Lease chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy noted that while Airbus had a little scope to alter the A321neo, it was the lessor’s belief that “with the current management changes and issues Airbus is facing” the stretch probably was not “their number one priority right now.”

A330-800 future

Separately, Vitale and David Tokoph, chief operating officer, Morten Beyer & Agnew, indicated at the event that they did not believe the A330-800 would be part of Airbus’ product line in five years’ time. The two appraisers were asked for their views on the future of the widebody following Hawaiian Airlines’ move to swap its order for the Boeing 787-9s.

“Boeing’s effort to displace the Airbus A330neo at Hawaiian is part of an all-out, hand-to-hand combat campaign by Boeing to kill the A330neo programme in advance of the potential launch of the Boeing 797,” reported Leeham News on 22 February.

The campaign has been underway for months and the outcome was expected, it adds. “Airbus offered to cut the price on the -800 and also offered the A350-900. The latter always was considered too big by carrier executives.”

239 Comments on “A321neo plus a stretch too far for NMA: Avitas

  1. It makes sense for Airbus to look at developing a new frame above the A320/321 with a view to it being a large single aisle that eventually replaces the A320/321 in conjunction with the Cseries. Go for a wider cabin but still 6 abreast and look at a new CFRP wing and utilise the technological advances since the A320 was first developed. Finally they have scope to use whatever engine technology that bounces out of the NMA programme.

    • I agree completely.
      Neither the A320/321NEO nor the B737Max have satisfactory cabin comfort for Trans-Con operation. Airbus needs an additional 6″ of width and Boeing needs 12″.

      • Airlines don’t care about comfort so a plane that is wider and heavier with 6 seats across will consume more fuel and not be as profitable as the current narrow bodies.

        • I was not looking for comfort, I unfortunately agree with your sentiment. I was looking more at easy entry/egress to reduce turnaround times and to be better able to support Business Class service over medium haul. The advances in engines, wings, weight etc should compensate. Was thinking MC21 or slightly larger width. The ‘one and a half’ aisle if you wish.

          • 1.5 aisles is a succinct way to describe the need/requirement for this future aircraft.

      • An irony is if B (and to a lesser degree AB) were to do a 3-3 with 12′ more width than 37, it would be roomier seat width wise than 77 or 87. This would be weird to have the smaller plane with wider seats than the larger.

        The 67 was/is roomier and remains popular with many fliers.

        My answer (if only B would listen!) is a 2-2-2 with an interior width of about 13′-2″. Same width seats as 37, 57, 77, 87 but feels uncrowded because everyone is on a window or aisle. First/business is great at 1-2-1. Fast boarding and exiting make the shorter range (and fuselage) version great for quick turns.

        I think this would be enough of a game changer from 3-3 that it might get some demand from actual passenger preference. Just a dream no doubt.

        • Exactly how I feel! Six abreast 2+2+2 is a winner and game changer! In reality, this type would only be 9 inches wider than MC-21.

          This seating layout may result in three variants, which is a good thing, because the (likely) Embraer partnership will allow for inexpensive certification to optimize two wingspans.

          The smaller wingspan variant would fit 737/A320-size Class C gates. And the larger variant(s) would fit 767-300er-size Class D gates, with plenty of room to spare.

          All variants would likely be considered “heavies”, due to the engine thrust requirement.

          • Leaves the problem that you easily can counter a 2-2-2 aircraft with a 3-3 with all the same technology, but better economies, as the fuselage will be smaller – as you don’t have to cope with the “spare” aisle – and therefore lighter and with less drag…
            Boeing done that exercise with the 7J7…
            So, if twin aisle, make it 2-3-2 and even this is sub-optimal on a economic basis, although “wishful thinking” for the passengers…

          • 2+2+2 is often found in biz class on widebodies. Hence the price for those tickets are a multiple of 3+3 or 2+4+2 Y class tickets only a fraction of pax will pay for a flight of a few hours.

          • 2+2+2… the final frontier
            I agree on two wing sizes. One wing for the 5,000 nm model for cat E gates. One wide wing that can fit in cat D or a folding wing for 3,000nm.
            On the cat D model, say WN go to Boeing to build the optimum 200 seater off this platform. About 150′ long, between the length of an A321 and 757. 100t mtow, possibly with a simple one axle main gear.
            On the long range wing, a 160′ long aircraft, 5,000nm range, 3 more rows, 220 seats. A 175′ stretch, 5 more rows, 250 seats, 4,500nm range.

        • A 5000 mile aircraft doesn’t really need that quick a turnaround.

          • That assumes all segments are 5k.

            In reality is going to be mixed.

            Following the norm, its likely to be more 1500 mile segments with some 4000.

      • I recently had the direct comparison on BA frames.
        A319 and then onwards on 777-200ER ( once Trent, back GE90 note: 9 across! ) I’ve never felt as claustrophobic as in that 777. A319, 777GE and 777T in succession are about a magnitude louder per stepping.

      • The issue:
        PAX don’t pay for comfort in Y. The rather fly 9abreast B787 or 10 abreast B777 instead of comfy A350 or A380.

        So why build a wider SA when existing fuselages are well used?

        • @Sash

          “PAX don’t pay for comfort in Y. The rather fly 9abreast B787 or 10 abreast B777 instead of comfy A350 or A380.”

          Statement is untrue. I fly in Y and where possible when flying long haul always select the most comfortable plane.

          Also, so do my work collegues. One recently fly back to AKL from Toronto (YYZ) in an Air NZ B777. He is a little over average hight but not overweight. He experience in the ANZ Y seat towards the tail of the aircraft was so bad that it prompted him to send in complaint to ANZ.

          In 2016 Emirates President and CEO Tim Clark commenting on the A380 in the airline’s OpenSky publication said: “Our customers love it, and it is one of the most efficient aircraft to operate today in terms of fuel burn per passenger.”

          If your flying Y long haul try flying Emirates A380 and you will see why the passengers love it.

          • sorry mate, it’s not relevant what you and your very narrow social circle are doing.

            Besides A380, no plane is seeing higher usage.

            Most of Pax don’t care, that’s why airlines put as many seats in as they can get.
            Boeing did plan the B787 to be 8 abreast for premium carriers and 9 for low cost, equivalent for B777 with 9/10.
            De facto everybody is flying these planes in max. Y config – and ppl may rather upgrade to Y+ or C if they really care.

            For myself, I love the A330/340. the dual seats are amazing.

    • How would a six abreast replacement be significantly better than the current A321?

      • The key is six abreast twin-aisle. WN will fall in love with this twin-aisle for fast turnarounds, as it has potential to get something like 12+ turnovers per gate per day at Love Field. They can push gate utilization even higher if they board from both the front and back, which they are already doing at some airports.

    • And I too agree completely. The current a321 ‘size’ should be the center-line model with a stretch and shrink to capture the a320 and a322/lower NMA market – with door 2 a boarding door as an option – all build around a more modular wing skeleton/frame that can be ‘skinned’ to fit each model . Not sure I’d mess around too much with the cabin widths though… maybe the skin can be lithiumed and some tweaking of the side-walls if possible to ensure the wetted area/drag//weight is kept in check. With the # of rotations a day these models get – maybe durability and fix-ability is more important that CRFP…. but I guess it’s a 30yr airframe… crfp maybe the way to go.

      The c-series can soak up the lower-end of the market, and it’s newer tech adapted into the new model.

      Anything that can be done to the a330 to shrink it to address the upper end of the NMA market should be looked at to get it close to the operating economics of the paper 797. The a350 probably to XWB to be a good NMA, but a 330 shrink might be able to get close at better cost if the market isn’t deemed huge. A 757 sized NSA more important to get right IMO.

    • I agree – if Boeing could build a 757-300 and Douglas could build a DC8-63/73, then there’s no reason why Airbus couldn’t build a 240 seat A321, with range as required.

      To the comfort argument, I say that such an aircraft would be a game changer in that LCCs and long range tourist movers would buy hundreds of them. If there were call for business class, it would be at 48″ pitch max. Traditional long haul carriers would find themselves and their business cases profoundly challenged.

      Also for the extra time to load the aircraft – with long range you can just fly a wee bit faster to make up the time.

      It wouldn’t shift 270 people, but it would have a much lower Cost per ASM.

        • Range was the issue.
          MoM is all about range efficiency.
          Not needing 125T OEW to do more than 4K NM nominal.

      • Super 60 went out to a 57.5M fuselage on a narrow — for a 3+3 wide aircraft — cross section.

        The interesting part is that Wiki standard figures show that it was quite an efficient aircraft.

        75T OEW supporting a 155T+ MTOW and a large fuel capacity.
        Real world data point that signals what AB could do with a Super Duper A360.

        Or it could be the A325 / A328 twins.

        61.5 / 62.5M long fuselage has enough real estate to carry 300 standard seats and have enough space left over to accommodate the facilities needed to support a 10/12 hour flight.

        Looking at 220 seats with a standard long haul split between 4 classes of seat with a revenue potential in the region of 350/360 standard coach class seats.

        All on 75T OEW and 50T fuel used for 5K NM average range.
        Plug numbers / Q+D analysis but the potential if there.

        All for the cost of a new wing box and saddle, a reinforced centre fuselage — based on longits coming out of the wing box — and a new CFRP wing.

        Add in a new nose element for a longer front undercarriage and some kerb appeal plus some new materials in the various elements of the tail and the bill will come to £3bill.

        The proposed B797 MoM’ster will need at least £10bill to get of the ground and potentially a lot more based on its need to do a lot of things differently.

        Finally the long thin tube argument — split the plane into 3 distinct segments with second door loading.

        Up front is First and Flat bed Business — Turn left.
        Middle is premium economy — Turn right.
        Up the back is 130 economy seats.

  2. Indigo plans to order up to 50 A330Neo (exact version not specified).
    And there are more to come, especially from China.
    I’m not sure that this (big) order will make the same buzz than the Hawaian cancellation (for only 6 airplanes) but it’s quite sure that the Indigo order is much more significant for the future of the A330Neo program. When the whole program is considered, the fate of the dash 800 version has no more relevance than the fate of the A319 (regarding the A320Neo program) or the 787-8 (regarding the 787 program).

    • Back in 2005, a lot of of eyebrows were raised when IndiGo ordered 100 A320s. Today, IndiGo dominates the Indian skies with 40 percent market share. They currently have a fleet of more than 150 A320s (ceo+ neo) and close to 400 A320neo/A321lr aircraft still on order.

      I’d not be surprised if “up to” 50 A339s would just be the first batch…..

      16 June 2005
      Paris Airshow
      Investor Relations

      InterGlobe Enterprises Limited today announced its plans to launch IndiGo, its nation-wide low-cost airline venture. IndiGo has committed for 100 firm A320 family aircraft with Airbus – world renowned for the customer friendly features and comfort of its airliners.

      The venture is being jointly promoted by InterGlobe Enterprises Limited and Rakesh Gangwal, globally recognized for his management skills and expertise in the airline industry.

      “IndiGo is the result of extensive analysis and planning by very experienced airline executives and we are convinced it will be a successful new player in a market that is both large and fast growing,” says Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. “Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been chosen by many of the world’s new and successful low-cost carriers, and we like to think that our products are making a valuable contribution to their prosperity.”


