From Airways News:
One spillover effect of the price pressure could be on how Boeing plans for a new middle of market (MOM) airplane to compete with the Airbus A321neo. Thanks to the A321neo’s naked superiority over the Boeing 737 MAX 9, Boeing needs a new MOM option as soon as possible to regain parity in the narrowbody space. Most indications to date (and our preference) have been for Boeing to pursue a clean-sheet design with significant innovation. The problem is that such a strategy would be very expensive, incurring development costs of $15-20 billion. Thanks to financial pressure, Boeing might instead opt for yet another 737 MAX variation, this time building a new wing for a stretch of the 737 MAX 9 with new engines to launch in the mid-2020s. Such an option might be combated by Airbus with an accompanying A322neo, but would limit development expenditures to just $5-7 billion.
I still think Boeing is being stupid for taking the cheap way out. They're losing in the narrowbody market, and Airbus is catching up in the widebody market.
Despite it's otherwise high cost, an MoM could then be used to derive an NSA with far more technological advances down the road for, I'd imagine, a rather cheap cost, with the same cockpit, type rating, etc, but with just optimized wings, engines, etc.
Instead they're going to spend up to $10B developing something that could be a 757 but with inferior payload, a restrictive design and, frankly, terrible field performance, and then we're going to have this discussion 10 years from now when a new design is really needed, and they'll have nothing to show for it. Then, at that time, they'll have to spend $15-20B, maybe more, on a cleansheet type, while losing in the market in the process.
Are they really going to shove 757 sized double bogey MLGs into a 737 body?
I'll make a prediction now: If Boeing does a 737-10X 'Mad-MAX' like this, and Airbus does the A322 in response, Airbus is winning that fight, plain and simple. They'll win with payload, they'll probably win with weight, seeing as an all new wing, engine, etc. isn't going to help, and they'll almost certainly win with comfort. And then the market won't need a 757 replacement because Airbus would have already done it. There's a lot at stake, IMHO, and I hope someone at Boeing is thinking about this long and hard.
I mean, you may call me crazy or stupid, that's fine, and I understand the financial aspects of this, but I'm trying to see the potentials in a broader picture. They have a little time to make a decision, and I hope it's a good one.
[Edited 2016-02-23 22:11:54]