Aviation Week has had the initiative and resources to join in a finance sector survey of over 500 airlines to see if they want a Boeing MoM or Middle of the Market jet, and the results are intriguing.
It seems like more than half of them actually want a jet similar to the Dreamliner 787-3 variant which Boeing officially abandoned more than six years ago.
However a substantial proportion also opted for a single aisle jet that sounds like the Airbus A321 NEO (both LR and standard offers) which Airbus has not only not abandoned, but used to destroy the marketability of the alternative Boeing 737 MAX 9 stretch.
It’s a cruel world, as airline analysts often note, but that isn’t to say Boeing won’t build ‘something’ or that Airbus won’t respond with ‘something else’ .
We can almost hear the graphic designers in the opposing camps hammering together diagrams that will prove conclusively, at next week’s Farnborough Airshow in the UK, whatever it is they wish to prove in relation to the so called MoM market.
This has been variously been claimed to be a Boeing 757 replacement (a jet abandoned by Boeing in 2004 and last delivered in 2005) or perhaps even an A330-800 NEO (or recent build A330-200) killer, although given the minimal orders for the -800, a mercy killing might be the right description.
Just what could an MoM really be, without being a variant of the 787, A330NEO or A320NEO families?
That is the difficult question the survey doesn’t answer, which isn’t a criticism of it, as it does cover the wish lists of a significant sample of airlines and air freight operators.
It isn’t know if either Australian carrier was asked what it wanted in mother. It could have been a difficult, and very brief discussion, given that no one can seriously imagine Qantas or Virgin Australia even thinking about an all new jet, or even a currently proposed new type of jet, for let’s say, about 10 years.
Australian carriers are resolutely about making money from what they have, or are committed to receive under contract, if cornered. Maybe they will both sell themselves to foreign owners who will indulge us with flashy new airliners, or just allow them to code share themselves into oblivion. Being an Australian airline is just-too-hard! But this is to digress.
How, in the wider world, Boeing and Airbus address change and innovation with designs that are relevant to likely areas of demand is an important question. Neither can afford to bet their businesses on mirages.