      But some industry watchers were skeptical. Richard Aboulafia of U.S. aerospace consultancy Teal Group said commitments from ambitious startups like IndiGo and Kingfisher Airlines — another Indian no-frills carrier which became the 16th customer for the 555-seater Airbus A380 “superjumbo” — were less likely to lead to final deliveries than those from established carriers.

      It’s very unlikely those five A380s will ever see the light of day,” said Aboulafia — although he said Airbus scored hits with blue-chip orders for its A350, the planned rival to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, from aircraft leasing company GECAS and Qatar Airways.


      • There’s several aspect, Indigo has 40% of the India market at 40% and 150 x A320

        Put that to 300 if they get the whole market (really?) so they have 100 left.

        Of course they are going to fly the near area so that accounts for the spare 200 – 300 or so.

        then they order 50 A330 (vastly more than an established Carrier like Delta which has replacements to do and expansion)

        And what are the delivery dates?

        I don’t buy it any more than Norwegian, Lion, Air Asia (two of which are also Boeing customers)

        • NEW DELHI: After a temporary blip, India is back as the world’s fastest growing domestic air travel market in May, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA). India saw domestic air travel in May 2017 over same month in previous year grow at 17.7%, followed by China at 16.8%.

          IATA had said that India had been the fastest growing domestic aviation market globally for 22 months in a row, while giving the figures for March. But in April, Russia overtook India by witnessing 16.7% growth as opposed to India’s 15.3%.


          India Can Become the World’s Third Largest Aviation Market

          Initially liberalised in 1994, the airline sector in India has seen annual passenger air traffic grow from c.7.5mn domestic passengers in 1993 to c.60mn domestic passengers in 2011 – an 8x increase.

          In comparison, the primary alternative for long-distance travel – the Railways -transports 23mn passengers every day or 7200m passengers per year.1 Despite the enormous time saving, the rail is prioritized over air travel because of affordability.

          Over the next few years, a step-change in (i) the affordability of air travel and (ii) the access to air travel, is expected to result in 270mn air passengers by 2020, making India the third largest aviation market globally2 (behind the US and China).


          India now #5 country for air travel; passes Germany for airport traffic with over 250m passengers in 2016; IndiGo’s 40% domestic share.


        • According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s domestic passenger traffic witnessed growth at a rate of 22 per cent, in comparison 21.24 per cent in FY16. International passenger traffic registered growth at a CAGR of 8.33 per cent.

          I have been working in Indian (Cochin Airport’s new Terminal 3) recently and I don’t think you are factoring in the explosive growth of Indian’s middle classes – hence the 22%. Compound this for a few years and they will need those A320s.

          Norwegian, Delta, etc. are established carriers operating in established markets – hence 8.33%. Norwegian will struggle with its current debt load.

        • @TransWorld

          A decade hence, IndiGo could very well offer low cost non-stop flights between India and Europe/Africa/North-America/South-America/NEA/SEA and Australasia — in addition to low cost one-stop flights between Europe and SEA/Australasia (through Indian hub); between South America and NEA/SEA/Australasia (through Indian hub); between Africa and NEA/SEA (through Indian hub).

          In short, India lies — much like Dubai — squarely at the crossroads of a large chunk of the world’s growing air traffic.

          Hence, I’d expect a lot more A330neo orders from IndiGo.

          • Flights between SEA and Australasia to South America are better served by going across pacific rather than the ‘long way round’ via India/Middle east.

          • Not really.

            For example, Santiago de Chile (SCL) to Hong Kong is 10,095nm, while SCL to Mumbai is 8,689nm. Guayaquil (GYE), Equador to Hong Kong and Singapore is 9,358nm and 10,582nm, respectively.

            The fact of the matter is that most of South East Asia is just too far away from South America for non-stop flights.


          • India is having huge problems with infrastructure.

            Just not buying it.

            Again where the orders are due for is also key.

            400 orders over 40 years ?

          • @TransWorld

            Of course, with a US-centric perception of the world it must be hard to comprehend and grasp the level of growth in Asia and that India, for example, is planning to invest over $120 billion in the development of airport infrastructure and aviation navigation services over the next decade.

            US airports, apparently, are in need to invest nearly $100 billion on infrastructure over the next five years to accommodate growth in passenger and cargo activity, rehabilitate existing facilities, and support aircraft innovation.


          • OV-O99:

            The usual European put down to refer to someone like you did me.

            I can also remind you what country has bailed out Europe repeatedly. Maybe get the nose out of the clouds a bit?

            In addition, I am not inclined to flights of fantasy.

            You remind me of a non tech CEO I had to deal with one time.

            He wanted to get a compressed air tank and hook it up to the engine so we could run our generators through an ash fall.

          • @TW

            I think your comment simply reinforces the comment you criticise. Nationalism is a vice we should rise above

          • @TransWorld

            Why don’t you knock it off with them ad hominems?

            Now, since you seemingly got yourself all worked up about what I wrote, I’d be curious to know what you think about this quote: 😉

            “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

            Isaac Asimov

          • “There are few things more frustrating than ignorance and arrogance combined.

            I lived in England for twenty five years, and I’ve lived in America for about thirty.

            I can tell you from experience that an awful lot of Americans are pretty darned ignorant. This is not to say they are stupid. Its to observe that they just don’t know stuff. They are poorly educated and inexperienced about the rest of the world. For the most part they are ignorant but not arrogant.

            Europeans, on the other hand–especially the ones from the educated and privileged classes–are insufferably both ignorant and arrogant.

            An ignorant person can be educated. An arrogant person can be lowered, but a person who is ignorant and arrogant is unassailable.”

            Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          • @Geo

            Ignorance, arrogance, and stubborn ideology is a common trait for the folks inside the Beltway and the decision makers in Westminster.

          • True that, OV, one should include Brussels on that list as well.

          • I wish you guys would knock off the cultural and people bashing. We’re all ignorant of issues that are important or essential to someone in a different situation but aren’t of issues that are important or essential to us. We’re all both ignorant and not ignorant.

            As for arrogance, wherever I’ve been and whoever I’ve been with I find that much over-inflated and largely due to misunderstanding cultural mannerisms of different cultures. The exception being the ‘nationalist’ exceptionalism (especially) of former and current empires and driven largely by local media that doesn’t stray too far geographically. Sort of geographical fanboyism.

        • “I don’t buy it any more than Norwegian, Lion, Air Asia (two of which are also Boeing customers)”

          Can you explain what exactly you’re not buying in regards to Air Asia?

          I would be equally interested in a break down of Lionair. There’s the obvious A320 order that doesn’t make sense due to B737 fleet and orders, but does your “not buying” Lion(air) go beyond that?

  3. The A321 Super can carve out a bit more territory, but its never going to be a 757 nor an NMA.

    The A330NEO is not likely going to be demised by Boeing, more by itself.

    I still want to see what Air Asia does (have to see when their first delivery is supposed to be)

    Kicking those orders down the runaway is their MO.

    • @Transworld

      “The A330NEO is not likely going to be demised by Boeing, more by itself.”

      I seem to recall someone on this site pointing out the OEW of the A330-800 divided by the number of pax seats gives a smaller weight per seat than the B787-8.
      Remember those audacious statements by Boeing, and many on this site, of how when the 787-8 was introduced of how it was going to slaughter the A330. That didn’t play out to well – check the deliveries since.

      Also, remember Airbus’s reputed ~2bUS spend on the A330 NEO is probably already been written off, something that gives Airbus a real edge in any price war.

      I have also noted the comments relating to Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs but for me, of far deeper concern, is the lobbying by the US airlines restrict Emirates US Open Skies rights.
      Should they ever succeed Sir Tim Clark of Emirates’ has already said that the $76bn order for Boeing 777s hinges on Open Skies remaining the same.

      No mention of this in the JP Morgan article!!!!!!

      • The 767 is lighter than the A330. Lighter per seat is a bad metric, that seat still adds up to more weight .

        While I do not have any control over who runs the country (red state that ensures my vote does not count) Delta etc have a right to protest Emirates and their subsidized operation.

        How that all plays out? Not a clue.

        • Transworld
          “Delta etc have a right to protest Emirates and their subsidized operation”

          Please read the following Forbes article – link supplied:


          plus see the closing comments below:

          “Putting America first shouldn’t entail supporting these airlines. It should entail giving Americans the best flying experience money can buy. That’s what the Gulf Three offer. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have long mastered the art of customer service. US airlines, ‘subsidies’ in hand, would be wise to follow suit.”

        • But not lighter than the “Dead as Disco” A300 / A310 twins.

          All the early first gen TA / TE aircraft were medium duty with limited lift generating limited ranges. The second gen moved to HD and a lot more range and payload / fuel.

          The current OEW gap is 45T to 120T on one side and 50T to 125T on the other.

          It is a 2D industry supporting a 3D world.
          Fair play to BA for trying to fill it.

          All a bit trendy vicar but at least they are having a go.
          AB seem a bit lazy at the moment.

    • At first glance the A380 not very linked with the NMA topic but maybe you’re hinting that the A380 will compete with the the 797 on some routes. For example Emirates uses the A380 on Dubaï-Koweit City (less than 900 km).

      • No, off topic, just Airlines news.

        I never bought that the A380 and the 787 were competitors in any direct fashion, press like to laud that for the different marketing spin each side used as to what would prevail (really big or smaller)

    • Airbus don’t make a A350-100, I assume you mean A350-1000 – which means they won’t be buying the B777x

      • Nope, as part of Delta the A350-1000 makes sense, I think the 777-9 was too big for them.

        Virgin was committed to the 787 long before they linked up with Delta so I assume they just stayed with that.

  4. “Boeing’s effort to displace the Airbus A330neo at Hawaiian is part of an all-out, hand-to-hand combat campaign by Boeing to kill the A330neo programme in advance of the potential launch of the Boeing 797.”

    The Hawaian cancellation is not the “Pearl Harbor” defeat for Airbus that some people have asserted a bit too quickly. Pun intended.

    • Pearl Harbour only targeted the elderly US battleships and missed the much more important carriers, which were the strategic asset in the Pacific war

      • Off topic but…. watch your metaphors!

        Pearl Harbor happened to be empty of the Carriers who were out delivering aircraft to Wake Island and ?

        The Japanese were well aware of the value of the carrier, they did not go in and shell Peal Harbor with battleships.

        They wanted the carriers, some old battleships were of no concern.

        They failed to hit the fuel farms and support facilities and failed to execute a second strike for which there was no opposition.

        The loss of the Battleships was of no real consequence, loss of life was.

        It was both a tactical loss as it failed on that level and a strategic failures as it failed to kill the carriers and arose the wrath of the US like no other action could.

        Or as we say in the US, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

        • It brought the US public inline with the war agenda of the government. Activities, long standing, against Japan were designed to create pressure for an “unprovoked” attack. This Worked as designed.
          Nukeing Japan later as an abject lesson to the SU worked out not so well.

          • Uwe:

            I don’t think you have ever come out with such a blatantly foolish statement, let alone a complete rewriting history in a felse swoop.

            I won’t respond past that.

          • I refer the honourable gentlemen to my previous comment. I really enjoy this feed but this continuous thread of misplaced nationalistic fervour is becoming tiresome. You both sound like Trump

          • Knock off all the stuff about Trump, wars and nuking. It’s not germaine.

