Airbus Could Build A New Narrowbody In The 2030s

Airbus is keen to build an ultra-modern narrowbody jet to be launched in the 2030s. At the Dubai Airshow yesterday (19/11/19), Airbus boss Guillaume Faury said he believes the coming together of production technology and design mechanisms will slingshot the launch of a brand new type.

Airbus at Dubai Airshow
Airbus likely to start production of a new narrowbody in the middle of the next decade. Photo: Airbus press release

Airbus hints at its being on the cusp of a project to develop a new and technologically advanced narrowbody jet. Writes Flight Global, boss Faury believes the new jet will embrace not only the radical changes to worldwide aviation but also new advancements in production.

Speaking at the Dubai Airshow, Faury told Flight Global, “We are at a point of time where we see a number of major changes impacting aviation, and they will probably impact the single-aisle business first.

I would consider the launch of a [single-aisle] programme in the second half of the next decade and entry into service in the early 2030s,” he added.

We have contacted Airbus for comment.

Digital production

Guillaume Faury also made clear, however, that the production of a new type could only start when the technologies and innovations necessary were available in combination.

Above all, Faury sees digital production of the aircraft as crucial to its realization. Utilizing as many new technologies in the design, manufacture and assembly as possible could pave the way.

Airbus Executive and others
Airbus boss says new propulsion technology is coming soon. Photo: Airbus press release

Automation of the production system is a key enabler,” said Faury. “We are all working on this.

“We see [production] ‘robot-isation’ at the scale of those products close to being mature. With many partners to anticipate and prepare the technologies and propulsion systems of the future.

It will be worth launching the development of a new single-aisle only when we have a combination of those technologies that make sense.

New type

If it comes to fruition, a new narrowbody would be pivotal. It may raise the bar amid Airbus’s competition with Boeing, especially for narrow-body, clean-flown seats.

Boeing currently leads in narrow-body capacity, according to CAPA, with 71.5% seat share thanks to the longstanding success of the 737 and 757.

Airbus neo winglet
A new type from Airbus is likely to cause Boeing more concern. Photo: Airbus press release

Airbus’s intentions are clear but details sketchy. Production lines are expected to turn only when new engine technologies become available in tandem with AI-led production mechanisms.

Currently, Airbus’s new engine options such as those seen of the A320 Family are selling well. The neo delivers a fuel saving of up to 15% compared to similar types on the market, as well as a raft of other benefits to money- and environment-conscious airlines.

New engine

Of its new types, Airbus is already considering the feasibility of redesigned wings and tweaks to current power plant mechanics to enable a further boost of fuel efficiency. What type of aircraft Faury now talks of is unclear. But the airline seems ready for a step-change in fuel efficiency and propulsion.

In June of this year, Bloomberg wrote about Airbus’s intention to bring to market the world’s first hybrid-electric airliner. Airbus spoke of its confidence in the new system. It was, “Ready for roll-out on an all-new single-aisle jet around 2035”.