Odds and Ends: To fly or not to fly–CSeries; Qatar’s A350s; A320 production rates

CSeries: Bombardier’s sales chief says the CSeries might fly earlier than the six month delay announced on the earnings call. See this Reuters report from China’s Zhuhai Air Show.

Qatar’s A350: Flight Global’s David Kaminski-Morrow reports Qatar switched 20 A350-800s to the larger -900, via Twitter. He was on the delivery flight of the Boeing 787 from Seattle to Doha.

A320 Production Rates: Airbus gives this assessment to Reuters at the Zhuhai Air Show.

A350-What’s the Fuss? CNN International gives this review of the A350.

CNN Travel: We’ve now started contributing to CNN Travel. Here’s our first report, the Qatar Airways Boeing 787 delivery. This writing is different than what we do here–lighter, and being travel-oriented, will trend more toward consumer and general audiences than the aviation geek world served here.

29 comments on “Odds and Ends: To fly or not to fly–CSeries; Qatar’s A350s; A320 production rates

  1. If QR have indeed gone from the A358XWB to the A359XWB its beginning look more and more as if the A358XWB will go the way of the B783. Fortunately for Airbus, QR converted it to the larger A359XWB.

    That unfortunately leaves only 82 A358XWB’s on order.

    • Airbus seems to go for individually dimensioned frames for the -1000.
      With the -800 being delayed this could rub off and provide
      instruments for significantly slimming all versions version.

    • What is the biggest fan diameter they could put on it, with the front landing gear of the 332F?
      If the geared turbofan excels, the A330 could be at the right place at the right time.

      • I dont know but the 748 engine would fit and thats 105″ fan. The GEnx2b engine could grow in thrust as GE offered this with the PIP, but Boeing declined. It should be good up to 72-74K in thrust I guess.

        This is the bleed version of the 787 engine. 13% more efficient than the CF6 it replaced. I dont think the A330 neo would need a better engine and this one is certified and in the market, the fast option anyway.

  2. jacobin777 :If QR have indeed gone from the A358XWB to the A359XWB its beginning look more and more as if the A358XWB will go the way of the B783. Fortunately for Airbus, QR converted it to the larger A359XWB.
    That unfortunately leaves only 82 A358XWB’s on order.

    I don’t think so. Airbus is clearlly prioritizing its 77W competitor, the A350-1000 which is in development. For the time being the A332 should be able to hold its own vs. the 788 due to aggressive pricing of the former and the lack of availability of the latter.

    As Uwe points out, the dash 1000 will have individually dimensioned fuselage frames. IMO, it wouldn’t be very clever to develop the dash 800 without said improvement at the minimum.

    Now, what could the future A350-family look like?

    FWIW, I believe the A350 family could finally consist of 3 distinct sub families and not only 2 as it is today.

    1) With a MTOW of 308 metric tonnes and triple bogey MLG:

    a: A350-1000R (currently planned without using the “R” suffix; range of 8400 nm)
    b: A350-900R (niche aircraft with a range of around 9400 nm)
    c: A350-800IER (Incredible Extreme Range; niche aircraft; range exceeding 10000 nm – e.g. LHR-SYD) :-)

    Possible derivative
    d: A350-1100 (e.g. 7 frame stretch and a range of around 7600 nm)

    2) With a MTOW of 268 metric tonnes and double bogey MLG:

    a: A350-1000 (range of around 6800 nm)
    b: A350-900 (range of 8000 nm)
    c: A350-800R (niche aircraft with a range of around 9200 nm)

    3) New lighter landing gear dimensioned for a lower MTOW of around 245 metric tonnes. Weight optimized fuselage and wing. New engine development: Trent-XWB derived: Identical fan, fancase and nazelle. New lighter scaled down core optimised for around 68,000 lbs of thrust. Higher bypass ratio (i.e. around 12:1)

    a: A350-900IR (Intermediate Range; similar range as that of the 787-10)
    b: A350-800 (range around 8000 nm)

    • You seem to think Airbus has infinite resources at hand? The A350 is a compromise that has to cover both 787 and 777 with one frame, that is what makes it so hard to optimize.