  5. https://centreforaviation.com/insights/analysis/jetstar-airways-new-routes-for-a321neolr-fleet-perth-new-zealand-could-be-at-the-top-of-the-list-403763

    “The LCC expects to achieve a very high utilisation rate by deploying the new A321neoLR fleet to Bali overnight, while operating domestic trunk routes during the day.”
    Flexibility is maybe the most attractive feature of the A321Neo (A321LR doesn’t exist in Airbus catalogue). It is effective on very short route (like the ones operated by Air France for example Paris – Bordeaux : 500 km) as well as much longer ones. The 797 efficiency on short routes has to be demonstrated.
    In addition, the crew communality between Airbus models is a selling point for a mix of A321 and A330. That’s exactly this kind of fleet that Indigo is going to have. Their design is pretty old but they are cheap (comparing to the 787 and the 797). The low-cost carriers are maybe the first targets for Airbus. By the way, Ryanair is not interested by the 797 (“not efficient enough”).

    • AerLingus do this with their a330’s, and will be doing this with the a321lr’s when they get them. TranAt flights land at 5/6am… and fly off to popular malaga/faro destinations with ‘lie-flat business seats sold as extra room seats very cheaply’… back in Dub by lunchtime for their flights back to the US.

      The benefit of the LR’s is their ability to fit into medium and short haul schedules and allow airlines to stretch their legs [wings]. The benefit of a new more capable NSA [as opposed to a new NMA] is that same flexibility, and the ability to use frames overnight – 24/7 – back in time for the more common city-pair scheules.

  6. Regarding fuselage width, prior to the arrival of the 747 the 707 was considered the height of luxury; and this fuselage diameter went on to 727,737 and 757. The A321 is quite similar to the DC8-63. A major advantage of 6 abreast is that it is not possible to squeeze in 7. We have already seen 777 go from 9-10 and 787 from 8-9, great for airlines but awful for passengers.

    • It’s the airlines that buy the planes from Boeing and Airbus, NOT the passengers.

      • True but its the passengers that by the tickets.

        When flying between SIN and AKL in Y I have a choice Singapore Airlines A380 or Air New Zealand’s B787-9.

        The A380 is more comfortable, seems quieter and gives because a smoother ride.

        My preferred choice is obviously the A380 but if my SIN inbound flight is late I am then forced fly the ANZ’s 787.

        Often its the passengers that pay for the tickets and airlines should remind themselves the passengers have a choice.

        • I don’t get this forced to.

          Its always an option not to go, maybe not a good one but forced?

          I keep seeing this picture of people in black and white striped prison uniforms being marched onto an airplane.

          • @TransWorld

            “Its always an option not to go, maybe not a good one but forced?”

            Forced in the sense I don’t have choice if I want to return to home AKL without losing an extra day, or more.

        • Please explain the success of RyanAir, EasyJet, Wizz, Lion Group, AirAsia, Scoot/Tigerair, Spirit, Frontier, Volaris, and Interjet.

          Here let me start: the flying public wants lower airfares above just about all else.

          I’ll be charitable and leave Norwegian for another discussion.

    • The DC-8 is one inch narrower than its competitor, the 707. The history goes something like this … AA’s chief demanded that Boeing increase fuselage width to be wider than the DC-8, or Boeing would lose AA’s order. The fuselages of all Boeing narrowbodies since then (the 727, 737 and 757) are artifacts stuck in the late 1950s.

      The sad story is that Boeing would be in a much better position today had they refused AA’s demands and lost the 707 order. By the late 1970s/early 1980s, Boeing would have been forced to toss the 707 fuselage in favor of a wider cleansheet design for the upcoming 757. The wider fuselage would have then been “incorporate-able” into the successor for the 737 Classics (though the model name would obviously have taken on a name other than 737).

      • Wow. Boeing sold something like 1200 727, built the industry in the US on the 707, brought the 737 to the world which in turn launched the 747.

        Nice to go back and rewrite all of that, but foundations are build one brick at a time, not suddenly one day, its walla, we can stretch it here and there and do this and that and we have a real winner!

      • It always amuses me when people fixate on the evils of that ancient 737 fuselage with it’s tomb like width and how it has been so crippling to Boeing.

        4,307 MAX orders to date.
        7,094 NG orders to date.

        • You can put a number on orders, but not the incalculable human suffering from the 737 fuselage.

          • I wear a big AB cap, but always enjoyed flying on 737’s. Sorry AB, but I prefer an 737-800 to the 320CEO’s, radiates a confident feeling, as long as its <4 hours. Never flew on a NEO or MAX.

            You should never fly on an CS, had the privilege late last year, nothing will ever be the same on a single aisle again.

          • I recently flew on a 737-900 with the sky interior on Delta. It was a very pleasant experience These constant fanboy attacks on the 737 are asinine.

          • I never got how people judged seating comfort by looking at the chrome plated ashtray and that single flower holder on the dashboard.

  7. Hello leeham,

    Can you guy do a capacity , range, cost analysts of the 252t A330-800 versus the 787-9? I thing think that’s still clear. The 251t version should hscecbite range then the 787-9.

    • I would rather ask for a comparison of the B787-9, A330-800, A321Neo (probably with some enhancements) and a possible NMA on a transatlantic connection over 4000nm. All expect the long range low cost model to pick up speed, which aircraft would be first choice?

      • I am looking forward to the article about the 251t version. One thing that came to my mind after reading about the rumors regarding Indigo, and remembering the article comparing 787-8 and A330-200 and -800 was…. if one of the reasons Level chose the -200 over the -300 was range with the high density layout… how would that factor in for Indigo with the 251t version and 9 abreast seating in the -800 and the -900. (Don’t get me wrong, I also think it is terrible, but people will endure it for a cheap ticket – see AirAsia X).

        • The AirAsia-X layout is possibly tolerable in that part of the world as people are generally of smaller frame and flights not that long?

          Sitting on a 10-abreat 777 for 12+ hours is not much better.

        • An 251T 338 with 300 pax should potentially be able reach places such as Bali and Santiago but also be efficient for hops over the Pond and destinations in the East with high cargo loads?

  8. The A321 Plus doesn’t have a specification. It seems the comments are aimed at the current A321NEO as NMA alternative. Mixing those up in the title confuses the discussion.

    • Don’t know what AB is planning but I see the wing the centre point of what could/will happen.

      Is it and 36m modification of the current wing, or an 36m new wing, or new >36m wing (+/- folding wing tips)?

  9. Airbus has a few options in hand:
    1) do nothing, because the market potential is small
    2) react
    2a) with a bigger A321neo
    2b) with a smaller A330
    2c) with a new SA design (A320neo sucessor)
    2d) with a newish WB design (A330neo sucessor)

    1. seems to be a viable option. I see a lot of question marks with B797.
    Fuselage: LD3 and 2-4-2 is A330. 2-3-2 like B767 is just +1 seat compared to SA but another aisle, bad efficency. Anything smaller A330 doesnt fit 2x LD3.
    No modern engine in that size available.
    Market potential with a few thousands of B737-9/10s 900ers and A321(neo) A332, B788 unclear.
    Think it’s viable to let Boeing take 15bn. $ and see if they can really built that thing for 75 Mio. $ unit – as with the B787, Boeing might need to sell 2000+ to ever make money with that program.

    2a) Idk how much the A321 has left. Stretching it sounds like a good idea, it prevents some of the fuselage shortfalls mentioned above. BUT: It is already close to the B757-200 size (a321 44,5m; B757-200 47,3m) and everybody knows the 54,4m B757-300 was simply streched to far.
    Also there seem to be issues with fuselage structure, exit limit, wing, thurst and range. Do they really want to give a A322 a new wing?
    I don’t see a general issue with a SA going on oversea routes – in fact B707 and B757 are even smaller and they did.

    2b) This would practically lead to a revive of the A300, a plane that was dismissed due to B767, which got kicked outta market by A330. So develop a new smaller wing, take A310 and A300 size (46m and 54m) fuselage is the same, and put all the A330neo tech in to keep it cheap. Issue is the engine.

    2c) Airbus can wait Boeings specs and use the CS to replace A319/A320 (build a CS 500), move the new SA up to A321 – A322 – A323 on a clean sheet design.
    The question is if better tech is available, and so far Airbus seems to rather expect new tech in the later 2020ies.

    2d) This seems to be the most intresting option. A330 neo is loosing out against B787 since a while. It couldn’t score at Emirates (okay, it was A359) but the B789 and B7810 are decent planes selling well, while A338 doesnt sell at all and A339 is just at 200. Especially the B787-10 is a issue, as if you don’t need the range it offers decent economics. I know Boeing is competing hard on price, but sales are sales.
    Airbus could take the A330 sucessor to a real 3-3-3 size, and use it on those shorter routes in a first step, later beefing it up with more range, just a little smaller than the A359 is.
    The thing is, a 3-3-3 is basically A350 fuselage, while the A330 fuselage seems to be quite optimal for 2-4-2 and freight. So how much can be gained if Airbus redesigns these fueselages?

    I see a lot of questions, what’s your opinion?

    • If I were Airbus, I would do a combination of things:

      1) Do nothing as they have the luxury to do so. Let Boeing think they have the questionably sized market all to themselves.

      2) React – Once Boeing is totally committed, and actually starts building the 797

      a) Introduce the A321neo (plus or A322) stretch to remove some of the lower end of the NMA market. Do it at a comparatively trivial cost, and have it flying well before the 797 is even beginning testing. Make it harder for Boeing to make a profit on the 797.

      b) Do nothing with the A330 but improve the A350 (bulkhead mods, aero etc.)

      c) Get ahead of Boeing by designing the next generation of SA, ranging from 160 seats to 250 seats in 2 classes (range from 3500 nm to 5000 nm). Cabin width 3.8 m for a wider isle, and fuselage length. Leave anything smaller to their CSeries partnership (i.e. no CS500). Wing aspect ratio ~ 12 possible use of folding wing tips (perhaps patent application no. 13176294.0), laminar flow wing (or wing sections) from the BLADE project ? The A320neo family backlog is big enough, and will keep growing, giving Airbus time to have a NSA ready for the next generation of engines.

      So put Boeing in a position where it is committed to losing money, and time on the 797, and build up a comprehensive lead with a NSA.

      If I were Boeing, I would leave everyone thinking that I was about to announce the 797, and instead be working like crazy to design a NSA of exactly the format described in c) above.

      Why ? Because I still think the business case for the NMA is questionable, and if Airbus do really have an A322 or A321 plus up their sleeve, they only need to take a chunk out of the bottom of the perceived NMA market to make it very difficult for a 797 to make a profit.

      Just my 2 cents

      • I am inclined to agree with a lot of what you say. Some sort of NSA will happen and whoever goes for it and gets it right gets first mover benefits. The one thing Boeing did very well was manage a sales drive, at aggressive pricing to be fair, with the B787 and created their market position overnight. The claimed dominance of the core WB market and have become the de facto provider with limited competition, B789 anyone?

        The biggest problem Boeing have with the NMA is that they are concentrating on a difficult inbetween model but not addressing the biggest home run market. I understand that an NSA is scary, it will cost massive money simply to gear up production.

        The logic seems to be, do the NMA to gain a bit of process knowledge and then do the NSA. I see Airbus licking their lips at this. They can afford to go slightly large on their NSA given the protection of the Cseries at the bottom end. They will simply do a large SA and dominate if they do it right, hurting the NMA and goading Boeing to do better.

