Boeing To Focus On A ‘797-7’ To Combat Airbus A321XLR Competition

According to news out of Paris yesterday, Boeing could be looking to launch the 797 or New Midsized Aircraft with the larger -7 model. The purpose of this would be to compete against the new Airbus A321XLR announced at the Paris Air Show yesterday morning.

Boeing 797
The Boeing 797 was previously expected to be announced at this years Paris Airshow. Photo: Dj’s Aviation via Youtube

Boeing had been expected to officially launch the NMA at the Paris Air Show this week. However, things are less than peachy in the Boeing camp. The manufacturer is currently competing against a wall of bad publicity generated by its Boeing 737 MAX crisis. Additionally, Boeing had hoped to showcase the 777X at the Paris Air Show, however, its first flight has been postponed until autumn citing issues with the aircraft’s engines.

Why is this significant?

Well, we had been expecting Boeing to launch two variants of the 797. These would have been the 797-6 and the 797-7. Typically, Boeing has been known to first introduce the smaller aircraft, and then extend or stretch the fuselage accordingly. This is perfectly demonstrated by the Boeing 787. First, we got the 787-8, then the 787-9, and most recently, the Boeing 787-10 has begun operating for airlines.

Aviation Week Network, however, reports that in the case of the Boeing 797, Boeing is now looking to lead with the larger -7. This is in order for the manufacturer to compete against Airbus’ brand new A321XLR. While the first XLR is due to be delivered in 2023, Boeing is currently targeting 2025 for a first Boeing 797 delivery.

Boeing 797 Airbus A321XLR
The A321XLR has become a competitor for the proposed Boeing 797. Photo: Airbus

Airbus A321XLR vs Boeing 797-6 vs Boeing 797-7

The Airbus A321XLR is practically a direct competitor for the Boeing 797-6. Coincidentally, both of the aircraft are also akin to the Boeing 757 which is gradually being withdrawn from service.

However, Boeing’s lead with the -7 will give them access to a slice of the market which is currently unserved by the aircraft manufacturers. The New Midsize Airplane will supposedly be suited to high capacity short-haul routes. Examples include Melbourne to Sydney or Chicago to New York. The wide-bodied aircraft will have two aisles to make boarding and disembarkation faster too.

Boeing 797 Airbus A321XLR
Qatar Airways previously said that they aim to be the Boeing 797 launch customer. Photo: Qatar Airways

Boeing 797 progress

The Boeing 797 still has an awful long way to go before joining its first fleet as a certified aircraft. For starters, the project is yet to get an official seal of approval from the Boeing board. Next, the designers will need to sit down and fix the aircraft’s design, before manufacturing airframes for the purpose of testing and certification. If all of this goes well, then you are ready to deliver an aircraft to the market. Qatar Airways has previously shown an interest in being the Boeing 797’s launch customer.

Do you think it is wise for Boeing to pursue the -7 before the -6? Let us know in the comments!