So You Mean...
...that companies are only ever working on those projects that are publicly unveiled, to ensure their competitors have ample time to work on their responses?
When was the last time somebody built a commercial aircraft and didn't
make lots of noise about it in advance?
1. 7e7 (lots of publicity, not in production yet)
2. Assorted 747 and 777 variants (lots of publicity, at various stages)
3. Sonic Cruiser (lots of publicity, never got off the drawing board)
4. Pelican (many column inches earned by one intern drawing a big plane in Photoshop)
-17 (they tried making lots of publicity but nobody's interested)
A secretive approach would hardly help them get customers; unfortunate, as it would be very difficult anyway to find enough buyers for a freighter-specific design.