A350 FAL opens today; 787-10 v A350-900; movement on A350-1000

The Final Assembly Line of the Airbus A350 opens tomorrow and there are several stories of note coinciding with this event:

High Stakes for Getting New Jet to Market

Airbus May Hike A350-1000 output

Launch of 787-10 has Implications for 777X. Includes commentary about the A350.

A350 Wing Production on Track After Fix

Separately, in other news:

Bombardier CSeries program update

Compressed schedule likely means CSeries delay

Boeing earnings preview (released on Wednesday)

 

 

 

 

43 Comments on “A350 FAL opens today; 787-10 v A350-900; movement on A350-1000

  1. It is interesting that Germany may withold A-350 developement money over the issue of jobs between France and Germany.

    I have thought for a while now the B-787-10 would kill off the B-777-8X, as it doesn’t make sense for Boeing to build two airplanes with very close capabilities. I am not even sure the entire B-777X program will ever get approved to be offered for sales. The B-787-10 is much easier to launch ad is newer technology that Airbus is struggling to catch up with.

    This business with no production slots for the A-350 program is just eye wash to cover the fact Airbus is now having trouble selling the airplane. If an airline wanted to order 100 A-359/10s today, they would get production slots well before the end of this decade. I point out that the best selling model, the A-359 has only sold 350 unbits in 5 years, the A-358 about 118 units, and the A-350-1000 less than 90. That is a total of 558 units for the A-350 family. Meanwhile, Airbus has more than that many units of A-330s on backlog, and the A-320 family has a backlog of some 2200 units, all of these airplanes (3400+) to be delivered before 2020. Boeing also has some 3400 airplanes on order, not including military aircraft. But, Boeing seems not to have a problem selling additional airplanes for delivery this decade.

    So, what’s the real story.

    • kc135topboom :
      This business with no production slots for the A-350 program is just eye wash to cover the fact Airbus is now having trouble selling the airplane. If an airline wanted to order 100 A-359/10s today, they would get production slots well before the end of this decade.

      If Airbus was to follow the same sales strategy as Boeing did with the 787, sure. Incidentally, Boeing is still suffering from their aggressive post-launch sales. Both in terms of 787 order cancellations and compensation payments for delayed deliveries.

      Your take is that Airbus just can’t sell the plane. An alternative view would be that they’ve learned something from the disasters that over-optimistic production ramp-up projections brought over the A380 and 787 programs.

      kc135topboom :
      So, what’s the real story.

      Why ask if you’re going to stick to your own version of the story anyway?

      • So your saying Airbus has stopped accepting orders for the A-350 family? I don’t think so since it was just a few months ago they accepted SQ’s conversion of 10 A-359s to 10 A-3510s and then accepted their increase in orders by SQ adding 16 more A-3510s.

        Yes, the B-787 has had severa cancelations, but Boeing has also resold many of those production slots. BTW, the A-350 has also had several cancelations. Even with the net gain of 16 A-350s for SQ, the overall net orders for the A-350 family stands at just +3 for the YTD after ET cancelled 13 A-3510s on two occasions earlier this year.

        http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/etihad-cuts-a350-1000-order-again-371497/

        Airbus had 28 A-350s cancelled in 2011. IIRC, Airbus had forecast a +30 in orders for th A-350 family in 2012, the forecast was made in Feb. 2012. Depending on how Airbus counts airplane orders, they are either 27 airplanes short, or 14 airplanes short YTD for 2012. Since they never list cancelations on their orders and deliveries spreadsheet (they just adjust the totals), my gues is they think they are half way to their 2012 goal. Boeing, OTOH, list cancelations on the weekly an YTD web pages each week.

      • kc135topboom :
        So your saying Airbus has stopped accepting orders for the A-350 family?
        If you re-read my post you’ll find that’s not what I said.

        kc135topboom :
        I don’t think so since it was just a few months ago they accepted SQ’s conversion of 10 A-359s to 10 A-3510s and then accepted their increase in orders by SQ adding 16 more A-3510s.

