In the last couple of weeks a new discussion about the so-called „Middle of the Market“ or “MoM” aircraft broke out. Apart from that nobody really knows what this aircraft should look like (B757 successor or B767 successor or both, narrowbody or widebody, scalable to cover the B737 market or not?) or every potential customer wanting something different, I do not really believe in the launch of such an aircraft in the near future.
Airbus has no interest in such an aircraft. They have a good market position with their A321neo, especially the LR version and the future A330-800, although I don’t foresee large order volumes for that aircraft. For sure Airbus is studying the MoM, but (for now) for the pure purpose of looking into what Boeing could do and if and how Airbus would have to react to it.
Boeing would be the one to launch such an aircraft. But do they have to do it? Although the B737MAX has less orders than the A320neo, the amount of orders the B737MAX got is massive. The B737MAX8 is right in the sweet spot of the market and has a small advantage in costs per seat against the A320neo – if the LEAP-1B engine performs as advertised, what remains to be seen.
The B737MAX8 just had it’s first flight. the –MAX9 and the –MAX7 have to follow. So why unsettle your (potential) customers talking too much and eventually launching a new aircraft that would at least partly overlap with the B737MAX family?
Also, Boeing will probably feel a drop in cash flow during the transition of the B777 Classic to the B777X between 2020 and 2022, just when the MoM would need large sums of money for R&D spending.
But there is another aspect why I do not believe in a launch of MoM for a, say, 2024 entry