FedEx is considering ordering the Airbus A330-200F or Boeing 767-300F. We learned at ISTAT that some at the company think the A330-200F is too much airplane in terms of range for US domestic service and would prefer the short-range A330-300F capable of carrying more volume. Although some months ago Jon Ostrower broke the story that FDX was talking with Boeing about the 767-400, we learned at ISTAT Boeing said “no.” It is focused on the KC-46A, 767-derived tanker and doesn’t want to take on a program that would divert resources from this effort.
Separately, we learned that Airbus and Boeing submitted their best and final offers last week and a decision–which might include a decision to do nothing–could come as early as this week. Concerns over the economy are spooking FDX, we are told, and there is a faction that favors acquiring more Boeing 757s for conversion and doubling up on frequency if capacity is needed while maintaining the flexibility to cut capacity in a downturn at a lower capital acquisition cost.
If Airbus were to win this order for the A330F, then the prospect of Airbus proceeding with the Mobile (AL) plant is back on the table, we are told.
he, “tabled” ?
this is linguistic intercontinental ping pong 😉
A330-300F should be a no-brainer for FedEx. In addition to an excellent volumetric capability on intra-North American routes, FedEx would be able interline lower deck LD-3s and industry standard pallets between an A333F and their 777Fs, A306Fs and A310Fs.
As for an A330F FAL in Mobile, if a firm order by FedEx would exceed 70-80 units, I’m sure a FAL would be back on the table. 😉
The A330-300F does not exists, yet. I am not certain if a FedEx order would warrant Airbus to start work on this variant.
Why shouldn’t Airbus launch an A330-300F on the back of, say, 50 firm orders? An A330-300F would be a very good replacement aircraft for the A300-600F (i.e. factoring in growth etc).
Why would FedEx need a replacement right now for their A-306Fs? They were new build freighters and have several decades of life left in them. Why would anyone want an A-333F, new build or converted? The current A-333 pax hauler has a range of about 5800nm. A freghter conversion (operating at MTOW) A-333CF would have about 40% of that range, or about 2300 nm. A new build A-333F would have slightly better range, in the 2500-2800 nm range, which is a lot less than the 3300 nm range or a new build B-763F, without blended winglets or raked wingtips (which could be added as an option)
Well, the oldest FedEx A310F (MSN 162) is 29 years old and the oldest FedEx A300-600F (MSN 358) is 25 years old In fact, 45 of FedEx’s A310Fs are more than 25 years old.
I’d be surprised that they would not be looking at new more fuel efficient aircraft considering the fact that they want to improve total fleet miles per gallon a further 20 percent by 2020.
Clearly, FedEx wants to retire the A310F sooner rather than later. Thus the newer A306Fs can replace the A310Fs. Hence an A330-300F fleet of 50 plus frames could “replace” the A306Fs (majority of wich would replace the A310Fs) and at the same time provide for growth in the intra-North American market.
As for range, do keep in mind that a FedEx operated A333F would be a volume limited package freighter (not payload limited). The high volume available and relatively low payload weight would mean that the aircraft (in package mode) could fly as far as that of the A332F (4000 nm).
Boeing once before refused a request from FDX for 767Fs in the late 80’s,
when they were too busy taking 767P orders and as FDX warned Boeing
they would, they ordered a large fleet of A300Fs instead!
I would be very surprised if FDX does not order the A330-300F, unless
they can locate a sufficient number of “old” 757s for conversion down steam,
a solution FDX has aways preferred over the purchase of new airplanes, for
very sound economic reasons!
Rudy, I know you know that the longer a freighter is, the more engineering it needs. So any A-333F would use some, but not all of the engineering work of the A-332F, but it will need additional engineering work, that is not shared by the A-332F, too.
I suspect this is why Boeing has said no to a FedEx request for a B-767-400ERF. They will need additional engineering resources on top of the B-763ERF design. My guess is Airbus would do the same, turn down a request for an A-330-300F design, as they are still working engineering issues with the A-380 (and a possible follow on model), A-350-900, A-32X-NEO, and A-400M.
But, conversion work is a different story as the engineering can be outsourced. Boeing (and IAI) already has a design for converting B-762s and B-763s to BCFs, or CFs. With the deliveries of the B-787s beginning, more B-763s will become avalable for conversions in the next few years. Not so for the A-332/3, except for a few airlines that want to convert pax A-330s already in their fleet to freighters (NH has done this with some of their B-767-300ERs to B-767-300BCFs).
Long fuselarge airplanes, like the B-767-400ER, B-777-300/-300ER, A-330-300, and A-340-300/-600 need to control weight and balance more so than their shorter fuselarge sisters. But, you already know that.
Sorry, I just don’t see new build an A-333F or a B-764F in the cards from the OEMs.
Actually, the initial A330-300 and the A340-300 were the optimised versions of the original A330/A340 family (i.e. the A333/A343 are not considered to be “long fuselage planes”). The A332/A342 were the shortened versions. On the other hand, the 767-400 was a double stretch of the 767-200.
