I think at some point Airbus will launch a A320 replacement, slightly bigger than 737-8, with engine choice, container options, quiet spacey cabine and full A320/A321NEO commonality. But only after Boeing has fully commited itself to an NMA, starting around A321 size. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vRKb ... tretch.jpg
I hope Boeing takes the right decisions here. Airlines told / showed them since 2015 what they (don't) want.
Airbus will only launch when engine tech is ready. Airbus too is changing their engineering systems. And their massive backlog also does not need them to replace the 321 or 320 before 2030s.
John Slattery has even said tech won’t be ready till 2030.
Why is it hard for some to understand. Technology IS. NOT. READY.
If Boeing is going to base NSA off NMA. In terms of design and manufacturing. NMA must happen. NMA will be messy but it will be necessary to get aviation together the next step. Same way 787 did.
But Tech is not ready. So if they base NSA off NMA, that is based of old technology Boeing is done. That is the problem. We will not see a new design. What does it help to launch an NMA with old technology to test some manufacturing methods? That be a really expensive test for manufacturing methods that are then geared towards old technology.
Second I do not think Boeing is a bad engineering company and doing NSA and NMA with the same cross section would be bad engineering, effectively hampering both from optimal design. The only thing the NMA and NSA (if that ominous NMA ever happens) will have in common is systems and cockpit, but they will be totally different aircraft in shape and form. Like 757/767 were. Now both had a very little production run compared their competitors (737/A320/A330/787) that played in the same market segment.
If they want the "NMA" to be competitive globally it needs TPAC range with cargo capability. The Aviation market is not a homogenous distribution of stage lengths. There are 5 big markets to serve (NA domestic, EU domestic, Asia domestic, TATL, TPAC). Now the first three do not need more range than the 737 and A320 have. Both fill them huge markets and we see this in the sales. If you know build an aircraft geared towards TATL (767), you do not get sales outside of this market and your production run ends fast and with little sales (luckily the 767 hit the cargo nail head on). The MOM gap does not exist everywhere outside of TATL because a TPAC aircraft is to capable compared to a TATL one but it will do fine on that route anyway.
What seems to be way more interesting is to grow the range of the domestic workhorses towards TATL range.
So Boeing will be better developing a familiy of aircraft that can outshine everything else in the domestic markets 150-250 seats and can offer TATL range if necessary.
What is really important: If Boeing wants WN and FR and the other big 737 customers to stay Boeing customers their new offer has to be in the 150-250 seat market and not bigger. The new aircraft is not allowed to have too much more capacity because otherwise the introduction of a new type will bring problems with the unions.
WNs growth does not come by upgauging as we saw with the MAX-7 order but with the addition of new routes served with 150 seat aircraft. If the new offer from Boeing is bigger it opens a can of worms in terms of crew negotiations.
So if Boeing can not offer a new single aisle with 150 seat capacity (what a 7 abreast can not in any way do economically) the second type at WN (and there will inevitably be a second type at one point) will not be a Boeing aircraft.