Over the life time of the A320, average NB seat capacity has moved up, because of lower CASM and the LCC aiming to fly as many passengers with 4 FA's. And legacy's increasing their NB seatcounts to compete. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Dis ... _351377048
Just under 200 seats seems where many airlines want to go. On the A320 and 737-800 they have been reducing seatpitch, removing / minimizing lavatory & galley space to get there. The A320 has become a bit short there. It was optimized for 150 seats 2 class 35 years ago. Now LCC's are cramming in up to 186 seats at comfort levels that are not accepted by many airlines & passengers.
Airlines have been asking for a A320 stretch for a long time. Easyjet, Jetblue and most likely Air France. https://www.flightglobal.com/easyjet-re ... 22.article
Ryanair's O'Leary before he launched the 200 seat 737-8 200: "Look at the economics of the 737, the 800 [series] has 189 seats. The [Airbus] A320 has 180 seats. And those nine extra seats when you're flying them eight times a day, 365 days a year are a compelling competitive advantage for Boeing."
The A321 is way bigger (7-8 rows) than the A320, more expensive to buy & operate. So less attractive to function as a natural A320CEO replacement by large operators like Delta, UA and Air France. As shown by Astuteman the A320 backlog is shrinking. Big airlines are not ordering it, switching to A321's, ordering 737MAX or asking for A220-500. Medium term, not everything seems ok with the A320's market propostion. Doesn't mean Airbus will end it, there's just less demand.
I think Keesje floated the A320.5 quite a while before Airbus even took over the C-series.
The argumention can be found on the first post here on A.net
Fair enough, instead of newly created from thin air, it's a reincarnation to make room for the A225.
Still seems pretty dubious to me.
The leeham article features a photoshop culled from a.net.
Seems pretty circular to me.
Suggesting that an A320 stretch is just an internet dream to make room for another internet dream (A220-500) seems a bit uninformed and tendentious to me. Suddenly it is in the heads Airbus too apparently (*not if, when).
Maybe you shouldn't ignore Airbus was looking at stretching the A320 before Covid, but pushed it out concentrating on supply chain issues they had at that time. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-airb ... KKBN1HH1SS