Pontifications: The Airbus-Boeing chess game

By Scott Hamilton

April 2, 2018, © Leeham News.: While Boeing edges toward a decision whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft, the NMA or 797 as it’s known, Airbus ponders how to respond—either pre-emptively or after Boeing’s move.

Responding with an A321neo Plus is widely known, but it’s also logical the Airbus would look at enhancements for the A320neo. Less likely but probably studied are also enhancements to the A319neo. Studies, after all, pre-date the agreement last fall with Bombardier to acquire 50.01% of the C Series program and Airbus clearly understood that the present A319neo is as unattractive as was the original design of the Boeing 737-7.

Modifying the 737-7

Boeing, of course, modified the 737-7 to add two rows of seats and make it a straight-forward shrink of the 737-8.

The “737-7.5,” as Jon Ostrower famously dubbed it, puts the A319neo at a further disadvantage. With the CS300, the A319neo is the proverbial dead man walking.

Stretching the A321 and A320 has been fodder for the Internet airplane enthusiasts for years. A stretch of the A319 could also be undertaken.

Stretching the A319 and A320 would only match the 737-7 and 737-8, but along with aerodynamic improvements would certainly match or maybe slightly exceed the Boeings in economy.

An A321neo Plus—a modest stretch, more powerful engines, more range and aerodynamic improvements, however, would really put the 737-9/10 away. There’s room left for one more round of A320 enhancements; there’s no more room for any more 737 models.

As it is, the stats clearly show how Airbus’ single aisle airplane has overtaken the 737.

Despite a 20-year head start with the 737, through February Airbus has sold nearly as many A320s. There are more A320s in services than 737s.

(March data was not available as this was written. “A320s” in this context refers to all family members.)

Boeing leads in 737s delivered, by a wide margin, as you would expect from a 20-year head start. The 10,000th 737 was just produced, for Southwest Airlines.

Boeing’s next step

Preoccupied as it is with the NMA, with the MAX only entering service last year and a backlog of more than 4,000 orders to fill, Boeing has a successful program. It’s not going to proceed with a 737 replacement any time soon.

Boeing needs to get its return on investment on the 737. It’s the 737 and at long last, the 787, that will provide the cash flow necessary to support the company during the transition from the 777 Classic to the 777X and development of the NMA.

But Boeing needs to replace the 737, with a program launch next decade. The old workhorse is on its last iteration and, like it or not, Airbus is and will continue to dominate the single-aisle market. When the new entrants are considered, Boeing has a mere 37% of the single-aisle market share.

The chess game

The chess game between Airbus and Boeing is what makes this business so interesting.

If Airbus launches the A321 Plus alone, what will the affect be on the smaller version of the NMA, the “797-6”? Our analysis shows the economics will be about the same and the A321 Plus will have a much lower capital cost.

What happens if Airbus also launches an A320 Plus and even an A319 Plus? These will put more pressure on the 737-7 and 737-8. Would Boeing then be compelled to launch a 737 replacement before it wants to?

With the Farnborough Air Show coming up, eyes will be on both companies to see what they do. No launch of the 797 is expected this soon—Authority to Offer is more likely in the fourth quarter and a program launch next year, according to our information.

But will Airbus pull the trigger on a preemptive strike and launch the A321 Plus? There are those who think it should—the business case for the NMA, already in doubt for many, would become harder to close. Would it be enough to scare Boeing off the airplane entirely?

Airbus would certainly like to see that, for it has no airplane to serve the upper end of the Middle of the Market sector (the A330-800 is far too much airplane) and doesn’t want to be forced into creating one.

144 Comments on “Pontifications: The Airbus-Boeing chess game

  1. ‘An A321neo Plus—a modest stretch, more powerful engines, more range and aerodynamic improvements, however, would really put the 737-9/10 away. There’s room left for one more round of A320 enhancements; there’s no more room for any more 737 models.’

    This is the crux of the matter, Airbus has barely had to change the airframe to accommodate the new neo engines. They have the opportunity to introduce a series of enhancements. The question is why bother until they see Boeing’s next move? They have such market dominance as seen in the pie chart and they can’t produce sufficiently to take advantage of that dominance. I hope they are benefitting from higher pricing instead.

    The issue for Airbus is whether to cede the initiative to Boeing after such an inspired move to build the neo. Since that decision Boeing have been playing catchup. If Airbus wait for the NMA they lose that position but it is probably the more sensible thing to do

    • I’m pretty sure Boeing and Airbus both have a fairly accurate idea of the specs and costs of each others new products a usable amount of time before they are launched and that the difficult bit is understanding the thinking of the many potential customers. I suspect Airbus’ change in helm and ongoing corruption scandal in sales will have hampered, perhaps significantly, their ability to form this understanding.

      • The advantage is you7 force Boeing into moving when they are not ready.

        As it would be a stellar seller regardless, move now and make them put out the NMA or go back to the drawing board.

        Having seen this twice (787 and A320NEO) if you do it right the other side gets tangled up in their own feet.

  2. Plus the advantage Airbus would have in (I assume) being able to get the 321+ into operation years sooner than any 797. I hope the 797 is launched and succeeds though. Always good to see something new.

    Re the 320 series overall Scott, what grandfather rights advantage might it have vs any clean sheet design?

    • true and before that they can introduce the 320 1/2 neo as a simple 320 stretch,meaning more capacity with a slightly higher range than the current 320.
      If they go this way, I assume market dominance would then towards 2/3, as 737-8 get unattractive aswell.

      • An 320Plus (320.5) with higher thrust engines, increased MTOW and possibly 2 aux tanks options could give you an aircraft with good range and field performance. The higher MTOW and thrust engines could also be useful for LCC’s in high density layouts.

        This could effectively be an 321 “shrink” with the current 321’s landing gear and wing?

  3. I do hope AB do the plus’s as indicated above but also hope they rewing to ensure ‘that’ branded upgrade has the legs and longevity to function as an NSA that can be further neo’d in 8-10yrs if there is another leap in efficiency. The airframe itself seems well dimensioned so not sure I see the need for a full-new frame.

    Exciting times… But wish someone would move.

  4. Airbus A320neo family deliveries really hurts, they lack their American/German/French built engines while from mid March and on Boeing seems to get a steady flow of LEAP-1B engines outproducing Airbus 2:1. So engine shipments can make Boeing shipping 63% of narrowbodies for quite some time.
    The A321++ (A322) could use a new carboin wing and wingbox together with a stretch of +2 LD3-45’s front of the wingbox and +1 aft, together with a modified boogie landing gear. The EU funded development of the PW1100G at MTU should be ready to go into full gear. Just making it as good as practical possible and please Steven Udvar Hazy for a sizeable launch order. He might convince DAL of its economics as well.
    For the A330neoRe Airbus might need to wait for the new 797 engines, shrink the wing cord and spend a lot of money to get empty mass down by 15-20 tons, Airlines might be hesitant to order it until the big 797 is firmly offered with payload/range and costs of operation. But quick delivery dates are worth alot to replace A330Re’s that most likely be converted to A330F’s.

    • I don’t get the European Funded PW1100 at MTU.

      While there are programs ala Clean Sky, that was and is a separate P&W parnerhip with MTU and the Japanese mfs basically the VR2500 without RR.

      Regardless, its not the VR group, its P&W with partners.

    • A new carbon wing for a lighter A321++ would most likely come from its new partner Bombardiers factory in Northern Ireland. The Cseries wings are already at the full Cat D wingspan so the wing box can be utilised and as the ribs are still Al the wing foil shape can be slightly changed along with new carbon Airbus flaps.
      The reason why Boeing up-scaled the 787 wing for its 777X is the design process for a whole new wing with carbon is much more elaborate and expensive than an Al one. Then comes the production process and building automated factory and autoclaves ( for now).
      You can save billions and years by leveraging the work Bombardier did for its Cseries. who Im sure would be happy to be a design- build supplier for Airbus.
      The same process Boeing used back in the 90s to give extended life to its 737 series with a new wing to create the 700/800/900 ( and gave a lower weight than A320 series) could be used to push the A321 into 250 seats area. Seats plus range gives you a higher selling price. ( but less than Boeing and a lot sooner EIS)

      • Struggling to see how the CS300 wing will be any more than an interested bystander when it comes to the A320 platform getting a new wing.

