Odds and Ends: Puzzling math remains puzzling in 737 v A320 debate

Puzzling math remains puzzling: Boeing has said for the better part of two years that the 737-800 is 8% more economical than the Airbus A320 and the advantage translates into leads it claims for the MAX over the NEO. With the addition of the Advanced Technology Winglets (BATW), Boeing now claims the 737 MAX will be a whopping 18% more economical than today’s A320 and up to 10% better than the NEO.

Such claims make Airbus almost apoplectic. Airbus rejects outright Boeing’s 8% claim and further said its own analysis on the MAX (pre-BATW) indicated the best improvement Boeing could get was 8%, not 10%-12%. Airbus also sniffs at the new BATW. Airbus evaluated the design before settling on the sharklets as more advantagous.

We’ve always been skeptical of numbers advanced by Airbus and Boeing because, after all, they are hardly objective. We’ve placed more weight in analyses offered by customers, for obvious reasons: they are the ones who have to operate the aircraft and truly know theory in real life.

We’ve previously written that Lufthansa concluded the 737 MAX will have a 2% advantage over the A320neo (also pre-BATW), which returns the competition to the “status quo.” This means that in Lufthansa’s analysis, today’s airplanes are only 2% apart, not Boeing’s claim of 8%.

Now comes information to us that Qantas–which operates both types through its own airline and the JetStar subsidiary–finds its operating experience to be so close as to be indistinguishable.

So we asked Boeing about that, and about how its methodology comes up with the numbers it advertised. Here’s the response, foregoing addressing the results of the airlines, citing long-standing policy of not commenting on customers. As for the methodology:

[Our analyses] are based on our average vs. Airbus and not individual customer statistics. There are too many variables to be able to address specifics and details.

Our numbers are cost per seat and are based on a 500 nm mission using typical European economic rules for airplanes with two-class seating giving the Next-Generation 737-800w (with PIP – Performance Improvement Package) 162 passengers and the A320 150 passengers.

Fuel burn values are Boeing tested values for the Next-Generation 737 and Boeing estimates for the A320. Maintenance costs are estimated using Boeing methodology which takes into account industry reported data from the FAA and IATA for both manufacturers. Same crew cost, landing and navigation and passenger handling cost models are applied to both airplanes.

We’ll note from our previous discussions with Boeing that Boeing acknowledged factoring in 737 PIPs (as cited above) but not factoring in A320 PIPs. Airbus claims Boeing uses the CFM56 as the base engine for the A320, rather than the V2500, which is 1.5% more efficient. Airbus also claims that Boeing uses older versions of the CFM56 as the A320 base engine rather than the newer, more efficient model. Airbus also uses 800nm vs Boeing’s 500nm for its analysis. (AirInsight’s analysis of US operation confirms that A320s and 737s tend to fly, on average, around 1,100sm, concluding that the longer range assumption is indeed a fairer data point.)

So the puzzling math used by Airbus and Boeing remains puzzling. The airlines say the airplanes are very close. We believe the airlines.

ExIm Bank: Just when we thought this was over, it turns out the Republicans in the US Senate Wednesday blocked a vote to approve reauthorization of the US ExIm Bank and a hike in its ceiling to $140bn. This story has additional detail. Boeing and GE take a hit on this.

Emirates to Boeing on 777X: Get a move on. You’re taking too long.

76 comments on “Odds and Ends: Puzzling math remains puzzling in 737 v A320 debate

  1. I agree with you. The difference is not huge between the aircraft. That is why there is a duopoly. My understanding is that the flights in Europe are shorter due to higher population density (on the order of 500 nm) so interestingly, the 737 might be better for Europe as opposed to the US. It appears B has a (slight)fuel burn advantage from 500-700nm, the equality range is from 800 nm up to 1000 nm and then the A begins to have an advantage (slight).

    So the marketers market. That’s their job! Large grain of salt and a lot of wind for observers…

  2. Boeing vs Airbus math:
    When two planes fight it out neck and neck in the market for years, it is pointless for one supplier to claim a huge efficiency differential (unless the sale price for the “better” product is much higher). The implication is that half the market is irrational, and who would believe that?

  3. The 737-800 and A320 are about even in weight. The -800 holds 8% more people, but the A320 has a fan that is 7″ bigger so the engine should be 3.5% more efficient. What else is there? Is one of them more efficient aerodynamically and why?