      • Agree that the NMA business case is questionable. If you need a MOM you can take an A338, use it 12 years and rtn to leaser as the 797s arrive. Too much aircraft but if airlines wanted a MOM they would be pushing AB for below main deck toilets as per the A346. Should be easy low hanging fruit to add 30 pax and take 1000 mile off the range. While it appears that BA live in fear of the A330 and will bankrupt themselves to kill it there should still be some sales if the MOM market is significant. Or are we assuming BA are paranoid over it and will sell 789s at 80 mil if they have to?

        • “While it appears that BA live in fear of the A330 and will bankrupt themselves to kill it”

          Exactly how are they going to do that? Even the most pessimistic view with Leeham’s number ranges they still are 10 million per plane on this small HA order.

          • What would this feed be without a bit of hyperbole? But the intensity of competition does seemed to have levered up a notch recently. The volumes of TA being churned out (rising to c.45 per month) with make for inter3sting times

          • I confess to the hyperbole. My thinking is that at these prices deferred costs etc will never be recovered. If BA settle for $10 mil per frame they will need 2500 aircraft and another 15 years to recover the 787 investment. Assuming it doesn’t need updating/re-engining first. BA will need to go to bond market to finance next programs. A repeat of the 787+ currunt pricing policy could be disasterous.

      • Me too – NSA is the winning game here – and neither ‘need’ to do it [soon] as they have the market to themselves. IF the 797 goes ahead… Boeing is just moving the goal posts, firing the first shot, and starting a whole new dev cycle in the NSA and NMA markets that AB will move into also. AB has products that can be adapted to take a chunk at the lower and upper areas with little dev$$$.

        Just let the NMA market be… Boeing is a ‘company’… if it can’t make ‘profit’ from it’s dev… it has failed. The 787 is still not making profit… it’s making money… income. If Boeing was the only airframer… go ahead…. but with AB ready to follow and take it’s chunk of market created by it’s competitor… not so sure I’d commit the money.

      • A new SA needs new Engines, Lehay is right here, you only get around 5% better with todays airframe & systems technology without a new Engine.

        • All AB needs to do is to launch an 320+ and 321+ with new CFRP wing couple of months after after the NMA?

    • “”2c) Airbus can wait Boeings specs and use the CS to replace A319/A320 (build a CS 500), move the new SA up to A321 – A322 – A323 on a clean sheet design.””
      Precisely: A CSeries 500 when built, would incorporate the absolute latest technologies, adjustments and improvements. This would be designed and built for a fraction of what BA would have to put into a NSA. The monetary comparison could be somewhere between 1-5 to 1-10 dollars more.

      • You can’t change the C tech, its fixed.

        You change one thing, you change it all.

        Its not like, well, we will use CFRP-Z, and move the stingers here, and those there and eliminate this.

        You can put an all new wing on an aircraft.

        You can pick around the edge (Li Al on a 777) but you can’t change the structure is based on.

        • I hear you on that. But if a CS500 is built, all the PIPs will be incorporated along with what they can do to hold its own with any NSA that BA (I guess not so much with the AB anymore) will design. Figures have been bandied around that a CS500 would cost the manufacturer anywhere from 250M to 1B. If built in response to a new NSA, the cost could be on the higher end (IMHO). In that case, maybe a slightly bigger wing to go with a possible CS700, or just to give it 500 miles more of leg. So much of the future of all this really is an intriguing unknown.

          • The CS500 has a market like the MD-80, lighter and cheaper for short range high frequency comfortable flights, like BOS-NY-DC-ATL every 20 minutes.

    • You missed 2f) the A310 successor.
      Imagine an A350 fuselage with rather short wings for a range of about 4,000 nm.

      • What about an A330 fuselage and empennage coupled to the A400M wing (and four TP400 ITAR-free engines) — e.g. A410-800/-900/-1000 family. In fact, the A400m wing is about the size of the A310 wing.

        Since the A400M fuselage upper lobe has the same diameter as the 222-inch diameter fuselage of the A330, Airbus could conceivably create a medium range prop-powered wide-body family using off-the-shelf systems and hardware — and like the A400M it could be developed as an ITAR-free aircraft. For starters, I’m sure Iran would gladly buy a couple of hundred such A410s.

        • Now that would be a Fanken Plane.

          Flight of the Phoenix anyone?

      • An 359-“700” with 250-75 seats, 4500Nm range, CAT-D wing,and good belly space? That could take a big bite of the NMA market outside the US.

        • A bit too heavy and expensive. The smaller A330 diameter is sufficient for 2+4+2 seating and LD3’s.

          • Hi Claes,

            Even with the big 359 wing the following comparison of the 339 vs 359 in terms of OEM/pax in standard layout (339’s OEM estimated by adding 3T for the T7000’s and 359’s a middle of range figure).

            1) 339, 287 seats, 225T, 436kg’s/pax.
            2) 359, 325 seats, 240T, 431kg’s/pax.

            So virtually the same. The question are, which is the cheapest to produce and which is the most modern platform?

      • How realistic is this?

        Nothing but fantasy. A310 is A330 is A300 fuselage.

        Bigger adds more drag, more weight, and the A350 fuselage is just to expensive. The weight savings don’t count on 5 to 9 hour missions too much.
        Fat and short was never efficient.

        • Its all about total “wetted area”, with an 270 seat the length of the fuselage could start counting against it, its non-classical shape will have benits however but at expanse of cargo capacity.

          A few examples of aircraft fuselage length/width ratios;
          1) B789, 10.9,
          2) B788, 9.8,
          3) A338, 10.4,
          4) A350-(60m), 10.1,
          5) A359, 11.2.

          • The cross section size impacs drag thru size and mass, the bigger the diameter the thicker the shell for the same stress, hence like on boats a slender body gives less drag and less mass up to a limit where the length impacts mass too much for a certian pax count, like the A340-600 vs. the 777-300ER.
            Airbus did the A340-600 too quick and listened too much to Lufthansa that wanted the pax count, powerful and expensive 4ea RR Engines, liked the 2-4-2 seating and some cargo. It got to be too Heavy and expensive and the 2 Engine 777-300ER killed it.

          • @ Claes: If there would be a like or +1 you would get it.

            @ Anton: Think i replied you in the other topic also, you can not simply flip things around. A350 fuselage is a lightweight fibre constructed long range construction. It’s not “just cut it, put a A300 wing, mount some engines” and you have a plane.

            Fuselage wise, I see Airbus in a pole position: they have the brand new SA CS, they have the proven A320 one, which is cheap to manufacture, the A330 fuselage is maybe a little to heavy for long haul these days with composite, but the best long haul fuselage is the A350.
            Maybe Airbus should have build a shorter range A330neo also, maybe A338 length 58m and 51m with a smaller wing and some adaptions for mid lenght routes of 5-8hours?

          • The A330 Neo optimised for MOM applications (= A310 Neo) with a new wing was proposed by OV-99 months ago. Give to Caesar etc …

    • Missed out a MD A300MK3.

      90T OEW / 58.5M fuselage will lift 360 standard seats out to 6K NM nominal.

      The more you spend the lighter the basic frame becomes.
      The shorter the range the better it is in comparison to the B787.

      Lifting 30T less every flight.

      Against the notional B797 it has more real estate and longer legs but weighs 15T more on the ground.

    • 1) When market potential is small, head to head competition with Boeing doesn’t make sense, but indirect competition is still better than doing nothing.

      2a) Not everyone does know the B757-300 was simply streched to far. For the benefit of those of us who never travelled on them, could you please explain what the problems with it were?

      With the A321 being so popular with airlines right now, it’s hard to envisage them not going for an A322.

      2b) An A331 need not be smaller than an A332; it just needs to be lighter. The 332 is optimized for long range, and the 338 more so. A shorter range version could satisfy a fair proportion of MOM demand. And work done on that could also be used to develop a (333 sized) 334 for the Chinese market.

      • “Not everyone does know the B757-300 was simply stretched to far.”

        Single access philosophy combined with a super attenuated fuselage must have created massive turn around time issues.

        Much longer runway needed (8,550 ft / 2,605 m) vs 6,800 ft / 2,070 m probably didn’t help either.

        final nail ( for the full 757 line) : 911 aftermath.

        • If I am correct, approximate lengths;

          1) 321, 44m,
          2) 752, 47m,
          3) 753, 54m,

          An 321 stretch will definitely start running into tail strike problems, the 757 was a long legged stallion.

          If an “322+” is 47-50m long, with new wing (CAT-D) and under carriage (4 wheel bogies) that can can take 40 Klb Ultrafan size engines it will be a very nice aircraft. But it will be an expensive program and the question, will it make money for AB?

          The danger also exists that a similar situation could develop such as between the 787’s and 330NEO’s were the 322 is perceived as an “old aircraft” vs the NMA.

          If the 322+ is an NSA it could be a rocker.

          • In this way AB will address the lower end of the NMA and the upper end of the NSA market with one aircraft.

            AB could gauge up on cabin width with an NSA by 3-4″ for the aisle as they will have the CS300/(“500”) at the <160 seat end.

          • @ Anton : rotation angle of A322 (= A321 + 10 ff) = 10.0º vs same for A321 = 11.3º assuming use of same MLG design. Compare with r.a. of DC-8-63 = 8,3º. Could be improved causing rotation around the hinter wheels of the bogie; could be further improved shifting the 210″ stretching so as to have 6 AKH aft/7 AKH fwd plus tail-tank in horizontal empennage for W&B issues ?

          • Thanks, my perception is that an A321 stretched 3-4m starts moving into the orange zone when it comes to tail strikes.

            Maybe just my my bad luck, only flew 321’s four times and had a tail trike on the first flight.

        • I think the 757-300 was not a stretch too far – on the contrary, it was not enough in the sense that it lacked range (Very much in the same way as the non-ER Versions of both the 737-900 and the 777-300 – both did not sell well), and it suffered from bad timing in addition. It could have been the Super 60s of its time – whoever remembers, they sold really well for their time, and started the trend to make air travel affordable.

      • @ aidan “what were the problems with the 753 ?” :

        a string of in-flight service and airport ground rotation inefficiencies that arise with any narrowbody 3+3 cabin interior with row counts beyond 35, namely :

        turn-around time problems : excuse-me factor interference with seat clearance or seat access flow-charts; aisle pax density interference with aisle clearance flow-chart; cabin cleaning flow slow-down from inaccessibility of the outer lhs or rhs seats in the 3+3 configuration, causing fatigue or MSD; bulk hold unloading/loading flow slowdown from inaccessibility (special for 75X), causing ditto etc etc …
        in-flight service problems : cabin attendant fatigue or MSD from marathon hand-out/retrieval of pax trays to lhs/rhs outer seats 35+ times 2 times 2, followed by frills or duty-free sales to same (the ergonomics are challenging), plus interference from aisle and seat excuse-me factors with the foregoing from pax on the way or returning from lavatories etc etc …

        I don’t think useful to explain in more detail, I’m sure you’re getting the picture …?

  10. Not as a response to the NMA, but if Boeing can squeeze every drop out of the 737, that seems like a good strategy of investment for Airbus as well. Most 3 class carriers fly the A321 with about 190 seats. A 2m stretch A322 with 200 seats will still have versatile range.

