Did you know that a 757-300 carries exactly the same number of people as a 767-400 in a fuselage 23' shorter and 4' narrower? If someone can explain that to me, go right ahead. Both are designed for 245 passengers. And now for opinions: Airbus needs to make a new airliner and stop with their widebodies for a while. The A300, A310, A330, and A340 are beautiful and perform wonderfully. The newest A300s are still doing service worldwide, the A330 is used on select routes in competition with the more efficient 777 yet Airbus is not proposing an A330-300X or -400 design to match this competition, and the A340's new models promise to be the outstanding four-engine range masters of the world, leaving the 747 behind for capacity uses only. Were Airbus to extend the A340 program to a series -700, they would be capable, I have no doubt, of outperforming the 747. But what are they doing instead? Working on a superjumbo A3XX. Here's what I say for Airbus: Start working on an A350 or A322 & A323, call it what you will, it needs to be a versatile lesson-learned aircraft built from the experience of millions of narrow-body flight hours and A320 family experience. The A350 narrow-body would have to maintain the A320 family's excellent width (superior to Boeing's) whilst creating an entirely new length and wing and equiping it with larger engines and fuel tanks. The new airliner could compete directly with the 757-200 and -300 if it were designed either as a single airliner to hold about 215 people with a range of 200-230, and could compete even better if offered in two models, a lower end model compared best as an A322, with room for 205 passengers, a small leap over current 757-200s, which is logical since market demand has increased only very slightly in that area since the 757 was delivered. The second version, the A350-300 or A323, would be developed up to several years later or developed along with the -200 but delivered years later at almost exactly the same time as the 757-300 finaly comes into popularity. Airbus has it's warning sign: The 757-300 has debuted and sold a few orders, so why not jump on this ship before it gets too far from shore and make a narrow-body family larger than the A320? The A318 is great, it holds just fewer passengers than the 737-600, but it flies 800 nm.s lest distance! Why doesn't Airbus do something about that - I seriously doubt the A318 will compete strongly with the 737-600 for this reason. Airbus claims, furthermore, that the A320 family is more popular than the 737 family because there have been 1325 orders for A320's and only 1138 for the NG 737s, and how long have both of them been around?! If that pattern holds Airbus won't have much to brag about for long if they haven't already been out-ordered. Airbus has more than 2100 firm orders for A320 Family aircraft, where Boeing claims more than 3000, Airbus claims 71 A320 Family customers where beoing has but 57 for the NG 737 - how many operate all 737s? At least 125! And one last bit of trivia: Did you know that the 767 debuted before the 757?
A318R - increased range version to outperform 737-600s
A330-300R - increased range version to outperform 777-200s
A330-400 - longer, farther-reaching model, designed from the first to outperform 777-300ERs.
A322 - to compete with 757-200s
A323 - to compete with 757-300s and 767s.