    • Actually, the B-737-800 weighs in at 91,108 lbs (OEW) and the A-320 weighs in at 94,000 lbs (OEW), giving the B-738 a weight advantage of nearly 2,900 lbs. The B-738 also has a MTOW advantage of 174,200 lbs compared to the A-320 MTOW of just 170,000 lbs. The A-320 carries about 6,499 USG of fuel, with an option up to 7,980 USG, compared to the B-738s fuel capacity of 6,875 USG.

      As for each OEM crowing about their airplane is best, it is all white wash. But the QF numbers seen interesting that the two models are “its operating experience to be so close as to be indistinguishable”. Does that include the seat advantage of the B-738 over the A-320?

      I would not worry to much about the Republicans not funding the Ex-Im Bank ceiling movement request. This is an election year in the US and anything and everything will happen re; the federal budget.

      • A320-200 OEW 91,000lbs ( most variants incl WV015 )
        A320-200 MTOW 172,000lbs ( WV015 )
        data from /Airbus_AC_A320_20110501_Apr11.pdf

      • Seems like you “forgot” the pax weights. Average adult weight, in summer, including carry on , but not checked luggage is190 lbs. (according to AC 120-27E, FAA Aircraft Weight & Balance Control). There are 12 more passengers on a B737-800, meaning an extra 2280 lbs. and thus resutling in a difference of about 612 lbs, without accounting for checked luggage for these 12 people.

        The higher fuel capacity given for the A320 is for the case where there are 2 aircraft center tanks, for which I suspect ther are not so many out there, considering the typical ranges mentioned and what the A320 is capable of.

        It seems obvious that the mission duration is the most contentious factor and also the biggest variable in any calculation.

        I think it is pretty difficult for some people to accept what Lufthansa and Qantas are saying. It is obvious and straightforward though, Lufthansa calculates the 737 to be sliaghtly better than the A320 and Qantas calculates them to be about the same. Hence, irresepctive of what the OEMs are saiyng, these two airlines see little or no difference as far as their specific fleet operations are concerned.

    • Lets assume the “equal” outcome just to show the differences ;-)
      smcA == smcB
      oewA ~= oewB
      sA + 8% = sB
      this indicates a current A320-200 flies for 8% less cost overall than a 737NG for that type of utilisation.
      better engines, better overall aerodynamics. confirmed by the advantage over longer stages.

  4. IMO its the fan.

    The rest IMO pretty much is “if you can’t convince them, confuse them” from the guy that can’t get a large one.. hoping everyone will conclude they must be about equal.

    Can someone link to the 8% claim from before the NEO launch? I guess not. If so Airbus would have had a big problem before. They didn’t, the orders, deliveries and backlog were already larger then the NG before the NEO launch. I think the fuel burn per trip for A320 is lower then a 737-800 with a the same load. That why selected seatcounts, per seat costs and 100% load factors are brought in.

    The fact the 737-800 is a bit larger seems indeed an advantage for Boeing with the current pressure up to larger NBs. IMO the A320 has become a kind of small, specially when replacing older A320s. I would not be suprised if Airbus is forced to launch an A320 stretch at some point. The A321 is just way bigger, heavier and expensive and probably too large for many A320 operators. Easyjet, Jetblue and Ryanair openly pushed for a A320 family 200 (199) seater before.

    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/AirbusA320NEOPlusConcept.jpg

        • Before MAX and NEO, the NB market was split about 50%-50%. Some years Airbus sold more A-32Xs and some years Boeing sold more B-737NGs. Boeing currently has a slightly higher backlog in the non MAX models than Airbus has for the non NEO models.

      • “Before MAX and NEO, the NB market was split about 50%-50%”
        Which, I am guessing, is precisely the point Bryan was making. If there was anything like an 8% difference between the two offerings, it would not be 50%-50%.

  5. Type operational mathematics debate continues without a definitive solution, the article being discussed here confirms what they industry knew all along, namely the differential is not significant & is primarily sector determined.

    Had the claimed Boeing differentials been even close to reality carriers wouldn’t have been falling over themselves to place orders for 320’s in whatever guise over the last twenty odd years. Consider the fact that most 320 carriers actually switched loyalties, had they not done so most 320 orders would have been coronation orders for the 737

    Unit price would play a significant role in selection as would type economics, but given that many were surrendering 737’s in preference to 320’s what appeared to be a bold even rash decision at the time was more often well considered.

