As Airbus plays down the viability of any near-term move to develop an all-new single-aisle airliner, it has disclosed more on its thinking about potential A320 successors, dubbed "A30X".
With a service-entry date envisaged at least 15 years from now, the A30X would incorporate "breakthrough technologies" in powerplants, materials, aerodynamics and flightdecks, says Ian Dawkins, who is senior vice-president strategy and future programmes.
Powered by advanced turbofans or open rotors, these aircraft would offer 30-40% lower fuel burn than today's single-aisles, he says, with the gains being delivered around 50/50 between the engine and the airframe.
Meanwhile, Airbus's chief operating officer customers John Leahy has dismissed Boeing hints that it might look to an early introduction of an all-new design before the end of the decade, rather than re-engining its 737. He expects Boeing to counter Airbus's likely launch of its "A320 New Engine Option (NEO)" with the promise of "an all-new airplane that will obsolete everything in between".
Leahy warns that any statements should be taken "with a grain of salt - because the 737-NEO [launch] will be just around the corner, probably sometime in 2011".
Related blog post
See FlightBlogger's post on the A30X