Airbus A330-800 and -900neo, first analysis, part 3: performance

In our first two parts of the analysis of the Airbus A330neo launch at the Farnborough Air Show, we have gone through the information provided by Airbus and Rolls Royce and provided comments on what these really mean from a practical point of view.

Areas we wanted to verify with our independent model have been how the A330neo would perform versus the A330ceo, especially on shorter ranges, than the Airbus example of 4,000nm and how it would stack up against the Boeing 787.

We give the first answer to these questions with data from our proprietary, independent model. This is first-cut data and we bring it forward in time as there is some confusion on what Airbus has said about the shorter range performance of the A330neo. Continue reading

Farborough Air Show, July 16: Snipe hunts in an era of model improvements

  • Upate, 5:30am PDT: The Wall Street Journal has an article that is more or less on point to the theme of this post.

It doesn’t matter what the competition does, it’s always inferior–until you do it yourself.

The continued, and tiring, war of words between Airbus and Boeing throughout the decades is monotonous and self-serving. If you step back, it’s also amusing.

Consider:

  • Boeing constantly dissed the Airbus concept of fly-by-wire–until ultimately adopting FBW in its airplanes.
  • Airbus dismissed twin-engine ETOPS of the 777 while promoting four-engine safety of its A340–until evolving the A330 into a highly capable ETOPS in its own right.
  • Airbus put-down the 777X, saying the only way Boeing could make it economical was by adding seats…which Airbus has now done for the A330-900 to help its economics.
  • Boeing ridiculed the idea of a re-engined A320, but then had to follow with a re-engined 737 MAX due to the runaway success of the A320neo.
  • Boeing ridicules the A330neo as an old, 1980s airplane–neatly ignoring the fact that the 737 and 747 are 1960s airplanes.
  • Airbus still calls the 777/777X/787 a “dog’s breakfast,” though we know some dogs who eat pretty well.

And so it goes.

The fact of the matter is, however, that minor and major makeovers of existing airplanes have long been a fact of life, maximizing investment and keeping research and development costs under control. The Douglas DC-1 was the prototype for the DC-2, which begot the DC-3. The DC-4 (C-54) begot the DC-6, DC-6B and DC-7 series. The Lockheed Contellation was reworked from the original L-049 through the 647/749/1049 (in various versions) and finally the 1649.

Then came the jet age, with vastly more expense, and model upgrades became the norm. The sniping today between Airbus and Boeing goes unabated in an era of historical model improvements.

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Airbus A330-800 and -900neo, first analysis part 2: engines and maintenance costs

Further to our initial analysis of the launched Airbus A330neo, here is our follow up diving deeper into engine matters and maintenance costs.

The A330neo engine

We met with Rolls Royce Vice President Customer Marketing Richard Goodhead to talk about the Trent T7000 for the A330neo and to straighten some misconceptions around the engine. First the base facts as presented by Airbus and Rolls Royce Monday: Continue reading

Airbus A330-800 and -900neo, first analysis

Airbus cleared the air about the A330neo, which we concluded was a must last December, and made the 2014 Farnborough Airshow go off to an exciting start. A lot has been speculated about the A330neo, and in the end it did come out bit stronger than what most had anticipated. Some of that is marketing but a lot is real, and here we give a first assessment of what was launched.

Let’s start with the specifics as given by Airbus and Rolls-Royce today in presentations and discussions. Here are the A330-800neo and -900neo’s main features: Continue reading

Farnborough Air Show, July 14: A330 program analysis after neo launch

It was pretty much the worse-kept secret in advance of the Farnborough Air Show this year: Airbus launched the re-engining of the A330, designating the new engine option the A330-800 (the A330-200 successor) and the A330-900 (the A330-300).

Rolls-Royce, as had been widely reported, becomes the sole-source engine provider of the Trent T7000. Airbus also gave it new A350 style winglets and have made enhancements to the cabin with improved seating, IFE and mood lighting, In total Airbus claims to have improved the fuel consumption with 14% per seat. Deliveries will start in Q4 2017.800x600_1405309967_A330-900neo_RR_AIB_01Rebranding the A330, dropping the -200 and -300 names, and adopting the more modern -800/-900 speaks to the significant upgrade of the airplane. Parenthetically, this also follows the pattern set by Boeing decades ago when it went from the 737-200 to the 300/400/500, then the 700/800/900 and now the 7/8/9. It speaks to adopting new technology and is consistent with the sub-type branding of the A350.

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Farnborough Air Show, July 13: CSeries program analysis

The unexpected pre-Farnborough Air Show announcement by Bombardier for letters of intent for up to 24 CS100s is welcome news for the company and the program.

Although an announcement by Falko Regional Aircraft Leasing of a firm order would have been more welcome, history shows that LOIs tend to be converted into firm orders eventually, whether these are from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer–or Bombardier. With the Falko LOI, BBD now has 471 firm orders and commitments for the CSeries.

Hand-wringing headlines and stories over May’s engine incident in which a Pratt & Whitney P1000G Geared Turbo Fan during a CSeries ground test and the assumed hugely negative impact on the program these stories and headlines suggest are way overblown.

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Airbus, Boeing plan for production gap of A330, 777 with near-term availability claims

On the eve of the Farnborough Air Show, the aviation industry is watching to see whether Airbus will launch the A330neo program. Officials recently tried to tamp down expectations that a program launch will occur at the FAS, but we would not be surprised if an Authority to Offer is announced.

