Short-term trends point towards a next generation of medium-haul aircraft. Both Boeing and Airbus have recently relaunched evolved versions of their successful families A320 and B737, respectively. Also, China is trying to get into this niche with the design of its first medium-haul airliner.
Table 8.8: A320neo family specifications. max refers to the maximum capacity layout; typ refers to the typical seats layout. Maximum range refers to fully loaded. Data retrieved from Wikipedia A320neo.
A320neo family: The Airbus A320neo13 is a series of enhanced versions of A320 family under production by Airbus. It entered in service with Lufthansa in January 2015. The letters "neo" stand for "New Engine Option". The main change is the use of the larger and more efficient engines which results in 15% less fuel consumption, 8% lower operating costs, less noise production, and a reduction of NOx by at least 10% compared to the A320 series according to Airbus. Two power plants will be available: either the CFM International LEAP-X or the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G. The airframe will also receive some modifications, including the addition of "Sharklet" wingtips to reduce drag and interior modifications for the passengers comfort such as larger luggage spaces and an improved air purification system. The A320neo family specifications can be consulted in Table 8.8.
Table 8.9: B737 MAX family specifications. Data retrieved from Wikipedia B737 MAX.
B737 MAX: The Boeing 737 MAX14 is a new family of aircraft being developed by Boeing in order to replace the current Boeing 737 generation family. Its first flew was on January 29, 2016, and the first delivery in May 2017. The primary change will be the use of the larger and more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B engines. The airframe is to receive some modifications as well. The 737 MAX first delivery in 2017 was 50 years after the 737 first flew. The original three variants of the new family are the 737 MAX 7, the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9, which are based on the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900ER, respectively, which are the best selling versions of the current 737 generation family. A fourth variant, the 737Max 10 was later on proposed to compete with the A321neo. Boeing claims the 737 MAX will provide a 16% lower fuel burn than the current Airbus A320, and 4% lower than the Airbus A320neo. The B737 MAX family specifications can be consulted in Table 8.9.
Comac C919: The Comac C91915 is a planned family of 168-190 seat narrow-body airliners to be built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac). It will be the largest commercial airliner designed and built in China since the defunct Shanghai Y-10. Its first flight took place in May 2017, with first deliveries scheduled for 2019-2020. The C919 forms part of China’s long-term goal to break Airbus and Boeing’s duopoly, and is intended to compete against Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX.
Dimensions of the C919 are very similar to the Airbus A320. Its fuselage will be 3.96 meters wide, and 4.166 meters high. The wingspan will be 33.6 meters. Its cruise speed will be Mach 0.785 and it will have a maximum altitude of 12,100 meters. There will be two variants. The standard version will have a range of 4,075 km, with the extended-range version able to fly 5,555 km. The capacity will go from 156 passengers (with two classes) to 174 passengers (1 class and maximum density of seats).
13. INformation retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A320_neo
14. Data retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_MAX
15. Data retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comac_C919