Airbus and Boeing. Everyone knows them. The two leading aircraft manufacturers, striving to compete to make the best aircraft. However, after the successes of the Airbus A350, Airbus A320, Boeing 747 and Boeing 777, what will they make next? Through this article, you will find out more about the aircraft that the two manufacturers plan to make next.
The Airbus A350 is a very successful aircraft, with over 900 orders to date. It is almost due for a new upgrade. Whilst Airbus has confirmed a Freighter variant of this aircraft recently, not much has been said about the A350neo (New Engine Option). However, media speculation suggests it might come soon. If the A350neo gets announced, the “new engine option” will most likely be a General Electric GE9X, which is currently slated to be used on the Boeing 777X or from companies such as Pratt & Whitney.
Initially announced in November 2013, the Boeing 777X will be the latest addition to the Boeing fleet. The aircraft will be able to seat 426 passengers, over 13,500km. It also features its signature folding wingtips and is made out of composite wings to help increase efficiency. The aircraft was created in order to compete with the Airbus A350, which started gaining lots of popularity at the time. While supposed to enter service in late 2021-2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its entry into service is now slated for 2024, way later than expected.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, smaller aircraft such as the Airbus A220 has been gaining popularity. This is due to their efficiency and adequate range, whilst having a low amount of passenger seats. However, Air France feels that they need a slight increase in seats while maintaining the efficiency and range as borders reopen slowly worldwide. Airbus stated that if the aircraft would come out, it should be called the Airbus A220-500. They also noted that the aircraft is not a priority, but there is lots of potential for it.
The future of aviation is, without a doubt, middle-of-the-market aircraft. After the pandemic, fewer people will fly, but there will still be a demand. However, that demand will be slightly too high to handle with short-haul aircraft such as the A220. As of now, there is a giant gap between the Boeing 757/767 and the Airbus A321 in terms of passenger seating capacity, which could easily be filled in by a newer aircraft. Whilst Airbus has not explicitly stated that they will make an A322, they have expressed interest in making such an aircraft.
Similar to the A322, the Boeing 797 is planned to be an aircraft for the middle market. Boeing has started work on the planning phase of this aircraft, calling it the “NMA”- New Midsize Aircraft. However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to restart on a clean-sheet design. Boeing has released no other information on this aircraft, but if it gets announced, it should be released by 2030.