AirInsight on 787, 747-8 delays; A321 NEO

AirInsight has several commentaries about the news last week of new delays in the Boeing 787 and 747-8 programs; and a discussion about the prospective A321 New Engine Option. The main site is here.

6 Comments on “AirInsight on 787, 747-8 delays; A321 NEO

  1. While Air Insight does highlight the management problems of both Boeing programs, they seem out in left field about the engineering/design side of them. Boeing has a management and a QA problem, and seems to not be able to solve subcontractor issues with QA.

    The B-747-8F/I is the right airplane introduced at the wrong time. It was launched just before the world’s most serious ecomonic problems since the 1930s. The only big sale in the last 3 years for the VLA sector was EK’s order for 30 more A-380s. Did EK get fire sale pricing for a $308M USD list price? I think they did. No one, not even the Arab airlines has $9B USD just sitting arpund to buy only 30 airplanes. So, the 30 A-380 sale to EK was a EADS PR stunt, no matter what it cost them. This just follows the give away A-330s Airbus did for A-380 delay compensation, which continues to this day.

    Boeing, on the other hand has also handed out greatly reduced pricing on the B-767 to “pay” compensation for B-787-8 delays.

    But, back to the B-747-8. It will not recover from inimic sales until the global economy recovers. Then it will sell as Airbus will not be able to compete with the A-380. New orders for the WhaleJet will demand EK pricing, something Airbus will not be able to afford.

    • KC135TopBoom : The only big sale in the last 3 years for the VLA sector was EK’s order for 30 more A-380s. Did EK get fire sale pricing for a $308M USD list price? I think they did. No one, not even the Arab airlines has $9B USD just sitting arpund to buy only 30 airplanes. So, the 30 A-380 sale to EK was a EADS PR stunt, no matter what it cost them. This just follows the give away A-330s Airbus did for A-380 delay compensation, which continues to this day.

      Where to begin ? There is so much to say to this.

      Starting with the fact that there has been 33 orders (and 7 options) in 2007, 13 orders (and 4 options) in 2008, 4 orders (and 4 options) in 2009, and finally the 32 orders of EK in 2010. Theese beeing gross orders/options so do not take into account the cancellations (beeing only a few from time to time). So call me stupid, but it seems like there has been pretty much as many orders in the last three years than this year.

      How many 748I/F were ordered in the last three years by the way ? PR stunt or not ?

      Nevertheless, stop beeing so blindfolded in thinking that to order 30 A380 you’re going to pay full price, or even that you will have to pay full price at order time !
      Please do remember that the orders are scattered accross 10 years of production time, with a delivery of around 9 to 12 aircrafts per year. So EK only need cash to pay for those, not for the full 90 items in one shot.

      But hey, the 748 sells so well, it will probably crush the 380 once it’s delivered.

      Or it will simply not as it’s a simple gap filler with no real business case.

      • “Or it will simply not as it’s a simple gap filler with no real business case.”

        The 747-8* was inserted as a cheap and easy market disruptor against Airbus.
        It has not much value beyond that.

        Unfortunately Boeing seems to even be unable to do an old airframe rehash anymore.
        Anyway, adding new diddles to existing products seems to have been extremely popular in the US with lots of US aerospace industry prime time highlights getting refirbished for a new lifecycle.
        Not much native “start from new” projects around.

  2. As for the A321 New Engine option, I agree that a GTF powered A321 with an engine diameter exceeding 80 inches would be a hard nut to crack for Boeing. Clearly the current 737-900ER is constrained by the height of the MLG and the nose gear and thus cannot really accommodate a GTF with an engine diameter exceeding 65-67 inches. Perhaps the “cheapest option” for Boeing would be to re-design the wing for the 737-800/900ER with a 25-in. wing root insert and thus a longer MLG, while keeping the wing as it is for a Leap-X (GTF) powered 737-600/700-(/800 “Short Range”). The dash 900ER would have an A330/A340 style nose down attitude.

    For Airbus, I’m not sure whether or not the heavier >80-in. diameter GTF engine would require one fuselage frame extension aft of the wing for balance requirements, or alternatively; 1 frame ahead of the wing (but aft of door 2) and two frames aft of the wing. The length of an A321G (3 frame stretch) would be 46.1m and have roughly the same cabin length as that of the 757-200.

    A 3 frame stretched A321G would open up a “slot” for an A322G sized between an A320G and the A321G. Such a conceptual aircraft could have a length of 41.83 m, or 8 frames shorter than a 46,1m long A321G and 8 frames longer than an A320G. Compared to an A320G, the A322G would be stretched with 5 fuselage frames ahead of the wing and 3 frames aft of the wing. The A322G would have roughly the same cabin length as that of the 737-900ER.

    An >80-in. GTF engine is too big for the A319(/A318). Therefore, Airbus should perhaps go for 2 different engine diameters for a next generation A32X family (as should Boeing if they would do the wing root insert for the 737-900ER).

    Conceptual A32XNG family:

    A318-800
    A319-800
    A320-800 (“Short Range”, empty centre tank)

    A320-900
    A321-900
    A322-900

    The dash 800s would have Leap-X/GTF engines with diameters of some 70-75 inches while the dash 900s would have GTF engines (/RR triple spool 30000+ lb. thrust power plant).

    The A321G (46,1m) and an A322G could have an A350-1000 type trailing edge extension instead of the current double slotted flaps on the A321. Also, additional weight saving measures (GLARE, CentrAl etc) could be implemented on the A32XNG in such a way that a three frame stretched A321G would still have a range (still air) exceeding 3500 nm.

    • Should read:

      The dash 800s would have Leap-X/GTF engines with diameters of some 70-75 inches while the dash 900s would have GTF engines (/RR triple spool 30000+ lb. thrust power plant) with engine diameters perhaps approaching 85-in. and with a bypass ratio of at least 12.

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