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I think two models is definitely the way to go, but not nearly as drastic as the 757/767. I only just read this article and even before I thought Embraer's example with the E2 made a little more sense for this development.
The E-Jets comprise of four (soon three) models, where the bigger two have strengthening, slightly larger wings and a boost to the engines. I think this is the kind of set up Boeing should be looking at. Eventually (and I think starting from the top end EIS would be 2025-2035), this would entail two pairs of planes, perhaps with the same names or perhaps with the first break from the 7x7s to avoid the limitations of the number.
First would be a direct A321neoLR competitor but optimised for the long haul at 5000nm. This would be closely followed by a stretch which just exceeds the 757-200's capacity, in essence closer to the -300 but not nearly as drastic. This pair would feature the biggest wings yet for a single aisle, perhaps the new RR UltraFan and a dual 757 style landing gear. Ideally the smaller model would take the longest range transatlantic market, and the larger would work well sub 1000m but also more crucially run an ultra efficient trans-America service.
The other simple stretch pair would cover the 737 replacement market, which is why they would come in later to give the MAX at least a decade in place. If Boeing are keen to stay in the 150 seat segment then maybe they should start with the smallest of the four aircraft, something a little bigger than today’s A319. This would mean that the ‘core’ plane could actually end up being a stretch of the smaller one, around the size of a MAX 8 200 but optimised for shorter missions. What would make more sense would be to make this aircraft the base model, and then have the shrink optimised for the new types of long-range missions we see the A319 on. Both these options would make business sense, however if Airbus came out with a comprehensive fleet strategy which satisfied all markets Boeing would be forced to make three of these lower end aircraft. Compared to the bigger pair, these would have single smaller landing gear (The A350 program has both dual and triple gear) slightly smaller wings and an equally scaled down engine.
The plane would be ideally all composite, and by introducing the large/niche variants first Boeing would have time to perfect the product line before churning out the planes at the heart of the market later on. This kind of model clearly would not fit everyone, but it would drastically save on costs by having two versions of one plane rather than two totally different models. It could also push airlines such as American to move away from Airbus fleets as Boeing would be able to capture all of its domestic markets with one family, depending on support for the NLT.