Among his first acts as chief executive, David Calhoun sent Boeing’s 220 to 270-seat New Mid-Market Airplane (NMA) back to the drawing board. “We’re going to start with a clean sheet of paper again,” he said last week.
But will the re-think point its attention at the same segment of the market? “I don’t know,” said Calhoun, who is principally focused on returning the 737 Max to service. “And I don’t mean that to be facetious. I mean, that’s the point. I want to update everything about the market assessment with respect to all the competitive offerings.”
Boeing’s new effort is widening its aperture for its market research to include smaller single-aisle aircraft. Calhoun’s decision officially collapsed not just the NMA effort, but the trailing Future Small Airplane (FSA) development as well, according to two familiar with the internal changes. The FSA effort had focused on designing an aircraft that would eventually replace the 737 Max.
“I want to make sure I understand everything about the wide body/narrow body world,” said Calhoun on Wednesday during a teleconference with reporters. “There are just things to update. I’m going to talk to a few of the customers I’ve known for years and a few others, get their very latest inputs and then we’re going to get to a point design soon. I don’t want to write the answer now because I just don’t know the answer.”
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