Also, for a lightly loaded package freighter, weights and balance are less critical than on freighters carrying heavy payloads.
Finally, developing an A330-300F optimised to carry packages should be a walk in the park for Airbus. There’s no need to try portray this as a somewhat difficult undertaking. 😉
@TopBoom… I do not know where you gather your knowledge from? Your numbers that the A333″CF” would have 40% of the range of the pax showcases your lack of aeronautical knowledge. Have you ever seen payload-range diagrams? If yes, why inventing numbers? For information: An A333 with CF6 engines at max. structural payload can fly 3750NM (source Airbus Website, ACAP: Airbus_AC_A330_Jan11.pdf. Why should anybody working in the air transport industry believe that a conversion has only 2300NM range? Just take the official numbers from the OEM’s! Sorry to say this, but please give some hard evidence and no guesswork.This blog is frequently read by professionals who earn their money developing, financing, using and assessing different types of aircraft. Some “out of the hip numbers” by some Boeing (or Airbus) partisan which are just not true are distracting from posts/comments of people which are evidently more knowledgeable. Please contribute with more quality. The quantity and lenght of partisan posts are not a qualifier… that works maybe at Airliners.net, but not with people who simply know their “bread and butter business”.
How do you know that the longer “a freighter is”, the more engineering it needs? I am convinced that its only guesswork…isn’t it? The A332F, the so called “General Market Freighter” came out half a (metric) ton lighter than predicted. Most of the difficult engineering (nose gear, cargo door, floor grid) can be cashed in as you (this time) rightly noticed. The stretch is a piece of cake! Weight & Balance, Loads, Stress… all this engineering for an of the shelf derivative aircraft is standardized and cast into procedures in a big company like BCA, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer. A simple derivative like this is not even as complex as a re-engine excercise. The driver leading to a decision is purely commercial: How big is the PAX A/C demand, what is the max assembly line capacity to meet (firstly PAX) demand, does a new assembly line (i.e. Mobile) fit in the business case (how big must be a potential order to make it work – think of the China Assembly line for the Single Aisle Aircraft). Sometimes it could even be better to back off from a competition to save the main business case (i.e. cancellation of the A380-800F in favour of freeing up resources to work on the 388PAX).
What effort would go into an A330-300F?
All the interesting and/or difficult things seem to have been done already for the -200F version?
What is on the market in used but unwanted A330-300?
The A320 P2F project died on no frames being available (and some other
Boeing should certainly be hungry for easy money this decade!
Airbus has started A330-200F on much lower orders. In the end, it doesn’t cost too much money. The detailed design for the door is done.
But considering the current state of the US economy I would rather go for the B757 option.
The door is basically the A300-600F door. Fuselage (less cutouts = less shear-flow = less weight), Floor Grid (more concentrated load introduction, cargo loading system) and Nose-Gear (fairing bubble, and internal structure of nose gear support) have been more demanding in terms of engineering effort, but in general not a difficult excercise. The standard 101 for engineers.
Why not go after more converted A306s if they are after more volume? I have a feeling FDX will go with more second hand converted a/c rather than buying new A332Fs. Perhaps they could also be interested in A330 P2F that QR has been talking about recently? Although the availability and the likely cost of acquisition and conversion maybe too high for them.
I’m assuming Boeing bid the existing 767-300Fs that UPS is also using. Perhaps they also gave them a sweet deal like the US Goverment got? 😉 Judging by the news though I’m betting on FedEx going with the more conservative route and ramping up with 757 conversions. Frames will be coming onto the market at an accelerating pace due to carrier retirements so the acquisition costs should decline.
I never said Airbus couldn’t do it, I said all the engineers are tied up on other projects.
It does not matter if you or I consider the A-333/A-343 to have a long fuselarge, or not, they infact do. The A-332/A-342 were shrinks from them. Airbus developed the A-330F out of the smaller version, not the original version. A large PF (package freighter) only makes sense if there is a lot of package traffic that is near constant between two, or more distant locations. Otherwise smaller PFs, like the B-757PF makes more sense. That is why UPS bought them in the 1990s (new builds) and FedEx is getting as many converted freighters as they can now.
BTW, a nearly 64m (210′) long fuselarge (of the A-343/A-333) is a long airplane. It is some 40′ longer than a DC-10, and 32′ longer than an A-306F, and 12′ longer than the A-330F.
You are seemingly making the mistake in looking at an aircraft purely as a tube. The wing on the A330-300 has 40 percent more surface area and 35 percent greter span (the horizontal tail plane is bigger as well). The Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC) on the A333 is 7.271 m. On the A300-600 the MAC is 6.608 m and on the A310 the MAC is 5.828 m.
Here’s an aircraft center of gravity calculator:
Please do note that the tail moment arm = (D – Wing AC) + tail AC
To compensate for the smaller tail moment arm of the shorter fuselage A332, the vertical stabiliser height of the A332 was increased by 104 cm (i.e. not a “problem” on the A306).
