American Airlines on verge of A321XLR order; what now for Boeing?

According to the financial media, there’s more or less unanimous agreement that American Airlines is heading for a significant order for the soon to be launched Airbus A321XLR.

The Airbus is due to be launched at the Paris Show this year, and there are plenty of interested airlines, not least of them IAG/BA, jetBlue, and Air Asia.

They all see the potential for long range point to point on thinner routes. The launch only this week of TAP Portugal’s A321LR route from JFK to Porto is exactly the sort of route that has potential. The XLR could extend it far further into Central Europe or further West in the US from Western Europe.

These markets are considered underserved and the potential is huge.

Boeing decided to produce the Max – because it didn’t want to spend time developing the originally intended new aircraft back in 2012, while Airbus walked off with the lions share of orders.

Now the Max is on hold, the market is dubious, Airbus are still developing viable alternatives and they’re better than the Max can ever be on economy and range, compromised as it is by its dated base design from 50 years ago.

Meanwhile the NMA – or so called 797-X, even at best won’t be here until 2025, even if it’s launched this year which seems less likely.

So in the medium term Airbus seems to have upped the game and stolen a march for once over Boeing.

They’re also saying that the A330neo in -800 format is just as much of a match for the NMA but saying it doesn’t make it so.

It’s still an A330 and it’s old and it’s not 21st century. What Airbus need is a modern A310, now that would give Boeing a run for its money.

With no major development aircraft in their future what’s stopping Airbus? The A320 has at least ten years in it, the A350 15, the A330neo probably 8-10. Something needs to fill the gap, or Boeing will take it and run with it in the late 2020’s and 2030’s.