It seems an independent consultant mentioning the possibility for the A320 in the Bloomberg article and the writer putting it in a catchy header is all we got. The other articles are reactions on that. Interesting to see how unstoppable such "news" can be.
Almost a ‘drug like rush’...easy to be in an echo chamber.
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Boeing knows that Airbus could seriously degrade - IMJ likely torpedo - the business case for a cantilever-wing NMA by rewinging and stretching the A321XLR. The physics are obvious: difference between clean-sheet NMA and rewinged XLR is maybe 5% of COC; Airbus could probably get to equal DOC (esp. including incumbency/transition costs) by selling a rewinged XLR at a discount that is cash-flow-positive for Airbus on a ~4bn investment. I would guess Airbus also believes its cash flow position is better with the status quo than with a reactive rewing.
So its optimal strategy is a game-theory "commitment" strategy: make current investments such that, if Boeing acts on NMA, Airbus has a cheap path to rewing that is rational (given ongoing commitment of investment) and predictable, and that predictably nullifies the value proposition in Boeing's possible NMA investment.
Airbus wants the status quo; it knows Boeing want to upset it; it knows that it must make public commitments to an NMA response to deter Boeing from upsetting the status quo. To defend the status quo, Airbus must invest in preconditions to responding to its overthrow.
On that strategic picture, it is in Airbus' interests to publicize its readiness to respond to NMA. It is probably also in Airbus' interests to allow a consultant to make these disclosures, as she has a bit of "independence." It would be very unsophisticated to suppose that Airbus' attorneys don't know how to make sure that its consultants don't make these disclosures, should Airbus actually desire them not to do so.
Given the very real benefits of rewinging the A321XLR, I don't expect Boeing can profitably beat it (i.e. recover investment at prevailing private discount rates) with a cantilever-wing monoplane. XLR will have its domain until/unless we see BWB and/or strut-braced wings.
Given relatively small stakes of private investment in Boeing/Airbus and the huge stakes of global travel availability, I find this scenario tragically suboptimal. It is a duopoly holding feasible efficiency gains hostage to the interests of shareholders. Humanity's best hope lies with China and/or Russia putting Airbus/Boeing out of business.