    • Aircraft fuselages belong to the fractal world : length of derivatives = length of base model +/- N times the fractal dimension (ie the fuselage frame length). For the A32X family, the fuselage frame length ff = 21″. Thereupon comes another fractal dimension, that of the AKH = 3 x ff = 63″. Remember to think of A321+ or A321++ or A322 or A323 etc in terms of these fractal considerations.

      André Bord resolved the max(A32X) fractal riddle once and for all back in the ’80-ies : A322 = A321 + 10.ff = A321 + 210″ carrying 6 fwd + 7 aft = 13 AKH.

      Full stop.

      • A 210″ stretch gets in between 757-200 and -300 length of approx 50m. It might be optimal or too much. It will get a new carbon wing+wingbox and can keep the A321neo Engines with minor mods, that includes a 1-2″ increased fan size with same nacelle o.d. into this.
        The A321neoLR could use this new wing as well as the present A320wing is old by now.
        Airbus might reason it will cannablize sales of the A321neo and Boeing only have the 737-10 that suits certian routes only that is a poor competitor but Airbus can sell the A322neo+ for a better price than the A321neo and steal 797 customers that now address everybody flying the A321 fully loaded.

        The question is what is the optimal stretch, wingspan, range and Engine thrust for the A322neo? I vote for 2 AKH stretch in front of the wing and one AKH aft, modified landing gear with rotation on the aft boogie Wheel, new Composite wingbox , 37k Engines A321neo engines, updated APU, new carbon wing and carbon pylon common for the A321neo with API type of high winglets keeping span almost the same as the A321neo.

        It will give 3-4 more rows of pax giving 18-24 more pax and more cargo and range. Especially if they elect a bigger fan on the Engines that will give 2-4% better fuel consumption.

        • By now I have repeated myself to many times on this but a second loading door in front of the wing and extra toilet/s important. Also feel that the 322 should not target Transcontinental, believe a 250-300 seat aircraft is more suitable?

        • The (useful for pax purposes) cabin length of an A322 (ie counted from rhs doorsill 1L to lhs doorsill 4L) is 43 x ff (A320) + 13 x ff (stretch A320 —> A321) + 10 x ff (stretch A321 —> A322) = total 66 x ff = 1,386 ” with the present (type A321) lhs doors. Compare to A320 (903″) or A321 (1176″). In terms of additional rows in an LLC-type all Y-class cabin environment (eg @ seat-pitch = 30″) this gives at the most +7 rows vs A321 or +42 pax /3+3 resp. +35 pax/1+3+1, unless the seat increment is affected by safe evacuation constraints. I personally consider A321 max pax = 222 or 37 rows 3+3 assuming humanised lavatory and galley coefficients. Anything beyond is sales hype (ref Seatguru Vueling A321 = 220 pax). The more so if we’re discussing A321LR-type MOM applications where eg 80″ pitched flatbeds tend to be the standard in First Class, eg 60″ pitched fauteuils in Business Class or eg 37″-41″ pitch in Economy+ etc (ref Seatguru A321 Jetblue).

          • Strictly speaking, observing that 1386″ (length of the A322 cabin) minus 36″ (width of the cross-aisle passageway at the overwing location if we assume the emergency exit here is a type B door) if we now divide the A322 cabin in just two sections = fwd and aft cabins instead of three as in the A321 today, the maths yield a length per half-cabin of (1386″ – 36″)/2 = 675″ = 56 ft 3″ which is less than 60 ft, ie less than the maximum allowed distance between two adjacent emergency exits.

            This result implies that with the A322 in a 1+3+1 configuration, the actual max pax at 30″ pitch (ie 22 rows x 5 or 110 pax in each cabin section) roughly coincides with the regulatory exit limit of that cabin, of 75 pax x 3 = 225 pax when assuming three type B doors.

            Evidently, if Airbus elects to install a type A door at the 1L location on the A322 (we recommend !!), the exit limit is raised to 260 pax. Thus, in an LCC environment one could reduce the pitch to 28″ so the max pax of the A322 cabin in 1+3+1 could easily reach 240 pax.

      • A321++ / A322 = 4-5M stretch for 30 or 36 extra standard seats.
        Using the frame element mentioned earlier points to a 4.77M extension to the basic fuselage.

        Next up comes the hard part — new HD wing for the A32X family allowing the MTOW to head north of 105T with 110T being the stretch objective (no pun intended).

        That gets the real estate onboard to support 240 standard seats and a realistic amount of 8-10 hr flight amenities. Plus enough extra payload to put another 5T of fuel in the tanks to get the range out beyond 4.5K NM nominal.

        Looking at 55T of OEW moving the needle and closing the MoM gap.

        Still not fully Glesga friendly though.

        That is a range of 5.5K NM nominal so that you can do direct flights to Pudong and Banjo country in the Deep South — well SF and LA really.

    • Looks like a new wing center box. Did the 777x get a new redesigned and bigger wing center box?

      • it is said to be the same and still Al ( dimension wise. beefed up obviously? )

        • Why the beef?
          Unannounced future weight increases?

          MTOW — B7double7 Classic = B7double7 NG?

          • hehe. error in mechanics.

            The wider span moves the lift forces outward.
            ‘That then increases transferred moment arm in the center wing box. ( needing some beef 🙂

          • Good spot.

            Any numbers on how much the changes move the centre of lift?

            Interesting to see how much the lift profile changes between the 7Double7 generations — Classic to NG?

            The increased wingspan is not a lift issue, it is an efficiency issue — aspect ratio / less lift induced drag.

  11. So many people speaking out to fluff Boeings pillows.

    Last week it was Southwest saying it will buy ‘hundreds’ of Max 7s despite not wanting them now.
    Nows its an ‘appraisal firm’ saying a development of the A321 cant match a ‘unknown’ airliner in a niche that others arent really sure is there.

    • Yeah – saw that. Funny how you can appraise two fictional products and pick a winner.

    • “Nows its an ‘appraisal firm’ saying a development of the A321 cant match a ‘unknown’ airliner in a niche that others arent really sure is there.”

      Is it really much of a stretch to believe that a double stretch of an almost 40 year old fuselage can’t match a new clean sheet optimized design? That’s not fluff, it’s just reality…

      • didn’t we see/read similar pronouncements against the NEO back …when ..

        • We’ve certainly heard about how there is no way the MAX can compete because of it’s age. Yet the 330 and the 321 can pull it off with no problem. Funny how that age thing works depending on whose plane is being talked about… 🙂

          • The 737’s are very nice aircraft but they have ran out of engine ground clearance and can’t take LD3-45’s.

            If AB do an 320+ (~3m stretch 320) with updated wing and second generation PW1100G’s it could be game over for the 737’s?

          • MAX seems to sell on limited supply available for the slot from the generally preferred supplier.
            It cost quite a bit more and must hang onto grandfathering easements to be competitive.

  12. Airbus is getting worried, the Neo+ is to small, the A321 stretch needs a new wing , that is expensive, and will not prove big enough. The a330 cannot loose weight, it’s too big. Airbus must be really worried about the B797 as the A330-800 is not selling. The B797 completes a brilliant range of planes covering A321 through to B777X covering larger than A350-1000. Airbus’s incremental design philosiphy does not help keep competency and the ability to design new aircraft…………………..so where does it go next, it seems content in being stagnent at the moment.

    • The A330-800 is still there and Airbus will keep this plane just to show potential 797 customer what price they should ask for.

      An A321+ does not need a new wing. Ever heard of folding wing tips?

      • Even if a new wing is required, Airbus has a new partner with a carbon wing factory in Northern Ireland and a wing design that could be modified easily to up- gauge a A321. Even the lighter weight should allow existing engines to be used rather than a higher thrust version.
        Boeing cant compete as nimbly as that, as its own carbon wings are too large to down size and its Everett wing factory hasnt built a single wing yet.
        Available sooner and at a price the market wants to pay will beat an ideal plane built from scratch every time.

        • And so, we reinforce failure with an all new wing on an aircraft that is not selling and is to heavy for the segment that’s being target.

          How about an A390? like in all new which is what you get when you make all those changes.

          • I do believe he’s proposing a new wing for the A321 (which is selling) rather than the A338 (which is not selling so much, potential Indigo order aside).

      • Folding wing tips gets you what?

        The point is that its still the original wing and there would be an aerodynamic benefit to a new one.

        How much and if its worth the cost is a another issue.

      • The A322 or A321++ need a new wing to be competetive, Airbus are working on a new carbon wing box with EU money, increasing span adds mass and moment load into the wingbox. With CFRP you can make it thinner and more effective (L/D) wing. The question is if they increase span or select massive winglets to fit the same gates. The quickest migh be asking Aviation Partners to develop a pair fitting the new wing.

        • I’d like to understand how this “non US entities can never have a single original thought and must copy, borrow, buy from …” stance came into existence.
          Aviation partners got its patent canceled because they did not manage an original thought.
          afaics has Airbus shown to have good problem understanding and innovative solutions.

    • I think I would rather be in Airbus’ position at the moment. Ignore NMA let Boeing see if they can make it pay. Instead get on with the NSA, Boeing will be busy with 777X, and NMA while Airbus could build the next generation of NSA.

      Play the numbers, would you like to sell a few thousand NMA (at very little profit), and maybe 600 to 1000 777X, or would you like to be selling 6000 to 8000 NSA, possibly more as Boeing would still not have started work on a NSA so you’d have a number of years head start.

      If Boeing end up trying to sell the 737Max against an Airbus NSA I think they’ll find that quite difficult even if they pretty much give them away at cost.

      My earlier proposal for a NSA would eat into a significant chunk of the NMA market as well. Airbus don’t have to worry about anything smaller than the A320 as they have it covered with the CSeries. A Boeing NSA would be unlikely to span CS100 – 797.

      Timing is going to be everything, Airbus just have to make sure that the right engine(s) are available at the right time. Two engine suppliers needed for a) lessors / airlines, and b) supply chain to be able to support 70 to 80 aircraft a month production rate.

      Any guesses where the next Airbus FAL will be, I would think India in the not too distant future.

      • Boeing might develop both at the same time, they certainly have the abundant cash flow to do it.

    • History would suggest AB has quite a few cards in its hand if it has the imagination to play them.

      A330 as an HD lard bucket is a bit heavy.
      However the A300 / A310 MD component set shows the way.

      Then you have the Super Sixty — the A320 architecture / platform / component set has a lot more capability than the DC8 parts bin but DC did a great job.

      Consequently some new thinking might be in order.

  13. Are the 321 still available with 2 doors in front of the wing or is it now only the ACF cabin layout?

    Can see that a new wing could be used on an 321LR+that has additional fuel capacity so to use only 2 Aux tanks for the 4000Nm range.

    An 322 (stretched ~3m) with same capacity as the 321 ACF but with 2nd door in front of the new wing and better on board amenities and new wing focused on <3500Nm routes might work

  14. Airbus has big decisons to make as the NMA is primarily the US3’s market, American cities to European capitals with frequency and the US3 will buy Boeing .

    • I don’t see that the US3 are sufficiently significant on their own like they used to be. The question may be is Boeing too influenced by domestic demand. Or perhaps is the requirement of the US3 sufficiently reflective of or perhaps followed by the buying requirements in the growth markets globally

  15. Cannot understand why the middle door has gone, surely loading is quicker with the middle door with passengers going left and right. This is Airbus only hope against the NMA twin aisle.

