Air Transat said this week that it’s looking with Airbus, to procure a new version of the A320neo with super-extended range.
The target range example would be to fly from Montreal to Croatia’s Adriatic coast, a major European holiday spot, the best part of 4,400 miles.
The A320neoXLR would seriously undermine any attempt by Boeing to build the slated 797X, a supposed replacement for the 757-200.
In effect between a super extended range A320neoXLR and an A321neoLR there would be little room for such an aircraft.
The Airbus could be available far sooner – 2022 is being suggested – whereas the 797X is unlikely to even test fly before 2025-27.
Airbus have built a huge lead in A321 variant back orders already.
The commercial viability and passenger numbers may be different, but the longer Boeing dithers the more difficult it will be to convince skeptical airline accountants it’s got a winning offer.
The cost of an extended range A320neoXLR is unlikely to be even 70% of the cost of the new 797X – probably far less.
Boeing must wish in hindsight they’d never killed off the 757 and left it running even at low volumes – the equivalent of a Neo version now would be in huge demand. The Max-10 just doesn’t cut it in terms of serious competition for the Airbus products.
The fact remains that despite the lack of innovation in new airframes, it’s far cheaper to modify an existing one than start from scratch.