The industry will also be watching Boeing to see if some 200 commitments for the 777X announced at the Dubai Air Show will be firmed up at the FAS. We certainly expect this to be the case. (We also would not be surprised if there is a significant order for the Boeing 787-10.)

Questions will almost certainly arise once again about the production gaps for the Boeing 777 Classic and the A330ceo. Boeing faces a sharp drop in the backlog after 2016 and Airbus faces an even sharper fall-off after next year.

Near-term availability is an important element in Boeing’s plan to bridge the period between the in-production 777 and the entry-into-service of the 777X, says Randy Tinseth.

There are no AirbusA350 delivery slots of consequence available until 2019 and the 777 has plenty of slots starting in 2017, three years before the 777X EIS is planned.

But Airbus can make the same claim for the A330 vs the 787.

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Is the A330neo engine Rolls Royce’s first carbon fan model?

The Airbus A330neo program has come a long way since our 29th of December article  “A330neo prospect gains traction.” With the Farnborough Air Show days away, we understand there are now Airbus internal job postings for engineers to join the program. The speculation then reduces to “when” the program will be announced, not “if.” Another would be what improvements are foreseen for the Boeing 787-derived engines that may power the neo.

Rolls Royce reportedly gains exclusivity

Reuters recently reported that Rolls Royce might get an exclusive engine deal for the A330neo. There are many reasons Airbus might give Rolls Royce or General Electric exclusivity on an engine for the A330neo, especially if Airbus sees the likely sales of the updated aircraft to stay below 500 units. The reasons can range from how much of the $2B estimated program cost the engine manufacturer would pay to what efficiency improvements they would undertake on top of what is already on the way for their 787 engines. There is every reason to believe the GEnx-1B can match the fuel consumption performance of a further developed Trent T1000-TEN. We understand Rolls Royce will leverage developments from the A350 TXWB engines but GE can just as easily leverage developments from the LEAP program.

T1000 ALPS demonstratorThe picture shows the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 carbon fibre fan demonstrator engine from the companies ALPS (Advanced Low Pressure System) program.  Is this also the looks of the Rolls Royce A330neo engine?

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Odds and Ends: A330neo more likely; Boeing cockpit commonality; Monarch Airlines

A330neo more likely: The Financial Times of London has a long interview (including a five minute video) with Airbus Commercial CEO Fabrice Bregier (free registration required) in which he says the launch of the A330neo is becoming more and more likely. It remains unclear (and probably unlikely) that the launch will come next week at the Farnborough Air Show, but we don’t think it will be long afterwards.

Air Lease Corp, CIT Aerospace, Delta Air Lines, AirAsiaX and Virgin Atlantic are among those that have publicly expressed interest in the neo. We’ve heard a couple of other names as well.

Although Bregier told us last month he thought the market potential was about 400-500, he says in the FT article it could be more than 1,000.

We’re told there is still some internal division over proceeding with the program, but at the same time signs are continuing to build that the decision is all but a done deal to do so.

Boeing cockpit commonality: Airbus has for years promoted cockpit commonality across its airplane line as an economic and operational advantage vs Boeing. Given the longevity of Boeing’s product development, the 7-Series hasn’t been a common cockpit, though there have been some common elements.

With the development of the 737 MAX and the 777X, this “disadvantage,” if you want to call it that, is diminishing. In a recent interview with Boeing’s Randy Tinseth, VP Marketing, we asked about this. His response:

I don’t think there is any question that over time we have worked to raise the bar across the flight decks, worked to have common training and transition times and we have minimized transition times. We seamlessly transition from the 737NG to the MAX. We have leveraged the 787 and we have continually moved for more commonality. The 787 and 777 have common type ratings. You take your recurrent training in every other simulator training time. With 777X we will look to gain [even] more commonality. You have to find the right mix between commonality and capabilities.

It’s important but not the biggest swinger in the campaign. It doesn’t drive the answer in an economic campaign.

Monarch Airlines, Boeing and Bombardier: Monarch’s widely reported (but still unofficial) selection of Boeing’s 737 MAX for its re-fleeting probably means Bombardier won’t get a slice of this order, a huge disappointment to BBD, which put up a good fight for the deal. Airbus is the incumbent and this will be an important flip for Boeing. BBD was hoping to get a slice of the pie in any Boeing win for the larger mainline jet, with the CSeries taking the smaller end. But we’re hearing Boeing’s ability to offer better commercial terms for a sweeping package aced out BBD’s ability–or lack of it–to offer a similar commercial deal. BBD had hoped for the deal for next week’s Farnborough Air Show. Instead, the headlines will go to Boeing.

Our Farnborough coverage: Leeham News and Comment will be at the FAS, with reporting by our new European associate. Watch for reporting at the end of each day (UK time).

New airplanes nearing fruition? A330neo, 757RS buzz increasing

Development of two airplanes–the Airbus A330neo and a replacement for the Boeing 757–may be pushing to the forefront, according to two news articles yesterday.

Reuters reports that a decision whether to proceed with the Airbus A330neo could come before the Farnborough Air Show, even if a formal launch isn’t announced at the international event next month.

Bloomberg reports that Boeing may be nearing the launch of a 757 replacement sooner than expected.

A330neo

We’ve written extensively about both prospective airplanes, with the A330neo concept one of many subjects from the Airbus Innovation Days. The Reuters article reports what we have been hearing for some time: the airplane could be announced at Farnborough–but it might not be, either. What is new is the increasing likelihood Rolls-Royce will become the sole-source supplier. Aviation Week originally reported this prospect.

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