Pontifications: The Wing of Tomorrow and Airbus’ future

May 31, 2021, © Leeham News: It’s not as if Boeing doesn’t have enough challenges right now.

By Scott Hamilton

Airbus seems ready to up the ante by re-winging the A320 series, according to an article last week by Bloomberg News.

The “Wing for Tomorrow,” as Airbus calls it, has been in the works for years. It’s a composite wing, designed for a new production process. The process will be quicker, more efficient and less costly than the cumbersome, expensive autoclave used today.

Public discussion about an enlarged A321 has been around for years. Variously called the A321 Plus Plus or A322, the broad concept is a 12 seat stretch (Bloomberg suggests it could be 24 seats), more powerful engines and the new composite wing. Bloomberg wrote that the wing, with a wider span, could have folding wingtips.

This A322 would be a true Boeing 757 in terms of capacity. Range would be well into the “Middle of the Market” definition proffered by Boeing for the better part of a decade.

But what about the A320 and A319?

Enhancing the A320

One can probably write off any further development of the A319neo. The A220-300’s range will be enhanced to 4,000nm, if you believe Breeze Airlines founder David Neeleman. Breeze has 80 A220-300s on order. The range extension takes the airplane past the A319neo, a slow-selling model that for the most part has outlived its usefulness in the A320 product lineup.

Bombardier, designer of the A220 when it was the C Series, didn’t stop with the CS 100/A220-100 or CS 300/A220-300. It designed a CS 500, now known as the A220-500. Airbus can launch this any time it’s ready. The -500 could compete directly with the A320neo (and Boeing 737-8). The -500 is widely believed to have markedly better economics than either the A320neo or 737-8. It would be a 737-8 killer. But it would also kill the A320neo.

So, the Wing of Tomorrow attached to a stretched A320 with 12 or more passengers than the current version would give new life to the A320. In Aviation Geekdom, this concept has been discussed for years. It’s colloquially called the A320.5.

Last week, LNA discussed Boeing’s dilemma for the 125-170 seat single-aisle market. Although the A322 gets the headlines, the hidden story always was the A320.5 and its potential impact on Boeing’s cash cow, the 737-8.

If Airbus launches the A320.5, Boeing’s hand will be forced to respond, unless the C Suite is content to see Boeing descend into McDonnell Douglas irrelevance.

As last week’s article noted, Boeing is faced with exactly what the C Suite doesn’t want: the need to do two concurrent new airplane programs. There’s really no choice if executives want to regain its premier place in commercial aviation.

185 Comments on “Pontifications: The Wing of Tomorrow and Airbus’ future

  1. Would the A322 forcibly need more powerful engines or could the more efficient wings make it work with the existing ones? Similar to the 777X that has less powerful engines despite being bigger than the 777-300ER.

    • My guess is that they will go for the 35k versions of the LEAP/1A and PW1100G promised but not yet certified. Besides wing and pylon change it can effect the landing gears, breaks, thrust reversers, APU and Air cycle machines. All expensive bits that maybe does not have the margins required built in?

      • Likely the new 777X wing is optimised for lift for the heavy weights and extra span, without the smaller lighter 777-200 versions to consider. The critical points are takeoff distance , the intial climb after wheels up for a minute or so and the top of climb at altitude. Normally the specialist media would have stories about the design journey and the tradeoffs but it’s now a competitive advantage and the shenzhai country is watching

    • I don’t think Airbus will rewing the A320, just because they can.

      – nobody seems to ask for it
      – 60/ month black wing supply chain= huge investment
      – they are investing in A320 wing improvements as we talk
      – there’s an 8 yrs A320 backlog.
      – H2 aircraft next decade would need an entirely different wing
      – better ROI projects exist. A320Plus, A322, A220-500, using current wings.

      • so what is the process (without autoclaves) Thermoplastic wings? Who’s mfg equipment will the production be done on? Electroimpact or MTorres?

        • Vacuum bag infusion to get the resin into the fibres with very low voids.
          The A220 was halfway there With dry fibre placement which is tricky to keep fibres in place which usuallly happens with ‘tacky’ fibres. Then an autoclave to complete infusion.
          Airbus may be working with Spirit to make the infusion in vacuum or develop the whole process from scratch at billions of costs.
          I know which I would choose after the covid financial meltdkwn

          • A340-600 introduced a vacuum infused rear pressure bulkead. continued by an Airbus subsidiary on the A380 and Boeing’s 787.

            The assumption that Airbus might be out of its depth in some new tech domain is deeply amusing.

          • The A340-600 bulkhead is thin film resin infused but still uses a autoclave
            “The entire mold is then moved into the autoclave for a normal 977-2 cure cycle of approximately 90 minutes at 177°C/350°F and about 100 psi pressure. ”
            Its not that Airbus doesnt have expertise, but the trend is to move the development of carbon fibre parts to suppliers ( using their money for the process development)

      • Airbus spent money and time on this program, and the tools are ready.
        Likely they are going to use them.

  2. Why didn’t Airbus and Boeing identify the need to develop a C series by themselves? Absolutely everyone condemned the idea until Airbus finally bought it from Bombardier.

    • Most civil aircraft airliners designs are loss making even after governments put in huge amounts of tax payers money. Airbus had Fokker, Saab, Dornier, BAe ATP close by and Boeing have many examples back home that has given up commercial airlines production. The A220 is no moneymaker yet and it takes a big effort from almost every Airbus department with all their experience to turn it around. Still there are successes like the smaller Cessna Caravan, Tecnam P2012, Pilatus PC-12.

      • My take is that BBD failed commercially with the C series.

        Airbus picked it up for nothing, but still has to put major money into it to get supply chain and assembly working to where they can make money on it.

        No listed future production matches the volumes of the A320/321.

        And Airbus has to determine if they do the -500 and kill off the A320 and what is the benefit to Airbus?

        A lot of complexity in the mix.

        It will be interesting to see what the decisions are.

        • Its certainly a complex chess game.
          For the A220-500 to replace the A320 Airbus would have to massively ramp up A220 production, even if a 320-5 would suck up some demand and the trend is upgauging. How profitable is the A220? You wouldnt invest major money in ramping up production of a product line that has only marginal profitability. And you certainly dont want to replace a cashcow with something less profitable.

          • I don’t think developing the A220-500 will be a zero sum outcome for Airbus.

            First they don’t need to discontinue the A320 until the A220-500 is fully ramped up. And they may not discontinue it at all. The A220 series has no cargo capacity and in some markets that is important.

            Second, if every A320 displaced by a A220-500 results in letting Airbus sell a higher margins A321neo or even better a A321XLR then the -500 only needs to break even for AB to come out ahead.

          • The profitability of the A220 is linked to the production rate. The more we manufacture, the more production costs will drop. The launch of the A220-500 would allow this increase in speed.

          • Airbus must decide on its future cockpit standard, should it be a big break with the present “spring&damper” sidesticks or a move to a A220 style cockpit with active sidesticks or a completely new one pilot cockpit. The Dassault Falcon 10X cockpit will show the way. Looks like active sidesticks just like the new G500/600 and Global 7500

          • Dassault will continue in their existing usage of sidesticks…they were first to indroduce FBW to the business jet market some time ago, well before Gulfstream ( who were late comers)

    • In my guesstimation, the men at Boeing had a business plan that eschew the future for stock buyback plans, bonuses and outsourcing. They were heroes on Wall Street for a couple decades. They knew exactly what they were doing everyday they didn’t go to work. It culminated with 346 souls paying for their hubris. They are probably playing golf today or on their sailboats. And it was all legal…

  3. Also noteworthy: this “Wing of the Future” can be introduced at a fraction of the cost of developing a complete new airframe from scratch. This gives Airbus a cost advantage on top of the other advantages referenced in the article.

    • Not true. It can be done at half cost which is not a fraction.

      There are also aspects possibly involved with the other system as Claes noted.

      Its worth the program but its not peanuts cost wise.

      • Since when is 1/2 not a fraction?
        And Bloomberg referred to 1/4.

        • Yes it is a fraction. But then there are fractions (used in the diminutive sense) and there are big fractions.

          Just because someone says 1/4 does not make it so.

          I think its the correct move. Its going to cost and cost more than 25% when its said and done.

          The A400 was supposed to be a fraction of a military aircraft cost as well.

          Cost as much as a C17 and half or less of the capability.