        CS300 = 67.5T MTOW.
        CS500 = 75T if it ever becomes real.

        New wing for the A320 platform will need to be designed for a 110T MTOW or potentially 120T if the engine side of things moves on.

        What could AB put on the tarmac with a 60T OEW from the A32X platform / component set?

        52.5M of fuselage?
        250 Seats @ 18” x 32” sizing?
        190 / 200 seats in three classes for transatlantic flights?
        40T of fuel for 5K NM nominal range?

        Looks very possible without AB breaking sweat.

        • I agree, the A322 needs a brand new wing suitable for its MTOW and it can be fitted to the A321LR as well.
          I also agree on your A322 spec but Think it will cost Airbus some sweat, maybe Shorts will make parts of the wing. Right now beams and panles are made in Germany/Spain, Assembly in UK, Fitting in Germany and FAL in France/Germany/China/US.
          Hence parts of the wings have “been on the road” for months before its customers take ownership and its tachometers can be +25 000km before first flight.

    • This is where the merger with Bombardier pays off, the unbreakable composite wing technology.

      • BBD brings a _fully certified_ modern NB craft into the fray.
        Bringing capabilities that the other side doesn’t have is IMU a rather US centric viewpoint that requires strange dogma on IP as a strongly tangible good.

  5. Stretching the A319 seems useless, the A320 is less the 4m longer. Now the CS300 is in the family even less so. I haven’t seen any 737-7 sales, it seems as unattractive as the A319. On top there are hundreds of cheap A319CEO’s available in the marketplace.

    The A321 is more than 7m / rows longer than the A320. An 3-4m stretched optimized 200 seater could be feasible. However, I’ve been saying so over a decade now.. maybe not? the market grew into the A321?


    • Gravitiy of the market has moved up with the NEO range gains. ( Airbus expects 50++% A321 deliveries RSN.)
      Market introduction of an A320.5 would afaics place it into a receding interest slot. ( Then there is that Leahy caveat: don’t go too much over 50% market share. We already see the US hysterics in other domains where they lost weight and the “remedial” action is completely unconnected to the real why of being uncompetitive. )

      • Keesje: Agreed, upgrade to an A319 would just make Boeing laugh. Its not like you can make it a CS300 and if you have the CS100/300 duo why would you?

        A320 upgrade might make some sense but how much more market if any does it get you really?

        The real meat is what you do with the A321 and if I was Airbus I would come up with a stretch, new wing and whatever engine(s) you can get.

        Engines being a key aspect.

        A321neo continues, the A321 Super smacks Boeing aside the head again.

        When they did the A320NEO they stuffed Boeing and good (as Boeing was doing its usual dither)

        Get inside their decision making process (throw wrench into the works)

    • The A320neo plus is a great idea. I would describe it as a financial no brainer. Airbus can easily upsell A320 orders and get another 4 million per aircraft. With a thousand upsells, 4 billion dollars. Big gab between the A320 and A321, tons of profit is up for graps.

      • Moving up depends on the agreement clauses.

        Move from an A320 to an A321 yes, a few more seats in an A320+? Probably not.

        Its a low cost move, but it does cost and vs the gain is?

        • A-320+ would be a direct competator for the max8, the only max with big sales. AB has stayed away from this for a long time perhaps to let B have this slice of the market and not push them to an all new NSA.

          • I don’t buy that.

            I suspect they set the market standard back when it looked like the A320 was an upgauge from the 700/319.

            The 800 was not mainstream then either, the A320 was closer.

            Now its clearly moved up to the A320/800-8 area.

            Difference is really only paper though, for the 95% or better, they are not absolute max pack (may feel like it, but Boeing has the MAX200 off the -8.

            I just don’t buy the idea that AB is that nuanced in the whole thing.

            The A321 was a stretch figuratively (and literally) as well, more a 900/9, but not its working its way up to 50%.

            I think its just how it fell out, they took their best guess and maybe missed a tad on the A320 (not that you can tell by the numbers build frankly) and maybe did not expect the A321 to morph into the big hit its becoming.

            Boeing is equally lucky that they hit into a great spot with the 787. Particularly with the program losses, I would not be surprised to see 2500 before all is sad and done (and the -10 was not even a consideration.

            And by lucky I mean you take your best guesses and created a product and sometimes you really hit it out of the park.

            Sometimes like the A330CEO, you opponent gives you a huge boost and screws up a program big time right when fuel was really high and new aircraft (wide body ) were selling like hot cakes. .

          • @TransWorld

            concept of the 787 was easy.
            Copy the A330 but put the newest engines on it. The difficult part was cloaking this act of squatting.
            Thus the circuitous path via Sonic Cruiser and all those super gimmicks taken from that fanciful design
            and presented as all new Boeing for a super efficient “Dreamliner”.
            A330 NEO shows that most of the Super was in the engines. 🙂
            One interesting aspect to follow was that Boeing was not capable of copying Airbus production model nor its understanding of component interfacing. ( Lets see how the second try comes out: CATIA+* for Boeing Intergrated design and manufacturing. )

          • You live in a much different world than I do that is for sure.

    • Hi Keesje, I really like the 320Plus. With new wing this will be close to the “perfect” A32X.

      But it game being played I see it only becoming reality when BA launches the NSA.

    • absolutly right!

      I dont get it, why so many people speculate about a 319 stretch, if the difference between 319 and 320 is only 4m and between 320 and 321 8m.

      So the 320 1/2 is a logical candidate and of course the 321+. Why waste time on the 319, considering 1st you can better replace it with another line, being the C series, 2nd the market is at this moment just over-saturated with old metal? and 3rd you can make much more money by producing a 320 or 321 instead of every single 319 for the next 5 years to come.

      • Some airlines might want an aircraft smaller the 320 with 320 family commonalities and LD3-45 capabilities. Stretching the 319 will have no use.

        One option is an A319 with smaller LEAP-1B like engines. A costly option that is suggested now and then could be an A319 with the CS wing and PW1500G engines, due to MTOW limitations this might only have a range of 2500-3000Nm (?) but will be more than enough for many applications.

  6. My armchair strategy for Airbus is to put a virtualization layer on the CSeries systems to get a common type rating with Airbus aircraft. Then standardize on those systems for all narrow body aircraft. Create a two model midrange aircraft to compete with Boeing NMA with the new systems, same A321 fuselage and a new carbonfiber wing. The smaller model will be the same size as the A321. Then do the same for the A320 replacement.

    The Boeing strategy is fixed, it seems. First NMA then 737 replacement.

    Some point Airbus will need to do something about the A330neo and the 787 competition.

  7. “Despite a 20-year head start with the 737” – To put into a more historically correct context , the 737 was launched in the 60’s when the airline business was much lower and it ordered far less airplanes than the industry orders now. Flying in the 60’s was a privilege outside of the US. Ticket prices were enormous comparable than today , the European market was very small and the Asian market did not exist.

    • beginning with 3 frames in 1967 1650 737 frames were delivered up to the EIS of the A320. ( so we are talking about the 70ties and 80ties.)
      First customer was the ( non US ) German Lufthansa ( with lots of input on what they wanted in a 737 🙂

      • Well , According to site called Nomad Travel the fare between London to NYC in the 70’s was about 550 dollars which he claimed ware worth 3500 dollars today. That’s more or less my feeling that in the 60’s and 70’s people would pay for economy roughly what they pay today for a business class. This is not mass market. Mass market in the western world started with the 747 .

