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Could this be the Boeing 797?[/caption]
If the future of new airliner designs was decided by neat artist impressions like the one shown above, the next Boeing jet airliner would be piling up hundreds of orders by now.
But hold the enthusiasm. Jets aren't bought on their appearances, and whatever it is that the good people at Boeing might do with the interminably discussed new medium airliner, or middle of the market airliner, or 797, or whatever they might call it, it will be totally stuffed by airlines that buy it with tiny seats too small for pre-teenagers.
We find ourselves in an air transport world where aesthetics, and amenity, count for nothing.
This analysis by Leeham News and Comment
, which is also the source of the graphic, pulls together all the hints that are being dropped by Boeing and Airbus as to what the US plane maker might do to end the sales supremacy of the A321 NEO over the largest 'real' Boeing alternative, the 737 MAX 9, and its 'offerable' extension, a MAX 10 no-one has officially ordered as yet.
The headline 'How Airbus can kill the Boeing 797
' is fair enough, although the report also shows how Boeing could at least claw back some ground by actually doing something convincing before the European consortium makes its move.
On its record, things do not look good for Boeing. Everything it has said about dealing with the new tech version of the Airbus single aisle family this century has been all huff and no puff.
Of particular interest is the new suggestion in the Leeham report that Airbus might upgrade the A321 NEO with a carbon fibre wing. Which, in a few words, is what Boeing is doing (and more) to its 777 family with the 777-X series. We await the inevitable revelation that Airbus might also give it folding wingtips, so that an A321 NEO Double Plus or whatever it decides to call it can fly 160 passengers non-stop between Adelaide and, let's take a guess, Atlanta. Hourly.
Boeing hasn't said very much about what a 797 might be like inside, but some of the graphics that surfaced from a coffee shop near Renton last year implied it could offer a seven across economy seating cabin just like the much missed 767 family, which was so brutally killed off by the A330s.
That would be every standard adult sized passenger's dream. However it is a case of 'dream on' as shown by the fate of civilised seating proposals for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners which were turned into something far less amenable by lifting the seating geometry from eight to nine across.
It's barely a month before this year's Paris Air Show. Expect many more stories like this as to what either planemaker might do to the other.