          • C-17 is out of production for almost 10 years now and was first delivery in 1993, which is almost 30 years ago. Yes the wing ultimate load test was done twice and failed at 125% and 145%. This was the McDD malaise era and they had to wear $1.5 bill of overun costs… back in 1990s money
            Current costs arent comparable.

      • “It can be done at half cost which is not a fraction.”

        Who said it? Fact based or fiction?? Bloomberg’s article clearly stated otherwise.

        • The aviation press is quoting $4.9B for the entire A320 makeover (wings, engines, etc.), as opposed to $15-20B for a clean sheet design.

          Never mind the noise in the margins 😉

          • How about some attribution to that 15-20 billion figure?

            I am not buying it. More like 10 billion on a properly executed program for a single aisle.

            Boeing undercut the T-7A bid by at least 40%. Not a given but that is a benchmark to look at, so that has the possibility of a full on digital executed aircrat in the 8 billion range.

            Using Airbus mistakes on the A380 as a metric is not valid.

          • So true. :))

            Half a decade ago, the street est. of development cost was around $15 billion, latest est. has ballooned to $25 billion!!

            P.S. Leeham has repeatedly said the clean sheet design would be a twin aisle. Single aisle?? Says who? Poster preaches others to adhere to fact, turns a blind eye when he [??] himself blowing smoke? Amazing, truly amazing.

          • From FG:

            -> “In fact, during the third quarter of 2018, upon winning the contract, [Boeing] recorded charges of $400 million associated with expected losses on the T-X”

            I guess to record a loss as soon as winning the contract marked a brilliant start and the co.’s confidence of a “positive” result in future!

    • Disclaimer: IMHO.
      Too early to say.
      Airbus is building a shop floor know-how oriented to automation and cost optimization.
      AFTER GETTING THAT Airbus engineers will design the wing.
      I don’t know how much is going to cost a new wing with these premises.
      Compare it to Boeing, rushing to fix shimming issues after more than ten years of production.
      And this is something that made me think about the “single slot” flap upgrade for the XLR:
      First fruit of the program?

      • I think the XLR’s flap is more about aero than production. Previously they could not design such a flap. Now, they found a way, and it is the fruit of 30 years continuous improvement.

    • I think Boeing would have done their SWOT analysis on what A32x development was capable of and knew what Airbus was likely to do. NMA looks like an attempt to shift the paradigm by avoiding direct competition Who knows, NMA may end up at 6000NM range and supplanting B787/B777/A350 on many routes while also replacing A320/B737 on many.

      • Is there any evidence that the NMA is something other than vaporware PR? So far I haven’t seen any.

        • It seems that it’s just vaporware.
          Lots of talk, but no action.
          Airbus is bombarding us with all sorts of plans: A321XLR, A350F, hydrogen planes, new wings, A322, A220-500.
          Boeing is just trying to keep its production lines going at a basic rate without getting in its own way; in that respect, in doesn’t appear to have the resources or gusto to turn the NMA/NSA into an actual product.

          • Like William I believe Boeing is taking into account what Airbus counter move will be.

            What they are doing though is looking at a twin aisle vs Airbus single aisle.

            The 757-300 showed the issues with a long narrow 3 x 3 seating setup. And in those days they did not fly full packed.

            With a twin aisle Boeing can challenge the A321 and its future variants with a more viable boarding (de-boarding sans two jet-ways not going to change)

            At issue is fitting in a current gate.

            But it would present a clear difference in choice which would be a first for that previous single aisle segment and a much more viable stretch.

            Not question it leaves open the MAX -7/-8 size and what to do.

          • “With a twin aisle Boeing can challenge the A321 and its future variants”

            Using a different concept would probably be the client’s choice, as it provides more options to find the optimal aircraft for the mission.

            For Boeing it also increases the risk. With a me too solution they compete with a known market, while a different option could take off (pun intended) but it could as well be a lame duck that doesn’t fly.

          • The MC21 is a single aisle aircraft but it has an extra wide aisle that allows someone to get past a service trolley as well as ease boarding disembarkation times as passengers block aisles while accessing the over head lockers.

            Boeing could use its ovoid fuselage technology to produce an widened center aisle without the penalty of a square law wetted and frontal area increase. (only linear).

          • 2 twin aisle has a much bigger diameter than a single aisle and will – as long as physics still exist – in tendency always be economically inferior to a single aisle 3-3 plane.

            This leads to the next problem for Boeing. Which plane will such a small 2 twin aisle compete against? …and i mean replace orders for that plane not just sell as well as that plane. the 321? not really, i think, for the reason mentioned above, but rather the 330 and the 787.

        • The short-medium range widebody is not a new invention. The A300-B2, DC10-10 and L-1011-1 were designed for this market. The technology back then were not that advanced so they could not take the cycling and quickly grew in range and increased hr/cycle ratio. But today can it be done much better with much more durable engines with corrosion free structures built by robots in carbon fiber reinforced plastic for a competitive price?
          The other expensive bits like landing gears with brakes, APU, Air cycle machines and cargo hauling equipment if they advanced as well together with stable avionics software that do not need expensive updates with software proof of cockpit coffee spills?

          • Does this make a WB more efficient?

            Seems like a pretty natural gap for me, The 57m B788, the 59m A332/8 as the smallest modern WBs,

            The A321 is 44,5m, the B752 was 47m, and the B753 was already overstretched with its 54m and 3+3 layout.

            The B767 had it’s most success with the 55m B763 versions, and since the B762 / A310 there hasn’t been a WB below 50m.
            Just seems it’s not efficient and a SA is the better choice.

            If Airbus does a A321 stretch, how much will they do? They don’t wanna add another door pair, in talk is about 3-4 rows, so around 4m.
            That would end up with a 48,5m plane, suitable for about 200 PAX on longer routes, or 250 in a short-haul configuration.
            Right where A310, B757, B767-200 has been, slightly more PAX than the B752, a few less than the old WBs that length.

            With an efficient wing and an existing SA fleet of A320neos that would be a very attractive plane cost wise for many airlines.

          • @Sash, a widebody would have greater mass for the same pax Count up to a certain length of the narowbody. The A322 looks to get 2+1 rows or 3+2 rows depending on design margins in its structures, systems and Engines for a desired payload/range. Locking from the outside Boeing “797-200” need to meet the same payload/range/pax and have a bigger cargo hold for the same asking price. The A322 is then max’ed out and a “797-300” and “797-300ER” can fill the gap up to the 787-9 (the 787-8 will probably be sinking in production). A 797-200ER might be offered in a package deal with 737-10’s when you need more range and T-O performance where the A321neo rules today.

  4. Meanwhile in Seattle Boeing has trouble convincing the FAA that its own quality control process is sufficient in order to deliver 787s to customer in an acceptable and without foreign objects lurking somewhere in the structure.

    • Hmm, I believe we are talking about the shimming and no disagreement that Boeing has messed this up. FOD is not currently a known issue.

      Like the MAX wiring issue, FAA seems to be asking for more detail on process.

      The FAA did not disagree with Boeing on the MAX wiring, they were doing the due diligence the should alwyas be doing (that is a subject by itself as to if its Dickson trying to save his job or they are working at doing their job)

      The Shim support requirement may be the same.

      I am not giving Boeing a free pass on this, just saying we do not know yet.

      But I have often had management ask for more information or detail on a recommended fix. I thought I had supplied what was needed, the manager did not think so or he had aspects he had to supply to his manager that I had not thought of.

      Its what the process should be.

      And I do note Boeing is not making public PR spin on it, they are comply, supplying without the former drama.

      Again I am not giving them a free pass, keep an eye on it, but it is different behaviour than the past.

      • The tolerance for the 787 shimming is very standard of 0.005″, could be a carry over from older aluminum models, one should think a derived and calculated number from analysis and testing be more like 0,0063″ or 0,00321″ not just handbook smelling 0.002″ or 0.005″.

    • @ Plane Mad
      That’s correct: everything BA does nowadays is reactive…and seemingly just enough to keep the FAA (temporarily) off their backs. There seems to be no proactive thinking left.
      By all appearances, it has become a “bare minimum” corporation.

    • The MAX MCAS disaster was felt as an national embarrassment to the people of the United States and its prestige and power. Congress, the Senate and the President and his Cabinet are interested. After they are done this wont happen again for a long time.

      • I very much hope that you are correct…though it’s currently unclear what needs to happen in order to achieve this. Hopefully the Administration has also noticed the multiple embarrassments associated with the 787, and the KC-46.
        BA appears to be a very sick patient.