  8. This is an odd (indirect) admission here it would seem as to the present NEO v. Max:

    “Stretching the A319 and A320 would only match the 737-7 and 737-8, but along with aerodynamic improvements would certainly match or maybe slightly exceed the Boeings in economy.”

    Of course, then we go back to the enormous (liability) of an order book which can’t be reasonably fulfilled within 4-5 years. The -7MAX has, if nothing else, a surefire professed client in SWA, justifying the effort/minimal cost of the shrink. I’m not sure what the “big fish” client would be for an A319 re-working.

    Leeham a few years ago wrote multiple articles about the need/reasons Boeing kept the 737 light/simple and the knock on costs of relatively indirect changes needed such as landing gear/vertical stabilizer changes needed if the 737 were changed in any number of “small” ways or made heavier.

    The keesje style sketches of all of these “simple” A320 possible derivatives have always struck me as vast oversimplifications. Just the simplistic approach to mounting the GTF engines has proven complicated enough on the NEO. Meanwhile, Spirit supposedly is overwhelmed by the enormity of the MAX fuselage changes, right?

    • Just the simplistic approach to mounting the GTF engines has proven complicated enough on the NEO.


      • Saying the GTF mount is a major issue that has impacted the program is a serious stretch at best by non technical types. .

        That has been dealt with. Reminds me of the Ford Explorer and Bridgestone tires.

        Inflame them right and get heavier tires next time you buy them, done simple and over.

        The wear out items like the combuster and the seals issues are more serious but have nothign to do with simplistic. Both are easily fixiable, if not fast.

        The engine is working very well, no signs of major issues with the high or low pressure sections or the GTF function. SFC is better than offered and the PIP II will be better yet.

        RR would be happy to trade their Trent problems for the P&W ones.

        • Oh dear. Inflame the tires, then buy a whole new set? Seems somewhat dangerous, and a little wasteful—and expensive! LOL

          • Spell check is not immune from typo’s.

            Overheat the tires yes, inflamae no.

        • “The engine is working very well, no signs of major issues with the high or low pressure sections or the GTF function” Not according to Indigo and Indian authorities.

          • Oh for crying out loud.

            Yes the lip seal failed miserably. It affected safety. But all you have to do is revert to the old lip seal and ok again.

            You ever rebuilt a rear end differential?

            A rear end seal is an easy fix. Replacing a failed bearing or gear inside a differential is a serious undertaking and if any of those parts are failure prone, you are toast for a good car.

            So yes the lips seal failed and caused serious issues, but the rest of the engine is only affect by that single failure that is easily corrected.

            The Combuster is a premature wear out issue. Sure it impacts things, but its not the heart and soul of the engine.

            From a realistic real world view, the GTF has exhibited nothign fatal to the design.

            RR does a NEO on the 787 and its, meah?

            Now that is a monumental failure.

            Clearly they saw no path to the SFC nor the blades issue and replaced it.

            Other than Safram and the Silvecrest, I have never seen such a failure in modern times.

            P&W issues are peanuts compared to those.

          • “Sure it impacts things, but its not the heart and soul of the engine. ”

            If you think about it the combustor _is_ the heart of the engine. Just saying. 🙂

            I find the strong and vocal group of posters apparently working “grassroots PR” to the advantage of GE a bit disturbing.
            Boeing seems to have gone recruiting too.

  9. hah. I meant to say has proven to have side-effect unforeseen complications. It was an engineering shortcut in reality.

    • P&W botched the industrialization. premature “now taking out profits” ( verbatim that benighted UT MoB individual ) imho.

      • P&W made some design mistakes on relatively innocuous parts.

        GE made design choices that lent to engine ice up (and a couple of those incidents were a bit too close)

        RR is the poster child for a huge mistake, when you do an all new engine on the 787 you have admitted your first offering is a muck up.

        Earliest NEO in history.

        If you work in the mechanical world, something easily replaced and dealt with is vastly preferred (upgraded) to something deep inside and inherent to engine function that you can’t fix and have to change the whole thing for.

        I see none of that with P&W GTF.

        • RR just did what GE did on the 777, offer an exclusive engine that had improved performance for its newer 777-300ER.
          Bigger fan, different stages for higher power to provide a quantum leap. Can you remember how that turned out for them ?

          • If you are talking about the Trent 700/7000/1000 Ten group I don’t get it.

          • The Trent 1000 for the 787 was just a upgrade of its previous Trent series for the 777 and A380. ( the 700/800/900)

            The Trent 1000 Ten is just a PIP, with 2 %.

            None of these can be considered ‘neos’ – as an aside some engines like the original CFM56 bear almost no relation to the ones now on both Boeing and Airbus, its just 25 years of improvements.

            The Trent 7000 ( for the A330 neo) is a cousin of the 787s Trent 1000.

            The latest Trent the XWB for the A350 has significant higher thrust version for the heavy weight A350-1000, the XWB-97 ( this is the comparison with GE upgrade version they did for the 777-300ER)
            So its clear the ‘pip’ thats the 1000-TEN isnt a neo by any stretch of imagination, while the XWB-97 is major

          • @dukeofurl
            “The Trent 1000 for the 787 was just a upgrade of its previous Trent series for the 777 and A380. ( the 700/800/900)”

            Such a “small” upgrade that it took RR and GE the better part of a decade to achieve contracted specs.
            ( RR just now with the TEN apparently.)

            “The Trent 1000 Ten is just a PIP, with 2 %”

            The TEN is by all means a massive redesign of the Trent1000 ( look at the low parts commonality. Even if performance is only marginally better. )

          • dukefurl:

            75% of the Trent 10 is new.

            Anytime you replace more than 50% of something its considered new.

            First time I can think of a jet engine being a complete failure and mfg giving up.

            Others have had issues that were resolved, RR lost huge bucks on the Trent 1000.

            They made all of 400 maybe? And they had two or 3 PIPS in there as well.

        • “P&W made some design mistakes on relatively innocuous parts.” The wrong mounting of the engine on the wing was not PW mistake.

          “Earliest NEO in history.” Do you have recent statistics of the restart pause needed now for the NEO . Is it already shorter then the CEO ?

          • When did you see a new jet engine not serve 20+ years?

  10. 321neo+ needs more thrust. How many years away are CFM & PW from releasing a major PIP to provide that thrust? Mid 2020s?

    • Yep, that is the one serious hold up.

      You don’t want the NMA engine as that is going to be too heaves and too large (drag) .

    • You can trade thrust with wing span and Vr for a highter MTOW.
      Still higher thrust helps but with a new carbon slender wing it can let you increase MTOW for a few more rows of pax at the same Max T-O thrust as you can rotate at lower speed and with a 1-3% better SFC not load up as much fuel.
      Airbus can use massive winglets on the new carbon wing to increase effective span to fit the same gates.
      As you get reliable Engines with more thrust than 35k in the same nacelle you certify them and let the customer use then new MTOW.

      • A good wing can compensate but say an 3-4m stretch will also result in more drag, to increase MTOW and length you more that likely require more thrust, especially if 4500Nm range is mind.

        • A better and more slender carbon wing gives you a fuel burn benefit that lowers the fuel upload. I agree that a stretch and adding sizeable winglets increases mass, still it is a trade off what a new carbon wing +wingbox can bring in reduced mass and better aero.

          • Thanks. Such a wing on a “standard” 321 will make an 321LR+ an impressive aircraft.

            Guess the question is fuel storage which makes the 322 with additional space for Aux tanks/LD3-45’s a consideration?

          • Folding wing tips anyone?

            Boeing did it on the 777X and dropped a bit of thrust with the new engine.

            Not sure it scales down to a single aisle though.

