Weeks after delivering its first A321neo, upgraded with new engines, the planemaker has already begun talking to suppliers about enhanced versions called A321neo-plus and, most recently, A321neo-plus-plus, people familiar with the matter said.
Airbus's so-called A321neo-plus-plus would be rolled out if Boeing does go ahead with plans for an all-new plane seating 220-260 passengers. It would involve a new carbon-composite wing make the biggest Airbus single-aisle jet cheaper to fly.
Airbus has dismissed the threat of such a jet, saying any market gap is well covered by its A321neo, which can seat up to 240 people in high-density configurations. It says its own A310 several decades ago proved that twin-aisle jets can't easily compete in that part of the market.
But internally it is working on a series of improvements to the A321neo to try to thwart Boeing's grab for the middle of the market, where thousands of potential sales could be at stake.
Three industry sources said the plans include an A321neo-plus-plus with a new wing. Analysts say such makeovers cost $1-2 billion against $15 billion for a new jet.
Two sources suggested Airbus could also fine-tune its smallest twin-aisle jet, the A330, in a pincer movement against the Boeing model. But after numerous refinements since it was launched in 1987 that aeroplane is said to have limited growth.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbu ... SKBN185101
An A321neo with a new CRFP wing would obviously open the door for a potential A322 upgrade.
Remember that Airbus started talking about A320neo Plus back in 2014.