  5. I don’t think an A320.5 would need a new wing. Airbus did not launch it for some reason.

    • No, the A320 to move up some length did not need a new wing.

      The aspect is, if you do the wing you might as well match or exceed the 737 and cut further into its market.

      The one advantage the 737 had over the A320 was a bit more passenger capacity given it ( on paper) an economic advantage.

      So someplace between the -8 to the -9 is a sweet spot and if you are going to do the wing you should do that as well.

      Of course that means more cost.

      • Can they design a wing that’s optimized for both 737-9 mission and A-322 mission? I think it’s better to use the current A321 wing for that, and use the new wing for the new 321 and 322.

        I’m not an aerospace engineer, so that’s just an uneducated guess, though.

        • The quick answer is yes but its always a compromise.

          777-200 and -300 wing is the same, more wing than the -200 needs, my guess is just adequate for the -300.

          You have to be deep into it to assess a different wing for an A320+ and the A321+ (or A322)

          Its not just engineer end, its also the customers end and what works for them or does not and what the numbers are for and against.

          Or just stretch the A320 a bit and use existing wing and new wing for the A321+

        • currently the A320 family wing supports the whole family.
          The A321 just has a different set of flap design. ( double vs. single slotted. result: slight increase in clean wing area and reduced rotation angle for start, landing.

          • A321XLR goes back to single slotted flap but of a new design that outperforms the double slotted flap. I must admit I don’t understand this technology. It is described as ‘optimized’ and I don’t understand whether this refers to the use of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) in its design or that the flap continuously adjusts itself depending on angle of attack to optimize the required lift (as on A350). One thing is for sure, they are thinking of transferring the optimized flap technology back to the A321neo and A320neo. If this happens the A320/A321 with these flaps would have shorter takeoff and landing runs or higher MTOW.

    • I suspect that AB has held off on the 320.5 because it would substantially kill off the 737-8 (800) eliminating any degree of balance in the duopoly. Also the 321 including LR and coming XLR are probably more profitable as they have no real competitor.

      A220-100, 300 and 500 plus A-320.5, 321 and 322 would be a heck of a lineup. Until it has a better product B can really only compete on price and depend on loyalty of long time users.

  6. Airbus seems ready to up the ante by re-wining the A320 series
    Unless you mean that Boeing and others have some wining about the new Airbus wing, the spelling should obviously be “re-winging” 🙂
    Thanks Scott, for keeping us informed about the developments. We are in a very interesting phase with many oportunities and potential pitfalls.

    • Microsoft Word and Grammarly provide a lot of disappointment sometimes.

      • And as Einstein purportedly said, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is………………..

        Now growing up my folks just told me I was responsible.

        I just let myself look foolish and , yep its a typo, thank you for the correction.

        I turned off Word correction from day one. I am sure it would hate Hemingway and Shakespeare as well (no I am not putting myself in that illustrious category)

        If a report was really important I would print it and read it and for some reason (old brain?) I could see the errors better.

        But Words grammar correction never did anything but interfere with what I was trying to say.

  7. So in 5-7 years the Airbus lineup looks like A220-100/300/500 and A320.5/321/322. That does not give Boeing much space to breath. And Airbus can do this in a manner that is relatively cost effective given they have managed to drive down A220 costs. The old ‘Beat Boeing’ badges will have to brought out maybe changed to ‘Beat up Boeing’ or ‘Beat Boeing into submission’

    That Airbus is in a position to have a product winner across the whole SA space at relatively low cost is the result of a consistent iterative design process and a little bit of luck. Not sure there is space for Boeing to breathe and not at all sure what they can do to stop this.

    • That’s exactly right. Airbus been extremely clever with its strategy, and as always, new models will have extra capabilities/margins that are kept secret.

      The biggest example of this is the A350-1000. This plane had tremendous amount of built-in margins and its payload & range have increased to 8700nm.

      Expect more than is being told about this new wing and A320 lineup.
      Airbus should clean up that ugly blunt nose on the A320 and replace it with a more aerodynamic composite nose like the CS. that may reduce drag a bit more.

      • AS did the 787 and we got the -10 from it.

        No one is perfect, Airbus has had its issues as well.

        Where they do much better is as a company in the EU, they are obligated to the benefit of the partner countries (Germany, France, UK and Spain)

        As a result they are balanced. The A380, A400 and to a degree the A340 are examples of mistakes.

        They were not at all ready to deal with the 787 and dissed it as a plastic aircraft.

        They learned lessons from that and are not letting the tech grass grow under their feet.

        Helped greatly by an inept Boeing.

        A decent goalie can look really good if the other team can’t shoot that day.

        I like Airbus, but they are not on a golden pedestal and they tried to kill the C series just like Boeing did.

        Enough smarter than Boeing to finally realize, hmmm, this is a winner.

        • Yes, the 787 sells in three lengths, and with pips and the fuselage problem being fixed, Boeing is still in the game.

          • Never buy a Mk1!

            Only the -9 and -10 sell :: the MK2 design.
            ( and not in numbers to fawn over.)

            Getting to the Mk2 -9 squandered all design margins.
            Reason why the -10 is a heavy set short ranger.
            Sonic cruiser has the last laugh 🙂

    • So while the lineup could be complete from A220-100 to A322, the reality is that the A220 addresses a part of the market that has been complete junk, notwithstanding the Breeze order. Airbus didn’t get the program for $1 because Bombardier couldn’t keep up with demand. Bombardier gave up because actual demand was a small fraction of their projection and they were going bankrupt.

      While an A225 might be able to compete with a B738, it would also compete with the A320. Why would airbus want a duplicate? When most airlines are looking to buy into an aircraft family, who would want a family with no growth potential? The A320 is far more appealing than an A225.

      • @Peter: Your conclusions about why BBD sold the program are all wrong. BBD teetered on bankruptcy because it launched the C Series, Global and Learjet programs all at once, each went billions over budget and simultaneously ignored sales of the Q400 and CRJ, depriving the company of badly needed cash flow. At the same time, the trains division underperformed, both technically and financially. BBD had trouble selling the C Series because the industry doubted its ability to survive.

        Furthermore, Boeing filed its price dumping trade complaint with the Trump Administration in an obvious effort to deny the US market to BBD and if successful, to kill the program. Faced with all this converging at the same time, this is why BBD sold the program. BBD offered the program to Boeing, which said no, before offering it to Airbus.

        All this is covered in my forthcoming book, Air Wars.

        Airbus, it should be noted, has 569 orders for the A220-300 and another 90 for the A220-100. Sales were on a roll before COVID hit. Interestingly, the airlines with the A220 relied on them to maintain or ramp up pandemic service.

        • >BBD offered the program to Boeing, which said no, before offering it to Airbus. <

          Mind boggling, to me anyway. Will watch for your book,
          because there's got to be more to that story.

          • I think some caution should be put into this.

            We can see what Airbus is doing to make the program work.

            BBD would have had to do the same thing if it was going to be successful.

            I don’t think BBD could have managed a commercial success (making money) on the C series without its other costs.

            Slot it in under Airbus with its bigger footprint and power of bulk buys as well as confidence and its a different story.

            A key aspect is, when does Airbus start to make money on the A220 and how much did they put into the program post BBD to get there?

          • The other good question is, would the A220 be selling like it is if Airbus was not the program owner?

            I would say its impossible to assess for sure how it would have done under BBD vs what it is doing now.

            Ergo, a major risk to count on it under BBD and not so under Airbus.

          • “When most airlines are looking to buy into an aircraft family, who would want a family with no growth potential?”

            AFAIK Existing A220 customers are interested in an aircraft with better economics than A320/B737 MAX 8.

        • Bombardier forecast 6300 units over twenty years. In the ten years it tried to sell the C Series, it sold only 520. In the three years Airbus has been trying, it has sold another 122, an even lower rate. 63 units sold in 2019 before covid is not exactly on a roll when the program annual forecast is 315. Airbus sold better than Bombardier but still only a fraction of plan.

          You can blame whatever additional circumstances you like but no program can survive on sales that are 20% of forecast for one ‘good’ year and 14% over the life of the program.

          No one wanted the program because the market for that size aircraft is modest. The $1 purchase price by Airbus accurately reflected the value of the program, and Boeing wouldn’t pay that. Boeing has made some amazing mistakes but you should be careful saying they didn’t want this because they were stupid. Airbus didn’t much want it either.

          • Boeing stupidity was that it offered a lead into replacing the low end of the 737 range for an airframe that was long over due for a new one.