    It’s certainly true to say that Boeing should be given full credit for the results produced after having been forced to become innovative within the single aisle sector, they are still very much in a catch up situation. The NEO is exasperating for them from the point that without major structual changes their existing airframe can only ever be a compromise response.

  6. Airlines don’t buy on the basis of PR related blurbs about fuel burn. (well maybe some are that ignorant) They have contractual agreements and commitments, which are met or not, and continued purchases are based on those commitments being met. The evidence of the last 15 years is that AirBus has, by whatever means and you may argue that all you want, pleased more airlines than Boeing.

    The entire argument of fuel burn is for comsumption by investors. Keep the PR mill going to keep the share price going. If Boeing’s cost of operation was really so much lower, the airlines flying Boeing would have run the airlines flying AirBus out of business, unless the initial cost of AirBus is so much lower per plane to compensate for poorer performance. The latter doesn’t seem to be true, so the former is unlikely to be true.

    I have no position in either stock.

    • There are about 800 Dreamliner orders that speak against fully rational purchase decission.
      Actually the whole CFRP is a “must have, no other material acceptable” hype.
      The next generation of airliners will imho have a much more synergetic buquet of materials.

      • cfrp is and has been the material of the future, and will continue as such for a while yet IMHO.
        The 787 may have been born before it’s time, but from the fact that Boeing was able to produce an aircraft using new materials requiring profoundly different production and engineering at about the same weight as a metal design is I think proof enough of the potential of this material of teh future.

      • “the fact that Boeing was able to produce an aircraft using new materials requiring profoundly different production and engineering at about the same weight as a metal design”.

        That is the point though, they were supposed to produce a significantly lighter aircraft, and they couldn’t. That was the point Airbus tried to make back in 2005-2006. The big difference was the engine technology, which Boeing openly admitted back then.

        The question remians, “Why not?”.
        Electrical network considerations, separation requirements that are different for CFRP and Aluminium? CFRP properties not quite what people expected them to be?

      • And the A350 orders? The same?

        What you fail to grasp is that the 787 and A350 will be the worst composite airplanes ever built. Both manufacturers will improve from here on out. You are also overlooking the other benefits that come with composite structure such as reduced corrosion, higher cabin pressures and humidity, etc. Things that couldn’t really be done with aluminum airframes.

        That doesn’t mean composites are the panacea. They have to be tailored to the right applications. That’s not PR, just fact.

  7. One can have a weight advantage.
    The second may have an aerodynamic benefits.
    One can have larger fan diameter.
    The second may have fly by wire
    One claims it has the newest generation of winglets.
    The second may claim they have the very latest generation of winglets.
    One was was considered to be a new aircraft when Kennedy was president.
    The second when I was a young lad.

    And it’s all equal.

    The only thing that matters, is the total sum of costs that an airline has posted when the year is over.

    And when two blue chip operators say they are indistinguishable I believe them.

    And I also believe they did remeber that one of them could have one row of seats more than the other.

    • “And I also believe they did remember that one of them could have one row of seats more than the other.”

      Brilliant!!

  8. keesje :
    The fact the 737-800 is a bit larger seems indeed an advantage for Boeing with the current pressure up to larger NBs. IMO the A320 has become a kind of small, specially when replacing older A320s. I would not be suprised if Airbus is forced to launch an A320 stretch at some point. The A321 is just way bigger, heavier and expensive and probably too large for many A320 operators.

    Airbus should take the opportunity offered by the neo program to work on a stretched A320. Something between the A320 and A321. I know they want to keep the development costs as low as possible. But still, it would be less costly to carry out the design work within the neo program rather than later, on a separate program. Because I believe they will have to do it one day or another.

    The neo and MAX are good responses to the challenge offered by the CSeries. But both A and B remain at a disadvantage at the lower end of the segment when compared to the CSeries. They can alleviate the problem, but they cannot completely eliminate the threat. Therefore they need to concentrate on the upper end of the segment. And for Airbus the best way to do this would be to offer an A320.5 neo.

    • You will have to find a slot that is not a one to one match for a competitors product.

      Not competing for the exact same requirements slot is afaics a lesson learned well
      from the past.

    • Where exactly would Airbus come up with the engineering resources for this project. If you recall one of the reasons Airbus waited so long on the NEO program in the first place, about 6-9 months from when pundits thought, was because of ensuring they had adequate engineering staff available for the job.

