Like I've said, the chances of NW
ordering the 773ER or the 346 is slim to none at this time.
Think about it:
United has no plane between the 744 and the 777, which is configured with far less than 300 seats internationally. NZ
flies with no plane between the 767 and 747. British Airways flies 777s with a less than 300 seat count. Qantas only recently began adding planes bigger than the 767, and they're gonna be less than 300 seats when configured for regional service too!
's 333s are configured with more seats than a UA
international 777, and the 332 will be comparable in seat quantity.
333s can fly most of NW
's routes, with a 50 seat loss in capacity vs the 742. The 332 can fly ALL
's routes, with a 100 seat loss. Really, in a market where trimming capacity is good, these are acceptable margins of reduction.
Expect additional A330 flying with seasonal 744 service where applicable or additional frequencies where possible, and nothing else until the market experiences a massive recovery.
At that point, who knows. Believe me, I'd like to see NW
operate a larger widebody too, but I doubt that's gonna be the case for a few years.