Interesting stories (and here) are emerging today about Boeing looking at the 200-300 seat market that does not not require the 787’s range. The market being focused on the US transcon.  It was a market once dominated by Boeing 767s and now sees a lot of 757s.   The growing popularity of the A321 has to be causing discomfort for Boeing.  American is replacing its 767s on the US transcon market with A321s.  This is a painful loss of a longstanding customer.   jetBlue is also upgrading the A321s and improving its cabin to compete on the US transcon market. The US transcon market is desirable because of the high yields between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.   Since these flights are over five hours going west, the ability to sell premium is one of the strongest in the US domestic system.

Dreamliner_rendering_787-3

The image is of the quickly forgotten 787-3.  Originally planned for the Japanese domestic market, it was dropped as the Japanese carriers opted for the longer range -8.  It may appear Boeing was hasty in this decision, but was facing major delays in the program that forced its hand.  But here we are, years later, and the 787-3, or a close variant, could be an effective offering for the US transcon market.  It has more payload than the A321 and its economics are bound to be significantly better.  Indeed its range could easily allow for Hawaii service from the US west coast as well.  Commonality with other 787s in service (like at United) ensure the operator gains training benefits and MRO as well.

Boeing appears to now have 787 production in a rhythm.  Despite Charleston hiccups, Boeing is churning out the 787s.  It could add this model to the offering mix and curtail A321 popularity and provide a real 757 replacement in one stroke.  It may have been unpopular a few years ago, but we think the -3’s time may be back.

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