  11. I think GE has certainly studied it w/ CFM, since their bid for NMA apparently is using mostly the LEAP technologies. That engine basically has to be able to grow to around 55K.

    The A320 gliders over the past couple of years are in indication Airbus botched launching the aircraft before the engine was mature for the manufacturing/service. It was all part of the chess game referenced, but again it really doesn’t matter how many orders you have, just deliveries actually count. And no one really cares what happened in the 60’s or 70’s.

    • Well first of all, I do care what happened in the 60s and 70s. Part of the history for us old farts thank you! (grin)

      I think the term botched is being thrown about too loosely. While I don’t work on jet engine I do work on machinery, and I can tell the difference between problems and botched.

      Further, if we sat around waiting for perfection, we would still be stuck in caves somewhere around Turkey.

      Problems yes, try coming out with an all new engine and having perfection is unrealistic.

      Read the fine print on all your software? We are not responsible if we mess this up (and we have and do) and cost you a billion bucks. You agreed to this and too bad.
      You are a living breathing beta test site for them.

      What not been acknowledged is the massive industrial undertaking to manufacture something around 100 engine a month (2/3 by GE) while transition from an old proven engine not to mention a whole new one (GE and PW)

      The reason you need to remember the 50s and 60s (let alone earlier) was that jet of piston, in flight engine shutdowns were common.

      Go back and read about the P&W engine on the 747.

      A jet engine is not a flat ruler. Its one of if not the most complex mechanical entity on the planet.

      While I am not a big RR fan (pun intended, I just resent the snooty 3 spool superiority thing) – its a horribly tough thing to be doing.

      There is a reason there are only 3 successful producers of those engine. All of them Western (Japan could do it, China can’t, Russian can but not reliable)

      Airbus pushed Boeing into a box canyon and that was not a good move for them.

      Airbus can’t control the engine mfgs, you hope the testing shows the flaws and did not in the small parts (GE as well though not as bad)

      I sure would not want to be in that business.

      • Valid points TW, but Pratt’s record on new launches is easily the worst of the three, long term. We could agree to disagree though. The LEAP, CFM iterations, GE9X, GE90 (most of all), CF6 etc. all were comparatively smooth, though none flawless of course.

        Aside, if Boeing is really intent on ‘derisking’ the production/new product pipeline, the largest NSA could launch with the 797, using a downrated version of the latter’s (essentially upscaled) LEAP-based engine.

        Then they’d have the basic type certificate/new cockpit (with 797 commonality) and a version of the wing/engine in production before going to the “high volume” 738 replacement, which would functionally launch about 5 years later as a basically mature model (with training, service, support, efficiency, reliability data already out).

        Meanwhile, Airbus could be lured into continued expansion of the 320, which is basically booked for the foreseeable future.

        • @texl1649

          Ok, so what you’re saying is that Boeing will “derisk” by doing two new programmes simultaneously — i.e. 797/NMA and an all new single aisle (NSA) using a GE/CFM engine (and an oversized downrated version for a NSA) that’s not even a full generation, but a half generation in technology from what the LEAP is today.

          I don’t know what’s being smoked over in la-la land, but I’m afraid that if Boeing would follow your suggestion, Airbus could EIS both an A32Xneo MK2 family and a larger re-winged A322/A323/A324 family in the same time frame as your 797/NMA and NSA (e.g. 2025/2027). The difference being, however, that the expanded Airbus single aisle family — not even taking into account the CSeries — would not only turn out to be a much cheaper undertaking, but it would also have the likely advantage of flying around with significantly more advanced engines (i.e. RR UltraFan engines) than souped-up LEAP engines — with up to a 10 percent lower TSFC advantage for the UltraFan.

          Hence, your Boeing 797/NMA and NSA would risk being stopped dead in their tracks even before EIS — a company termination event?

          The fact of the matter is that a 30,000 lbs of thrust UltraFan engine would have a fan diameter of around 90 inches — or a 9-inch greater diameter than the current 81-inch wide fan on the PurePower PW1100G-JM engine on the A32Xneo — and that such an engine would indeed fit under the current wing of the A32X-series.

          Hence, a relatively unchanged Mark2 A32Xneo family re-re-engined with 30,000 lbs UltraFans (i.e. 90-inch fan) and a new A32X-derived, but larger A322/A323/A324 family outfitted with all new composite wings — i.e. with the same sweep angle as the A350 wing that leads to a significantly larger wing area (required for heavier MTOWs), while maintaining performance Category C, and allowing for a cruise speed of Mach 0.85 — 40,000 lbs thrust RR UltraFan engines (i.e. 105-inch fan diameter), could turn the current duopoly into a de facto monopoly — that is, if Boeing would take your ill-advised advice.

          • All the rhetoric aside, you arn’t going to use NMA engine on a smaller aircraft.

            You can push a lower thrust engine to some degree, but a drop down means a lot of wasted fuel.

      • @Transworld, re 3 spool superiority, disregarding (only for a moment) weight and complexity, 3 spools is closer to the ideal than 2 spools. The ideal is that each stage of the compressor runs at its own optimum speed. So an engine with 12 sets of blades /stators in the compressor would have 12 separate speeds.

        Obviously that’s really unmanufacturable, and 3 is as good as anyone has ever done. A way of gauging it’s superiority (or lack of that) is the commercial performance of RR since the 1970s. A bankrupt bit part player then is now the owner of 50% (ish) of the large aeroengine market. I’m pretty certain that 3 spools allowed an otherwise underdeveloped design to compete successfully against the best from GE and PW. What’s happening now is that GE have had to go to extreme temperatures and expensive things like CF fans long before RR to maintain parity.

        I like GTF because you can get a compressor that’s just as optimised as with 3 spool, but with one less shaft and the option of independently optimising the fan speed too. There’s a lot to like about that, which is surely why RR are heading that way. Watch out, GE.

    • It still seems to me you’d want to “downsize” from the base Genx engine (successor to the CF6) for up to 55K. (I know, I know, the weight issue. But still, if you’ve got the right engineers, and the timing is about “now” for starting on a second gen Genx, it would seem you could do a Genx II, and a Genx IIS NMA together.)

      • Next generation engines aside from GE are GTF.

        GE could even loose out if they don’t offer a GTF that has upside vs a stretched to the max existing tech.

        P&W PIP II GTF on the A320NEO is going to have a significant improvement all by itself.

    • 2016 deliveries
      A320 – 545
      B737 – 490

      2017 deliveries
      A320 – 558
      B737 – 529

      Airbus is still ahead of Boeing on single aisle deliveries over the past 2 years even with all those gliders they’ve been building.

        • Och, just catching up (if ever 🙂

          How did Randy Boeing manage to see the _MAX_ as the most produced NB craft? was posted around the turn of the year but I can’t refind it.

    • GE might be able to use the GEnX-2B core almost right off as they need to increase Engine core flow to increase cycles on-wing up to Boeing requirement of 10 000-20 000cy?
      I think the GEnX-2B is designed with around max 5000 cycles on-wing more likely 4000cy that is a good number for a long range widebody.
      So Safran (Snecma) and other partners need to pay up to design and produce the light weight and modern LP system that might be a scale up from the LEAP-1A. Boeing would like to see the Engines pretty quick in Victoryville for a massive GE flight test program before they get their Engines for the 797. Note CFMI did produce around 21 development Engines for the LEAP-X and still get hickups in deliveries to Airbus.

