MIAMI – Airbus and Boeing would “tremendously” benefit from the recovery in the market as per their long-term growth prospects.
According to Dhierin Bechai, author of the Aerospace Forum, the Airbus A321XLR aircraft would be at the gates of strengthening its value proposition. In contrast, Boeing as a company would be facing a high risk of being left behind in terms of product development and innovation.
Why the Airbus A321XLR Has a Lot to Offer
Although the performance in rage of the Airbus aircraft could be less than 4,700 nmi with a capacity of 180-220 passengers, it could allow for thinner routes. The A321XLR has a range-payload advantage that wide-body jets simply lack. In Bechai’s words, it is a “game-changing aircraft.”
As the pandemic changed things as we knew them, the demand profile will require a smaller jet performance unlike that of a wide-body aircraft. This is due to the profitability of the operations for each airline. That is where the Airbus A321XLR fits as a solution to efficiently maintaining a given route network due to its range-payload ratio advantage.
In his report, Bechai also mentions that when the Airbus A321XLR enters into service in 2023, we should keep an eye on old aircraft replacement cycles. This would be a good reason for airlines to replace the Boeing 757 with the A321XLR, as the former will be at its retirement age in three years. The Boeing 757 will most likely be displaced by the Airbus type instead of just being phased out without any replacement.
It stands to reason, then, that keeping the development of the model will give Airbus an advantage over Boeing. It also will provide potential jobs at the assembly line and in the supply chain, something production line workers will look forward to amid the current crisis that will continue to impact the industry, at least until 2024.
Bechai even ventures into saying that Airbus’ plan for the A321 platform would likely not end with the Airbus A321XLR’s development. He believes the XLR is part of a “bigger development roadmap” where new iterations will come alongside technological insertion points.
The challenge for Airbus is still to convert coast-to-coast flying into a long-haul operation. Bechai also added that the fuselage length of the Airbus A321XLR could also be increased to carry up to 250 seats. As a result, the aircraft could have a long-term capability as further technological innovation arrives.
With the A321XLR, Airbus will deliver all this in a single-aisle economic configuration despite the levels of comfort that wide-body aircraft can bring to the table.
Could Boeing Drop to Second Place in a Decade’s Time?
Amid the Boeing 737 MAX crisis, Bechai believes Boeing’s product development timeline and ability to continue innovating are in trouble. At its launch, the Boeing 737 MAX 10 was expected to compete with the Airbus A321neo in the middle of the market, but things were different then due to development and propulsion technology.
As it recovers from one of its worst crisis, Boeing has major debts and a need to innovate to deliver a clean-sheet aircraft to the market by 2025. However, Bechai believes that a new Boeing aircraft would not come until early in next decade. This is given the fact that the expected midsize jet plan by Boeing was reset with the appointment of David Calhoun as the company’s CEO, not to mention Boeing’s 737 MAX’s woes.
In the end and despite Boeing’s hard recovery, Bechai concedes that the American manufacturer could certainly explore which part of the market requires a new jet and bet on it, contesting Airbus’ future blue skies. Comparing 2019-2020 financial figures between these two manufacturing giants, Airbus has already topped Boeing. It took the former around a decade to achieve this positioning.
Featured photo: Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Photo: shutterstock.com. Article source: Wolfran Alpha.