    • Middle door isn’t used for loading, but served as emergency exit. Removing this door, adding two overwing exits and relocating the door aft of the wing allows going to 240 pax in the current size and more if an A321neo Plus is created.

      • Thanks for the info Scott.

        For the 321X to compete with NMA I can see a second door in front of the wing for for (boarding)/de-planing as a key component.

      • Lufthansa use to use door 2 as entrance on there flights outbound Frankfurt

  16. I wonder why Airbus does not try to propose a new NMA around A310

    • It would be like the 767 passenger jet. Too much to change to make it competitive.
      Anyway a lot of new stuff for the A310 was incorporated into the last version of the A300, the -600.

  17. Airbus isn’t worried, they are the ones with 3000 A321NEO’s/LR’s in the backlog today. 3000 is huge. The US3 are not dominant at all.

    An additional bigger wing for the A320 is a big decision for Airbus. But not very big for a company that put the A380, A400M, A350s, Beluga XL and NEO’s in production and put 2 additional FAL’s into operation over the last 12 years. It’s evolutionairy, doable.

    • Totally agree, look at the total number of 737s of all variants sold, and the total number of A320 family variants sold. According to Wikipedia 9,895 737s built as of January 2018, and 8,000 A320s built as of 18 January 2018.

      That’s with a 20 year head start for the 737, look at the total number of orders across all variants though, pretty much neck, and neck.

      The company that evolves with the changing world will be the one that is more successful. Boeing does seem to be a bit more focused on the USA first, and then the rest of the world, Airbus perhaps due to it’s nature seems to have a broader view of the market place.

      BTW compare the US3 against Emirates just on 777s
      American 67
      Delta 18
      United 88
      Emirates 151 thats just 22 short of a combined US3 777 fleet.
      Orders for 777x
      US3 Zero
      Emirates 150 out of a total of 326 777x orders
      But also interesting that Emirates has including orders, 162 A380s, that’s even more 380s than they have 777s.

      Anyone else find these numbers fantastic/shocking/interesting/unsustainable ?

      • Fantastic indeed! Wait until the bulk of 777-200 and 300’s will start getting replaced. They will have chose between the 787-9 and 777x or A359 and A 35K. Those numbers will get even more interesting.

      • If the MoM gap is attacked with gusto by new product the the ME3 are their clones are going to be under pressure.

        The ME3 have a balanced Aggregator / Distributor Business Model.

        Hub and Spoke arrangement where both sides are in balance.

        Any MoM’ster with a 5K / 6K

        NM range allows one side of the ME3 route map to fly to the other side directly without a detour to somewhere hot and sandy.

        Glesga / Pudong example = 11/12 hours direct vs 16/17 hours via the Persian Gulf.

        Economics are all positive — less time in the air.
        55T/ 65T or 75T of OEW instead of 155T / 175T or 275T.

        Smaller cities link up with each other.

        The B787 was hype but the B797 should be the real deal.

        • “The ME3 have a balanced Aggregator / Distributor Business Model. Hub and Spoke arrangement where both sides are in balance.”

          The ME3 actually have Pa2Ha==Hb2Pb arrangement where the
          Hub to Hub leg is served by Addidas and Puma.:-)

          Afaics there is near zero interdigital traffic around each (Semi)Hub.

  18. Is there any reason for Airbus to worry about the 797 ? Zero backlog, zero engine, zero drawing, nada. We don’t even know if the fuselage is circular, ovoid, square or whatever. We’re just commenting a hype. Still the same dream of a game changing liner which is supposed to sweep away everything on its path. A lingering sense of déjà vu.

    • Well that is the $64 question, but Boeing will have designs and concepts and tech research going.

      Just because we can’t see it does not mean it does not exist.

    • It will be the A300 of the 2000’s with much lower fuel consumption, emissions and noise just a bit more expensive per cycle than an A321 and twin aile and better range if Boeing can pull it off. It gets very sensitive to Ti alloy prices that will be as widly used as in the 787/A350.

    • @Joe,

      Care to show where the Bloomberg article states “Indigo will buy 50 A330-800’s!!”??

      The article gives no A330Neo type nor does it state 50 A330NEO’s, rather “as many as 50 A330NEO’s”.

      • It reads:

        “The carrier aims to take the upgraded A330neo version of the plane, according the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions aren’t public. The deal would be worth $13 billion at list prices for the smaller of two variants, though some of the aircraft are likely to be options to be confirmed later.”

        “A330 neo version”
        “Smaller variant of the two”

          • Indigo has a huge backlog of outstanding 320NEO orders. It crossed my mind that they could convert some of these orders to 338’s and/or 321LR’s if they want to expand longer haul.

            Think AB will take it with a smile at this stage?

          • Last paragraph is interesting, IndiGo interested in acquiring AI. AI is a 787 operator, if they go ahead with it this is snub to the 787, it would have made more sense, evidently they see a bigger advantage using the A330.

        • News of Indigo considering the 338 surfaced a couple a months ago.

          On the question of dumping, AB has not sold the 338 domestic, so what price will be regarded as dumping? Or, is it a function if they sell it for $100 to Indigo that they can’t sell it for more than that to say IAG?

          All hypothetical, but with HA having cancelled its 338 order could AB offer the 338 to Indigo for example as “launch customer”?

          • A 251 tonne A330-800 with a range of 8250nm acquired a lower capital costs can do substantial damage to competitors networks for both flagship or low cost carriers.

            If you think about it, that type of airplane hasn’t existed yet. It could open even longer thinner routes than the 787-8 did.

          • The 338’s advantage is that it will have good range in a high density layout of say 300 seats.

  19. Would it be reasonable for Airbus to extend the range of an 321 stretch by one or two thousand nmi on top of 321LR’s range?

  20. One question is will the NMA be able to take LD3-45’s? An 321X with additional loading door, slightly more seats and toilets could be competitive on <3000Nm routes.

    This will make the NMA basically a Transatlantic aircraft, here an A321LR with the 321X wing could be an option for some airlines.

  21. I’m with Keeje on the A322++, with the option that Airbus could do a warm modular update…. i.e an A322 fuselage (i.e simple Stretch) with a new wing.

    This could be a bit of a game changer with some options depending on the wing optimisation for the A321 or A322:

    I guess it depends on how you size the NMA market. If you see it as a huge market, then A322 (possible to incorporate on the A321), and real competitor to 797.
    Or optimise for the A321, improves business case for A322 (and take enough share of NMA to affect 797 sales), but also get a wing for the A320, and improve the whole fleet which could force Boeings hand with respect to the 737 (but also damage the business case for it at the current time).

  22. With Airbus playing cat and mouse with Boeing, I doubt they will have the capability to design and build a new wing. The A350 wing and systems were designed in 2008, since then Toulouse has been reducing numbers and competancy at the wing design centre.

    • Yes, carbon wings are different challenges to fully aluminium wings. You can see Boeing went for a ‘scaled version’ of the 787 wing for its 777X, as that reduced risk and time to design.
      Far more interesting is the wing for the Cseries now that Airbus has a partnership.
      cseries wingspan 35m , wing area 112m2
      A321 wingspan 35m , wing area 122m2

      This is a simplification but you can imagine the Cseries carbon wing box being a good fit for thecurrent A321 and even with some changes a bigger A322. Using an existing design reduces development time and cost and lowers the techical risk. Even better, the Northern Ireland factory has the IP developed for the ‘dry’ process of infusing the resin with the carbon tape before autoclave curing. Production is part way down the learning curve

      Airbus A320/A321 still use the original wing design, while Boeing built a lighter wing for its existing 737 to produce the current 700/800/900 series, which makes the whole plane more competitive with a lower empty weight.

      A new version of the Cseries carbon wing changes all that, and using it for a longer range higher capacity A321 ( with existing engines !) doesnt upset the existing orders and production.
      They may even go one step further and adapt the Cseries carbon fibre empennage for a new A321 +.

      This version of a bigger A321 would beat anything Boeing brings to the market in the 250 seat single aisle, longer range in both timing and price.

      • Does a new wing give them the freedom to add a longer landing gear? If they want to stretch the fuselage and still have good rotation angle.

        • You can’t throw a C series wing on an A321, it is a much higher gross weight aircraft with totally different thrust.

          First I hear they just scaled up 777 wing from 787.

          Do you have some attribution?

          • No one says , just throw the wing on, I was thinking the wing box modified, with flaps and maybe leading edge different.

            As for higher gross weight- look at the dimensions, specifically wing area and span, pretty close dont you think? Long range isnt a particular requirement so extra span doesnt come into it. of course you can resize where possible without leaving the underlying architecture behind.
            The advantage is cost and time to bring to market- more nimble than Boeing can on a possible all new competition. An advantage is the lower OEW which could mean existing thrust engines of 35K for the neo could be used.

            As for the 777X wing

            “We’re evolving the architecture of the 787 wing to fit this bigger airplane,” he said.
            said Bob Feldmann, general manager of the 777X program
            and :
            “Wind tunnel testing has shown that scaling up the 787 wing to fit the 777X is working, Feldmann said.

            This is quite old news, Im surprised you havent kept up.

      • >This is a simplification

        Indeed, pretty sure the design would need to be all new.

        Also it is not clear that the BBD UK will be transferred to the BBD/Airbus partnership. My understanding is that BBD UK will be an independent supplier to the partnership.

        • The 777X was a long way from ‘all new’, using a scaled up 787 wing.
          Bombardier being a partner helps in lots of ways, they dont have to transfer ownership of Shorts factory to Airbus. Airbus uses other partners to produce major sub assembly’s, even Spirit who is close to Boeing.
          Boeing uses other companies to produce airframe sections, Embraer does it and Airbus is doing more of it outside its initial consortium members.

  23. Airbus is now incapable of designing a wing and integrating the systems within that wing. Airbus is now a production of aeroplanes company ( new management who have experience in car manufacturing production), not a designer of aircraft anymore. Numbers of experienced engineers have been cut and the capability is not there anymore. Airbus already has the C-series technology known but is incapable of integrating it with the systems such as fuel, hydraulics and most important electricals.

    • Interesting viewpoint. Maybe not the perfect text to post on a more professional site. i.e. I am rather certain that you are about as far off as is possible.

    • I’d heard this too, I believe the design office is half empty. I know it is easy to reduce numbers is the UK but very difficult because of employment laws in France and Germany, looks as though Airbus is reducing numbers there as it can’t else where. Airbus is only cutting off it’s nose to spite it’s face. It’ll pay for it in the end.

      • Is it a function of the current CEO not R&D orientated or were they over staffed?

  24. For an 321X to compete with the NMA it must be able to fly 4500Nm with 200 pax? This will need a CAT-D wing and ~37Klb engines, wing sweep will also have to be 28-30 deg for higher cruising speeds. These will come at a high cost and be a potentially limited size market.

    Where AB could compete is if they tweak the current wing at relatively low cost, do an ~3m stretch of the 321 using current engines, get a second door in front of the wing (sorry saying it again). An 322 in this format will be very competitive in higher density <3000Nm routes and come at a relatively low cost to develop.

    An NMA won't be able to compete with the 322 on such routes.

    If AB makes improvements to the 321LR so that it could fly 3800Nm with 180 pax in a long range cabin with only 2 Aux tanks they will have a winner.