      Its better to grow the frame than shrink it.

      • I agree there..OV-099 has some nice looking plans but I think Airbus will have more than their fair share of work. Not having to deal with the A358 will certainly allow Airbus to spend more time/effort/resources/money towards the -1000XWB. Also, its not as if the A359 is flying. There can be many “unknown unkowns” left. Even Airbus is saying “we are pushing our timeline”.

        As Boeing gets its production in gear, the A33X series sales will start sliding.

        @OV-099:” A332 should be able to hold its own vs. the 788 due to aggressive pricing”..that certainly wont’ help with profit margins.

      • “You seem to think Airbus has infinite resources at hand?”

        Rome wasn’t built in a day. The 777-300ER, for example, entered into service 9 years after the 777-200.

        I’m not saying that Airbus will develop all these models, but that it’s merely possible. Nine A350 models should IMO be doable over a decade.

        Over 14 years, from the official launch of the A380 on December 19, 2000, to the planned EIS of the A350-900 in H2 2014, Airbus will have developed three all new aircraft (A380, A400M and A350). And Airbus is a significantly more capable company today than it was back in the year 2000.

        “The A350 is a compromise that has to cover both 787 and 777 with one frame, that is what makes it so hard to optimize.”

        That’s what some in the analyst commentariat are saying as well. It doesn’t mean it’s true though, however often it’s repeated. If the 777 had been an all new state-of-the-art machine, then I would have been inclined to agree. However, the 777 will not be able to compete with the A350 without undergoing a hugely expensive makeover at the minimum.

        I’m quite sure that an A350-800 fully optimised around a MTOW of 245 metric tonnes, or even as low as 235 tonnes, using a scaled down core similar to what was done with the Trent-500 (scaled down core from the Trent-800, using the fan from the Trent-700), would be more than competitive with the 787-8.

        With the A350, Airbus is replacing the old 222-inch diameter (used initially on the A300) with an all new composite fuselage. The A300 was optimised with a smaller wing and it had a fuselage length some 10 meters shorter than what was the case with the larger-winged A333, which BTW is also a relatively “optimised” aircraft. Hence you can also optimise an A350 derived, aircraft around a significantly smaller wing and MTOW. One could expect, therefore, that the 222-inch diameter replacement (A300/A310 and A330/A340) single deck widebody family from Airbus possibly consisting in the future of aircraft with fuselage lengths from around 50m all the way to 77m-78m.

      • “A332 should be able to hold its own vs. the 788 due to aggressive pricing”..that certainly wont’ help with profit margins.”

        The A330 has long since been fully paid for and probably around half of the 787s sold do date were seemingly priced at ridiculously low levels. Airbus should therefore be able to price the A330 quite aggressively and still maintain healthy profit margins, at least until the end of the decade. Also, Boeing is in need of solid, profitable sales on the 787 going forward, or the 787 program will have a hard time ever reaching the point of break-even. Hence I cannot see Boeing wanting to engage in too many price wars.

  3. Well seen, OV !
    I just think Airbus may not take all the options, but only one part and I personnally hope the lower MTOW will be included !
    I think the Kangoroo route does not need 10 000 Nm range …
    The main setback may be with the optimum engines availability !
    GE dragging their feets to protect all kind of their Boeing investments …
    And P&W overhelmed with their MC multi launches, and not so successfull with their bigger reductors trials now !
    And RR milking the cow whenever they can do it …when not concurrenced !

    Interesting times ahead !

    • An A350-800 with the lower MTOW as I’ve outlined would have TXWB-derived engines with a fully optimised scaled down core. As for RR actually agreeing to do it; we’ll have to wait and see. I do believe though that RR has a history of wanting to be on as many WB platforms as possible. Now that they are sole-source providers on the A350, things might change; but again, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see RR doing a scaled-down TXWB as it should be a relatively low-risk undertaking.

