I've been reading quite a bit about ideas of creating a longer range A321 that would be a B757 replacement. The A321 would probably need new wings and bigger engines and therefore considerable investment.
However, it seems to me that Airbus could easily create a longer range A320 by taking the changes it made to create the A321 and putting them on an A320. This would allow a higher MTOW. The changes would be the following:
- A321 wings and double slotted flaps put on an A320. A321 wings are 4 sq.m. larger than A320 wings.
- Strengthen the A320 structure in a comparable way to the A321.
- Larger A321 engines could be fitted onto an A320.
- Larger fuel tanks from the A321.
- The A321 has a 30,000 lb. higher MTOW than the A320 meaning that the MTOW of the A320 can be increased if the wings are changed.
By doing this Airbus could bring up the MTOW of the A320 without much investment. They've already engineered all these changes on the A321.
Would a longer range A320 NEO created without much cost to Airbus make sense to them. There must be some routes where a longer range A320 could make sense. An A320 on Trans-Atlantic routes would probably make sense somewhere.
[Edited 2013-10-21 07:15:35]