So we have another reengining programme! American Airlines just announced to purchase up to 300 B737 aircraft (as well as up to 625(!) A320neo). The more inportant detail of this message is that 100 (+60 options) of the B737NG's will be powered by the LEAP-X, unofficially launching the reengining program of the B737NG, as this needs confirmation by the Boeing board.
What does that tell us?
1. Airbus was completely right to launch the A320neo.
2. CFM will remain sole source at the B737NG with the LEAP-X.
3. The NSA will have to wait - I don't expect it to be on the market before the latter half of the next decade. There would be (at the time before the A320neo launch) the long debated residual value problem with the LEAP-X powered B737NG, if NSA hits the market in 2021 or 2022, as Dominic Gates from "The Seattle Times" now reports. And as Gates writes, the EIS date is more like a placeholder and could slip to the right - a logical step. More on why it makes no sense to have a NSA in the early 2020's you can find here at an AirInsight blog entry.
4. The next narrowbody decisions in the U.S., at Delta and United, are completely open again...
5. The CSeries will see an order boost, now that it is clear that there will be no new aircraft from Boeing.
6. The fact that American choose to order more Airbus aircraft than Boeing aircraft (260 vs 200 firm and 365 vs. 100 options) could lead to the conclusion that the A320neo is more attractive than the B737RE. But we have to remember that there are still 54 existing orders for the B737-800, so the number of firm orders is almost equal when taking these into account. If the number of options is a sign is questionable...
But for now the B737NG LEAP-X seems to be not more than a paper plane. It remains unclear what fan size the new engine will have and if the the nose gear has to be raised to accomodate the new engine under a strengthened wing.
A lot of questions have to be answered by Boeing and CFM in the coming weeks and months - interesting times ahead! After we know how the engine looks like and what further improvements the B737RE will get, we can make a fair assessment and compare the B737RE to the A320neo.
Now it's at Embraer to decide what to do: follow the "trend" and reengine the EJets or develop a new 5 abreast aircraft to counter the Bombardier CSeries.