Calhoun announced that the development work Boeing has been doing for several years on the NMA is starting over.
Boeing had hoped to have that jet in service by 2025 but the concept—an aircraft intermediate in size and range between the narrowbody and widebody jet segments—has been overtaken by Airbus’s huge sales success in selling its contender in that jet category, the A321neo.
The delay in launching the NMA means Boeing must now think even further ahead, taking account of developing Chinese competition.
“Things have changed a bit. The competitive playing field is a bit different. We have to plan for China,” Calhoun said. “We’re going to start with a clean sheet of paper again.”
And he indicated that the lessons learned from the MAX accidents, especially the change in thinking about how flight crews handle emergencies, could have a profound impact on that next new airplane design.
“We might have to start with the flight control philosophy before we actually get to the airplane,” he said. “We’ve always favored airplanes that required more pilot flying than maybe our competitor did. We are all going to have to get our heads around exactly what we want” in future.