    • The LEAP -1A is pretty advanced right now. They can put more ceramics in the hot section similar to the GE9X and increase the fan diameter 1-2″ within the same nacelle o.d.
      It gives maybe 2500-3000lbf and they are not at 33k yet and you face a whole new certification program. So I Think they say “No thanks”. PWA have maybe more issues popping up than they close so even if they say yes to a 37k A322 Engine, Airbus want to see happy PW1100G customers first.
      That leaves room for RR if they dare to make a 40-45k A322 Ultrafan. Still RR has tons of work delivering RR Trent1000-TEN, RR T7000’s and getting parts for regular T1000/T900’s getting into their few workshops.
      The core Engine for a A322 of 40k might be identical for a more longer range 797 of 55k that they need to develop anyway.
      The new Airbus cheif saleman might convice his old buddies in Derby of the 797 Engine core commonality and dangle a single source on the A322 to get RR to awake Bristol, Leavesden, Dahlewitz and East Kilbride to a 2.5 shaft Advance Engine if Airbus promises an optimized carbon wing and pylon for it.

  12. A meta comment is that Boeing has shown abysmal ability to strategize over the past few decades, culminating in its thorough botching of the Bombardier situation.

    As the one with the oldest product, Boeing clearly had the most to gain from coopting the C-series, rather than trying to kill it and drive it into the arms of Airbus.

    Based on their record so far, the safe projection is Boeing will continue to blow it. I really hope they surprise us in that regard.

    • Nobody can look forward and know exactly what to do. See the: A380, B767-400 and other models. All the chiefs can do is what they think is right. Boeing is held captive by the MBAs. That is clouding their decision making.

      • That and they are slow, very slow.

        A320NEO is a good example of what that does to you.

    • B couldn’t take over the C series because of the lack of control yokes. Embraer has yokes. What will they do with the (if/when it happens) 797? This seems silly but maybe not????

      • Both are just input device (737 maybe not quite)

        I am biased to yokes as well, its a very intuitive device.

        Pilots seem to adopt just fine to either one.

    • Boeing is careful, looking at Leeham charts you see most new Aircraft projects are business failures. You need to get it right and have some luck that the parameters you optimize is the ones becoming more and more sought after, like ETOPS and 767-300ER, Engine maintenance cost for the A340-600 vs 777-300ER.
      For the MC-21 with a bigger and more comfortable cross section with more carbon and less payload/range the chance for Money back is presently low. It needs FAA certification and another American round of “supersize me” to make it statistically impossible to fit a normal distribution of 6 Americans in a row inside more than 75% of rows of a 737.
      The C919 as a A320neo on a 15-20 year old A320 is even lower.

  13. If the A319 needs to be discounted to make it attractive to customers why bother? Given current backlogs every A319 built is a 320 not built and presumably a more lucrative sale lost.

    This is the way to think of the cs300, not as an aircraft that will cannibalize 319 sales, but rather one that will allow more sales of a higher earning product..

    • I think it’s the other way round. Customers are buying 320 ahead of 319, and I don’t think Airbus care. They don’t have to fret too much about their image, they won’t lose much face if A319 becomes a dud. So I don’t think they’ll discount it in order to boost its sales. It’s not exactly the same situation as Boeing who seem to have to roll out substantial discounts to stop US based airlines buying 330neo, 320, 350, no matter the cost.

      But as regards the role of the CS300, I think you’re right; the fact that both are available from the same stable (Airbardier) makes it more of a no-brainer for customers. One deal, two planes, both excellent.

  14. While it seems easy and attractive to stretch the A321 (with new wings, etc.) it also has its strategic problems.

    Boeing will most likely come up with the 797 followed by a replacement for the 737 family. This new single aisle family will certainly have commonality with the 797 and have a 737-8 as the smallest member. This might happen around +/- 2025.

    Now if Airbus is investing in an upgraded A321 now, what will it do when Boeing launches the 737 replacement? Will another upgraded A320 family be good enough to compete with an all new Boeing family? The A321+ will then only be a few years in service and already become obsolete, or at least under very heavy pressure from the new 737-10.

    In terms of de-risking the whole process, I do admire the Boeing approach. What could Airbus do? Why not come up with their own new NMA and develop at the same time a CS500. The CS 100/300/500 would build the low end of the product, while the A320 family will be the medium size product, and the NMA the top end of the “smaller” jet family. If the NMA and the CS have the same type rating, then the replacement of the A320 family could follow in this path eventually. Given the order book, an overlapping product would definitely not hurt but provide more options for clients (earlier deliveries) and more chances to shrink Boeings market share.

    Unfortunately, with the troubles Airbus is facing and the change in management, none of these things will happen. They are simple busy with themselves for the next 3-4 years.

    • Unless something really dramatic pops up (Sugar High or Sugar Low etc) the improvements are in the wing.

      If Airbus upgrades the A320 wing its going to pretty well match anything all new from Boeing.

      That allows a shift, the aforementioned A320 stretch , then the CS100/300 that Boeing has no response for whatsoever.

      CS300 takes over the A319/A320 market area except it optimized, viable and as new as it gets.

      If Boeing is lucky they might break even, more likely the 60/40 sales split and with C Series into production on two lines Airbus can begin to take advantage of that. sales split and out produce the 737 (even more than now)

    • BA is in a poor place as it develops the B797 — what can it offer the market?

      At 90T OEW — up against an A300 MK3.
      At 80T OEW — looks like a B767 re-skin.
      At 70T OEW — world’s wimpiest TA.
      At 60T OEW — MC-21 clone or they have been to Roswell for some new tech to make the TA design workable.

      My money is on a 65T TA — not the best design but the hardest aircraft for AB to copy.

      • As part of the chess game AB could develop a more capable MoM with the base model having;

        1) 250 seats,
        2) 8 abreast (2-4-2) layout,
        3) Good cargo capacity,
        4) 5500Nm range,
        5) 55Klb engines,
        6) OEW ~80T?

        The A300-600 (250 pax, 4000Nm range) had an OEW 0f 89T.

        This is not very scientific but the OEW of an CS300 is 37T, (So 130×2=260 pax, 37Tx2=74T), thus an 250 seat TA aircraft with OEW of ~80T plausible.

        This will leave BA in the predicament where is the biggest fire/s to fight, 322, 3XXMoM, CS300, 320Plus?

    • @Matt

      I agree with your slant, to ‘future proof’ and A322/3/4 it will require substantial investment otherwise it will be slightly better than today but definitely worse than the NSA in 10 years. Further there is little point in stimulating a market with a new improved model when you already have the ‘best’ product out there and you cannot meet demand. It is for Boeing to determine the next move and for Airbus to cover that move.

      So in 5 – 7 years

      Airbus. Vs. Boeing
      Cseries – market leader. E2
      A320neo plus. – market leader. MAX
      + something. NMA – market leader

      In 12 – 15 years
      Airbus. Vs. Boeing
      Cseries E2 plus
      A320neo family plus NSA – market leader
      + something. NMA – market leader

      This assumes Airbus sit on their backsides and do not invest in a whole new platform which I am guessing is unlikely

  15. If I really cared, I’d go back and highlight the silliness of investing in a 40 year old design from the A-fanboy perspective.

    Secondarily, as to this comment;

    “The fact of the matter is that a 30,000 lbs of thrust UltraFan engine would have a fan diameter of around 90 inches — or a 9-inch greater diameter than the current 81-inch wide fan on the PurePower PW1100G-JM engine on the A32Xneo — and that such an engine would indeed fit under the current wing of the A32X-series.”

    This has a LOT of hypotheticals, but I expect any future Boeing NSA to incorporate space for a 90 inch fan (below wing or at the rear of the plane). Neither Rolls nor Pratt are ready to move forward on it (nor, frankly, are their customers).

    Not from a “Boeing fan” perspective, but if Leeham is right, and Boeing is de-risking new products in particular, why not launch the NSA variant initially with a derivative/1.5 generation engine vs. a full generational leap (double entendre)? That seems by definition to be de-risking.

    Fine, a later version might get better (a la Rolls 787 “NEO-lite”). Objectively, there’s no reason to dismiss the 737 Max as anything but a commercial success, that I can see. I believe most Boeing shareholders and customers would agree, and even Scott here seems to agree it’s more economical than it’s competitor in the 738 vs. 320NEO comparison.