      • Its a huge story for many reasons and its not gotten any attention.

        I put it in the same category as the 787 Battery Issue.

        1. RR came out with an all new engine for the 787 (the TEN). I have no memory of that ever happening on any program.
        They gave up on the 1000, you assume its not fixable at least in terms of fuel burn. RR has always touted how good the 3 spool is, how easy it was to modify for the 787 electric end and …..
        Engines shutting down in the air and no mention of it to any degree.

        2. And now the 900 comes in with same issues and which one does Emirates go with in that engine pair off?
        And once again we see why (in this case) the GP7000 proved superior despite its plebeian two spoil deign, both in reliability and feel efficiency.
        We then see the reasons that RR was having issues with its magically upgraded 900 that jumped 5 % fuel consumption over night.
        In the US we call that a Du Pont Overhaul (new paint and ignore the stuff under neat that does not work)

        And while I cna’t find it, somewhere there was a blurb that RR was asking for a smoke waiver for the TEN. They can’t get its burn right in some part of the throttle range and its going to take 2 years to fix it.

        In the meantime P&W gets a black eye (not unjustified but RR is as bad or worse and gets off Scott (pun) free.

        • For P&W I hope they can sort out the PW1000’s and for Boeing that they can go CFM on the NMA.

          Think that their is/was to much pressure on engine manufacturers to bring improvements in airliners fuel consumption while the air frames has not achieved much, ok, maybe big improvements with wings and wing tips.

          Also not sure about all the plastic, an 789 OEW is 7T more than the 330-300.

          Still believe that an B767-300ER “as is” with fancy engines could give an NMA a good run for value for money (so also the 757-200).

    • Maybe reality is starting to dawn on EK. Their main competition (Qatar) will be operating aircraft that’s superior to theirs in the form of the 350?

    • Transworld, as a man of reality, I often thought about about the 350’s and 787’s seat layout of 3-3-3.

      With an 2-5-2 layout you have only one passenger that needs to cross 2 pax, in 3-3-3, two pax. With an 2-5-2 layout you will have 4 happy pax, with 3-3-3 zero.

      Just a thought, not sure about safety regulations?

      … and in 2-5-2 there is a good chance that at least on of those seats will be empty.

      • How many schlemiels does the schlamazel at the window have to cross?

      • It has been tried. Back in the days when MH had a good reputation, I flew on one of their 777s with a 2+5+2 layout. The fact that they subsequently switched to 3+3+3 suggests that passengers prefer the latter.

        • In my own experience you can move on window seat or aisle seat a bit to the wall or aisle. So the person in the middle is more comfortable (me too).

          With 5 seats there are 3 persons in the middle instead of one sharing some possible extra space.

          • group of 3 allows the outer seats to slightly overflow into the aisle or curvature of the fuselage.
            Gives a bit of air to the middle seat.
            That does not work so well in a 5 (or still legal 6!!) across arrangement. except for the bottom centric putty bag PAX most people are widest at shoulder level.

          • All DC-10 and L-1011 I flew on in the 1970s, 1980s were 2-5-2. These were USA flights, united, delta. The middle seats, even with one other person in an aisle seat, made a nice bed in the days of 60% empty planes.

          • DanF: Heck yeah it did. On NWA’s DC-10s Flying to the coast to go overseas on some flights between SeaTac and MSP or LAX and MSP, you just fold up those armrests, get a few pillows from the SkyHags (that’s what Angel on The Rockford Files called ’em, not me) and sleep like you’re in First Class.

  25. Any decision re future SAs (+ any NMA stressing quicker turnarounds) needs to have a solid grasp of what the situation terminal side is likely to be in the future. Go back 20 years and a passenger no show would, I guess, have meant said passenger being left behind while his/her checked bags flew away. Now, with security concerns, a no show means bag retrieval and so significant delay. Hence the LCCs dissuading customers from checking luggage for the hold. So future terminal side processes/equipment/layout, national legislation, insurance approaches, materials luggage is made from, hold structures and so on are just as important as engines and airframe layout and, for hold structures, something that could push the advantage for a clean sheet NSA design sooner than would be the case on purely engine/aerodynamics grounds.

  26. I wonder if a lean 2-3-2 cabin has the speed and space advantages widely assumed.

    Above the 2 window seats, probably not enough space to put a trolley wheels first/ on its side. A big NB 3-3 like MS21 can handle easily.


    Above the 3 seater in a 2-3-2 there are a left & right bins. But not deep ones either.

    Speed, as to 2 narrow aisles, if 5 persons are blocking the 2 aisles, nobody can pass.. With one wide aisle, they pass those 5 (or more) non moving people. Everybody keeps moving.

    • For me its 3-3 or 2-4-2 for aerodynamic efficiency.

      Just a totally odd idea, how will 3-2-3 work with smaller middle bins, you still have only 2 middle seats, good head room round the aisles and 2 very happy pax/row.

      • 3-2-3 most likely to have problems with layout in the front, 2-2-2 in E+ and 2-1-2 in F?

        On the other hand 2-2-2 could be a sensible business class layout for medium haul as you will have 50% more seats than at 1-2-1.

        • I guess 3-2-3 there may are problems with overhead bins. With 2-4-2 the space above the seats is divided quite even.
          As you can see from pictures of 3-3-3 seating the bins are not distributed even over the seats. The bins over the center row are more towards the aisle than the bins to the wall.

          • For me the 330’s 2-4-2 is possibly as good as its gets for a large wide body.

      • @Anton:
        Funny enough, I hv a photo on 1 of my aviation books for such config in a 787 demo cabin published by Boeing over a decade ago.

        No to mention doubling the number of middle seats in such config vs a 2-3-2 layout….

    • The question is about the number of aisle seats vs the number of seats in a row . In the 1+3+1 configuration, 4/5-ths = 80 % are aisle seats, clearing the aisle in no time at all so the pax flow can move on. Compare with 2+3+2 or 4/7-ths = 57 % or with 3+3 or 1/3-rd = 33 %, the aisle clearance picture is quite different. Consider also aisle pax density at stand-up at seat pitch 32″ and aisle width 19″ :
      – 2+3+2 —> 7 pax in 4.22 sq.ft times 2 = 1.21 sqft/pax = index 173
      – 3+3 —> 6 pax in 4.22 sq.ft = 0.70 sqft/pax = index 100
      – 1+3+1 —> 5 pax in 4.22 sq.ft times 2 = 1.69 sqft/pax = index 241
      Unfortunately this relative situation does not improve with the wide aisle option eg wao in A320 with type 737 triples @ 59″ and aisle 25″ = index 132

      • If aisles are wide enough people will tend to squeeze past. You can see this happening in business class cabins.

        • much wider.

          My impression is that the only thing “accelerating” some passengers in getting their stuff stowed away is either irate neck breathing or stowing it for them.
          couple of inches in the aisles doesn’t matter, they just feel less pressure to “git”. some seem to even draw some kind of PowerUp from obstructing.
          I seem to remember that Ryan Air sorted their PAX before boarding. _and_ (de)board from front and rear. that goes fast.

          • That’s why the row EMF (excuse-me factor) is an important turn-around marker :

            3+3 —> EMF = 6 (!!)
            2+3+2 —> EMF = 2.5
            2+2+2 —> EMF = 2
            1+4+1 —> EMF = 2
            1+3+1 —> EMF = 0.5

            Comparatively, 3+3 is the worst situation one could think of ! Imagine an LCC-type cabin with 29″ pitch … then 9A or 9F wants to access his or her seat when 9B and 9C (or 9D and 9E) are seated. Both will need to stand up and exit into the aisle to let the intruder pass, creating havoc. This to show the importance of a higher number of aisle seats. The wider aisle option doesn’t solve this conundrum.

          • EMF.
            proper metric PAX bags per aisle length.

            The issues I see are linked to people taking endless time to cope with stowing their supersized barely legal bag into the overhead bin where some other imbecile has stuffed his similar sized item carelessly in the most inefficient way ( out of sight, out of mind. feisty smirk.).
            Towers of Hanoi like rearranging pax on seats is afaics a lesser problem.

          • Havoc also arises from the bad habit of certains to stow away their rollerbag at the first available place the best, thereafter they get down the aisle looking to find their seat. This type of behaviour happens in aircraft types where overhead stowage volume is known to be short. This causes travellers moving upstream at the arrival stand-up, in desperate search to retrieve their rollerbags, jamming the aisle flow … The solution is to give people ENOUGH carry-on volume so that their rollerbags always will be stowed away within easy reach …

  27. We’ve seen airlines cancelling aircraft orders. With the continuation of Indigo’s PW problems can they change to CFM?

  28. According to the quotes below from the FlightGlobal article at the link after the quotes, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said today at a JP Morgan Aviation and Transportation conference that he sees Delta as a prime launch candidate for Boeing’s NMA

    “Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian says the airline would be a “prime launch candidate” for Boeing’s proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA).

    The Atlanta-based carrier is in discussions with the airframer on the potential aircraft with Bastian himself meeting with Boeing executives in Seattle to discuss it during the week of 5 March, he says at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference today.”

    “Delta will need to replace its 127 757s and 79 767s, two aircraft the NMA is targeted as a replacement for, in the second half of the next decade, says Bastian.

    “The airline configures its 757s, including the -200 and -300, with up to 234 seats and its 767s, including the -300ER and -400ER, with up to 261 seats, its website shows.

    Delta operates 111 757-200s with an average age of 21.3 years, 16 757-300s that average 15.1 years, 58 767-300ERs that average 21.9 years, and 21 767-400ERs that average 17.2 years, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

    Bastian’s comments come about a month after reports that he told pilots that the carrier hoped to launch the NMA programme.”


    • Interesting to see how it configures it’s replacement policy — how much growth will be included in the decision making process?

      Mature, stable market pointing towards efficiency rather than capacity / capability — meaning the A321 will be a big player at the bottom end.

      Overall the Delta fleet looks like the Scrap Iron Flotilla — the bean counters seem to be winning.

  29. Is the NMA not 2 years too late, will DAL get the first 100 and the rest must wait?

    Maybe what AB is waiting for with the 322? If AB launches something at Paris this year it could upset the NMA picture.

    • @Anton:
      “Is the NMA not 2 years too late,”
      “Too late” for whom? You? Or the actual potential customers Boeing has been discussing with re 797?

      Re-read the story again. Ed Bastian said “…NMA is targeted as a replacement for, in the second half of the next decade, says Bastian.” That’s logical for DL as they typically hv a 30yrs+ econ life cycle(probably news for U) for each airframe before retirement fm active duty and the avg age for their 757/767 fleets today is under 22. Alan Joyce of QF made similar comment with Australian media re targeted timing of potential 797 for QF fleet.

      For airlines which hv commented on 797 so far, only 1 stated in public that 2025/26 target for 797 is “a bit too late” for them: IAG/Willie Walsh. But don’t take my words for it, google it for yourself.

