Will Airbus Make A New Plane To Compete With The Boeing 797?

With Boeing still confident that they’ll bring a NMA to market by 2025, possibly called the Boeing 797, we wonder how Airbus are feeling about it? With similar gaps in their product lineup to cope with, should they be looking at a new aircraft too? Will Airbus make a new plane to compete with Boeing’s proposed 797 which is expected to have a range of around 5,000nmi and capacity to carry 250 to 270 passengers on short haul journeys. It would fit neatly in the gap between Boeing’s top selling 737 family and their larger 787s. It’s designed to be a plane that will cope well with short haul, high capacity routes, and is expected to have twin aisles for speedy boarding and disembarkation. Airbus are not planning any aircraft to fit in this gap, or at least not yet. They have a similar void in their offerings, which would sit between the A320 family and the A330s. So, will Airbus make a new plane to compete with the 797, or do they think their current lineup is enough? The A330neo The A330neo is fast becoming a firm favorite for long haul twin aisle operations. Being smaller than the A350s, it’s an economical plane to operate, but will all the advantages of a widebody configuration. Airbus have previously said that they believe the A330neo could be a direct competitor to the Boeing NMA. The A330neo has been popular with airlines. Photo: Airbus In fact, one of the Airbus range is practically a direct competitor to the proposed 797 already; the A330-800neo. However, in contrast to the huge number of orders Airbus have enjoyed for their A330-900, so far, the A330-800 has had less than 10. It seems it is still not ticking the boxes airlines require of a true NMA aircraft. Airbus have already said there are ‘tweaks’ in the pipeline which would put the A330neo in direct competition with the Boeing NMA. According to Crawford Hamilton, the A330’s marketing chief, Airbus plan to make an A330neo with rerated engines. This modification will reduce fuel demands and takeoff weight of the aircraft. Could the A330-800neo be further tweaked to better compete? Image: Airbus The idea of this is to reduce the range of the A330neo while also making it much cheaper to operate. Speculation is that the B797 could be as much as 40% cheaper to run that the Airbus A330neo, so reducing fuel consumption is a must if they plan to compete effectively. If Airbus are planning a smaller, lighter version of the A330neo, perhaps the A330-600neo, we could see some news about it at the Paris Airshow next month. The A321XLR At the other end of the ‘gap’ that Boeing are looking to plug sits the A321 family of aircraft. Currently, the closest it gets to the 5,000nmi expected of the 797 is with the Long Range (LR) version. The A321LR is certified to fly up to 4,000nmi with 206 passengers on board. The […]

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