    My best guess is that Boeing and Embraer (JV) will launch something (in conjunction with SWA) to cover a future 150 seat market and down (scope clauses etc), and Boeing will do the NMA/NSA-large size to replace/compete in the the pax 767/757/A321+ market. But again the manufacturers will avoid targeting their next generation of products directly against each other, likely with Airbus focusing on belly/cargo capacity of any A32x variants. Certainly, the chess game will be quite interesting over the next two years, regardless of how wrong I am on any/all of this.

    • I will disagree on P&W being ready.

      They have been working on the next step up thrust wise since the early results of the GTF showed what it could do.

      While they have not built hardware, from what I have read, they have a design ready to go and could start building it immediately.

      There was a request for a mid size GTF a while back and P&W indicated they could do it.

      With their curretn GTF experience, I suspect they could have a viable engine in 4 years.

      They also have a much better understanding of what they can get out of it that they did not with a conservative design before.

      Refinement in the curretn GTF will jump them 3-5% by 2020 if I follow the time line right.

    • @texl1649

      If I really cared, I’d go back and highlight the silliness of investing in a 40 year old design from the A-fanboy perspective.

      Why don’t you do that, then!

      You could start with the 777X — based on a 30 year design at EIS.

      Then we have the 737NG — based on a 30 year old design at EIS; or a 40 year old design heritage if you include the aircraft (i.e. 707) that started out the 7XX-series on which the 737 was based on (i.e. 707 … 727). Of course, the 737MAX is based on a 50 year old design at EIS; with a 60 year old design heritage from the 707.

      Now, what you seem to ignore is that while there is a clear difference between the 737 Classic and the 737NG, there is no sharp distinction between early and late A320s — apart from engine technology. Just take a look at the cockpit — not much has changed on the Porsche-designed A320 cockpit over the last 30 years. In contrast, why did Boeing decide to “upgrade” the MAX cockpit with 787-type flight-deck displays, while keeping the jurassic overhead panel? Sounds a lot like putting lipstick on a pig, right?

      The A320 was a step-change in technology when it entered into service in 1988 — a truly high tech aircraft featuring among other things; revolutionary fly-by-wire technology, side-stick controllers and containerised belly cargo space. Arguably, the A320 was way ahead of its time. When Airbus launched the A320, it was the first step to create a family of aircraft, all with fly-by-wire controls, that would allow to reduce costs thanks to the flight handling and procedural commonality that this technology would provide. That’s why the A32Xneo and the A330neo families are both flying around with essentially the same cockpits as when they entered into service as the A320ceo and A330ceo. They look as modern today as they did 30 years ago.

      This has a LOT of hypotheticals, but I expect any future Boeing NSA to incorporate space for a 90 inch fan (below wing or at the rear of the plane). Neither Rolls nor Pratt are ready to move forward on it (nor, frankly, are their customers). Not from a “Boeing fan” perspective, but if Leeham is right, and Boeing is de-risking new products in particular, why not launch the NSA variant initially with a derivative/1.5 generation engine vs. a full generational leap (double entendre)? That seems by definition to be de-risking

      The issue here is not if a Boeing NSA would be designed with enough ground clearance for an engine having a 90-inch wide fan, but what happens if Boeing launches a NMA (and NSA as you’re suggesting) with CFM securing exclusivity for its souped-up LEAP engine. For sure, CFM would probably be able to ready an engine at least a couple of years earlier than RR would be able to (i.e. EIS in 2025 for CFM vs. 2027 for RR), but you’re assuming that RR would be able to, or even willing to offer a superior UltraFan to Boeing a few years after CFM’s engine would have entered into service.

      What Boeing is risking by going to CFM and offering them early exclusivity on a NMA, is that RR could do the same to Boeing as GE did to Airbus with the A350-1000 — by asking the people in charge at Boeing why they (RR) should offer an engine to them (Boeing) that would essentially compete with themselves (i.e. A32Xneo Mk2 and A322/A323/A324). Hence, your de-risking could turn into a total calamity for the Boeing company.

      Objectively, there’s no reason to dismiss the 737 Max as anything but a commercial success

      The 737MAX may be a commercial success, buy the programme is IMHO a strategic dead end for the Boeing company.

      • What is to stop a SA being designed with the same ground clearance as a TA?

        The wing box will need to be set up correctly to allow space for the longer landing gear but it is all about integrating the wing spars and the main pivot point.

        No laws of physics would need to be broken.

        • Hmm, didn’t I point out up-thread that a larger A321-derived A322/A323/A324 family could be powered by 40,000 lbs of thrust RR UltraFan engines, incorporating a 105-inch wide fan. 😉

          In contrast, the fan diameter on the Trent-500/-700 engines (A346/A330ceo) is 97 inches and the fan diameter on the GEnx-2B67B engine is 104.7 inches (748).

          • OV, I respect your positions very much.

            That said, I don’t think any airliner has been acquired due to how “advanced” it’s cockpit or avionics are vs a near competitor in the past thirty years.

            Economically, the old Single aisle 7-Series frame is hanging in there vs the revolutionary 80s era 320 to this very day. VW/Porsche do sell a lot of cars on brand mystique tho.

            Your position to my understanding boils down to engine exclusivity. I don’t know how Boeing views it moving forward, though it’s worked for the NG and max so far. Frankly, I see it as risky to go all in on one supplier for both families, and doubt Boeing takes that route, though I see it as very logical from an engine suppliers perspective.

            This has nothing to do with country of origin, as all of the engine makers are truly global, to me. Perhaps, they’ll take a hybrid approach and give exclusivity to one engine maker on the 797 and leave the NSA family open on derivatives. Wildcard would be support contracts, which could be a gray area for many years on 797 sales/clauses.

            Does anyone, for instance, think Delta Airlines will buy a Boeing widebody unless they think they’ll make good money long term servicing engines?

          • Agreed that the cockpit and the side stick wheel issue are vastly over rated (by the casual aircraft enthusiast)

            And yes its all global, P&W has MTU and 3?) Japanese mfgs involved in the GTF (pretty much the VR engine lineup)

            As Prime they get more bucks than the subs do in a combine VR or CFM like setup.

            Exclusive seems to be based on how much the engine mfg is willing to throw in as well as how much pain of not having at least two engines affects the buyers.

            No for sure idea how it goes on the 797 if it is launched.

            I think it will be two.

            My guess would be GE with their refined LEAP that can be done soon and P&W who is ready to go vs RR who is still doing developmental work on the Ultra (with the Advance now being the core)

  16. The big thing you guys forget is that Airbus is a very different company from when it designed the A350, alot of experience has disappeared. Competance in wing design is not there anymore, the design office is half empty with contracts not being renewed and numbers being allowed to reduce by Toulouse to protect French and German jobs. Whoever goes first will pinch the best sub contractors………..

    • Airbus Wing design was done by the UK arm/partner at Bristol so Im not getting your point.
      Anyway they could have access to a different existing design and factory for a 35m span carbon fibre wing, which could save billions and years.

      • Yea, I think between Airbus and BBD they can mange to do a wing just fine.

  17. For everyone in this thread who is assuming that Boeing’s 737 replacement will be a NSA with “SA” standing for “Single Aisle”, take a look at the figure in the Airways Magazine article on 737 program history at the link below captioned “Boeing’s patent drawing of the Y-1, clean sheet design shows a twin-aisle configuration”. This figure shows a 90 seat aircraft, repeat 90 seat aircraft, with twin aisles and 2-3-2 abreast seating in coach. Sound familiar? Below is an excerpt from this article that quotes Boeing Marketing VP Randy Tinseth on why Boeing did not proceed with this design.

