The head of Boeing's commercial aircraft division made clear on 1 March that the company sees a strong business case for developing a new airplane roughly equal in size to the company's 767.
Boeing executives have been discussing the proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) for some time, but have not yet announced they are moving forward with the project. The manufacturer is currently formulating a business case to put to the board for approval to go ahead with the project.
"There is an opportunity between the single-aisle and twin-aisle [aircraft]. That opportunity is an aircraft with 200 to 270 seats," Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Kevin McAllister says on 1 March. "That opportunity is [for] an aircraft with 200 to 270 seats and up to 5,000nm [in range]."
"This airplane is a big opportunity for us," adds McAllister, who spoke during the US Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Aviation Summit in Washington DC.
Boeing continues to speak with customers to gauge demand for the aircraft.
"We have a large number of customers… that are helping us understand what their evolving needs are over the next decade," McAllister says. "[We] want to get it right."
A number of major airlines have expressed interest in the NMA, which would fill the role largely held currently by the 767. That aircraft remains in production, but carriers have been keen on acquiring a modern replacement.