        I believe you mean CX, not SQ.
        Although as coincidence has it, SQ has indeed just announced that they are going to buy an additional 20 A350-900s (and 5 A380s).
        http://www.airbus.com/newsevents/news-events-single/detail/singapore-airlines-to-order-more-a380s-and-a350-xwbs/
        (Seems the contract is not firmed up at this point.)

        kc135topboom :
        Yes, the B-787 has had severa cancelations, but Boeing has also resold many of those production slots.

        Sure, except the dates on those slots have now moved way to the right of where they were when Boeing initially sold them. Airbus can of course do the same thing – oversell on early production slots, get cancellations later on and then re-sell the rescheduled slots freed up by cancellations. Should they do that I have a feeling you would be among the first to point out what bad business sense and crappy planning on Airbus’ side this constituted.

        kc135topboom :
        BTW, the A-350 has also had several cancelations. Even with the net gain of 16 A-350s for SQ, the overall net orders for the A-350 family stands at just +3 for the YTD after ET cancelled 13 A-3510s on two occasions earlier this year.

        True, but that still compares quite favourably to the net (!) 22 cancellations that Boeing got for the 787 in the year to date.

        kc135topboom :
        Airbus had 28 A-350s cancelled in 2011. IIRC, Airbus had forecast a +30 in orders for th A-350 family in 2012, the forecast was made in Feb. 2012. Depending on how Airbus counts airplane orders, they are either 27 airplanes short, or 14 airplanes short YTD for 2012. Since they never list cancelations on their orders and deliveries spreadsheet (they just adjust the totals), my gues is they think they are half way to their 2012 goal. Boeing, OTOH, list cancelations on the weekly an YTD web pages each week.

        a) You might want to actually check the Airbus spreadsheet a bit more often than you seem to. Just like Boeing, Airbus do list cancellations and have done so for quite some time now (at least early 2011 as far as I remember – I’d need to check the older copies of the spreadsheet I have at home). They *don’t* list individual cancellations against airlines (and neither does Boeing), but they clearly list orders, cancellations and net orders against each model. (Conversions from, say, -900 to -1000 are not listed as cancellations.)
        b) The numbers you gave aren’t quite correct even by the Flight Global link you provided. Airbus only received 13 total A350 cancellations in 2011, not 28. With an intake of 16 orders, that’s net 3 (as you correctly stated). Furthermore, Etihad culled only 7, not 13, A350s from their order book in 2012. The other 6 were cancelled in late 2011.
        c) Total net orders stand at 23 once SQ’s just-announced order is firmed. Only 7 short of the target Airbus announced in February.

  2. It think on the cargo heavy Asian routes from Europe and the US the A350-900 and 787-10 will hardly be competitors. Payload-range under real conditions will limit the 787-10 range to about 5000NM and the A350-900 to about 6300NM. That is a crucial difference for many long haul city pairs. Trans Atlantic and intra Asia the 787-10 looks very good. And its a big market like the A330-300 proved.

    Air Traffic grows on average at 4-5% per year, doubling air traffic every 20 years. So while replacing 20 year old 777-200ERs and A340s, the 10-15% larger A350-1000 doesn’t look so bad. A similar sized A350-900 or 787-9 provides no growth potential. Hence the pressure to bring on this type.

  3. @Keesje: With respect, Aspire Aviation has done a better analysis than you have – I will go with their numbers and projections before yours.

    If the SQ and BA order turns out to be true, it will say something about the capabilities of the B787-10X.

    • Boeing marketing ranges (which it looks like Aspire used) are not ESAD, they are with 85% annual winds.

      • keesje, you are using Airbus propoganda again. That chart says “A-350-1000 as currently defined”. It is still far from a frozen design. You forget the B-77W carries 36 more pax (3 class) and slightly more cargo that the still to be defined A-3510. You also seem to forgotten that Airbus currently lists the empty weight of the A-35010 as just 115.7 tonnes. My guess is physics don’t apply to the EU? My guess is the true empty weight of the A-3510 is closer to 145-150 tonnes

      • Also, keesje,

        Aspire’s figures did NOT assume an empty cargo bay at all. Please see my comment at Aspire site.

        In addition to 85% wind, the figures are calculated using respective payload/range chart for A330, 777-200ER, except 787-10X & 777-8X where such charts are not available.

        Please refer to comments posted at Aspire site. Thanks!