      Simply put, Airbus can’t do a stretch AND NEO at this point. They just don’t have the engineers available, and continuing problems on A380 and A400M just make that worse.

      • Howard I do not work for Airbus, but I do have insight in the different engineering projects going on in Europe. What are the A400M and A380 engineering issues demanding large scale engineering efforts? I do see the widespread A350 work and NEO on a smaller scale. The continuing problems on the A380 and A400m demanding large resources, I just do not see them anymore.. Pls enlighten me.

  9. Boeing readily acknowledges that its comparisons are bogus. That’s just fair. We are looking at a very academic question, namely: which aircraft is better suited for a “reference” mission. We know that the reality at airlines strongly differs from this reference mission.
    The B737 has a fuel burn advantage due to lighter weight and (in case of the -800) a slightly higher seat count. The B737 at the same time offers less comfort, no containerized cargo and is a little bit old fashioned (think of the cockpit).
    The idea with the A320.5 sounds good (especially aiming at low cost carriers), but I never heard anything pointing in that direction.

    • MOL is openly asking for it, pushing COMAC and waiving with a 200 a/c check in Bordeaux for a 199 seater.

      Earlier on Easyjet was trying to force Leahy into a commitment when negotiating a large A320 deal. Jetblue asked for it before that.

      I guess Airbus is keeping dead silence on the topic. Even saying they might look at it will IMO create an irreversible launch process and maybe even have Boeing changing their plans. (the 737-800 and 737-900 are both inbetween the A320 and A321..)

      • Perhaps, but MOL isn’t willing to PAY for it… there in is the major trouble with him. He’s all talk, but no cash on the barrel head.

    • Well, if Airbus goes that way, it could provide an airplane that potentially brings seatt mile cost to be cheaper than a B737-800. However, this would bring us to the fact that it will be probably six to seven tons heavier than the 737-800, precisely what Boeing preaches with with slightly less wide 737 series and what Airbus more likely does not want..

    • Would such a beast really improve Airbus’ position? They are not at all interested in Ryanair (good for them!), Southwest has reiterated their commitment to Boeing, I do not see Jetblue or any other dedicated Boeing customer jumping ship for such a variant.

      Factor in the cost of such a variant as opposed to the large numbers of orders AND commitments they have for what they are now offering, why would they take the time and risk for such an investment?! That’s a rhetorical question folks, it’s not to their advantage compared to what they now have.

  10. “However, this would bring us to the fact that it will be probably six to seven tons heavier than the 737-800, precisely what Boeing preaches”

    I think we should be careful with what OEMs preach. They toggle conditions. e.g. this “official numbers” could have an opportunist conclude the -800 is about 10% heavier then the A320..

    A320-200 OEW 91,000lbs ( most variants incl WV015 )
    data from /Airbus_AC_A320_20110501_Apr11.pdf

    737-800 OEW 100,000 lbs
    data from http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/faqs/lcglcn.pdf

    My assumptions are A320 and 737-800 OEWs are pretty close with most airline specifications, the -800 has a a row more then the A320 and the A320 slightly better engines (BPR, sfc, AEI option).

    An A320 NEO Plus, 3.53m stretch, would accommodate 3-4 extra rows (1 row about 32 inch (0.82m), and the stretch 3.5m). With a little extra for the extra emergency exits etc.

    Ryanair pushing for a 199 seater..
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/ryanair-199-seat-aircraft-would-hit-capacity-sweet-spot-350946/

    • The A318 deviates from the linear extrapolation of a shortened aircraft.
      i.e. it is lighter than just the taken out fuselage segment would indicate.

      Moving the weightsaving measures ( welded frames and stringers? some
      other stuff ) from the 318 to 319 through 321 would provide significant weight
      savings. A320 and 737-800 are on par today oew wise.

    • The 199 seater would require another set of doors. I would say skip the doors and the high capacity version. For the rest of the market, a three row stretch would provide a comfortable 1 class with 180 seats or 2 class with 168 seats. That is where I see the logic for the A320plus.

  11. I think it is pretty difficult for some people to accept what Lufthansa and Qantas are saying. It is obvious and straightforward though, Lufthansa calculates the 737 to be sliaghtly better than the A320 and Qantas calculates them to be about the same. Hence, irresepctive of what the OEMs are saiyng, these two airlines see little or no difference as far as their specific fleet operations are concerned.

