I think the Boeing 7E7
could become a hot seller because not only are there large fleets of 767's and older A300B's/A310's that are reaching obselence, but because of the fact that many countries are starting to de-emphasize the main gateway
concept of international airports, which means much more point-to-point
flying and no longer need large planes like 747's and A380's.
Besides, given the fact that the 7E7
will be a clean sheet design airplane, Boeing could design a plane that not only will offer roomy dual-aisle seating for 200-250 passengers and full LD3 container compatibility, but also could increase the economic cruising speed to as high as Mach 0.89, which means it could offer most of the speed advantages of the now-shelved Sonic Cruiser
project. Imagine being able to cut nearly a hour of flight time on IAD
or well over a hour of flight time on really long routes like LHR
. With the likely chance that Boeing will try to get at least ETOPS 240-minute certification for the 7E7
, that could make it really attractive for flights across the Pacific.
I have this feeling that Airbus will not take this threat idly. Expect Airbus to offer a new version of the A330-200 with an all-new wing, probably a modified tail design, and uprated engines so it can increase the economic cruising speed to at least Mach 0.86 and increase the range to over 7,000 nautical miles.