Boeing is reportedly in early talks about working on a new commercial aircraft. The United States-based manufacturer has spoken with the likes of plane leasing firms and suppliers about the prospects. However, this plane is not the previously anticipated NMA.
Between two types
According to the Wall Street Journal via Fox Business, this program will be a single-aisle aircraft with improved engines. Moreover, it could carry between 200 and 250 passengers, according to those familiar with the project. Altogether, this capacity places the plane between the largest 737 MAX narrowbody and the 787 widebody.
Nonetheless, discussions are allegedly a preliminary stage. Therefore, the project may not even be launched.
New aircraft can take years and even decades to come into fruition. There would also need to be significant support from stakeholders across the company and industry. However, if successful, it would be the first new Boeing jet launched since 2004 with the popular Dreamliner. This long-haul plane was first delivered in 2011.
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A clean slate
There was a lot of buzz surrounding the NMA, which was expected to fill the gap in these middle segments. The acronym means New Midsize Airplane, a monicker for the role it was set to serve. It had prospects to be a small, twin-aisle unit and have the economics of a narrowbody. However, Boeing went back to the drawing board following the 737 MAX crisis.
At the beginning of the year, Boeing CEO David Calhoun shared with journalists that the project would no longer continue in its present form. Moreover, he said that his firm would start fresh with a new piece of paper. So, this week’s reports follow up on this move.
These updates come at a time when there is significant progress concerning the reintroduction of the 737 MAX. The plane has been grounded for over a year and a half and has undergone rigorous scrutiny.
Hope for the future
Regulatory bodies have been busy testing the plane. Now, the jet is on the verge of getting the go-ahead to serve passengers. Carriers such as American Airlines could fly the 737 MAX before the end of the year. However, the Texan outfit has also deferred deliveries of the variant following a $2.4 billion net loss. The firm isn’t the only operator massively impacted by the aircraft’s grounding, with several airlines heavily relying on the plane previously.
Altogether, the new reported aircraft could make up for ground lost to competitor Airbus. It could mark a fresh start for the company following a considerably challenging time amid the MAX grounding and the impact of the global health crisis.
Simple Flying reached out to Boeing for comment on these reports but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What are your thoughts on the new aircraft that Boeing is in talks about? Are you excited about this news? Let us know what you think of the prospects in the comment section.