    I think the “Lufthansa said” claim is one of the least documented, unconfirmed and welcomed input in the recent MAX – NEO discussion. Who is this “Lufthansa” does she/he speak for the company? Is there any link, confirmation, numbers, assumptions, conditions, anything at all?

    While other more substantiated comparisons are happily ignored / dismissed;
    http://aeroturbopower.blogspot.com/2011/08/a320-vs-b737-800-fuel-burn.html

    People seem less critical on “facts” and their sources if the outcome is “good”. The A320s CFM56-5C’s are a little better then the CFM56-7’s from the 737NG, simply because of the bigger fan. http://www.jet-engine.net/civtfspec.html Add in Airbus is adding winglets (while taking out weight) this year for a few percent fuel, the OEWs are about the same, take it from there..

    • Keesje, we have spoken directly to LH and know full well who said what. This was our original reporting, not a repeat of someone else’s. It’s tough that this is an answer you don’t like.

      • So the next step would be to look at how LH utilises their different frames, right?
        apropos: what cert changes touch on seating capabilitities?

    • Keesje, the -5C is on the A340, not on the A320, where the -5B is the latest version. If you talk about my blog entry, this is ONLY about fuelburn. Operating costs is more than that and might be different for different airlines. But when LH and Qantas say that the A320 and the B737 are very close in operating costs (and if my thoughts on who Scott’s source at LH is is right this is highly credible), we should just close this discussion here. In the end the customer is always right…;-)

      • LH was talking about the A320neo versus 737 MAX. Since these two models are not in service today no one can know for sure what their respective performances will be. Therefore I see no reason to close the discussion.

        Although we have a pretty good idea about what the neo will be able to deliver in terms of performance, the MAX performances remain hypothetical to this day. Much more so than for the neo. And this has a lot to do with the particular, not to say peculiar, engine variant planned for the 737 MAXimized (as in “it has reached it’s maximum potential”).

        My understanding is that the neo performances are already guaranteed by Airbus, whereas the MAX performances remain undefined and are questioned by potential buyers. That’s why we still have a high ratio of commitments versus firm orders.

        If the respective performances were estimated by a majority of operators to be very close to one another it would be reflected in the sales figures. And we would be able to keep the perfect duopoly pattern of 50/50. But there seems to be a new trend developing.

  12. Steen Foldager Pedersen :
    And when two blue chip operators say they are indistinguishable I believe them.
    And I also believe they did remeber that one of them could have one row of seats more than the other.

    HEARD!

    aeroturbopower :
    Keesje, the -5C is on the A340, not on the A320, where the -5B is the latest version. If you talk about my blog entry, this is ONLY about fuelburn. Operating costs is more than that and might be different for different airlines. But when LH and Qantas say that the A320 and the B737 are very close in operating costs (and if my thoughts on who Scott’s source at LH is is right this is highly credible), we should just close this discussion here. In the end the customer is always right…;-)

    HEARD!

  13. Aeroturbo, I know -5B,-C and your Blog is about fuel burn. but those are used by Airbus and Boeing too. It doesn’t change the reality a bigger fan on the same engine has a better sfc.

    Scott states:

    “We’ve previously written that Lufthansa concluded the 737 MAX will have a 2% advantage over the A320neo (also pre-BATW), which returns the competition to the “status quo.” This means that in Lufthansa’s analysis, today’s airplanes are only 2% apart, not Boeing’s claim of 8%.”

    That’s a pretty bold conclusion IMO. I think it would be great to have a little more then “someone credible told me & you have to believe him” E.g. that someone confirming this during a presentation, telling why and under what conditions would be absolutely great.

    If as you say if the A320 and 737NG are pretty close, how can the NEO with a 10 inch bigger fan and winglets (- ~7-8% ?) still be as good as the MAX. I just don’t see the physics behind it.

    And the customer neither it seems. Boeing and many others hope for re-establishing a Status Quo in the NB segment. It would be best for the industry, but it just isn’t happening as we speak, is it? Boeing is pushing MAX at alarming discounts and still airlines only “commit”. CFMI still has not given fuel burn guarantees for the LEAP MAX. Making every MAX deal so far “pending to be confirmed fuel burn guarantees”.

