In a Flight International article Airbus (VP G. Blanc) confirms it is working on a new design to fill the gab between A320 and 330/340 series.
Airbus indentified two distinct markets :
- Short range 200 passengers
- Long range (7000Nm) minimum 250 passengers.
Main drivers are economic efficiency and family and environmental impact.
Shrink A330 variants appear to be cheap-to-develop but un-economical to operate.
The aircraft will probably be twin aisle and make extensive use of weight saving composites.
A300/310 backlog for passenger aircraft is eight. Five of them are a deferred order for Iraq.
Seems like a new A vs B battle is starting for the 200-250 segment. Airlines convinced both that their existing products are not good enough.
Introduction date new "A350" and "B787", 2008-1010 ....
Who will take the lead ?
I think Boeing, they can put all their undistracted energy and skills in it and are hot to give Airbus a punch.
Airbus is busy on the A380 and doesn't want the new aircraft to put their 330-200 under pressure.
Could become interesting .....