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Are These 2 Rumored Aircraft From Boeing and Airbus a Real Possibility?

The business of building commercial airlines is a big one, and with airlines' profits growing, the aerospace manufacturing industry could be set for strong performance over the next several years. But to sell the most, you have to build the best. As rivals Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and Airbus Group (NASDAQOTH: EADSY  ) continue to battle for aircraft supremacy, two proposed models of aircraft are getting some attention.

Airbus A330 NEO
This Airbus wide-body aircraft has been one of the manufacturer's most successful, claiming 1,313 firm orders and a current backlog of over 200 aircraft. So why change it? Even as the current A330 has enough orders for another two years of production, some airlines are looking for an updated model.

In an effort to compete with Boeing's latest 737 models, Airbus has updated the engines on the aircraft in the A320 family to be more fuel efficient. As airlines are constantly looking to cut fuel consumption, some airlines are asking Airbus to incorporate its fuel-saving-engine technology into the wide-body A330.

An article from Aviation Week noted a perspective from an executive at a major A330 operator. The executive argues for the creation of an A330 NEO, citing a possible 7%-8% improvement in fuel burn and cost competitiveness compared to the Boeing 787-9.

Adding an A330 NEO could also give Airbus an edge in winning an upcoming wide-body order from Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL  ) . Delta's fleet strategy has been an interesting one, but this wide-body order could total around 50 aircraft, and both Boeing and Airbus have a shot at winning it. According to Aviation Week, the Airbus A330 NEO is called out as an option if Airbus does indeed make the model. The specific mention of the rumored aircraft shows that Delta has a clear interest, implying that the A330 NEO could be near the top of the candidates for the wide-body order.

Boeing 757 replacement
When the Boeing 757 line was shut down in 2005, Boeing had delivered over 1,000 of the model, and the plane remains a part of major airline fleets. More recently, there has been talk from some Boeing executives about a new jet to fill the gap left by the Boeing 757.

Boeing has been busy developing new technologies to improve passenger comfort and reduce airline costs. With the success of the Boeing 757 during its time and the plethora of new technology being seen on the 737 MAX, 777-X, and 787 models, a new version of the 757 could find a good base of customers.

Rather than create an all-new jet, Boeing could save a lot of time and expense by incorporating its latest technology into the 757 body. The original 757 body could still be used; after all, it's newer than the original 737 body which Boeing continues to build new versions from. This would probably result in a Boeing 757 MAX.

By developing a 757 MAX, Boeing would have its latest technology available in the narrow-body segment (737 MAX), large narrow-body segment (757 MAX), wide-body segment (787), and large wide-body segment (777-X) forming a closely knit product line of top technology.

Long-term look
Developing a new plane, even if its from a current model, easily takes a few years from concept to launch. Investors in airlines and aircraft manufacturers need to take a long-term view to fully realize the potential of these developing planes. As of yet, both the A330 NEO and the 757 replacements remain only proposed aircraft as Boeing and Airbus look to gauge interest among airlines. Based upon airline responses and engineering feasibility, these two manufacturers will determine whether or not to produce these aircraft.

As Airbus and Boeing continue to fight for orders in a lucrative commercial airline market, look for any announcements about an Airbus A330 NEO or Boeing 757 replacement, as both manufacturers will no doubt be eager to promote their latest offerings.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (19)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2014, at 9:22 PM, aisend wrote:

    The 757 is a great plane and has served the airline world very well. I think is the right decision for Boeing to develop a 757 MAX.

  • Report this Comment On April 13, 2014, at 5:08 AM, Tyeward wrote:

    A 757 replacement seems like a really good idea, however the only real advantage it has still to this day is it´s ability to do transatlantic routes compared to the new narrowbodies down the pipeline. The new 737´s and the new A320 family of aircraft cover over 80 percent of what the 757 is capable of. If there is to be a 757 replacement, I think Boeing would really need to think hard on it´s performance. You don´t want it to step on the toes of the 737 program. If Boeing could just take the tech from the 787 and just make a narrow body version of that, it would be awesome, and that aircraft would be very hard to beat. I could see an aircraft of that magnitude doing transatlantic thin routes from places like DFW to Manchester (just an example). If they choose to develop a replacement of the 757, I believe that should be the route taken. Make it a narrow body capable of long haul for thin routes. What I would really like to see from Boeing is for them to take the Ecoliner more serious. If there is an aircraft that would be hard to beat, the Ecoliner would be that aircraft. It would have no rival for a very long time.