  4. Uwe :
    Airbus seems to go for individually dimensioned frames for the -1000.
    With the -800 being delayed this could rub off and provide
    instruments for significantly slimming all versions version.

    “Could, should, would” really doesn’t cut it in the business world. Airbus is certainly smart in prioritizing but they are leaving a whole range of seat market for Boeing to take-from the B763ER/A332 seat range to the A333 seat range-that’s a lot of planes.

    IMHO of course.

  5. Airbus has been working on converting -800 to -900s for some years and openly suggesting it would consider pulling the -1000 forward. This could indeed be a sign of things of Airbus working towards such a scenario. I expect the 787-8 to get better (lighter) over time. The LR A350-900 being the smallest aircraft above the A321 leaves Airbus vulnerable medium haul 220-300 seats.
    Not a small segment, all 757, 767, A300, A310, A330 and Tu154 versions are there, operating e.g. TransAtlantic, Intra Asia, Transcon, EMEA and many leisure/charter flights. Refitting the A330 with new engines, aerodynamic wing-body enhancements, nose gear and Sharklets could offer a escape until the next decade. There a paid for production line and worldwide customer/ support base. Even a stretch could be possible if the 787-10 is very successful.

    Airbus has been looking at a A330 NEO for more then 12 yrs now..

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/airbus-has-informal-talks-over-use-of-gp7000-on-growth-a330-300-69061/

    • I also see this as a trend toward Airbus moving the -1000 forward and pushing the -800 back. Aside from Airbus’ push to have customers upgrade to the larger models, the -1000 can beat anything Boeing will have in that class at minimum until the 777x comes out (6 years minimum). On the other hand, the -800 is currently not ready to compete with the Boeing equivalent that should also enter service first (btw, for all of you saying the -800 can beat the 787-8, please get your size classes straight, the -800 competes with the -9).

    • Hello everybody

      Just a few remarks on the A330 and the Genx

      http://avia.superforum.fr/t21p440-a330-version-passagers-toute-la-famille#33684

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/in-focus-boeing-747-8-technical-description-cutaway-378866/

      4% more thrust for the Gen2B included in PIP1
      So we can anticipate the new thrusts setting
      70100 lbs for take off and 60840 lbs for max continous. Bare engine weight : 12400 lbs

      Current engines on the A330 are
      Pour mémoire toujours les moteurs actuels sur l’A330 donnent (chiffres de 1995 pris des manuels de lutte au feu)

      T772C-60: 71 100 lbs TO / 63 560 lbs MCO / bare weight 11653 lbs
      PW4170 : 70 000 lbs TO / 59 357 lbs MCO / bare weight 12 888 lbs
      CF6-80E1: 68 530 lbs TO / 60 400 lbs MCO/ bare weight 12 337 lbs

      (data’s taken from Airbus ARM Manual)

      So is the Genx2B lighter than the PW4170 ?

  6. I just took a look at the current A320 NEO and 737MAX backlogs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A320neo_orders

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_MAX#Orders

    It looks like of 2400 re-engined aircraft on order, 1% are for the smaller variants (26 A319 for Republic and Qatar). With Qatar willing to upgrade A350-800s to -900s and Republic also have ordered CS300s, I think Airbus & Boeing will now be evualuating the business cases for the 737-700 and A319. Good news for Bombardier it seems. The airlines seem unconvinced at this moment that the short NEO and MAX versions are a good investment for the next 20 years, with the China backed CSeries taking shape.

    Like Airbus with the A350 and Boeing with the 787 and 777, Airbus might be considering scaling up its narrowbody product range, if there’s more demand, less competition and better revenues. An A320 stretch (as Ryanair, Jetblue and Easyjet asked for) and/or beefing up the A321 (as Airbus is looking at for US), these might be more profitable additions to the NEO line then the A319 (forget A318).