    IMO many see but keep quiet. Nobody dares to be the messenger that has to “prove” ‘rumors”, unconfirmed, biased, one sided information on a local Aviation Icon / employer.

    I can see tensions rising between CFMI and Boeing. Boeing is boasting great performance its risk sharing supply chain (CFMI) has to achieve, with a chopped fan in a red hot, high pressure, but still reliable/cheap engine.. all feels a bit like the early 787 campaign, don’t think, Dream.

    • Keesje, it appears to me that you’re starting to do a lot of patronizing on this blog and when you’re not able to have everything your way, including Scott Hamilton’s and aeroturbopower’s credible responses, you’re throwing a hissy fit.

      [Edited.]

      I indeed agree with aeroturbopower that it is time to close this discussion!

      • Well, if Scott were to close this discussion he might just do it because of personal attacks, like you just did here, towards another blogger.

        keesje is a major contributor to this blog, like KC135TopBoom or Uwe are for example. If any of these bloggers were “invited to take their contributions elsewhere” it would create a big hole here.

        Besides, keesje already contributes at various places and I always enjoy reading him, here or elsewhere.

  14. Howard :
    You are also overlooking the other benefits that come with composite structure such as reduced corrosion, higher cabin pressures and humidity, etc. Things that couldn’t really be done with aluminum airframes.

    As far as I know the Bombardier CSeries will also enjoy a higher cabin pressure and humidity, and the fuselage is still made out of an aluminium-lithium alloy. Only the wings and empennage are made with composite materials.

    The question is not to determine if composites are desirable or not, but where are they most beneficial. The fuselage is a vulnerable place for an airplane sitting on the tarmac, for it gets bruised all the time. And if it is made with composites it is harder to detect any damage and also more complicated to repair. Additionally, in case of a lightning strike, which happens once a year on average, it is easier to evacuate the excess energy with a metallic airframe, because conductivity is an intrinsic quality of the material.

    • Could you provide a link for that, as that isn’t a claim I’ve seen BBD make. You have to keep in mind that the CSeries was conceived of before the advent of the A350 and 787. Lower cabin altitude wasn’t an issue then.

  15. If anyone thinks we should stop discussing the 737 performance claims versus those made for the A320, it would be a gross misunderstanding of what this blog is all about.

    It is a highly polarized debate and that is the way it should be. Because the dynamic of a 50/50 duopoly calls for this kind of extreme opinions. Wether those opinions are informed or not is precisely what we are trying to sort out here.

    But we should always be specific about what exactly we are talking about. In other words we should always mention if we are talking about the A320neo or ceo. Or if we are talking about the 737 MAX or NG. Along with their numerous variants if necessary.

  16. Howard :
    And the A350 orders? The same?

    IMHO Boeing kicked off an irrational demand for CFRP.
    The A350 gestation and morphing gave proof that at that time anything without that marketing tag was unsellable (completely removed from rational decission.

    What you fail to grasp is that the 787 and A350 will be the worst composite airplanes ever built. Both manufacturers will improve from here on out. You are also overlooking the other benefits that come with composite structure such as reduced corrosion, higher cabin pressures and humidity, etc. Things that couldn’t really be done with aluminum airframes.

    You argue from a missunderstanding. Lower cabin altitude is not linked to a CFRP fuselage. The A380 cruises at a 1000′ lower cabin altitude than the Dreamliner.
    The 6000′ advertised for the dreamliner were a stepchange over the 767 but not over contemporary planes as 777 and the A330/340 family bracket the 6500′ to 7500′ range
    in cabin altitude.
    And anyway Boeing boasted “6000′ as a first for a plastic fuselage” only!
    Rain in the plane ( probable cause for the fire from electric arcing on the prototype )
    is completely independent of fuselage material and needs very carefull management.

    That doesn’t mean composites are the panacea. They have to be tailored to the right applications. That’s not PR, just fact.

    CFRP will find its places in airplane design. But by no means is it a “Wundermaterial”.

  17. keesje :
    Howard I do not work for Airbus, but I do have insight in the different engineering projects going on in Europe. What are the A400M and A380 engineering issues demanding large scale engineering efforts? I do see the widespread A350 work and NEO on a smaller scale. The continuing problems on the A380 and A400m demanding large resources, I just do not see them anymore.. Pls enlighten me.

