The NMA is intended to be a 767-sized airplane of 220-270 passengers, 2x3x2 coach configuration and with a range of 5,000nm and 4,500nm respectively. Authority to offer for sale may come by year end. A formal program launch is expected next year, after the 777X development is over the hump.
....This doesn’t fill the demand gap between what the engine OEMs see—they’re fairly in agreement in their market forecasts of 2,000-2,500 airplanes—and the 4,000 Boeing sees.
LNC sees a demand of about 2,300 aircraft and this is also consistent with some suppliers.
The thing I see with the market demand for the NMA is that it is dependent on how well the single aisle aircraft of the mid-next decade perform. If engine makers, through whatever the means, get a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency over today's neo/max engines on them (see here), it would really erode into the NMA's market prospects.
The longer Boeing waits on this, the smaller the market becomes, and perhaps bigger the 'moonshot' level investment to put some distance between it and those single aisles in order to convince airlines to use a separate unique purposed aircraft in their fleet.
So, Leeham provides us with a major piece of information : the aircraft would be designed for a seven-abreast configuration. This requires a lot of confidence in the design : narrowbodies have one aisle for six seats per rank, while the 797 would have two aisles for only one more seat per rank. Thus configured, the aircraft would be extremely passenger-friendly, but it would be far from optimised in terms of CASM/CASK. It would also have the same constraints as the 767 in freight operations.
I cannot help having some doubts, as long as we don't know the proposed aircraft cross-section. Could it be a 'seven-and-a-half-abreast' aircraft, aka as an eight-abreast one in real life ? We all remember that the 787 was initially touted as an eight-abreast aircraft, and we know what happened ...
A wide body fuselage only makes sense if it can load pairs of LD3s in the belly. So 7 abreast might happen, 8 abreast will be possible and that makes it some big baby that needs to be made of CFRP (=expensive) to stay light enough.
A wide body fuselage only makes sense if it can load pairs of LD3s in the belly
That is exactly how the A330 cross-section was determined, but Boeing is not doing an A330 copy. The 767 uses a different (smaller) size of containers, widespread in North America, and is still sold as a freighter.
There is wild speculation that Boeing may be going for an oval fuselage, deliberately reducing cargo room as well as drag.