    • Airbus will have a huge gap in its portfolio and as the 800 model of the A350 seems less likely to be a income bringer I agree with you. Either a A330 neo or a larger NB somewhere between the 752 and the 753 in size, range above the 752.

      OEW around 60-65t, GTF engines in the 40K+ thrust class and 200-240 seats. This would need a new UC and wings and engines. Say that a model like this could sell between 800 and 1400 frames, would it be interesting to do? Most seem to think WB is the only way, I think a larger NB is just as doable in this range and size class.

      • I estimated an OEW of ~55t and MTOW of ~103t might do. Adding 1000nm to the A321NEO’s range and 4m cabin. High density layout with 5 cabin crew members would be about 240 seats. Airbus might be able to enlarge the wing A345/6 style. A heavier center gear is already “on the shelf” (Air India). Pictured a TransAtlantic configured Airbus A322 concept.

  7. I don’t think the exemple of the A346 wing, is the best example … it’s just too heavy !
    I hope Airbus may be able to design some new composite, or Al-Li Wing, one day for the upper weights of their MC … and with more fuel capacity !

    May be when they get out of the woods, after the A350-A400M launches, & the A380 wing re-design !

  8. keesje :
    I estimated an OEW of ~55t and MTOW of ~103t might do. Adding 1000nm to the A321NEO’s range and 4m cabin. High density layout with 5 cabin crew members would be about 240 seats. Airbus might be able to enlarge the wing A345/6 style. A heavier center gear is already “on the shelf” (Air India). Pictured a TransAtlantic configured Airbus A322 concept.
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/AirbusA321A322NEOStretch757.jpg

    Everyone hates the 757ish NB, but wont a larger more capable NB with GTF gen engines beat any WB under 5000nm? The A321 is a good foundation to build on, it wont have to be as large as the 757-300 say somewhere between the 200 and 300 model in size and about the range of te 200? The 752 had a OEW of 57t, would the A322 come under this?

  9. I guess the A322 could be lighter as a stretch, while the 752 was designed with a stretch in mind. Apart from that the 757 has the higher relatively heavy aft fuselage of the sixties 727, has a smaller cross section (more material for the same stiffness) and the relative heavy engines.

    Dry weight: RB211-535: 7,603lbs PW2043: 7,300 lbs, CFM56-5C: 5,250 lbs, thats 4000lbs excluding all the supporting structure.. It isn’t a LEAP or PW1200G but gives an indication.

    Smaller widebodies like the 787-8 and A330-200 would offer (far) seats in similar configurations, impressive cargo capabilities on flights up 4500nm and flexibility to fly much further. That said I think there is a market for at least 2000 aircraft in the next 20 yrs for 200-250 seat aircraft up to 4500nm. Boeing too; regulary they say they are looking at it.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2012/04/boeing-to-study-internally-for-a.html

    I don’t see a 739 stretch however, the 737-900ER already has weak runway performance because of its very limited rotation angle and a bigger engine..

    • I think you are right on about the 57 engines, and its long leggy gear add lots of weight. But the aft body is totally different due to the aft engine mounts and T-tail on the 27. The 57’s aft lower lobe/cargo area is taller than any of the other 7 SA’s by about 8″ and it uses a pressure bulkhead instead of a dome. Front fuselage cross section is simliar to the others.

      As far as market goes, most 757’s were mainly for US transcon service (DL, AA, NW, UA buying almost half of them). when the A32 and NG’s appeared with 3K+ range, that market disappeared. If you look at those airlines fleets they are keeping a relatively small number of 75’s for transcon service. Interestingly NW replaced it’s DC10 domestic fleet with 753 and its intercon with 332.

      • Probably their Embraers 145 and Bombardier CRJ200. Airbus will likely “place” them with more specialized traders / leasing firms. The value of these machines have plunged so it seems China Eastern took the opportunity to get rid of them for a relatively good price. Airbus wants to stay best friends with the ambitious Shanghai carrier (re A350, A380, Jetstar HKG, etc)…

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