What I find interesting is that for years it has been an A.net wisdom that Boeing would never replace the 757 because there was supposedly no market for this class of aircraft any more. And suddenly the A321(X)LR comes around and boom! So what happened here? What did Airbus see that everyone else missed?
Easy. Airbus saw that they could address a fair chunk of the MOM market by some relatively simple (especially compared to an all new platform) modifications to what will still fundamentally be an A321NEO (just with a fancier belly fuel tank).
It will come off the same production lines as 60+ other A32X family per month.
It will easily fit into any A32X fleet and be virtually interchangeable
It will be cheap and quick to produce.But it will be an A321
That's what Boeing haven't seen, because they aren't able to do this with the 737.
They have to do an all new plane if they intend to address MOM.
It will be a stand-alone platform addressing just that particular need.
The 757 and 767 are the same - that's why they have gone.
As enthusiasts we might not be too keen on the A321XLR, but as a business move it is inspired.
Imagine small airlines that operate say 20-30 A32X, but have aspirations for something more.
Convert 3 to 4 of these to A321XLR and you're good to go
Sure. But are you willing to bet a $20B on a cleansheet NMA design that I'm wrong? That's the question Boeing has to ask. And I wouldn't make that bet.
From what we read from the rumblings at PAS, yes, Boeing is still on the road to a clean sheet NMA.
The opportunity is for NMA to be to A321XLR what 787 is to A330, bigger, mostly CFRP design, better fuel burn, lower maintenance, etc.
All this careful scrubbing of the business plan should tell us that if they do launch they are confident that they can make money building it.
NMA will not be to the A321XLR what the 787 is to the A330. There's a fundamental difference, and it is the one I describe above.
There will be a lot of cases where there are barriers to entry for NMA that the A321XLR just will not face because it is basically another A321
What the careful
scrubbing of the business case tells us is that Boeing were already aware of the level of demand out there, and yet have still struggled to close the business case in 4 years.
The A321XLR can only be reducing the space that NMA will sit in.
If Boeing don't launch soon then the XLR will have eaten up a fair chunk of that demand and damaged the business case.
Much has been made of the "productionisation" of NMA, and I don't get it.
The work must be really exciting - it's right up my street and what I do for a living.
Surely the right place to apply it is into a plane that you can make 60 - 70 per month of, and really put your competitor in a tight spot that they HAVE to respond to. And, if done properly can fill in most of the NMA space anyway.
Armchair CEO time - if I were Boeing I would ditch any pretence at NMA and switch those resources onto NSA.
The MAX? Yes it became the fastest selling Boeing and could have been an amazing programme.
Sadly, the MCAS experience and attendant crashes draw the focus onto the product's limitations rather than its strengths.
I don't think that MAX will ever fully recover, and is a "lifed" item.
In other words, I wouldn't let the MAX backlog stop me from doing NSA, and moving from the back foot to the front foot
A CFRP 757/767 sounds great but why hasn’t Boeing announced it yet? They have access to so much market intelligence, they should be able to have incredibly sophisticated macroeconomic modeling capabilities. They should be able to identify every possible route where their NMA can provide a competitive advantage. At this point, they should know everything there is know to make a decision. All of this waiting is hurting them because the XLR is a compelling aircraft.
I think your answer is in your question. If they "know everything there is know to make a decision" and yet haven't launched, what should that be telling you?