    A400M = The first A/C will be box carriers. Airbus has spread the development of other capabilities out for several years… refueling, terrain following.. etc. And they are still running into engines issues.

    A380 = I’m sure you’ve read about the Wing crack issue and the continuing production issues.

    • The A-400M will not have terrain following technology. Airbus told Germany they could not have it because it was to hard to develope, even though the USAF FB-111s had it back in the late 1960s.

      Air refueling (tanker) capability will not happen until the later parts of this decade, if at all.

      Airbus rewrote all the EU customer contracts for a more expensive A-400M with fewer capabilities.

      • KCTB / Observer these seem not to be not issues demanding large engineering resources preventing development of new A320 types. Most of it is outsourced to specialized suppliers, who in turn also outsource lot of engineering.. The low cost of the total NEO project should give an indication of its complxity.. Some a400M items are delayed to reduce costs, derisk the planning. I do not see what the F111 has to with it, but Tornado’s have also since the seventies, so maybe it’s more complicated (passive).

  18. Back to topic, the LEAP fan of the NEO will be 10 inch larger then the one on the MAX.
    A rule of thumb says every inch, within limits for the same engine gives 0.5% sfc reduction.
    For the NEO and MAX this means a difference in sfc improvement of 5%.
    The NEO will add winglets adding 3 % or more sfc.

    Looking at what the MAX is adding in terms of performance and adding in costs and weight it seems there is a significant difference. Either the NEO has a significant advantage or the NG was far superior to the A320 before the re-engining. Boeing choose a PR strategy inventing the NG was far superior to the A320, implying the MAX is about equal in fuel consumption now.

    I think the A320 and 737-800 were pretty close. Randy would eat his shoes before saying so, because everyone can do the math on the new aircaft.

    Then the NEO will make less noise, be able to carry pallets, containers, be roomier / quieter for the passengers offer, a new promising engine option ( probably a few % sfc) and the biggest saleable NB, the A321.

    For the industry healthy competition is preferable. I think the CS300 looks goods and a CS500 might be not unfeasible if the Chinese support it. I think Boeing will have to do more if they want to regain their position in the NB segment. Puzzling the (non specialized) press/ public isn’t working with the airlines. They did/do the math themselves based on their own choices, assumptions and network scenarios. Also at United.

  19. Howard :
    You have to keep in mind that the CSeries was conceived of before the advent of the A350 and 787. Lower cabin altitude wasn’t an issue then.

    The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was launched in 2004, the Airbus A350XWB in 2006 and the Bombardier CSeries in 2008. Therefore I think it would be fair to say that the CSeries was conceived after the 787 and A350. Not before, as you claim Howard.

    You can find a reference to my own claim that the CSeries has a lower cabin altitude, like the 787 and A350 do, in Wikipedia. In the “Design” section of the article it is said that “the Bombardier CSeries aircraft contain features similar to those found in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 aircraft. These include higher usage of composite materials, a lower cabin altitude and larger windows.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_CSeries

    • CSereies was NOT launched in 2008, but around 2002 or 03, then put on hold in 05 because they couldn’t sell it at all. Finally reactivated in 08.

      • The CSeries was first introduced in July 2004. A year and half after the Dreamliner, which was introduced in January 2003. The original Airbus A350 was introduced in December 2004.

        That makes these aircraft contemporary designs. But I believe your first comments implied they were not. Which is wrong.

        The CSeries actually offers a more advanced version of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion system than the one that can be found on the 787. Its wing also has a higher percentage of composite material than the 787 wing. And its fuselage is made out of the most advanced aluminium-lithium alloy currently available. The same material that Boeing would have used for the NSA fuselage.

      • We also note that the early design was not anywhere near advanced as the latest design. Sort of like the trials and balloons of the 747-500, 747X vs the 747-8.

  20. Howard :

    Airbus can’t do a stretch AND NEO at this point. They just don’t have the engineers available.

    My point was to take the neo project as an opportunity to do a stretch at the same time. Many tasks common to the neo and neo stretched would be handled by the same engineers and other personnel. It would be a lot more taxing and expensive to undertake a stretch as a separate project later on.

    If anything, a stretched neo would probably be easier to implement within the current neo program, than the modifications required to accommodate a large diameter engine fan on the MAX represent for Boeing.

