Atlanta - Boeing warms up for a new aircraft program, and Delta wants to be in the front row when the manufacturer takes orders for its "New Midmarket Airplane" 797.
I hope we will be one of the first customers of this program. We will play an active role in the midmarket plane,said Delta boss Ed Bastian.
The idea of a high-tech successor of the 757 already caught the attention of several airlines. United also announced interest in the NMA program like Delta.
Boeing aims to fill the gap between the 737 MAX 10 and the 787-8 with a model that can fly 5,000 miles as a 225-seater and 4,000 miles as a 275-seater. The manufacturer claims to have interviewed more than 50 potential customers about the concept.
Boeing sees the strengths of the 797 on previously unattended lines such as Delhi - Jakarta or Brisbane - Shanghai.
Seattle has been warming up for a formal program launch since the end of 2017, bringing 777X chief designer Terry Beezhold to the project office. The head of the department is the former boss of the 787 program Mark Jenks.
Since Boeing discontinued production of the 757 thirteen years ago, the segment has been a blind spot in manufacturers' product strategy. Boeing trusts that the 797, in the long run, to receive 4,000 orders. Analysts estimate the development costs of 797 to 15 billion US dollars and expect the aircraft to be in service by 2025.
Airbus relies on A321LR
Delta ordered up to 200 Airbus A321neo in December, which will replace some Boeing 757, McDonnell Douglas MD-90 and older A320s. Boeing's 737 MAX 10 lost against A320. But, Delta relies on Boeing as well as Airbus. If they depend on one manufacturer, they lose their bargaining power in negotiations, according to industry analysts.
Airbus wants to position the A321LR, which has just started flight tests, as an opponent of the 797.