Skip to content

Boeing rethinking what its next all-new airplane will be

Jan. 29, 2020
4 min read
Boeing rethinking what its next all-new airplane will be
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Boeing has hit the refresh button on development of its next new airplane, as its new CEO re-evaluates its aircraft development pipeline amid a focus on the safe return of the 737 MAX.

“We’re in the airplane development business and we’re going to stay in the airplane development business,” David Calhoun, CEO of the Chicago-based planemaker, said during a quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. “We’re going to keep looking at what the next one needs to be.”

Calhoun's comments came as he and other Boeing executives made it clear that development of the proposed "New Mid-market Airplane" (NMA) has been put on hold — if not shelved completely — in favor of a refresh to the company's commercial aircraft development pipeline.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

The NMA concept, which Boeing has worked on since at least 2015, was for a clean-sheet twin-aisle jet with seats for 200 to 270 passengers and a range of about 5,750 miles. The aircraft has been imagined as a replacement for longer-haul Boeing 757s, as well as for larger Boeing 767s in markets where airlines do not need the added capabilities of the Boeing 787.

Calhoun declined to commit to what Boeing's next clean-sheet jet will look like, except to say that it will build on the development work from the NMA project.

"I don't know," he said when asked by The Air Current editor Jon Ostrower whether its next new plane will be in the same — or another — size category as the proposed mid-market plane.

One thing is clear: Boeing will not develop its next jet based on pressure from Airbus' recently launched A321XLR, a longer-range version of the A321neo.

Related: 737 MAX woes send Boeing to first annual loss since 1997

"Doing them fast and doing them in response [to the A321]… is not what you do when you’re developing the next airplane," Calhoun told reporters. “It’s critical we get it right.”

In addition to the A321XLR, Airbus also has staked out a spot against a potentially larger Boeing NMA model with its A330neo family. Delta has ordered 35 A330-900s, with four in-service at the end of December, to replace some of its 767s.

American Airlines and United Airlines, two potential NMA customers, have already jumped for the A321XLR. Both have ordered 50 of the new jet with eyes on using them to replace their longer-range 757s.

Related: United orders Airbus A321XLR to replace Boeing 757s to Europe

However, United commercial chief Andrew Nocella said in December that the airline would continue to consider the NMA to replace its 767s when Boeing "further refines the mission capabilities and details" of the proposed plane.

Delta has yet to commit to a full replacement of their 757 and 767 fleets and, as recently as December, its CEO Ed Bastian said they remained "interested" in the NMA.

Boeing will speak with all of its customers on their future aircraft needs before it decides on what its next clean-sheet plane will look like, said Calhoun. Once that decision is made, the planemaker aims to move forward on the new jet "very quickly."

Related: Delta still wants Boeing to build a new mid-sized widebody

For the time being, Boeing's focus is on returning the MAX to the skies. Earlier in January, the planemaker surprised airlines and analysts by moving back its return-to-service expectations to mid-2020. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines do not expect to have the plane flying again until after the summer peak as a result of the guidance update.

While the MAX is, and should be, Boeing's priority — the widely expected decision on the NMA does not appear as if it was contingent on the progress re-certifying the narrow-body jet.

“If we had not had trouble with the MAX, I would have made the same decision with the NMA," said Calhoun.

Featured image by Boeing's 777-9 taxiing before its first takeoff. (Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy.)

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees