I think a new 180-250 seat PW1137 powered A322NEO would make Boeing abandon the NMA businesss case.
And launch an NSA to regain parity in the 150-200 seat NB segment, the bulk of the market.
Probably a reason Airbus stays quiet on an XLR based A322. A 60+% market share, 70+% revenue share is way better than fighting for every order.
Let them focus on free cash flow, dividents and dream NMA as if we live in 1992.
A few observations about Airbus' potential moves.
As I posted earlier, I believe there is a "leading" element to the Airbus strategy and a "lagging" element.
The leading element is incremental
change to the A320/A321NEO
Whilst the NEO is so strong, and whilst NMA stays a nefarious and undefined product, I don't think Airbus will launch major changes to the NEO.
I think they will continue to push the NEO with relatively low hanging fruit, like the XLR.
I think a look at the MAX shows that size changes only really happen when there is an imperative from lack of sales.
The 737-7 was increased in size so as to capture the WN order when the original size had stalled.
The 737-10 was introduced due to the failure of the 737-9 to address the A321.
Currently the A320NEO has a backlog of 2,650 units.
I think an A320.5 makes great sense in a product strategy, but I don't see it happening with such a large A320 backlog.
Not yet, anyway
When sales of A320NEO dry up, then maybe this will happen.
It seems clear that a pretty simple
stretch of the XLR could be done.
And I think the driver in this case would be to further narrow the NMA gap.
We have a clear tendency to focus on the extra range/payload capability that NMA may have over an A321/A322.
But on the basis that average narrowbody sectors are about 1,000Nm and medium size widebody sectors are about 3,000Nm, I think that a simple
stretch A322 would be a really valid development, and a real way of further limiting the market for NMA for very little cost.
A 4 ish metre stretch with 4-5 extra rows ( depending on config) would almost certainly match the range capability of the current A321NEO (c. 3,500Nm nominal, 2,800Nm ish "real-world" i.e. westbound, or LCC config).
This range capability doesn't seem to have harmed the A321NEO one tiny bit, despite the fact that it would be marginal at best for TATL.
What portion of NMA market do we think TATL really is?
I think that both the 321NEO/XLR and simple A322 would benefit from incremental engine gains as the OEM's work on the NMA's engines.
And despite all the existing MTOW gains, I wouldn't bet against Airbus using digital technologies and MBSE to release another 1 tonne or so of MTOW, making the XLR a nominal 5,000Nm plane, and the A322 a c.3,800Nm-3,900Nm nominal plane, and probably capable of "near-range" TATL
Now for the "lagging" bit of the strategy
New wing? New landing gear? New engines?
I don't think any of these will happen any time soon.
I think Airbus will keep their powder dry on the big investments until/unless Boeing launch NMA, and actually see how they need to react.
That way they will have milked the NEO for maximum return and profit for minimum expense, and be in a very good place to appropriately position a strong response when required.
What that will be? Could be
major NEO changes
an all-new 3x3
an all-new 2-3-2
an all-new 2-4-2