EADS chief executive Louis Gallois has questioned the wisdom of Boeing's apparent plans to launch an entirely new narrowbody airliner.
Speaking at a press briefing following the publication of EADS' 2010 results, Gallois said that nothing he had seen so far had convinced him that the decision to launch the re-engined Airbus A320neo was anything other than the right one.
He points out that the development cost of the Neo is some 10 times lower than that required to launch an entirely new aircraft.
Any new Boeing narrowbody would also have the same engines as the Neo, he points out, meaning that any performance improvements above those offered by the Airbus jet would have to come from the design and construction of the aircraft itself.
"The improvements will only come from the airplane. For short-range [aircraft] composite brings limited advantages. They want to develop a completely electric airplane, we'll see...we have seen the large difficulties they have faced with electrics on the 787," he says.
"We are not sure [a clean sheet design] brings such added value for a short-range airplane that it merits launching a completely new programme.
"We have not changed our minds on the development of the Neo. The orders so far have demonstrated that it's the right choice."
The A320neo family has received around 300 orders and commitments since its January launch.