With the increasing possibility that Airbus will defer or even drop the A350-800, the case for an A330neo becomes much stronger. Absent the A358, Airbus has no effective competition to the Boeing 787-8. The current A330, which we will call the A330 Classic, is a very good airplane but it is not as fuel efficient as the 788. The Airbus argument that the A330 Classic is competitive is based on the most favorable of assumptions and rests in part on the key capital cost assumption and moderate fuel prices.
In a story on Friday Reuters confirmed our December 23 e-newsletter report (which subsequently was published at Leeham News and Comment December 29) that Airbus is seriously considering an A330neo. This certainly clears the air on this score.
Airbus argues that the lower capital cost offsets the higher operating costs of its A330s vs Boeing’s 787-8 and forthcoming 787-9.
The following table includes Airbus’ assumption as well as 2013 lease rates reported by the appraisal firm Collateral Verifications (CV). Airbus assumes a higher lease rate for the 787-8 than CV reports. CV does not yet have an estimated lease rate for the 787-9.
Current Market Value is the price an airplane can be expected to sell for in today’s environment. Current Base Value is the theoretical price in a stable supply-and-demand market.