            That in turn would have meant that they could focus on an A321 competitor.

            I think its less an Airbus advantage and more it took an brilliant opportunist away from Boeing. In a way it creates a dilemma for Airbus in what to do with the A320.

            If you replace the A320 then you no longer have commonality of the aircraft as selling point. And fewer common systems.

            So, while yes there is limited potential for the A220-200/300 the -500 gets into the sweet spot of A320 and the -8.

            Airbus has the wing option fore the A320 (adding a bit of length) Boeing has no options there with the 737 MAX.

            So Airbus only needs one new or upgraded aircraft and Boeing needs two.

          • One more thing: The A318, A319 and B737-7 are all the A220-300 sized aircraft. They are all cancelled or on life support.

            Meanwhile, the larger A320 and A321 have 9000 orders. The 737-8+ with all its cancellations still has 4400.

            So 160+ seat narrowbodies have 13,000 orders. The A220 in all its variants and as the only offering in the 120-150 seat range, brand new and very efficient, has 650.

            Bombardier misjudged this and built a great plane, desired by almost no customers.

          • Never mind that there were 1,486 A319s and 1,128 737-700s produced. Market growth and weight gains obsoleted the A319neo (73 orders) and 737-7 (~160 ordered). The A220-300 has about 3 times the orders of these two combined. No question the market has moved up. But the CS300 was the first clean sheet replacement design for the 319 (ceo) and 737-700. I think the A220 will do just fine, and if Airbus does launch the 220-500, it will do even better.

          • I think the A220 will do fine (or even is doing fine)

            The big question is, for all the money that went into it, is it an overall success? Or a huge loss for Canada and BBD and a nice success for Airbus due to the get a plane free card?

            The -500 certainly is the open question but also does Airbus want to compete the -500 with the A320, kill the A320 or move it up?

            Its always been a good question why they did not do an A320 direct of even some seats more than a 737-800/-8 or 900/-9.

            Should the first C series have been the 200?

            Equally I am not familiar with how solid the A220 orders are.

            It is going to be very interesting to see it all play out.

            One thing I keep in mind, BBD never cut corners on the aircraft itself and that in itself was an amazing accomplishment.

          • After the B747 EIS in 1970, for eighteen months Boeing sold only two 747s and for almost three years no American carrier bought a single one.

            AA relegated its 747 fleet to cargo service and eventually exchanged for smaller aircraft with Pan Am in 1983. Delta also removed its 747s from service.

            Order and delivery numbers mean little when customers pay with compensation credits and airframer fire sales to pad its numbers.

          • “The $1 purchase price by Airbus accurately reflected the value of the program”

            That was the time when the C-series was threatened by the obscene 292% tariff. More recently [2020] Aibus paid almost $600 m to Bombarider to buyout its interest in A220 partnership.

          • One should never take a narrow view of A220’s market.

            Delta ordered a combination of A321neo and A220-300 to replace its MD-88 and MD-90.

            Furthermore, Delta flew all of its A220s even as it grounds over half of its fleet in response to the pandemic, which has knocked out nearly all demand as reported by TPG.

          • Peter, Airbus wanted the programme, and realised they wanted it as soon as they got a look round one of the early examples at a trade show.

            The aircraft itself has been winning a lot of praise from operators and passengers alike, being both a reliable and high quality ride and returning low operating costs. That’s a win-win proposition, and last time I looked it’s easy to sell those to anyone who wants something of that ilk.

            I reckon Airbus’s view of the programme size / timescales is very different to what it was when Bombardier owned it. If the A220 is the point of entry to multiple repeat Airbus purchases for an airline, well that’s invaluable to Airbus

        • Will look for Air Wars. The story of the CSeries is an amazing story. I always thought it would be worthy of a book and great anatomy of the business world.

    • Sowerbob, I completely agree.

      The maxim at work here is, “Develop, or Die”. Airbus has done a lot of developing. Boeing, despite many opportunities, hasn’t.

      What we’re seeing is the beginning of the end of that. Boeing is struggling to chose what to develop next. It’s been busily not developing the NMA or NSA for quite a few years now.

      Frankly, I think they should stop even trying. The best thing they could do is just get to the point where they have a good A321neo clone. Boeing in its current state is ill-prepared for another moonshot, but they might just be able to do a slavish copy of an Airbus product. And at least that would stop the market share decline.

  8. (reposted here as apter)

    AB has the wing of tomorrow as well as the 5G

    BA fallen behind on every measure on every issue every day in day out

    Pilot blaming revealed as their fantasy porn

    787 FAA recent action an illustration of how not to co operate with the regulator

    No news on their upcoming chip shortage, which effects every industry worldwide

    No news on their 5G manufacture plans – un surprising since few in the US have heard of 5G or are planning to hear, whereas another country is already well advanced


    “Ericsson is set to light up a private network in Toulouse, France for Airbus, the world’s second-largest aircraft manufacturer. The network will launch on LTE, but Ericsson and Airbus will test mmWave throughout 2021 in preparation for the launch of 5G on the network.

    The network will operate in the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz TDD spectrum bands. The French government made frequencies in the 2600 MHz TDD band available for private companies to use starting in 2019. Part of the 700 MHz spectrum band was allocated to public safety in 2016, and the French government said at the time that it wanted the spectrum to also accommodate critical infrastructure operators and the French defense ministry. (Airbus makes Tetra radios and base stations for public safety and is a defense contractor.)”

    “Chinese manufacturers have installed about 5,000 private 5G networks and will add tens of thousands more this year as 5G broadband enables Fourth Industrial Revolution applications, according to mainland industry leaders.

    China already has 70% of the world’s installed 5G base stations and 80% of the world’s 5G smartphone users.”

    • This article from a few days ago doesn’t mention 5G, but it does say that Boeing is shopping for a cloud provider:

      “Amazon, Microsoft and Google in talks for $1bn Boeing cloud deal – report”

      “Aerospace company Boeing is reportedly in talks with Amazon, Microsoft and Google to provide multi-year cloud services said to be worth at least $1bn.
      The world’s largest cloud vendors are currently in a bidding process for the sizable deal, according to The Information’s sources.
      As a company employing more than 140,000 people and one which needs to handle enormous amounts of data from aviation, rockets and satellites, Boeing has a sizable IT footprint.
      It currently relies on multiple cloud and IT providers. In 2016 Boeing chose to run its analytics applications on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service.”


      • @Bryce

        Well I guess there must be native 5G network suppliers in the US, at least one or two, or maybe not

        All reports I have read mention only Ericsson and Hitachi as working on US installations – as you know the market leaders are excluded and native home grown is generations behind

        BA was recently coo ing about copying, trying to copy, some of Toyota’s manufacturing procedures

        But there has been no mention of 5G as per the other country or AB

        -” Private networks support industrial robotics as well as “smart” logistics, including automation of major ports. A 5G network supports the automation of the Shanghai Port, which handles 44 million containers per year, compared to 8 million containers at America’s largest facility in Long Beach, California, where more than twenty ships are waiting offshore to unload.

        China opened its first 5G-enabled fully-automated port a year ago in Xiamen, with automated cranes stacking containers on driverless trucks. Shanghai’s Yangshan port began fully automated, 24-hour operations in August 2020.

        In late 2020, Shandong Energy Group began operations at an automated coal mine controlled by a 5G network.

        Automated warehouses, autonomous vehicles and drones promise to transform e-commerce, with firms like Alibaba and JD Logistics offering same or next-day delivery from computer-controlled storage facilities where packages are sorted and sent by drones or autonomous vehicles.

        JD Logistics’ $3.2 billion IPO launched in Hong Kong this week, promising a new level of productivity in delivery. JD still depends on 200,000 delivery personnel but its warehouse management makes Amazon look primitive.” –

        Chalk up another victory for Boeing

        • For U.S. 5G is largely fiction in real life.

          WSJ: Why the U.S. rollout of 5G is so slow

          Ignore the noise on the margin.

          • -> “The promise of fifth-generation wireless networks has drawn headlines for at least three years, but 5G that lives up to the hype has yet to arrive for most Americans.”

          • By 2021 80% of new phones will be 5G capable – dual band, as are all other 5G phones currently.
            AS the WSJ theres no ‘killer apps’ to make people want to make a quick switch. The sort of hype from the usual patriotic commentators who love …another country…doesnt change anything

          • @DoU

            You miss the point

            All those phones you talk about are made in Asia, in factories which soon will be 5G in themselves – meanwhile US consumers are happy to buy second rate products to be used on second rate networks/infra at first class plusplus prices (not just phones)

            As far as the US knows 5G is about phones only (just about only) as per your comment, you cannot think further – plus associated software tweaking, but not about buildout – result : the 5G boasted about by the US networks is barely faster than 4G and far off the genuine 5G installed elsewhere in the world

            The significance of 5G is not in phone apps for ordering take out, but in infrastructure and industrial upgrade

            As per the links cited – do you understand the significance of the 5G for manufacture?

            While you, Boeing, and the rest of the US remain in the phone app/sanction/warblabla mode, the rest of the world is moving forward

            The US is too entangled in identarian war gaming to concentrate on any kind of industrial social or political reform

          • Problem is in the U.S. valuable spectrum for 5G rollout has been taken up by the Pentagon for national security reasons, relegating its citizens to suffering from second-rated telecom services.

            “Patriots” are still indulging in their little fantasy … til it pops and find the rest of the world have left them far behind.

          • Clearly our “Dear” poster missed the point. 5G handsets means nothing without proper 5G network rollout with spectrum in place.

            Good demonstration of poor grasp of 5G.

          • @Pedro

            Like just about all US this commentor thinks only of consumer products

            If the US can buy expensive and non performing 5G phones it’s only because the Asians make them for their own use, but they build the network too, as the US can not does not

            The most important use of 5G is as the article quoted stated, a significant upgrade of infra and industry, as per the AB factory example

            The US is unaware and un interested – blinded by prejudice in love with ignorance

      • The term “5G” is a bit of a gimmick word. The essence of the original concept is now renamed “High Band 5G” used frequencies of around 25-5GHz which are 20x the 4G frequencies. Due to the higher frequency and new modulation techniques 5G has throughput 50x more than 4G at least. No problems getting data at a stadium of 20,000. Due the the short wavelength it has poor building penetration the base stations will be often be closer together (which increase capacity even more) and is possible because of the small size. This will certainly push the IOT “Internet Of Things” where many small devices are networked since plentiful range, capacity and low power consumption will make this possible.

        5G operating near existing frequencies of the 4G networks will be called low band 5G and mid band 5G. They will have substantially higher capacity but nowhere near as much as high band 5G.

        Expect a 10-100 fold increase in the items connected to the internet and likely cloud based computing. Self driving cars, the profile containers on aircraft etc.

        • @William

          Thanks for this report

          Can you advise as to the state of build out in the US and the use of networks in industry

          • Seems to be a number of technologies developing to drive the IoT.

            1 Industry 4.0 which is the standards for communication protocol and exchange initiated by the German Government but now global with American Industry on Board.
            2 Wi-Fi 6 based on the IEEE 802.11ax
            3 5G

            Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will compete for connecting devices.

            The thing to note is that 5G networks can be owned privately rather than accessed only through cellular operators.

            Hence the Company Whirlpool is replacing the Wi-Fi in its Ohio plant with a private 5G network. The 5G network will be provided by AT&T and then management handed over to Whirlpool.

            When high level automation was tried using the older IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi the networks collapsed under typical pressure. Now Wi-Fi 6 can handle streaming 4K video from multiple cameras overseeing a robot and handle pallets getting in the way.

            The Advantage of 5G will be over bigger factories, plants, airports because of its incredible range and speed. It can also handle speed of at least 360kmh so is good for drones, light aircraft, very fast trains.

            Good article here.

            So all of the forms of automation and factory management that were conceivable but couldn’t be implemented because of cabling costs probably now can.

            I really don’t know where the US stands comparted to say China or Japan. There are some pretty amazing things made in the USA but the new world order has shifted manufacturing from the US and I’m not sure that the low cost labour the US has recruited can operate at high levels as the tiger economies.

    • “since few in the US have heard of 5G or are planning to hear,”

      Not so. Half (57%) of all new phones sold in US so far this year are 5G. ( by end of 2021 it will be 80%)…very similar to ‘other country……’
      Of course 5G isnt so useful in rural areas and for long distances to cell towers, so phones will still hop between 4G and 5G. Important factor in US when travelling outside urban areas because of the long distances
      53 mill phones sold is hardly ‘not heard of’

  9. Do you think this puts the writing on the wall forcing Boeing to adopt the open rotor 737R

    • Boeing has little time or money. Betting on an only partially developed concept would be quite risky.

      • @jbeeko

        One might retort that all BA knows how to do is only partially developed

        Though the word concept might throw them

        • jbeeko:

          Boeing can get the money and risky is doing nothing.

          I would rater go down fighting that giving up, at least you stand a chance on the fighting end vs none giving up.

    • The open rotor B737R with engine mounts borrowed from the VFW-614.would also eliminate the need for MCAS.

      • It would also eliminate Boeing as a serous mfg (not that it might not happen)

        The Open Rotor is always 10 years down the road to success.

        There is a reason Embraer went to pylon mounted engines as did Mitsubishi and the Sukoi.

  10. Up next, the fuselage of tomorrow:
    * higher pressure altitude, larger windows and slightly wider interior
    * lighter via newer materials, systems and 3D printing of fittings etc
    * some aerodynamic cleanup
    * larger centre tank
    * designed for low cost automated manufacturing

  11. Boeing CEOs have wrongly professed for years that technology has not progressed enough to do an all new plane. This is as opposed to pushing the envelope and creating something new. If they can sell most of the MAXes on order, I think with the right leadership they could do something with new propulsion, blended wing or possibly green fuel and/or tilt rotor. PBS last week on NOVA showed so many options for the future that are actually flying experimentally today.

    • PR statements are what is known as Fig Leaves

      In this case they were intent on share buy back and dividends (and lining their own pockets)

      The so called -5 is nothing more than the tech from the NMA that they were going to do, then it was a moon shot and now it is renamed and its wonderful.

      Moonshot itself was a term used to cover up manager failures.

      I don’t say Boeing can pull it off but PR BS fluff as well as spin statements change all the time.

      If they do something it will not be radical like a TBW. That might be down the road aimed at the A220 market area.

      Maybe with an AI First officer.

    • -> “The one thing I hear most frequently inside Boeing, from suppliers and customers is not about an XLR challenger or a 737 replacement in teh 2030s, but rather about just making a decision. The paralysis is what is making them crazy.”

      -> “Airbus well into adjusting itself for the next decade. The A320neo++ is seen as a matter of when, not if, and that makes room for the A220-500 to take a run at the 737 Max 8. Guillaume Faury has been pointing in this direction for almost three years now.”


  12. Does anyone else suspect that a new wing for the A330Neo is also in the works if not close to being ready?

    • I won’t say I know, but, the A330NEO wing was modded a bit.

      And the educated assessment is, they will not waste any more money on the A330NEO. It has a very good wing to start with and the improvements wold only merit for an all new aircraft .

      If there is a future for the A330NEO it sinks or swims on what it has.

      We really won’t know until the next order cycle kicks in and that has been delayed several years by the Covd crisis.

  13. @Scott, (a bit off topic):

    By upgrading A320 again and again, isn’t AB making the same mistake as Boeing, I mean, to put new technologies on a “old” frame, designed 40 years ago?

    • Mario:

      I don’t think its off topic at all.

      This is more a 777X vs 777 current rather than an A320 vs MAX in that the A320FBW and its upgrades as time has gone on is not inhibited or dated as the 737MAX and NG were and are.

      A new wing for it vs an all new aircraft Boeing has to come up with (acualy two) are Apples and Coconuts.

      Keeping in mind despite the long in tooth of the 737, The 737-8 is still directly competitive with an A320NEO). Technically the MAX t probably has a tiny advantage due to morose seats.

      Any reports of the A320CEO and the 737NG alwasy said that they were so comparable that on any given day one might have a slight fuel burn over the other and the next day it would flip (airlines running both of those in the fleets)

      Boeing has to come out with an all new aircraft Airbus does not.

      Boeing may shake things up with a wide body in that class but we are talking 15 years before you see the impact and in the meantime Airbus matches it or gets ahead depending on if Boeing acualy does anything or not.

      • The 737-8 is still directly competitive with an A320NEO).

        Use economics: yes.
        by not providing basic capabilities that are certification state of the art. ( like still sporting a potentially lighter 9g fuselage design, lower performance in SEO cases ….

        hint from the automobile domain:
        the step to conforming to harsher emission standards increased fuel consumption quite a bit!

    • Airbus is reluctant to do another conventional airplane now if an eco-airplane is coming in the 2030 decade.

