The third in series of articles from the EADS media day and the Paris Air Show….
Your competitor has designed a new airplane that promises to be 20% more efficient than yours. You are involved in a costly new airplane program already that is billions of dollars over budget and years late. So hoping to avoid taking on another entirely new airplane program you decide to re-wing yours and hang some new-generation engines on it to be competitive.
That’s what Airbus did when Boeing announced its 787. The popular A330 received a new wing and new engines and called the A350. It was a dud.
Now Airbus has a completely redesigned A350 (Version 6) and the A350-1000 threatens the Boeing 777-300ER. So today at the air show, Boeing Commercial Airplane President Scott Carson said Boeing is considering putting a new wing and new engines on the airplane to remain competitive.
We’ve seen this movie before. Once again we turn to Bloomberg News for a good synopsis of the story.
One of the interesting quotes in the story comes from Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia:
“The history of re-winging is one of mixed blessings,” Aboulafia said. “It’s possible you wind up spending more than you expected with less commercial impact than envisaged. An all- new plane might offer better value from a cost standpoint.”
Just ask Boeing. This is the experience with the 747-8, which added a few billion dollars to the R&D cost and which has sold well.
Further irony: Boeing will adopt the Airbus messaging used for the A330 that its greater payload and revenue-generating ability will offset the A350’s greater efficiency. Airbus used this logic for the A330 vs. the 787 (and still does on occasion).
As we said, deja vu all over again.