How useful is an NMA, Part 4

The NMA for Middle Eastern carriers

After having checked how an NMA would serve the trans-Atlantic market and then Asia-Pacific, we now operate the two variants, the 270 seat 797-7 and 225 seat 797-6, from locations in the Middle East. One location is the Emirates area and the other Istanbul.

Istanbul is on the border between the Middle East and Europe. It checks how useful an NMA would be for Turkish Airlines, one of the World’s major network carriers with expansive ambitions.

The Emirates location would simulate operations for Emirates or Qatar Airways, both global mega-carriers which would have a serious look at how an NMA could fit in their operation.

Operating from Istanbul

Figure 1 shows how an operation from Istanbul makes covering the European market trivial for an NMA.

Figure 1. Coverage for an NMA when operating with Istanbul as home base. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

African routes to just short of Cape Town in South Africa are possible, as this is flying North-South where we don’t have the same problem with prevailing West winds (which are because of the Earth’s rotation). We can, therefore, count of having close to the practical 4000nm (797-7) and 4,500nm (797-6) still air ranges available on these routes.

Madagascar with Antananarivo (TNR) is also within the limits for both NMA. Johannesburg (JNB) doesn’t work, as the high altitude (5,600ft), combined with high temperatures reduces the range on the home flight to Istanbul. Here, 4,000nm is too much also for the smaller NMA.

The longer range is not the case when we fly East-West to Asia. Here the all year operational range shrinks to the 4,100nm (small NMA) and 3,700nm (large NMA) we have used before. It means India and Sri Lanka (Colombo, CMB) is OK. One step further to Thailand and Bangkok (BKK) and only the smaller NMA would handle the routes during the winter.

Anything beyond Bangkok like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong or Shanghai doesn’t work. It needs long-range aircraft.

Operating from Emirates or Qatar

Figure 2 shows how an operation from the Emirates improves Asian coverage while East African coverage is now marginal. Europe, both West and East Europe, is no problem.

Figure 2. Coverage for an NMA when operating with Emirates (Dubai, DXB) as home base. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

African North-South routes except for Cape Town for the larger NMA is possible. Johannesburg (JNB) is also here a special case as the airport is at 5,600feet altitude and it’s hot. Here a 3,500nm needed range when flying back will be on the limit for the larger NMA; the smaller would manage it.

West Africa with Dakar is a stretch as there we have the Westerly winds, and the real routing would be over 4,300nm, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Emirates to Dakar with a real operational route making the trip 4,329nm with 37kts headwind, should we fly it today. Source: Foreflight.

Asia is now well within reach for both variants all the way to Korea and Seoul airport (ICN). Japan doesn’t work. With westerly winds, it is too far.


The NMA will be powerful aircraft for Middle Eastern carriers. It can do the many of the jobs the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330 or A350 does today. But on a smaller scale and with equal or better seat-mile costs, as it’s a lesser aircraft.

Next week we Study North and South America.

To read the rest of the article Login or Subscribe today.