  4. Aspire is curiously assuming meaningful “launch customer discounts” for the 787-10x. I’d be very surprised if this is actually the case. By all reports, the 787-10x has multiple customers maneuvering for pole position on the -10x. It is also a very simple (i.e. low risk) derivative, both of which beg the question why Boeing would need to discount the airplane to achieve launch.

  5. Hello everybody

    Thanks for the Aspire link.

    Can I suggest that 2 class Airbus layout are quite “real world” ie with 60 in in biz instead of 39in of Airbus and Boeing 3 class standard ?
    Take a look at this http://www.airbus.com/aircraftfamilies/passengeraircraft/a330family/onboard-well-being/
    And then page 16 of 777_2LR3ER ACAPS which shows a 2 class layout as follow 42 BIZ@60in 237 Eco@34in 59 abreast) total 279 PAX (sort of the typical 301 PAX 3 class layout @ 9 abreast)

    And finally in the A350_900 ACAPS where LOPA is 48biz @60 in and 267 eco @32 in = 315 PAX

    You can argue that the 777-200LR can be configured at 10 abreast in eco, of course, OK.
    But A350-900 should be taken @315 PAX 2class or 314 PAX 3class ! Why only 299 PAX ?

    http://avia.superforum.fr/t1227p380-boeing-787#33351

    And I’ve got to admit that I haven’t checked the reality of the 323PAX LOPA in the 787-10X
    Might be my next homework

    Have a good day

    • Thank you for saving me the trouble of finding all this information myself.

      Aspire is very much, in my opinion, a pro Boeing entity, and hence I tend to take the articles there with a grain of salt. This question of seat count is exactly one example of this lack of obsectivity.

      The multiple sources at Boeing are continuously cited but there seems to be no interest in developing any contacts at Airbus to get the “inside” information there or at the least to get a balanced analysis.

  6. If the 787-10 kills the business case of the 777-8X it certainly kills the business case fo 2 members (pick any 2) of the A350 family. With the arrival of the 787-10 , any airline that will keep their orders for the A350-800 would have made a stupit and costly business decision. Have a good day ladies and Gentlemen.

    • I still love how the 787-10 is going to kill the A330, when the other 3 versions of the 787, one of which has been cancelled, was supposed to do that very same thing years ago.

  7. kc135topboom : This business with no production slots for the A-350 program is just eye wash to cover the fact Airbus is now having trouble selling the airplane. If an airline wanted to order 100 A-359/10s today, they would get production slots well before the end of this decade. I point out that the best selling model, the A-359 has only sold 350 unbits in 5 years, the A-358 about 118 units, and the A-350-1000 less than 90. That is a total of 558 units for the A-350 family. Meanwhile, Airbus has more than that many units of A-330s on backlog, and the A-320 family has a backlog of some 2200 units, all of these airplanes (3400+) to be delivered before 2020. Boeing also has some 3400 airplanes on order, not including military aircraft. But, Boeing seems not to have a problem selling additional airplanes for delivery this decade.
    So, what’s the real story.

    I agree with you to a certain point KC135TopBoom, but as is usual, everything is not so simple.

    The initial order euphoria is over and now the rest of the airlines are waiting to see what the A350 can do and more importantly, when it will be able to do it. Hence the sales have stalled until at the very least, first flight, if not first delivery. That would be the biggest reason why the A350 sales are stagnant right now.

    To compare the A350 sales to the entire Boeing product line is somewhat misleading as the 787 is already up and running for almost a year now and that program has a negative net sales value for this year. In fact its net sales since 2009 are 72 cancellations.

    Lastly to compare the rest of the Airbus product backlog with the A350 is also a red herring as the A330 is a mature program, with production humming along on all cylinders and the A320 family has a production rate that is roughly four times greater than the A350, when it reaches its goal of 10 per month.

    • In perspective:
      (from:http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flightblogger/2008/12/exclusive-airbus-dreamliner-do.html )
      Boeing anticipated a peak production rate of seven 787s per month by 2010.
      However, by October 2005, with the order book swelling,
      Boeing shifted to a more aggressive ramp up with greater than 10 787s being produced per month by 2011.
      According to Airbus, Boeing upped its production guidance again in February 2007 as the 787 order book climbed towards 500 to meet a rate of 10 787s per month by the start of 2010.