    “Boeing was evaluating a clean-sheet proposal called the Y-1 “Project Yellowstone” that was rumored to even be a double-aisle airframe. Boeing’s Tinseth exclaims that not going forward with the new program was not about protecting one of Boeing’s biggest cash cows nor had the company become risk averse following the 787 issues: “The clean sheet design was coming together from a tech perspective. The biggest challenge was the production system. It would take a long time to go from a green field to 38 aircraft per month and it would be tough to compete in this market. New engines from P&W and CFM led us to mitigate the risk. The composites and other vanguard technologies on the short-medium haul were not as compelling as they were on larger planes such as the 787. Other technologies would allow us to respond quicker in the market and upgrade this aircraft”.”

    Regarding: “It would take a long time to go from a green field to 38 aircraft per month” – based on this consideration alone, I think that Boeing made the right decision to not try something so radical on a 737 replacement circa 2011. But in the 2020’s, after all the lessons learned on the 787 and the 777’s composite wing, and if production of composite oval fuselage 797’s seems to be on track for a rate of 10 aircraft a month, might it be time to give Boeing’s advanced design group the green light to do the twin aisle 737 composite oval fuselage replacement they have been itching to do for the last 20 years? If I were a Boeing bean counter I would probably tell the advanced design group to not even waste my time bringing up any such designs to replace something with a production rate of 50 plus per month until or unless something similar was being produced on budget and on schedule at a rate of one or two dozen a month.


    • NSA stands for “New Small Airplane,” which has now been superseded by FSA (Future Small Airplane).

    • Are current airliner fuselages all long tubes with a nearly circular cross sections because that is the most efficient shape possible, or rather because that was the best compromise shape for aluminum construction given the prices airlines and their customers were willing to pay? Will composite construction make shapes other than nearly circular tubes possible or preferable? If you think an oval fuselage is too far fetched and radical, check out the link below.


      • Twenty years back or so, one of Boeing’s arguments not to update the B737 was to wait on a technology that was game-changing in their eyes. Maybe that was their rationalization. But they said the blended wing, or it may have been the McDonnell side of the business, that they thought emergency evacuation times with the blended wing were slow and they hadn’t been able to get past that.

      • “round” is the natural shape of any pressure vessel.
        The passenger airplane fuselage is a pressure vessel.

        Existing designs tend to show small amounts of upright ovalness where the created pressurizing stress is used to put the floor into tension compensating the floor loading.

        A horizontal oval puts the floor into compression mode ( the worst Euler path of failure for a structural parts.
        floor loading creates the deviation force to go into failure.
        Both effects string together for a requirement of beefier structure.

        • Hello Uwe,

          I agree with everything you said in your post above. The issues you raise are some of the reasons reason why non-circular fuselage cross sections were not very practical for commercial aircraft using aluminum construction. The better fatigue properties of composites make the issues you mentioned less of a problem, although they do not completely eliminate them. For military combat aircraft, where radar stealth and performance parameters such as speed and climb rate are far more important than fuel consumption per seat mile, it is hard to find recent designs that have a long tube like fuselage. Compare the United Stares Air Force B-36, B-50 or B-52 to B-1, or B-2.

          For one thread of Boeing’s approach to the issues you mention for a commercial airliner, see the patent at the link below.

          “A method for minimizing the weight of an internally pressurized aircraft fuselage of a type that includes an elongated tubular shell having a near-elliptical cross-section with a radius R(φ)- and a curvature Curv(φ), where φ is a roll elevation angle of the shell, includes tailoring at least one structural attribute of the shell as a function of at least one of the elevation angle φ, R(φ) and Curv(φ) so as to reduce the weight of the fuselage relative to an identical fuselage shell in which the same at least one structural attribute has not been so tailored.”


          Regarding: “tailoring at least one structural attribute of the shell as a function of at least one of the elevation angle φ, R(φ) and Curv(φ)”- hard to do with aluminum and an army of rivet gunners but within the realm of possibility for an automated composite layup machine?

          • Interesting AP. Just thinking outside the box here, wondering about turning the near elliptical shape through 90 degrees and you make a double deck single aisle aircraft?

          • Have you read the patent?
            IMU that is a pile of mumbo that tries to describe as unspecific as possibile an established optimization process and design solutions. ( This won’t fly in the same way the Basler patent on Winglets did a crash landing. )

            CFRP is nice but it is not a “Wundermaterial” that bypasses established design constraints.

            Laying fiber ( or structure ) to follow stress path isn’t new either. For a good laugh look a the geodesic fuselage structure of the Vickers Wellington Bomber.

    • That stuff was just a smokescreen back after the Neo was launched and before the Max.
      To promote something quite out there like that and then do the re- engine ? Please.

    • Thanks for the link AP,the Y1 makes me think of an A310 for some reason.

      Could BA be considering an 180-220 seat aircraft based on the the “797” fuselage with smaller wing, engines, etc. while the FSA (“Embraer JV”) is an 130-180 seat aircraft?

      • Hello Anton,

        Regarding: “Could BA be considering an 180-220 seat aircraft based on the “797” fuselage with smaller wing, engines, etc. while the FSA (“Embraer JV”) is an 130-180 seat aircraft?”

        I think it is highly likely that a 797 based 180 to 220 seater is one option that would be considered if the 797 is launched and successful. Might even be called a 797 something, like 797-3, 797-4 or 797-5.

  18. IMHO the logic steps for Airbus would be:
    To launch a A322 with the target to get as much of the MOM market as possible, to make the 797 project uneconomic. In my opinion this means a strech A321 with CFRP wingbox, wings but the known NEO engines (LEAP-A, GTF) with thrust increased to the design limit.
    2nd: Launch a CS500 as A319 replacement, with far better economics than the 737-7. This should cover short to mid-range, while the A320 line can be optimized for the remainder.

    • I don’t think either the CFM or the GTF is capable of that kind of increasing and maintain the economics and reliability required.

      • Most engines grow in thrust by time. The big fan diameters of the A320neo Engines makers it fairly easy as they are now at the A320ceo thrust class. Then you need good engineering and suppliers to get the parts that meet the new spec’s.
        There is a possibility RR can sneak in with a 40k-45k Ultrafan from above for the A322 only, but that would require some serious Money from Her Majesty to Derby, that will also be the RR core Engine for the 797 Ultrafan/Advance at a different fan diameter and gear ratio.

        • The cost (engine and air frame) as well as size of the market makes me often question the short term viability of the stretched A322.

          From an economic point (return of investment) and EIS an A321+ (A321 fuselage) with new CAT-D (~40m wing), increased fuel cpacity and 35Klb engines could give you an very efficient aircraft with 4500Nm range.

          • Yep, that is why they call them trade studies.

            Its like having 8 juggling balls in the air.

            Not only does it have to balance out, it has to do an ROI for the air-fame and engine work costs both.

            Sometimes just breaking even (ala 747-8) may have some strategic advantages but the more you loose and over time (if the A380 does not pick up) then its that irritating drip, drip, drip.

            I saw a financial institution take a big hit in a lump sum one time. They just threw all the iffy loans into a lost pot and got it over with.

            Some they recovered on latter, most not, but it was done and over and the distraction and irritation were gone.

      • The easy solution for a MoM’ster head shot — 75T OEW — is use 4 engines to generate the 50K / 60K lbs of thrust per wing that is not available today or in 5 years time from a cutting edge jet engine.

        Issues with wing complexity, SFC and maintenance costs.
        Positives are high volume costs and time on wing numbers.

        The number is sitting out there waiting to be used — A360.
        75T OEW means a 62.5M fuselage out of the A32X parts bin.
        Super Duper 60 if you like.

  19. AB has been very slow to work the A32X platform / component set.
    They have just waited for the market to come to them.

    Keeping the A320 fuselage length the same for 30 years has allowed BA to keep their dinosaur credible on the basis that they have stretched it by 2m+ and found space for another 18 seats.

    The Neo was a great marketing effort based on engine upgrades and a few LED lights. At some point AB is going to have to move things on regarding fuselage lengths and better wing tech.

