Analysis of the 200 to 400 Seat Widebody Market: IBA Speaks to Aircraft Commerce, July 2017

2016 and 2017 have been a quiet period for widebody orders, although a sizeable backlog exists, while order announcements for the next generation of Narrowbodies have been frequent. The current market stance on 200-400 seat widebody aircraft is summarised within this article.

A widebody or twin-aisle aircraft has a wide, high-capacity passenger cabin and is able to operate intercontinental and long-haul routes. The cabin layout of such aircraft varies extensively between operators, with two, three or four cabin classes, divided between First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. Widebody seating configurations in economy class are seven to 10 seats abreast, depending on fuselage interior width. Since economy class is more densely packed, it will have a larger number of narrower seats abreast.

The 200-400 seat widebody fleet and market is analysed, exploring options for in-production and in-development aircraft, including: the A330ceo (current engine option), which comprises the A330-200, and -300 series; the emerging A330neo (new engine option) which will comprise the A330-800 and -900 series; and the A350XWB family, which comprises the in-service A350-900, and will be joined by the -1000.

The 787 in-service fleet is the 787-8 and -9 series, while the 787-10 is soon to enter into service (EIS). Last, the 777-X family is some years away from EIS, and will comprise the 777-8X and -9X. Where appropriate, examples are given of the changing route networks that come with the introduction of a new type. Given the pending certification of some of these types and series, not all performance information is available.

Boeing forecasts that more than 5,000 small widebodies (200-300 seats) will be delivered over the next 20 years, in addition to almost 3,200 medium and large widebodies (over 300 seats) in operation. The 787 and A330 families are the two choices in the most popular 200- 300 seat segment, while the 777 and A350 fit into the medium/large widebody category.

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