  • Report this Comment On April 13, 2014, at 10:17 PM, aktundra wrote:

    The A330NEO seems almost to be an absolute must-do on the part of Airbus filling and continuing the niche between the A321 and A350, a niche that right now is occupied by, uh, well, not much that is very new. The 767-300ER is still available and with the USAF having choosen the 767 as the basis for their new tanker, the 767 line will be open for a while but that design is not very competitive anymore. The 757 still occupies that niche, albiet without the range of the A330-200 (or the seats) or the 767-300ER. That takes us to the rumor of a 757 replacement, a rumor that has been around since the last 757 rolled of the line almost a decade ago. If you every frequent the forums you will see thousands of threads regarding the 757 and any possible replacement. What comes up time and time again is that the 757, in this day is an ultra niche product who's day has passed, at least in terms of new sales. Both Boeing and Airbus will try and sell you either a 737-900ER or an A321 to replace your 757 and while neither of these planes 100% fill the shoes of a 757 either in range or cargo capacity, they come pretty close in passenger capacity. The trans Atlantic 757 may be an endangered species as its economics grow ever worse when competing against its slightly larger cousins. And therein lies the catch, while the 737-900ER can almost do what the 757-200 can, Boeing assures us that the 737-9MAX will almost totally completely fill the missing range capability and the Airbus A321NEO, already with more range in its non-NEO form will do the same, so the need for a 757MAX using the same, very heavy fuselage is almost totally unlikely.

    The most likely future replacement for the 757 will be a totally new narrow body product that occupies the market in about the 737-800 all the way up the 757-300 range and don't excpect that till after the 737MAX and 777X programs are fully ramped up and delivering.

    "Rumor" has it that the tooling for the 757 has been destroyed so although the plans still exist for the 757, it would be ridiculous to bring back a design (even with new engines) with its genesis in the late 1970s, just aint gonna happen.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2014, at 5:29 AM, seaguy wrote:

    I am a 757 fan and would love it ifd Boeing did a newer version of it and it totally makes sense. Look at how many 757's Delta, United, and AA have in their fleets, I am sure there are tons more with non US carriers and they are all going to need a replacement in the next 10 yrs or so.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2014, at 4:02 PM, HiramFlingdorph wrote:

    The only replacement for the 757 is another 757. The A321 can't do what it can do, even with newer engines. Airlines are still making a profit with the 757, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

    Boeing wanted to keep the 757 line open, and was trying to make deals with some airlines to build replacement 757s just to keep the line open. Unfortunately, times were tough and airlines weren't going to spend money during the economic downturn at that time. As a result, the tooling was destroyed as the last 757 made its way down the assembly line. Now airlines are screaming for 757s and ther are no new ones out there.

    You're not going to see Boeing ramp up 757 production again; ever.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 10:15 PM, aktundra wrote:

    Sweet Mother, please put this rumor to rest, as it obviously didn't come from Boeing.....with all the hubbub over this article and posts on, it looks like Boeing had to finally, publically state the obvious. That a dusting off of the 1970s vintage 757 and bring it back to production was never a rumor from within Boeing. Anyone who knows how airplanes evolve know that using a design that is 38 years old, has been out of production for almost a decade and slapping new engines on it makes zero sense. While the 757 was and still is a great airplane, its sheer weight compared to an A321 or 737-900, not to mention the NEO/MAX makes it hyper uncompetitive. Motley Fool, please!

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2014, at 6:00 PM, keithc55 wrote:

    I also think you'll soon see a replacement for the 737. The 737max can be replaced with the Bombardier cs300. If that aircraft is successfully sold next year, and it delivers the fuel savings it claims, you might see Boeing buy the Bombardier aircraft division. Stretching the cs300 will be easier than a new 737 replacement.

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Alexander MacLennan

Alexander MacLennan is a Fool contributor covering Industrials, Airlines, and Financial companies. He is always ready for a good growth or turnaround story and tries to find them before the market does.

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