    A320 MK2 = CS inspired update with new wing / new wing box and saddle and more real estate.

    CS300 = 140 standard sized economy seats / 18” wide x 32” pitch.
    CS500 when it arrives = 160 SSES.

    Therefore the A319 is living on borrowed time.

    A320 MK2 = 180 SSES.
    A321 MK2 = 210 SSES and more hotel space.
    A322 = 240 SSES and a 110T MTOW for 4.5K NM nominal range.

    Only unknown in all of this is how wimpy will the B797 turn out to be — 65 / 70T OEW?

    • Question for the Propulsion Engineers: The engines on the B757, the PW2040 and the RB211-535E4B, were they not ever updated for other applications other than the C-17? That’s the thrust needed, correct? Also, that fly on the A323 is a tad Scary.

      • Sam: I am not a propulsion engineer, I am an ICE guy.

        The basic P&W 2040/RR 211 design goes back to 1971

        Last upgrade was 1993.

        Since then the move is to large diameter fans and hotter sections.

        I don’t think it can be economically modified into a modern engine (LEAP type) let alone the advantages of the GTF.

        • Merci. I guess in checking further all those Big Three engines that came later were 50k and above for the newer small wide body airframes.

      • The PW2037 was updated with the ’94 package. The RB211-535E4 versions were develloped from the RB211-535C.
        The PW2000 series had to fight some years to get matching reliability as the RB211-535E4 and many customers in the mean time chose the RR.
        RR kept increasing overhaul costs so much with the 757 Heavy maintenance being expensive as well making the 757 uneconomical compared to the A321 that kept getting better range.

        • What I found interspersing was the notation that the P&W was more fuel efficient (shades of the GTF now)

          Not that reliability does not mean more and the numbers reflected that.

          That does go in with the data that says the 3 spool is more costly to overhaul.

          As a mechanic that saw the dissing of the UNIT injectors by Cat (RR of diesels as it were) and then they shifted to them (very quietly) as they worked better than pump and nozzles system, hmmm.

    • Keesje I assume the wingspan will be around ~40m (CAT-D) for this option?

  20. A Boeing New Midrange Aircraft will certainly have a 45m to 50m wing. For Airbus to compete there at midrange, they would need a new wing too, and new gear for a big jump in MTOW. For that, I’d assume they let Boeing move first.
    But they can move into the midcapacity sub 3K range market with a 3m stretch A322. Maybe slap on some split wingtips and bigger flaps.

  21. Will be interesting to see what sector lengths the 319’s are the most frequently used.

    If range is an “issue” for the 320 vs 737-7 AB could consider to offer an “LR” version of the 320N with higher MTOW, engine thrust and 2 Aux tanks? This could incorporate wing tweaks such as modifies wing lets, etc. that will also improve field performance coupled with the higher thrust engines.

  22. It’s interesting, all the talk of big changes whilst Airbus’s approach at the moment seems to be simple performance improvements and upgrades, already talk of further range improvements to the LR ( better than advertised spec rather than upgrades), further squeezing the business case for the ‘797’.
    As a business they will do the minimum investment in order to disrupt BA’s plans as quite frankly we all appreciate they can.

  23. The 319NEO might still have a requirement for airlines for which the 320N is to big but they want an aircraft that can take LD3-45’s and/or have commonalities with the 320-Family.

    But then they need a smaller engine, the 78″ and 81″ fanned engines are just to big for the 319N? If CFM can offer an 70″ fanned LEAB-B equivalent (~25Klb) for the 319N it could be a nice little aircraft.

  24. Think Boeing is trying to recover lost ground at the upper end with the 797-6X while the first FSA will most likely be around the 737-8 size.

    AB’a response the 321+ (and/or 322) and 320Plus.

    • That is the other significant missing part of the puzzle.

      If the 797 does 220 passengers, then what do you replace the lower end with?

      Where is the bottom of the market (130?) that gets a good return and takes you up to 200 passengers.

      That would seem to be the JV for EMB and BA.

      • Roughly I could see a sales line up in a few years,
        E175E1 75 seats 2,200 nm range
        E190E2 100 seats, 2,900
        E195E2 125 seats, 2,600
        737-7 150 seats, 3,800
        737-8 175 seats, 3,500
        737-10 200 seats, 3,300
        797-6 225 seats, 4,900
        797-7 250 seats, 4,500

        • “797-6 225 seats, 4,900 nm
          797-7 250 seats, 4,500 nm”

          If that’s what the 797 will be, I’m worried for Boeing. I hope they can get seat mile cost low enough, because those numbers don’t seem a big enough leap on what Airbus will offer for (most likely) a significantly lower price.

          • Well the A321 Super would still have to get both range and passenger count up.

            Currently while it can do 757 type missions, it can only do so by loosing pax numbers to make up for the fuel load.

            Wing gets too long and you have gate issues.

          • Think its a fine/difficult balance here between fuel capacity, luggage space, engine thrust, MTOW.

            My personal view is get a very efficient CFRP wing (CAT-D) on a standard A321 with 4 wheel bogies that can handle a 100T MTOW with current engines. Class D gates are becoming more available.

            The new wing could add fuel capacity, reduce weight and lower fuel burn resulting in more pax over 4000-4250Nm range with only 2 aux tanks?

            If higher thrust engines comes available you can do a simple stretch of the 321Super or increase its MTOW and increase range and or pax.

            But just get on with.

          • According to Wikipedia (and the sources it quotes) Airbus plans to develop the A321 NEO LR beyond the 97 t that has EIS later this year.
            Talk about near to 5,000 nm range.

            Going from 4,000 to 4,900 nm will come at the expense of passenger load.
            For the sake of argument let’s assume that a 160 passenger 4,800 nm A321 ULR would be capable of 210 passengers 4,250 nm.

            How much more are airlines willing to pay for the extra passengers (15 or 40) and extra range (650 and 250 nm) Ted suggested the 797 will have?

          • If Airbus does the A322 the 797-6 will probable move up in size to 250pax and 5000nm, the 797-7 300pax and 4500nm and replace the 787-8 on many routes.
            Airbus then has to design their own version of the 797-9 using the same 50-55k Engines and maybe use a light weight A330neo as a basis for it. Hence it will have less range but more cargo carapcity

          • Any thoughts on the OEW of the B797 as described in some of these articles?

            Smaller version = 65T OEW
            Bigger version = 70T OEW

            World’s wimpiest TA aircraft?
            Fuel usage for a 5K NM range nominal — 40T?

            By way of a comparison fuel usage for a A321 for a 4K NM range nominal = 26T loaded / 23T used?

        • The Airbus response, first, A321 stretch several more rows, two or three year lead time. No brainer.
          And in addition, possibly either:

          -A322/3, 40 to 45m rewing, taller gear, new engine, seven or eight year lead time. Like the 777x, at perhaps half the price of a new aircraft program at best, but stuck with some old ideas and designs which might be different if clean sheet. If Boeing go with a CFM exclusive, that leaves RR or PW for the A322/3. Maybe

          -Or, new twin aisle, 175t. Maybe.

          • Can see AB doing a Baby A350 incorporating CS technology and Ultrafans. EIS ~2028 (?) but will be steps ahead of the 797.

  25. Quick note on chartsmanship — if graph 1 has the 737 blue and a320 red, don’t swap it in chart 2! adds confusion

  26. Apologies, just checked, doing same my side.

    Basically the first of a new batch of PW1100G’s arrived at Airbus with first deliveries of PW NEO’s starting during May and June (Enders said in an interview).

  27. Airbus probably have a plan, but they don’t need to blink because unlike the other guys selling their non-existent snake oil plane that cures all ills in the <250 seat market to cover for their current lack of competitiveness in the upper sector of the NB market, Airbus is very competitive in said market.

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