Pax interior ideas 2018 spends a lot of time talking about cabin width. A lot of casual aviation fans don't see interior much more than the interior of an airplane and a paint scheme from afar. I think that might be why there is so much discussion on width of the cabin and efficiencies from 6, 7, 8 etc abreast seating and 17inch vs 18 inch wide seats. What else are you going to think about while on a long flight sitting in economy? Not as many people pay close attention to the exact geometry of the wing, how many spoilers there are, if the flaps are double slotted and how the wing high lift devices work at low speeds to maximize payload.

In the bigger picture, the fuselage structure is just 10-15% of the entire airframe weight. The added weight of a 7 abreast cabin vs 6 abreast is going to be very small. The engineers can optimize the length, width and diameter of the fuselage for the number of passengers they intend to carry. There is lots of flexibility and shorter fuselages have some positive features as well as narrower fuselages.

What I think really maters is payload and that depends on size of the wing and engines chosen. The 787 wing is 3 times the size of the 737 and the engines have almost 3 times as much thrust. That is where there is a huge gap. Splitting the difference in wing area with a 2500 sq ft wing and engines with 50k lbs thrust could allow a smaller version to have close to the range of a 767 and a larger version to have less range but very low CASM on missions under 2500 miles.

A MTOW in the 250-350K range could open up a lot of sales opportunities for the Asian market. The Asian market that we have today barely existed when the A300 and A310 were designed (Beijing's airport had 12 gates when the A300 entered service and now has over 100). The result is that there are A330s, 787s, and 777s being used on flights under 2000 miles all across Asia. These airplanes have overpowered engines and too large of wings to be efficient in this segment compared to a clean sheet design. Even without step changes in engine technology and optimized wing and engine combo could sell very well.

I think we probably will see a widebody design so that the airplane can have enough capacity to compete against an A330neo flying regional flights between the Middle East and India or regionally in East Asia between destinations like SIN, HKG, TPE, PVG, PEK, CAN, ICN, NRT, KIX, HND etc. The Japanese airlines will have a plane better suited for their short haul market while US carriers will have a lower capacity version best suited for point to point transatlantic and Hawaii.

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