Boeing prepared to combat possible A330neo

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Boeing’s latest market outlook underlines its confidence in the 250-seat sector, as the airframer braces to fend off any threat from a re-engined Airbus A330.

It is predicting a demand for 4,520 aircraft in the 200- to 300-seat range, the market addressed by the Boeing 787-8 and 787-9.

Airbus has yet to decide whether to re-engine the 250- to 300-seat A330, possibly under the A330neo brand, but Boeing vice-president of marketing Randy Tinseth says the European airframer will be forced to discount the aircraft because it will be less fuel-efficient per passenger.

“They’ll do their best to counter. They’ll be very aggressive with price,” he says, adding that Airbus will “tell you the [A330neo] is better than it is”.

He says Airbus is having to consider its strategy for the lower end of its long-haul aircraft range, following the development of the A350, and is effectively revisiting the site of its defeat following its earlier clash with the 787.

“We were there 10 years ago, in this competition. We’re there today,” says Tinseth.

“We’re absolutely going to fight,” he says, insisting that the 787 amounts to greater economic value. “That’s the card we’ll play.”