      “will DAL get the first 100 and the rest must wait?”
      1. 787 is already delivering @ a rate of @ least 135/yr for the past 3yrs and will go to 168/yr circa 2020 which I’m sure U already know about.
      2. Upon production maturity, do U honestly believe 797 assembly rate will be scaled to be LOWER than the larger+more pricey 787?
      3. Let’s be conservative and assume 797 will be assembled @ the same rate as 787 and in its 1st yr during ramp-up, only 50% of that: 84units for 1st yr
      4. Even if DL theoretically reserve LN1 to LN100 fm the 797 line, the 2nd operator really hv to wait only 13mths after 1st delivery to DL.
      5. In reality, DL will never reserve LN1 to LN100 even if they order 797 x100. If U hy just a bit of clue about the followings, U would know why DL won’t:
      a) CapEx /Cashflow budgeting, loan draw scheduling, debt-to-equity ratio(DL is the most sensitive among the U.S. Big3 about this), etc. in any major corp.
      b) Planned retirement dates for 757/767 fleet are spread out across multiple yrs for 1 simple reason: All were born/built across multiple yrs or with diff total accumulated cycles(i.e. mileage) clocked.
      c) It takes time to train up a sufficiently large crew to handle 100 frames of a type no one has ever operated before but deployed into a geographically large+diverse network system like DL’s…certainly not in 1~2yrs.
      d) If I recall correctly, no single airline(lessors may) has ever taken consecutive deliveries of more than 10units for a brand new type(e.g. 797) fm the same assembly line over the past 30yrs regardless of whether it’s a Q400 or a 380.
      e) Although also a new type for DL, CS1 is clearly far cheaper/easier to finance and integrate(e.g. DL will be the 5th or 6th operator) into the fleet than 797. DL only firm ordered 75 frames but why do U think deliveries are still planned to spread across 3yrs(Remember, this schedule was set BEFORE PW went into deep trouble with PW1000G delivery)?

      “Maybe what AB is waiting for with the 322?”
      I always hv problems visualizing the tech feasibility of a 322 base on the 321Neo or the 320 family platform in general. I mean how far can U stretch the 321Neo and add structural support weight(e.g. to allow more fuel to recover range @ 321Neo level ) further without touching the really tricky+costly structural stuff like landing gears? A 322 significantly longer than 321Neo but with same payload/range(i.e. even higher MTOW than today) will really be a lot of stress on the existing 2wheels bogie system(also PCN limit on pavement). On the other hand, upgrading to 4wheels bogie system will be a major redesign endeavour and again add weight by itself….though I recall I hv seen a photo of an AI 320Ceo with 4wheels bogie…apparently, Airbus has built such special landing gear version on 320 before for India.

      But the biggest dilemma for Airbus is: If 322 is designed to be a closer match to 797 with significantly more capability than any 320 family(They likely already hv a rough tech blue print of such a bird), it will loose commonality with 321Neo /320 family.

      “If AB launches something at Paris this year..”
      If Airbus manage to get their house in order by the time the Paris show start this yr, the team can then start to come together and think about launching “something” afterwards…probably by the nex Paris show 2yrs later. Within this leehamnews story per Steven Udvar-Hazy a.k.a. the godfather of leasing:
      “…with the current management changes and issues Airbus is facing” the stretch probably was not “their number one priority right now.”

      “…it could upset the NMA picture.”
      Which is a good outcome. Naturally, no mkt, even a smaller niche, should be a Boeing or Airbus monopoly…..and I believe 797 won’t be anyway, with or without a 322, because 321Neo HGW(aka 321LR previously) has already been doing the upsetting. We’ve already seen how that works thru CS1 vs Max7 in another segment and Boeing’s “radical” but unsuccessful response in the related trade dispute.

      My mkt predictions if 797 is launched:
      It will get most of the 767 replacement mkt.
      It will share the 757 replacement mkt(Note: those older ones deployed on shorter routes hv already got other replacement types) with 321Neo HGW. If 322 is launched to counter 797, these 2 Airbuses combined will probably get a larger share than 797Small in that mkt space.

      • Oh ye of little faith — if you want to see how far the A32X platform / architecture / component set can go then look at the DC8 Super Sixty.

        Bit of a challenge but much more achievable than a brand new MD TA with a fancy fuselage cross section unless of course the B797 is a re-skinned B767 with a history to match.

        As for the A322 — 4/5M stretch @ 55T OEW for 240 standard seats / 32” pitch — the opportunity exists to add a lot of new tech and features for a limited amount of investment.

        Any new wing would be a candidate for use in other members of the AB SA family. All about ambition — hopefully AB moves up a gear.

  30. Interesting article on the B797 provided by a link in a SH tweet.

    Points to it being as light duty a TA as BA can get away with.
    I don’t agree with the 2-3-2 vibe being pushed I think it will be 8 x 17.2” to max out the passenger numbers and spare the blushes of its sardine can big brothers.

    As for freight volume down below I think that it will be SA units rather than any variation on existing TA units which seems to be the background to the 5T vs 10T capacity question.

    Consequently a very, very big play by BA.
    Playing double or quits with its 40 year old B767 experiment.

    Going for lightweight and low capability — re-visiting a 1970’s design vibe that has fallen into a state of irrelevance by current market standards.

    One big gripe — what do the 235 / 275 passenger numbers relate to?
    Do they relate to a standard sized economy seat — then the A321 would be at 210 approximately?

    Or does it relate to some sort of US internal layout where total figure can be split 15% / 85% between 48” pitch business seats and 31/32” economy seats.

    OEW Crystal ball gazing.

    If the target was 60T OEW — what would you get?
    Could you get to a 50M fuselage with the use of composites taken to a new level — beyond the CS100/300 or the MC-21?

    Looks to me like a stretch objective just a bit too far out of reach but all the comments seem to point towards real estate at the lowest weight possible. The design vibe even looks like a TA version of the CS100/300 family.

    Hope vs reality — my plug numbers for OEW would be 70T and 75T for the two variants identified in the article.

    Don’t hold out much hope for the larger but short legged version.

    Finally I think BA will play the ER card as part of a second wave of model introductions — 5T OEW for another 10T of fuel.

    • Hello Fat Bloke,

      Regarding:” One big gripe — what do the 235 / 275 passenger numbers relate to? Do they relate to a standard sized economy seat — then the A321 would be at 210 approximately?”

      According to the following quote from the Seattle Times article at the link after the quote, the target seating capacities for Boeing’s NMA studies are 220 seats in two classes for the small model, and 270 seats in two classes for the bigger model. My understanding from everything that I have read about the NMA combined together, including paywall articles at this site, is that the “two class” reference configuration would be similar to the US big three’s non-premium domestic 2.5 class configurations, i.e. no lie flat seats in first class.

      “Boeing’s NMA concept is a jet intermediate in size between today’s single-aisle 737 domestic airplane and its smallest, long-range, twin-aisle aircraft, the 767 and 787-8.

      It envisions a two-jet model family, seating 220-270 passengers in two classes, with a medium range up to 5,700 miles.”


      Regarding seating capacity of the A321 in configurations similar to those that would give 220 to 270 seats in an NMA, I believe it would be about 190 passengers. For reference, here are some seating configurations presently actually used for A321’s by US carriers.

      Spirit Airlines – the customers want cheap not comfort : 228 total seats
      8 Big Front (36 in pitch), 220 Economy (28 in pitch), 3 rest rooms, minimal food service.

      Delta A321 (only one seating config so far): 192 seats total, 4 rest rooms.
      20 FC (37 in pitch), 29 DC (34 in pitch), 143 MC (30 to 31 in pitch)

      American Airlines A321 (v2 on AA’s website): 187 total seats, 4 rest rooms.
      16 FC (36 in pitch), 18 MCE (Bulkheads & exits), 153 MC (31 to 32 in pitch).

      American Airlines Premium Transcon: 102 total seats, 4 rest rooms.
      10 FC Lie Flat, 20 BC Lie Flat, 36 MCE (35 in pitch), 36 MC (31 in pitch).

      For comparison to A321 seating, here are Delta’s most common domestic 2.5 class configurations for some other aircraft commonly mentioned in NMA discussions.

      Delta 757-200: 199 seats total, 4 rest rooms.
      20 FC (37 in pitch), 29 DC (34 in pitch), 150 MC (30 to 32 in pitch).

      Delta 757-300: 234 seats total, 5 rest rooms.
      24 FC (37 to 38 in pitch), 32 DC (34 in pitch), 178 MC (30 to 31 in pitch).

      Delta 767-300 (non ER, only 2 of these left): 261 seats total, 6 rest rooms.
      30 FC (37 to 38 in pitch), 35 DC (34 in pitch), 196 MC (30 to 31 in pitch.

      Above data is from the airlines websites and/or seat guru.

      • Thanks AP, quoting seat capacities are always relative, using the DAL layout is a good indication (190), on the other side of the pond LH is also 190. Guess AB’s intention is for the 322 in this layout to be ~210 and in denser configuration to be 230 vs the current 206?

      • @ FLX abouth whether the NMA would be coming late by two years ?? : Boeing missed the timely launch of the NMA already 7 years ago, when they were forced by Airbus to set the MAX going in August 2011 instead. Boeing decisionmakers were caught the pants on their knees with the NEO, to which their response was a MAX born obsolete in the egg. Now they are forced to lay back the NMA until 2025-27 TO PROTECT THE MAX BACKLOG (which is there only because Airbus has not managed to ramp up their A32X NEO winners quickly enough). Boeing would have the same backlog for their 738 NG CEO without any MAX (because Airbus cannot deliver more of their NEOs anyway) but would have competed better on the high end of the feeder market and specially in the MOM if they would have had NMAs for EIS by 2019-20. That would have been a much better way to spend their money. So don’t say the NMA is not too late by two years : it is too late by a full seven or eight years, my friend ! Calculate for yourself : how many more A321LR NEO will be flying around by 2027, if delivered at a pace of 60 % of the total Airbus yearly present throughput of 700+ A32X family aircraft = 0.6 x 700 x (2027 – 2018) = up to 3,780 A321LR NEO, no less. Plus whatever number of A330 NEOs are required to suit the appetite of MOM players. Plus as many A322 as are reqired to (ditto). All this dead cheap to build, because all these offerings are coming off fully amortised, industrially fully mature production systems, whereas the NMA will need a full three years from EIS before maturing anywhere close to 12 deliveries/month …

      • Thanks for the feedback and the effort you put in.
        However your answer makes my point.

        Any given article gives a single figure capacity for each of the two identified variants while in the real world there are a number of different capacity numbers floating about for the same aircraft type currently in use.

        Consequently back to square one on this.

        We have the recent article in the tweet from SH that points towards a light duty aircraft configured around the smallest aircraft possible that involves a TA layout.

        That is BA going to the max — pun intended — to differentiate itself as widely as possible from any realistic AB competitors.

        Given the numbers in the article this could be a 2-3-2 set up with an OEW close to 60T for the initial smaller model and a need for 45K lbs thrust engines.

        Very much a set of stretch objectives and then some.
        But then again BA has no place else to go.

        Warmed over B767 and AB comes back with a low investment A300 MK3.
        7 vs 8 — BA loses

        Trendy Vicar ovoid fuselage @ 2-4-2 up top and LD3 45’s down below and again the A300 MK3 wins due to cargo payload and lower purchase cost.

        Now the battle seems to be between the most wimp like TA known to man and a simple AB response — Super Sixty style SA on steroids.

        Very tough battle up front for BA — they might need to rely on a MD — medium duty — ER version that comes out later.

        However all this is based on one piece of analysis.
        Other stories in th3 press point to a larger more capable aeroplane straight out of the box.

        Interesting to see the reality when it comes.

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