Although Boeing’s mooted new mid-sized airplane (NMA) is yet to be formally offered for sale, the aerospace giant appears a step closer to a formal launch after the appointment of a senior executive to the internal team studying the development of the aircraft, media reports say.
The CNN Money website reported on Tuesday 777X chief project engineer Terry Beezhold had joined the team looking at the NMA project, which some have informally dubbed the “797”. The report said Beezhold was the second senior executive to be tapped on the shoulder to join the NMA team, which was first established in September.
Boeing has previously said the NMA would be a twin-aisle aircraft capable of flying 5,000nm when carrying 225-270 passengers, which puts the aircraft in between its 737 MAX 10 narrowbody and 787-8 widebody currently on offer.
It would feature a composite wing and fuselage.
Boeing said at the Paris Airshow in June the aircraft could fly in 2023 and enter service in 2025. It has forecast a market demand for as many as 4,000 aircraft in this market segment.
Among those keen on the NMA is Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who suggested the aircraft would be ideally suited on trans-continental flights between Perth and Australia’s east coast capitals, as well as to upgauge existing flights at the busy Sydney Airport.
“The economics of that on paper look good,” Joyce told reporters in Seattle in mid-October.
“This is where Qantas is probably unique because we want ultra long-range but we also have a huge domestic network, so you want an aircraft unlike the 787s and the A330s which are designed for long range and are heavier than what we want [for domestic flying] so the economics on domestic takes a hit, whereas this aircraft could be the perfect vehicle east-west, into South-East Asia and leveraging the [available] slots [at Sydney].
“And that is something that we are very keen on and are working through.”