      • And that’s Boeing dilemma now (x2), it is bing forced to do a new aircraft sooner than it wants. One that could be leapfrogged technologically and challenged regulatorilly within 10-15 years.

        • The interesting dichotomy is that Airbus lives in an EU world and the US lives in the rest of it.

          Ergo, Airbus would not be big into hydrogen except the EU is funding that.

          Boeing feels, which I also believes, that you clan up jet fuel and that is the next generation.

          Airbus can defer the Hydrogen thing by playing the game and they have the aircraft to skinny by as they just keep improving them.

          If no one else in the world accepts the Hydrogen penalty, then EU is left hanging out on a non competitive limb (or forcing it)

          Force Hydrogen and the carnage begins as to who can fly what and where and how and why.

          So, is this a game of chance with skill like Poker or just a spinning roulette wheel?

          • Climate emergency must be a myth to the selected few.

            Meanwhile Exxon management lost fight for board seat with activist hedge fund in landmark climate vote.

          • “The interesting dichotomy is that Airbus lives in an EU world and the US lives in the rest of it.”

            More like the reverse.

            Boeing lives in the US private LaLaLand.
            (which used to be forced on others strongly
            but diminishing fast over time)

            Europe has to cope with the rest of the globe on a “its reality” basis.

    • Boeing has re-engined it’s 737 twice and rewinged once. A320 has only had new engine.
      As well the stretching has gone from a 100 seater to 200 plus. A320 started as a two class 150 seats. It was very advanced when introduced 10 years after the 737 which was already a reuse of existing concepts, only being ahead of it’s time in being a six seater across. The NG series saved weight with Boeing’s expertise in wing design which is a major commercial factor but the missed making it FBW , just to keep major customers like Southwest happy who hate anything to do with more pilot conversion training….which is a failure with recent events

      • As I understand it, there is a trade off between the higher cost higher tech A320 and the lower cost 737 parts wise.

        I don’t think South West was the reason they stuck with what they had.

        767 and 757 are also not FBW.

        And if AOA had not been put on airplanes we would not have had MCAS 1.0 strike. Not that Boeing did not screw up the programing, but an uneeded bit of kit played into it.

        And FBW is a program (or programs). There have been some bizarre sudden dive issues that they never tracked down in the A330.

        • Yes, very true. Who knew when 2 of the sensors agree but are wrong, the flight instructions are for the pilot to ‘take charge’, even when its in a dive , disconnecting the natural law mode, – as has happened.

          As for the proposed synthetic airspeed systems, recently I noticed Bogota airport picks plane at radom every day for a sort of weighbridge check, as false declaring of takeoff weights is a big problem. The takeoff weight is required for a synthetic system.

          • compare the probabilities.

            * MCAS was a certain thing to fail in less than a year.

            * Common mode error problems are a handful in 35 years of Airbus FBW and no killers among them 🙂 … AF447 was “real” crew failure not the Boeing overlay for hiding manufacturer issues.

    • @ Mario Marino
      A 40-year-old design is preferable to a 60-year-old design…and the 40-year-old design has FBW, whereas the 60-year-old design still uses cables and pulleys. All the recent NB offerings from the world’s aircraft OEMs are now FBW (Airbus, Embraer, COMAC, Irkut) — with the exception of the 737MAX (Boeing).
      So the base A320 design is in a somewhat better commercial position than the base 737 design.

      • Aircraft with irreversible mechanical-hydraulic controls have been around since the late 1940s and for just as long have had what is referred to as “augmentation”. “Augmentation” is where an automatic control adds in a small adjustment to the pilots commands. The first ones were yaw dampers to stop high speed snaking in swept wing jets. Another was to null out Mach Tuck nose down. The B707 had yaw dampers. The SR-71 was augmented on all 3 axis (to help with the braod flight regime). So sophisticated “augmentation” has been around 70 years. It should be a well understood technology. Things called stick pushers (which push the stick forward near stall) and stick nudgers (which push the elevator down slightly and thereby also creating a column push down) also existed and engineers and test pilots made sure they couldn’t push the aircraft into a terminal dive if faulty. The histories are all recorded. In fact the British Civil Aviation Authority CAA wouldn’t certify the B727 (due to superstall danger) or a variant of the B707 with a different inner wing unless it had a stick nudger. A plain old 1960s stick nudger would have worked on the B737MAX but flight manual issues presumably meant it wasn’t implemented.

        • Cathode Ray Tubes have been around since the 50s, have received all sorts of augmentations (e.g. B&W –> color, amended scanning frequencies, aberration corrections to the electron lenses, digital filtering, etc.), and are still capable of producing a high-quality image.

          However, nobody wants them any more. The world now has Flat Panels, and it’s never going back.

          • No doubt but my point being that conventional 1960s augmented controls could have implemented MCAS and they would have used redundant sensors. The B737 classics had a crude control system to begin with. No stick nudger or pusher. Stick pushers are very aggressive almost pulling the yoke from the hands so they only activated on two sensors. The compressed air supply to them could be shutdown. Likewise the gentler stick nudger,

        • Calling modern FBW designs of just a simple augmentation is a great understatement. C* or C*U designs are a complete full authority control which replaces pilot inputs to surfaces. The look and feel is the same as conventional planes, but inside the computers is a complete different world than just adding some augmentation command.

  14. Can’t post inline, so-

    Scott H said:I think the A220 will do just fine, and if Airbus does launch the 220-500, it will do even better.

    Yea, verily. If anything that’s a substantial understatement IMO, but we’ll see.

  15. Airbus appears to be prepared to raise the stakes by re-wining the A320 arrangement

    Except if you imply that Boeing and others make them wine about the new Airbus wing, the spelling ought to clearly be “re-winging” 🙂

    Much appreciated Scott, for keeping us educated about the turns of events. We are in an extremely fascinating stage with numerous oportunities and likely entanglements.

  16. For all those who wanted to see, the indicator for a new CFRP wing was out in the open one or two years ago in the form of a CFRP center wing box. Some may remember. I believe many have discounted that as a finger play of freshmen at Airbus. Now here comes the complete wind and everybody is surprised?

    The overlap between an A220-550 and an A320 is no problem at all. Some airlines will have an A220 fleet, other a A320 fleet. They will also have some different strengths and weaknesses depending on the mission.

    You may remember Boeing’s good old strategy to out-Produce Airbus with the 737, no matter the size of open orders. It sure worked to quite an extend, as it kept production cost down and allowed to win orders from airlines with a closer time horizon. Now Airbus is doing the same to Boeing. They are pushing production hard to match market demand and to sell to all those Airlines who are not 100% Boeing and discover that they need to replace an aging fleet or grow capacities back after traffic recovers past the pandemic. This might hurt Boeing really badly.

    Offering the new CFRP wing also tells Airlines that Airbus is serious in giving the A320 family a long life, maybe even while moving over to liquid hydrogen, while the 737 now looks like it’s on its last leg.

    If Boeing wants to save its commercial airliner business they would have to act fast and make sure they make the right moves. Are they up to it? I guess we will know soon.

    • Absolutely. Delta’s fleet has 320s in three lengths, 737s in 2. And they said early on, they wanted CSeries, A220s, in three lengths. When you own almost a thousand planes, it makes sense to be diverse for a number of strong business reasons.

    • Some interesting details of GKNs work on OOA wing boxe demonstrator – another example of what I was saying about the T1 suppliers developing their own composite structures
      And the earlier A320 demonstrator –
      ‘ At JEC 2017, a“one-shot” integrated center wing box for the A320 was displayed by Airbus Technocentre Nantes (Nantes, France). The display was actually a half-scale demonstrator, part of a program aimed to achieve a 20% reduction in manufacturing cost.’
      The manufacturing cost reduction is a win win.

  17. They can put a new wing on the A322, but that doesn’t make it a twin aisle, so Boeing has that. Also it will be interesting to see if the certification is as prolonged as the 777x.
    I think it would take an eight row stretch of the A223 to equal the 738, which may be a stretch to far. An A225 with multi-class seating at 150 seats for Delta seems like the next logical step for that platform.

    • Boeing has what? Plenty of old 767 and 757 that will be replaced by Airbus A321 and A322. Boeing has no small twin aisle plane. Maybe they dream about it, maybe they have plenty of concepts, but their have no final design, they have no production.
      We have not seen Airbus having problems with certification ever, as far as I can remember. So why should they have trouble like with the 777X? Is there any reason behind your musing?
      The A223 is two generations advanced compared to the 738, so it’s certainly not equal by any means, but light years ahead. The A220 doesn’t have to match the number of seats of the 738 to be much more desirable by airlines, and for the A225 it will be a free kick. The only problem that Airbus has is producing them fast enough.
      I just learned that Airbus plans to bring the production of the A320 family to 63/month in early 2023 and to 70/month in 2024. If true that will leave hardly any room for the 737, especially when the A220 will go to 14/month.