    I hold the same view for the A320 that I hold for the 737. If Airbus and Boeing want to remain dominant in this segment of the market they cannot just sit on their laurels and play it safe. They have to take risks and think forward. Not just try to hold on to a lucrative status-quo. Airbus has some margin left into the A320. They could easily introduce an A320.5 if they wanted.

    It reminds me of what Rudy Hillinga said about the 747-400. It took a very long time for Boeing to finally acquiesce to the launch of a modernized version of the venerable 747. It took many years and considerable pressure from the customers for Boeing to finally agree to spend the money and resources to do what was necessary to satisfy the expectations of their customers.

    It is typical of a monopoly situation, or even a duopoly for that matter, to quietly rest on your laurels and do nothing.

    • They are NOT the same engineers that would do a stretch vs doing the NEO current package. Totally different people in fact. The current engineers working NEO would be wing engineers including the pylon people. These people have zero skill in fuselage which would be used for a stretch. Not even the same nationality of engineers in Airbus’ case. Wings are UK design, pylons are French. Fuselage on A320 is German.

      Also, if Airbus wants to keep schedule, stretch is out of the question. Not to mention totally blowing away the cost targets that Gallois, Enders, and Williams have all publicly stated.

      What you don’t understand is that Airbus and Boeing LIKE the status quo. It’s quite profitable for both of them.

  21. keesje :
    KCTB / Observer these seem not to be not issues demanding large engineering resources preventing development of new A320 types. Most of it is outsourced to specialized suppliers, who in turn also outsource lot of engineering.. The low cost of the total NEO project should give an indication of its complxity.. Some a400M items are delayed to reduce costs, derisk the planning. I do not see what the F111 has to with it, but Tornado’s have also since the seventies, so maybe it’s more complicated (passive).

    Passive?? Any idea on what Radar Frequency Bands those trees are broadcasting on? ;)

  22. Howard :
    What you don’t understand is that Airbus and Boeing LIKE the status quo. It’s quite profitable for both of them.

    Of course they like the status-quo. That’s my point! Ask Rudy Hillinga if Boeing liked the status-quo with the 747 before they finally gave in to the increasing pressure coming from the customers to produce the 747-400.

    You have valid points concerning the development of a stretched fuselage. I don’t think they would need a new wing though if they only add three of four rows of seat. But I could be wrong.

    Anyway, I still believe they will have to do it eventually. In due time the competition will force them to do it. And I look at the neo program as a great opportunity to engage in such an endeavour because a substantial portion of the development costs would be shared between the neo specific items and the fuselage modifications. To what extent they would save money, I don’t really know. But what I know for sure is that it would be more costly to create a separate program later on to stretch the fuselage.

    If the motivation was there Airbus would find all kinds of excuses to do the stretch along with the neo. But they prefer to sit on it.

    • My guess is that in this pricewar the first campaign was fought last year by
      way of offering 777 at “unresistable” rates ( synergetic with extension
      of the A350-1000 EIS horizont ). This doesn’t seem to work for the 748 though.

  23. KCTB I guess there already monopolies in different segments. The A380 and 773ER seems to have close to monopolies. The 747 had for nearly 40 yrs and the A300 the first 10 yrs. It seems to me Boeing doesn’t have to discount the 773ER very deep. The MAX is a different story I think, Boeing doesn’t have much options at this moment.

    • Then it seems like a simple solution for Airbus. Simply match or better the discounts in the NEO vs. MAX ‘war’.

      • I think having the better product, marketdominance and a sold out production line isn’t an incentive for either OEM to give steep discounts..

        • Well, the airlines lineing up to buy the MAX or NEO don’t agree with you.

          As far as production being sold out, I don’t believe that. Boeing has two full B-737 production lines and are talking to suppliers about starting a 3rd line. Airbus also has two full production lines, and a slower line in China If they can get their suppliers to agree can increase production of the A-32X parts, they will easily be able to get to a full 3rd line.

          It wasn’t that long ago both OEMs were talking about increasing to 60-62 NBs per month. Both OEMs have backorders for the NG and CEO versions of their NBs of around 2200, give or take 100-200. At 60 airplanes per month, that is 36 months of production, but neither is at 60 per month right now. I think Airbus is producing around 46-48 (A-32X) per month and Boeing around 42-44 (B-737NG) per month. Both need some NG/CEO orders to help bridge the gap between now and production of the MAX/NEO.

  24. Pingback: The showdown in re-engined narrowbody battle begins | Aspire Aviation

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