Last year I wrote an entry about what the Bombardier CSeries meant for aircraft development. Meanwhile Airbus announced the A320NEO programme on Dec 1st, 2010 and announced first customers. I expect more to come forward in the next weeks and months - by the time the Paris Air Show ends, Airbus could have 500+ orders (or at least MoU-like commitments) for the A320NEO in the books.
If you read how Southwest is now pushing Boeing to clarify it's plans for the B737, you can clearly see how the decision by Bombardier to lauch the CSeries affected the whole development cycle:
Virgin America, the launch customer of the A320NEO, looked very seriously to buy the CS300 - it was only when Airbus came forward with the NEO that Virgin decided to stay with Airbus. So, very clearly: without the CSeries there would not be a NEO to buy!
Boeing has to and will react - until lately I was not convinced that they would do a 737 successor. My thoughts were, like John Leahy, that they would announce a reengining of the 737 soon after a launch of the NEO. In the meantime I am a little bit more convinced that they could announce a new narrowbody. Scott Hamilton recently argued why. If Boeing is right to think that the A350-1000 will enter airline service not before 2019 is on another piece of paper - but if they are convinced, it would make sense to do the narrowbody first - well, if it is a narrowbody! It could also be the long-discussed small widebody, starting at around the capacity of todays 737-800 and going up to the capacity of the 757-300. They would leave the 150 seater market to Airbus and possibly Bombardier (CS500?) and maybe Embraer, but they would have another big market for themselves.
At the EADS press conference CEO Louis Gallois thought loudly about a tie-up between OEM's, as the market place gets increasingly crowded during the next decade. There were speculations then that Airbus could partner with Embraer and Boeing with Bombardier - I could also see some cooperations with the japanese Heavies, as I wrote earlier. All this will not happen this year, but the possibility - and good reasons - are there for it that it will happen sometime.