      • Here’s a little bit more info on the production hikes at Airbus:

        “A320 Family: Airbus confirms an average A320 Family production rate of 45 aircraft per month in Q4 2021 and calls on suppliers to prepare for the future by securing a firm rate of 64 by Q2 2023. In anticipation of a continued recovering market, Airbus is also asking suppliers to enable a scenario of rate 70 by Q1 2024. Longer term, Airbus is investigating opportunities for rates as high as 75 by 2025.

        A220 Family: Currently at around rate five aircraft per month from Mirabel, Quebec and Mobile, Alabama locations, the rate is confirmed to rise to around six in early 2022. Airbus is also envisaging a monthly production rate of 14 by the middle of the decade.

        A350 Family: Currently at an average production rate of five per month, this is expected to increase to six by autumn 2022.

        A330 Family: Production remains at an average monthly production rate of two per month.”


        On the subject of long certification trajectories, here’s some news on the MAX-10…which started runway tests more than a year ago, but isn’t slated for delivery until 2023! It’s expected to carry out its maiden flight in the next few days.


        • Back in 2014, LNA wrote:

          “Boeing is on the defensive in the single-aisle market. The Airbus A320neo family has about a 57% market share against the Boeing d 737 MAX. As recently as Wednesday’s third quarter earnings call, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney *expressed confidence in market share recovery to parity*. We don’t see this happening. The development by Airbus of a 97t “A321neoLR” (Long Range) airplane as a 757 replacement for the long, thin routes of around 3,900nm, although a small market of perhaps 100 airplanes, enhances the A321neo model and could give a boost the the A320neo campaigns. We had the worldwide exclusive on the development of the A321neoLR Wednesday. Boeing’s image in the single-aisle sector took a big hit at the ISTAT Europe conference last month. About 1,200 people attended the event and in an audience poll, only 23% voted that Boeing has the most competitive narrow body family; 50% voted for Airbus.


          Fast forward to 2021, what’s changed?

          • McNerny? He was one of the main architects of most of the major collapse of Boeing. After being onboard to outsource so much of the Dreamliner, he blamed everything but himself, and fell head over heels for jiggering the 737 to its MAXimum potential.

      • Maybe Airbus will hold off launching a new CFRP wing on the A322, and let Boeing go first. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing goes twin aisle, and Airbus new CFRP wing goes on a new twin aisle as well.
        Are we (us and Airbus) talking about a CFRP wing for the 1,000nm mission, or focused on the 4,000nm mid range sector?

        • Nothing has indicated Airbus is prepared to do an all new aircraft.

          Airbus is fixed in a good spot with a new wing option.

          Boeing has to have a new aircart.

          • @TW

            You invented the spot on right word for BA!

            Bravo! -Heaven has rained a thousand merits!

            Aircart is just exactly what they do

        • I believe it takes a stretch no more than six rows for the A223 to match the B738.

  18. I think Airbus will rewing the A321. There are several points I am not so sure about.
    Folding wing or wingtips. Expensive, added complexity, added need for service, does not sound to good on a short haul frame.
    Airbus could do a wing inside the 52 code D. Rewing the XLR and do a A322, give them a good range. There will be a limited number of frames. Ramp up production on this wing until it is a solid industrial process.
    Than do a wing for the A320, A320-500 and A321 short range. Keep it inside of the 36m C code limit.
    Go for less expensive, less needed service, instead of the highest more expensive tech possible. We are talking about mass production.

    • Until now, Airbus is not “doing a wing”.
      Airbus is preparing the tools & the processes to make it, and it is doing it on the shop floor, not on some distant drawing office.
      When the tools & the processes will be ready, final design will be done to maximize the results (read minimize fasteners & assembly).
      Hint: forget “concurrent design”.
      First application will be likely a “low volume” wing; that’s why I see as a possibility a rewing of the A220, making it cheaper than the actual wing and suitable for a ramp up.

    • > We are talking about mass production.

      Even 200 wings a month is not mass production. Very little in the entire industry is mass produced.

      • > Even *200 wings a month* is not mass production. <

        Please fill us in.

  19. Nice Reuters analysis this morning concerning “The $15 billion jet dilemma facing Boeing’s CEO”

    “A weakened Boeing has little margin for error, especially as it tackles industrial problems hobbling other airliners.
    Boeing’s first option is to strike relatively quickly, bringing to market by around 2029 a 5,000-mile single-aisle jet with some 10% more fuel efficiency. That could potentially be launched for orders in 2023.
    An alternative option is to wait for the next leap in engine technology, not expected until the early 2030s. That could involve open-rotor engines with visible blades using a mixture of traditional turbines and electric propulsion.

    Both approaches carry risks. If it moves too quickly, Boeing may face a relatively straightforward counter-move.
    Airbus’ preference is do nothing and preserve a favorable status quo, European sources say. But it has for years harbored studies codenamed “A321neo-plus-plus” or “A321 Ultimate” with more seats and composite wings to repel any commercial attack.
    Such an upgrade might cost Airbus some $2-3 billion, but far less than the $15 billion Boeing would spend on a new plane.
    For Boeing, a premature tit-for-tat move runs the risk of merely replicating the strategic spot it finds itself in now.
    If it moves too slowly, however, investors may have to bear a decade of perilously low market share in the single-aisle category, the industry’s profit powerhouse.

    Those urging restraint, including soon-departing finance chief Greg Smith, have a simple argument, insiders say.
    Boeing has amassed a mountain of debt and burned $20 billion in cash lurching from crisis to crisis.
    “It’s a different world,” one insider said. “How could you possibly be thinking about a new airplane?””


    • @Bryce

      Thanks for this – that the mainstream press such as Reuters are saying this out loud and so succintly is confirmation indeed of what we all know and have known for some while

      How else to account for Chairman Cal and his puppetry

      Sell the thing to you know who

    • Restraint, no new plane, just keep selling 737s.

      What if the market doesn’t really want them at the price Boeing needs?

      Doing nothing can be devastating.

      • @Keesje

        Wall Street is not going to invest in a new aircart: BA have proved they are incapable of manufacture, the cart will not be sold at a profit, and even if BA were capable and the aircart could make money, investment in BA would not match the alternatives, investment in any industry in any Asian country, etcetc

        There’s still something to sell, is there not, via some sort of bundle of bits of IP, engines, RE, contracts with LUV etc

        A rump left over to service the remaining planes

        • “aircart” is my new favorite neologism for the mcBoeing saga.

          “We’ll leapfrog™ AB in 2037!”

          ok, most excellent

      • > Doing nothing can be devastating. <

        Someone tell Boeing.

        This is *all* looking eerily like what was sold to us USians in the 90s: "we'll send our extraordinarily super-awesome, never-to-be -matched specs to the Far East and let *their* proles do the work, while we [the US 5%] reap the rewards.. meanwhile, we'll shuffle paper and do
        quasi-military holding actions against our vast, now-unemployed Working Class (now known as "racist" "Trumpers"..) you know: those that most anyone would call "Salt of the Earth", pre-1990..

        It's not an accident, Dudes; and no, "5G" is not going to help (except the overlords).

    • I thought Faury’s final words in that Reuters piece were the important, if slightly veiled, ones. AB’s in the catbird’s seat,
      and everyone knows it- no matter how much spin the PR
      folks try to put on the Situation. The “BA might sit still as
      a smart n’ strategic move” line in the piece is wishful thinking.

    • I thought Faury’s final words in that Reuters piece were the important, if slightly veiled, ones. AB’s in the catbird’s seat,
      and everyone knows it- no matter how much spin the PR
      folks try to put on the Situation. The “BA might sit still as
      a smart n’ strategic move” line in the piece is wishful thinking.

      Still trying to figger out, too, who exactly forced BA to buy back
      shares with what should’ve been long-term R and D money?

  20. More Bad News

    It appears that pilot blaming will have to be dropped from Boeing’s daily PR

    Given that diversity in pilot training is taking hold in the US, and by default has taken place in the Third World, one must suppose that Boeing management will be obliged to respect the core values of ‘diversity’ with regard to airline pilots as they already do with regard to their own workforce (see Chairman Cal’s frequent injunctions)

    Are these not the new metrics by which Society and Wall Street let alone Courts of Law judge corporate liability/behaviour ?

