March 10, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we could see that the best investment in new aircraft technology would be for the replacement of the single-aisle segment, where the Airbus A320 series and Boeing 737 MAX are the players.
If we can make this segment more efficient, we will improve the economics and emissions from this aircraft class. The detailed discussion is done in a sister article, New aircraft technologies. Part 3P. This is a summary of this article.
The first thing we could see was that naming the segment as “Single aisle” or “Narrowbody” is a bad choice. It directs our thinking into a certain aircraft type even before we have defined the requirements of the segment.
When we look at the time it takes to develop a new aircraft and get it into the market, and then over what time period it shall be delivered, the choice of aircraft type is less clear.
What we know is:
So the first thing to do is to understand the fundamental requirements of a next-generation “heart of the market” aircraft. It’s not whether it has some new wing configuration or a different propulsion system.
It’s what aircraft type do we develop? Do we think the “heart of the market” will move less than over the last decades? In such a case, is a new, more efficient, single aisle the right aircraft?
Or, if the market moves at the present pace, can then a dual aisle plane be as efficient as a single aisle?
The 3P article put numbers to this discussion, defined the base specification points of the new aircraft, and decided what the next steps are.