"Ron Baur, United’s vice president of fleet, said the airline was looking at both the A321LR now being developed by Airbus and an all-new Boeing jet that the U.S. company is sketching out."
The Boeing pencil pushing is at Max capacity today as United has left the door open for a Continental Buster, Ocean Spanning Single aisle behemoth or duo aisle 787 sub class, to replace its nearly 1000 757 still in service. Airbus was quick with its insertion of a A321 NEO before Boeing got the memo. Customers want a bridge from here to there. From single aisle city pairings to duo aisle range sensibilities. It doesn't have to go beyond 6,000 miles nor does it need to carry 250 passengers, but it needs to fill the gap between single and duo aisle operations. Boeing can get there faster with a single aisle 757 like makeover with new engines, avionics and aerodynamic designing. Or it can go deep in the playbook with a 787 mini all carbon structure. Speed of time tells me metal is the soup de jour for any new offering.
How would this play off the Boeing resourcing with the 777X Project going full throttle? The sketch artist are answering this question for United-Continental at this time. Mums the word on the Boeing street corner. They have three years to come up with a viable offer having a five year delivery plan. Airbus has moved the clock forward on Boeing with the A321NEO.
Cause and effect problems are under consideration. A Boeing like fleet is tapped into by a A321NEO order. Next comes the commonality issue for the airline and another card falls for Airbus. Follow-on A350 orders and so forth. Boeing needs to defend its Seattle citadel. Whether they want to or not they need this 757 replacement or gap filler to defend what it has built these last ten years. The sunk cost is the replacement gap filler penalty from the 757 design board, and the MAX CAD machines. Boeing needs to parry off the A321 because they are breaching Boeing's gap exposure. Its not a hard choice for Boeing to go ahead but its a hard and costly thing to implement. However, most of the technology lies on its shelf at this time. Boeing will fill this need sooner rather than later once it identifies the cost, customers, and construction.
Boeing really needs this Goldenliner