The world eagerly awaits the new mid-market airplane from Boeing, dubbed the Boeing 797, soon to be revealed at the Paris July Airshow.
But could Airbus be working on a competitor jet to intercept and steal Boeing customers?
What is the Boeing 797?
We have already gone into great detail about why the world needs a new mid-market plane. But in brief summary:
- Boeing currently has a gap in its lineup, between 200-300 passengers
- A narrowbody aircraft that can land at smaller airports that are popular enough to justify more capacity
- Replacement for the older Boeing 767
- Uses the latest technology like the Boeing 787
- The Boeing 737-800 is the biggest stretch Boeing can do to that line, they need to build a whole new plane
- It will be positioned between the Boeing 737 and the Boeing 787
- There will be two versions, 270 passengers with 3500 nm range, 220 passengers with 5000 nm range
- There are an estimated 2000-5000 possible orders for this plane
- Currently, engine tenders are out to different manufacturers to provide thrust for the plane
The customers expect to pay a maximum $75 million per aircraft compared to the $50 million for a typical marrow body. This is the net price after discount. The list price would be $150 million. Therefore, at $75 million the Market at 2000 to 6000 would be $150 to $450 billion.
Can Airbus compete with this new plane?
Airbus has publicly come out and said that they are tweaking their Airbus A330neo to meet the market demand.
This idea has the advantage of being available now, tried and tested, and cheaper than the Boeing equivalent (because Airbus will have already set up the manufacturing lines).
But the Boeing will have the latest technology, be somewhat more fuel efficient and be able to incorporate several new concepts that Airbus is yet to take on board.
The big question then remains, if the Airbus version is so great, why haven’t they already taken advantage of these thousands of orders? Airbus recently delivered their first A330neo to TAP Portugal and has said that they believe once customers see the plane in action, the orders will come flooding in.
So far Boeing has kept their cards to their chest and made the project top secret. Even staff members working on the project have different titles on their business cards.
“We engaged with our customers, we worked to understand the market. There is not a lot to share about what has changed because what we are doing now is really inside Boeing. It takes a long time to get it right” – Boeing Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth
What do you think? Will Airbus be able to steal Beoings thunder before they launch?