Highly-respected aviation journalist Jon Ostrower has published a first image of a Boeing concept design for its proposed New Middle-Market Airplane (NMA).
The image published on Ostrower’s blog shows a concept design that features a Boeing 767-style nose, 787-style wing and main cabin windows and a 737 MAX-style tail cone.
The Boeing 797 of 2025 will evolve out of this 2018 conceptual rendering of the New Middle-Market Airplane. https://t.co/FQdJXvZfFP
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 12, 2018
“Highly unlikely to be the final form of the eventual 797, its attributes hint strongly at some of Boeing’s efficiency enablers for its next-generation of medium-range airliners,” Ostrower wrote.
“Elements adapted from existing aircraft are apparent across this early iteration of the NMA design: A 737 MAX-style tail cone, larger 787/777X-sized cabin windows, and a 757/767/777-style windscreen. The door arrangement matches that of Boeing’s last “small twin,” the 767-200, very strongly suggesting a twin-aisle design.”
While details are thin on the ground, Boeing is believed to be studying a two-aircraft NMA family that would carry between 225-275 passengers anywhere from 4,500-5,000nm. It would be powered by new engines in the 50,000lb of thrust class.
Entry into service is projected to occur in the 2024 to 2025 timeframe.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has publicly expressed his airline’s interest in the NMA for domestic trunk routes, trans-continental services and South-East Asian flying.
“We are actually excited and I think a lot of carriers are about the potential for that aircraft,” Joyce told media at Qantas’s first half results briefing on February 22.
“It’s still a paper aircraft so Boeing have to define the spec of it, the weight of it, the performance and the price of it, but it looks like it’s being pitched as an aircraft that would work very well in the domestic market.
“It is a lighter aircraft than some of the widebody twin-aisles that we have today. It has a range that’s designed to fly transcontinental and maybe into South-East Asia.”
Such an aircraft would in effect be a replacement for Qantas’s much-loved Boeing 767s, filling the gap between the narrowbody Boeing 737-800s and larger widebody Airbus A330-200s and -300s.
Qantas retired its last 767 passenger aircraft in December 2014 (its Qantas Freight division operates a single 767-300F freighter).
A feature article on the Boeing NMA is planned for the April 2018 issue of Australian Aviation.