Aircraft replacement conundra

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By Vincent Valery


Credit: Delta Air Lines

Aug. 23, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing has been studying the launch of a clean-sheet aircraft design for more than a decade. In light of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unlikely the American OEM will launch such a program until a recovery is well underway.

At this point, no one, including LNA, knows for sure what the New Boeing Aircraft (NBA) will be and, most importantly, when it will likely enter service. Among the possible scenarios, Boeing could decide to wait until more innovative propulsive technology, such as an open rotor, is mature enough.

Should Boeing decide to take the latter path, the NBA would realistically enter into service in the middle of the next decade. Under such a scenario, airlines operating older-generation aircraft need to find replacements among the current type of in-service aircraft.

Most older-generation in-service aircraft seating 100 or more passengers have an immediate replacement in size, which usually comes with more payload-range capacity. However, some don't, which creates a headache for fleet planners.

LNA will highlight in this article the current in-service aircraft that don't have an immediate replacement and assess the options to replace those.


  • Lack of close replacements in two market segments;
  • One market isn't a problem for passenger airlines
  • But another can be;
  • One variant concentrates most aircraft without replacements;
  • A carrier to watch.

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