      Initial EIS was planned for ~2008Q3 ? L/N1 produced 7/8/2007 ;-)

      That would have been a 30 month ramp up to 10/mo. then:
      165th delivered start of 2010,
      500th around mid 2011, the
      1000th in mid 2016

      i.e. customers ordering through 2007 (~370frames) expected a 60 to 80 month delivery horizon. ?CM? once pointed out that airlines don’t _knowingly_ order much beyond a 5..7 year horizont

  8. The 787-10 and A350-900 only match in seat counts. The -10 will no doubt be be good medium-long haul aircraft. It won’t be a one shoe fits all. Long Asian flights only without significant cargo. Asia=Cargo. That’s were the A350s, 777-8 and -9 should come in.

    KCT: “I point out that the best selling model, the A-359 has only sold 350 unbits in 5 years, the A-358 about 118 units, and the A-350-1000 less than 90. That is a total of 558 units for the A-350 family.”

    That only 500+ widebody orders, before the first proto is assembled. Airbus is in trouble ;)

    KCT: “Meanwhile, Airbus has more than that many units of A-330s on backlog, and the A-320 family has a backlog of some 2200 units, all of these airplanes (3400+) to be delivered before 2020. Boeing also has some 3400 airplanes on order, not including military aircraft. But, Boeing seems not to have a problem selling additional airplanes for delivery this decade.
    So, what’s the real story.”

    Airbus has 4,414 aircraft in the backlog, Boeing 4,144. Stop the deception.

      • KCT, everyone who still believes either OEM is objective and impartial is in for a continuous stream of surprises and disappointments. Serious airlines have people to create their own analyses to base various network/ fleet scenarios on.

        I’m amazed by some analysts in the media. It seems they don’t mind hitting the wall or assume everyone will soon forget what they say.. (btw Scott isn’t one of them). Maybe they have different goals..

  9. I liked the Aspire article. I am amazed how he can get information about negotiations that are so far advanced from both customers and manufacturers that proper journalists can’t even sniff out? Those charts were so detailed I felt I was at a Boeing 787-10 presentation!

    Maybe, just maybe, Boeing will get the A330 killer at the fourth time of asking.

  10. @ Aero Ninja re. “Like the 747-8?”

    The 747-8, even before Boeing decided to give it a new wing, was always going to have new engines, increased operating weigbts, new rolling stock and brakes, and an all new fuselage structure. The 787-10x requires none of these things relative to the 787-9. The two derivatives cannot be compared in terms of technbical complexity, risks, performance unknowns, etc.

    • Adding payload-range to the 787-10 would almost certainly put pressure on Boeing to beef up the wing. Boeing resisting, airlines pushing, the old story..

      • I suspect this is B’s longer term plan. But there are so many pitfalls along the way, mainly actually delivering the -9 more or less on time, and most important, getting the production rate for the entire 787 program well above 10/mo by say 2018 because this is when A is saying they will reach 1/mo with the A350.

    • I have the impression that Airbus is planning for an A350 production output approaching 20 units per month by 2020.

      • DomTom :
        You are right, but here we are speaking of orders for SIA, not AA !!!

        I was only pointing out that the orders don’t seem to be firm yet to have a clear distinction between firm orders and commitments. Often a sore point in the discussions here as well as on a.net
        This was not meant to imply any opinion whatsoever on my part as to how likely this order is to be firmed up.

    • Also worth noting by the way is that as part of this deal, Airbus is also going to buy back SIA’s A340-500s, which will leave the fleet in Q4 2013.
      A lot of people on a.net are going to be relieved to finally see these go ;-)

      • Also worth noting by the way is that as part of this deal, SIA tranfers all it’s 787 orders (20 units) to SIA’s low-cost longhaul subsidiary Scoot.