    Blaming brown foreign pilots for crashing badly made Boeing planes has become / is becoming more and more difficult, winning legal actions impossible




  21. What’s missing? Time for A220-100s??

    “United readily admits it has a gauge disadvantage vs. Global Premium peers (i.e. United remains too overly reliant on 50- seat RJs and doesn’t have enough larger single-aisles types in the fleet, management specifically cited how Delta is 5-7 years ahead of them on this metric).”


    • Hopefully this will be the first of many such departures.
      Long overdue.

  22. > US single handedly invented diversity notions and is forcing such on itself <

    I'm pressing a point here, and apologize for that- but when the OP uses the term 'US' here, what does it mean?

    What is 'US' in the given context? Me? My Neighbor? The Proletariat? Or- far more likely- the tiny class who rule all the former? My take: "Diversity" is a ruling-class cudgel,
    meant for the time-proven purposes..

    In what previous, human-oriented culture has "diversity" been considered a good thing?

    Shorter: don't like that commenter's dissembling [for whom?] act..
    good thing

    • > US single handedly invented diversity notions and is >>>forcing such on itself<<< <

      Please help me with your above contention, Gerrard,
      for its meaning is not at all self evident. Thanks so much!


      • @Gerrard: I’ve moved to Trash twice your identical comments. This time I am publicly deleting them. Since you didn’t get the message with my previous actions, I’m giving it to you publicly now.

        Your comments are irrelevant to the post and delve into political discussion.

        I moved to Trash comments of Bill7 and others as well.

        I’ve told you many, many times: stop the political stuff that is irrevelant to the post. If you don’t get it now, you’re going into the penalty box. No discussion.


  23. I thinbk somehow government should step in at Boeing. Boeing management demonstrated Boeing was not in good hands for the last 10 years, short term greed took over.

    The company was basically drained while looking shint from the outside. Now they are broke, letting the market do its work would be a huge long term strategic failure. Too big to fail. The industry would suffer from a near monopoly.

    So if government puts in $15B (via a dozen channels), they should make sure value for the american public is assured. That this $15B doesn’t vanish in stock buy backs, pensions and dividends.

    So organisational restructuring, kpi’s based on long term value. Capitalism f.cked up at Boeing.

    • @Keesje

      What you are proposing is called a Government bail out , frequently used in the US, as per banks cars and so on

      This is capitalism at it’s worst – bails out the rich and those who have failed at the expense of the poor

      What, please, makes you think, that 15B $ would ensure that BA makes a new aircart (well designed, well chosen, competitive, profitable) while solving all their other problems, while reforming management and manufacture, procedures and regulatory capture, while providing enough capital to pay down massive debt, and the penalties from pending law suits

      You are throwing good money after bad at the very worst

    • That would be the ultimate irony: for years, BA has shouted that AB has received unfair state aid — and now BA qualifies for a bailout by the state because of runaway greed?
      Let’s not mention the fact that, for all those years, BA was receiving generous tax breaks, which also amounted to state aid.

      Incidentally, it won’t be a “near monopoly”: COMAC will be there, to make life more challenging for AB.

    • @ Keesje: Absolutely. Too big to fail is failing. The long term consequences warrant this actions. Too many jobs at stake. Leadership, or lack thereof, blew it…

  24. I truly hope that’s not gonna happen. First of all, that’s what capitalism should be about. While it might have some impact on many stakeholders, it could open up opportunities for others. If Boeing can’t make it, then so be it.

    And in case the government really has to step in, then it should do it in a way to take over share majority, so that existing shareholders feel it in their pockets. I’m sure in that case there might suddenly be plenty of owners to chip in the required equity.

    But then, I just can’t believe that the government can run it much better (certainly different)

  25. More bad news for BA:

    “Concerns raised over Boeing 777-9 performance promises”

    “Several airlines that ordered the Boeing 777-9 (777X) have voiced concerns over the promised performance of Boeing’s latest twin jet.
    The most vocal of these has been Emirates (EK/UAE) who warned Boeing last week that it will reject the aircraft if it doesn’t match the expected specification 100%.
    The issues centre around new GE9-X engines from General Electic (GE) which, despite being in test on aircraft, has not had its performance shared with customers.
    Promises from GE say that the 777-9 should deliver 10% lower fuel consumption compared to previous versions but as this data has not been shared it cannot be verified.”

    “In a statement, Boeing said: ”Boeing continues to execute a rigorous test program to demonstrate the safety, reliability and performance of the 777X. We remain committed to delivering an airplane that meets regulatory requirements and the high expectations of our customers”.”


  26. There is no way that the US government is going to just stand by. The true cost of replacing the 737max production line and supply chain is going to be at least 2-3 times the $15 billion being talked about. Even this huge sum is peanuts compared to the trillions spent on covid-19 or aerial landscaping in the middle east. Remaining one of the leading players in commercial aviation manufacturing is of crucial strategic importance to the US, it’s surprising that the government has not already jumped in. Expect the WHO case to be reframed as “levelling up the playing field” with US taxpayers cash.

    • @Grubbie

      Well maybe you’re right – but can you give any concrete examples of successful US gvmt intervention to re structure re finance re launch a moribund company such as Boeing

      Within the last 30 years

      You say WHO, I think you mean WTO : you are perhaps optimistic : over many years a lot of energy and political capital has gone into US argumentation against AB’s unfair support from EU Gvmts

      US needs to & is busy trying to pal up more with EU, not red face one and all with a volte face

      Plus- much of the attack on ‘Communist’ China has been directed at gvmt support and direction of crucial industries, in particular aviation

      A policy in favour of BA at the expense of alienating an ally, comforting an enemy, a double red face and having to eat years of anti commie propaganda?

    • There are ways to do this other than by direct nationalization.
      For example, BA could be allowed to go (technically) bankrupt, after which other aerospace companies such as Lockheed, Northrop Grumman or SpaceX could be “incentivized” by the government to “purchase” the remaining assets and continue operations. A convenient way of getting rid of pesky debt and worming out of other inconvenient obligations.

      • > A convenient way of getting rid of pesky debt and worming out of other inconvenient obligations. <

        Hey, that's the American Way, dude! : Shove the losses [pensions especially] onto the Citizenry, whilst always, always Privatizing the profits..

        so cool great country or what

      • Aircurrent blog is mentioning Japan aerospace companies – who are big suppliers to Boeing- maybe looking at a direct equity stake in Boeing, maybe as part of financing a new plane development which Japan is a part of.
        Goodbye Embraer hello Mitsubishi aerospace??

        A quickie bankruptcy doesnt get rid of loans that are secured over assets, no responsible loan maker would not use a security of some kind
        Only unsecured bond holders lose their money.

        • LNA suggested Mitsubshi tie up with Boeing after the EMB JV collapsed.

          Old news.

  27. More Bad BA News

    Wall S muttering negatively


    Boeing (BA -1.7%) opens lower as checks by Baird analysts indicate a 20% shortfall in Q2 deliveries compared with Wall Street expectations.

    Baird estimates Boeing totaled ~15 deliveries in May, which combined with April’s 17 deliveries, would make the current Q2 delivery consensus of 93 aircraft likely ~20% too high.

    The firm trims its Q2 delivery total to 77 from 99 previously, with revisions expected at the end of the month.

    But Baird analysts “still remain constructive” on Boeing based on the 737 MAX recovery.

  28. Hi Bjorn and Scott,

    No LNA comments or coverage of the demise of Aerion AS-2 supersonic aircraft (and GE terminating Affinity engine development) and United Airlines ordering Boom supersonic transport? Would love to know what you think of these developments!

      • Surely emissions per seat mile will be substantially higher. I’d be curious to know how United’s plan to introduce supersonic aircraft can be reconciled with United’s commitment to lower emissions.

  29. The next wing for either manufacturer, almost certain CFRP. 36m with split tips, folding tips, or a fixed 38m to 52m wing?

  30. 2 twin aisle has a much bigger diameter than a single aisle and will – as long as physics still exist – in tendency always be economically inferior to a single aisle 3-3 plane.

    This leads to the next problem for Boeing. Which plane will such a small 2 twin aisle compete against? …and i mean replace orders for that plane not just sell as well as that plane. the 321? not really, i think, for the reason mentioned above, but rather the 330 and the 787.

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