Airbus is pitching the combination package of its A321LR and A330neo at the middle-of-the-market sector as Boeing continues to explore its proposed NMA.

The European airframer has increased the range of its A321neo, which is aimed at the Boeing 757-200 replacement market, and is awaiting certification of the A330neo.

Airbus has drawn up new categories for its global market forecast, based on seat-count and range, to account for aircraft performance evolution and consequent changes in airline strategy and business model.

Chief commercial officer Eric Schulz says the A330neo and A321neo – both of which fit into its ‘medium’ category of jets up to 300 seats – give airlines the chance to experiment with long-range routes and the option to move up to higher capacity.

He insists that introducing a new product into this line-up “doesn’t make sense”.

Carriers can explore the possibilities of long-haul operations and, if necessary, revert back to single-aisle services without a loss of commonality.

Airbus says around 48 airlines are already operating fleets which include both the A330 and A321.