  11. Aspire says nothing about what will happen to the -300ER now that the 778X seems dead. I am puzzled by the persistence of the dispute between A, which continues to say that the -1000 is -300ER competitor, and Emirates, Clark, Qatar, Al Baker, and all the airlines which have not ordered the -1000, who say it is not. Try as I might, I have been unable to find any hard facts to explain that persistence. For example:
    1. What are the specific reasons for Clark’s and others’ claims that the -1000 is not a -300ER competitor?
    2. What were the specific reasons why airlines rejected the 778X? Was it because it “duplicated” the 7810? Doubtful because they are very different products. The 778X was clearly directed at the -1000. Did airlines reject it because the -1000 is better? Maybe, but so far there are no more -1000 orders. Or, is the mkt for 2 class, 350 seaters not what A thought it was? The persistence of the -300ER at 365 seats in 3 classes and wider fuselage is some evidence of this.
    3. Did Cathay’s -1000 order validate A’s claim that the -1000 is better than the -300ER? I doubt it because Cathay said they would use them to replace their A340s not their -300ERs (4 engines down to 2, a point Virgin Atlantic has also recently made). In fact, airlines with -300ERs won’t be replacing them until 2024 at the earliest (-300ER first delivered in 2004), and at the latest 2035; and later than that if orders continue. Also, Cathay had unusual fuel price issues that drove them to buy the -1000. AND most important, they screwed a rock bottom price out of Leahy, just as they had for the A359, which they bragged about all the way to the bank.
    4. What will B’s 777X family look like now that they 778X is dead? Will it be -300ER redux plus the 400 seat 779X? I suspect this will be the answer, and that B feel they have plenty of time to decide because the first -1000 will not be delivered until 2018 at the earliest, and the number built per month will be low if A is producing only 10 A350s per month.

    • http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/astride-its-volcano-cathay-pacifics-a350-1000-order-is-one-more-important-long-term-measure-77876

      Cathay Pacific CEO John Slosar says the changes made the A350-1000 an “irresistible proposition … [and] allows us to go non-stop just about anywhere in the world we can go”. Chairman Christopher Platt remarked the carrier is “effectively” the aircraft’s first customer. Cathay could start a trend of airlines converting A350-900 orders to the -1000, but other carriers may want to first wait on Boeing’s plans for its 777 successor.

      Beyond 7500 nm the A350-1000 will have significantly better payload/range capabilities than the 777-300ER. With the A350-1000, CX should be able to fly from HKG to anywhere in the US with a decent payload.

      “Did Cathay’s -1000 order validate A’s claim that the -1000 is better than the -300ER? I doubt it because Cathay said they would use them to replace their A340s not their -300ERs (4 engines down to 2, a point Virgin Atlantic has also recently made).”

      The problem with the A350-1000 is that it will be so good that in order to compete, Boeing will either have to make a hugely expensive upgrade to the 777-300ER, or start developing an all new airframe since the 77W will be obsoleted by the A350-1000. Anyone believing otherwise is just kidding themselves.

  12. kc135topboom :
    You forget the B-77W carries 36 more pax (3 class) and slightly more cargo that the still to be defined A-3510.

    Non sequitur. A350-1000 will be smaller (better RASM) and 25% more efficient than b773er.

    • Also, the 77W is only capable of carrying more passengers than the A350-1000 when the aircraft is outfitted with a 10-across configuration in economy class. Not all 777 operators seem to be willing to go down that route…

  13. DomTom :
    Also worth noting by the way is that as part of this deal, SIA tranfers all it’s 787 orders (20 units) to SIA’s low-cost longhaul subsidiary Scoot.

    I don’t see that part anywhere?

  14. Meanwhile, Airbus targets 60 pct of narrowbody jet market

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/25/airbus-target-idUSL5E8LPD5P20121025

    Oct 25 (Reuters) – Airbus intends to keep a market share of 60 percent of narrowbody jetliner orders after a two-year, see-saw battle with Boeing in the largest segment of the global aircraft market, the European planemaker’s sales chief said on Thursday

    As I stated in previous comments some time ago, I indicated that Airbus would get around 60 percent of the narrowbody market, with Boeing getting about one third and the other three players duking it out for the rest.

    With a potential market share of 60 percent in the narrowbody market, it’s only a matter of time before Airbus announces a production hike of the A320neo series to 60 per month. IMO, that goal could be reached by the end of the decade.

    • I doubt Boeing will see and sit on the hands if 60% is on the whiteboards.

      Communicating you are back on track and see strong demand for your product is one.

      But if the market refuse to pay reasonable prices & marketing is sending around alarming memo’s that’s another situation.

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