Finally, Airbus should be able to “release” quite a few design engineers from the A350 in due course hence manpower should not be an issue.
Thank you, but I have been computing %MAC (CG) and aircraft actual weights for the mission to be flown on that leg for years. I have used both the index and the moments systems with load adjusters (slide rules), handheld and aircraft computers, as well as manual math using pencil and weight and balance forms. I also know the weight and balance computations are used to comput the initial stab trim setting for T/O performance calculations and V1, V2, VR speeds.
“If Airbus were to win this order for the A330F, then the prospect of Airbus proceeding with Mobile (AL) plant is back on the table, we are told.”
Yes, but how good is the Mobile business case without the KC-46 contract?
If Airbus wants to take advantage of the euro/dollar exchange rate, how many airplanes will they have to build before they brake even with an overseas greenfield?
If Airbus has been able to build the A330 alongside the A340 I am sure they could build the A330 alongside the A330-200/300F, in lieu of the almost discontinued A340.
I would assume it makes no difference to FedEx, unlike the US government, where the airplanes would be assembled.
It’s also been suggested that to accommodate the required logistic Airbus was working on an A330 derived Super Beluga that would allow it to reach the East Coast from Europe. How serious is this proposition and what would be the cost?
From the business point of view it was considered risky for Boeing to open a second line for the 787 in South Carolina. I don’t see why opening a new line in Alabama would be less risky for Airbus.
It made perfect sense to integrate the KC-46 with the A330F in Mobile. In that context the KC-46 would obviously have been profitable without the A330F. But I am not convinced that the A330F would be profitable without the KC-46. Unless there are other considerations that I don’t know about.
A340 and A330 are actually one type coming from one assembly line.
Very few parts are taken from other bins or added :
+2 engines +2 thrust levers come to mind. Its all Legos at Airbus 😉
Earlier propositions had Airbus doing an A340-300 derived ST(E.
via this Guppy Fanpage:
Using the A330-300 as base shouldn’t make much difference.
Freighterwise the A340-300F-U could be an attractive poposition?
The plan was I think to build 3 Freighters to 1 Tanker if the Busboys had won the Tanker. I also remember that the A330/A340 can handle double rows of standard containers and the 767 cannot, is that correct?
Airbus could go the other way. First proceeding the A330F in Mobile. Than – as an origin US manufacturer – earning Orders for the KC-46.
I guess Fedex (& other cargo airlines in te background) could have enough buying power to demand a better engine. More quiet (important for freight flights), more fuel efficient ($$) and more clean (increasingly taxed in the next 30 yrs, globally).
I guess an A333F with the A332F’s max volume payload would have a little lower range, but not much.
Maybe FedX will order enough planes to be the launch customer for the 333F NEO? I don’t see how A can go forward with the 330 line without neo’ing.
Current A330-* backlog is 350 ( for comparison 777 currently @ ~300 )
With production numbers continuing to rise from firstname.lastname@example.org
to ~8..10/month that backlog would tide over 5 .. 3.5 years.
Airbus publicly noticed customers clamoring for a reengine.
A330-* NEO ?
I would not be surprised if this happens.
Additionally what results and actions will come from Airbus
doing fullsize laminar flow tests on an A330?
Would this boost range and sfc beyond the 787-8 (and the -9?) ?
Remember most significant gains currently are in engines.
The smaller diameter of the 330 could be an advantage to differentiate it from the 350 and 787. If the 358 doesn’t materialize, it has a bigger place in the line up. With United switching from 8 to 9 abreast on the 787 which will become the industry standard, the 330 regains the high ground as a more preferable economy cabin.
Several posters have speculated on what the Range would be for a A333F (new build).
I’m no expert… But, we can make educated guess based on the existing new build freighters.
I’m going to use Wiki data for simplicity (feel free to extract A&B data for yourself).
A332F range 4000nm / A332 range 7250nm = .55 (or 55% of passenger version range)
B777F range 4900nm / B77L range 9380nm = .52
B767F range 3255nm / B763 range 5990nm = .54
Range average for the above A/C = 1.61 / 3 = .536 (I’ll use .54 for the A333F)
A333 range 5850nm X .54 = A333F range 3159nm.
Pax to freighter A330-300 will have a range of around 3500nm, new build will be a bit higher. Both at around 60T payload.
Observer, the kind of irresponsible rule of thumb creation I like. Unscientific & mostly accurate enough.
Feel free to fill in the blanks… How do you see it? Always looking for new nunbers… Really.
via http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/serious-interest-in-a330-300f-from-cargo-integrators-334645/ from nov 2009:
“Although the detailed specification for the proposed A330-300F is still being completed, Lesieur estimates that both the new-build and P2F version would have a payload in the 60-65t range, compared with 64-69t for the -200F. “The -300F will have just under 20% greater volume than the -200F,” he adds.”
So a -300F would be more of a volume freighter.
A330-600F 40t / 265m² := 151kg/m³
A330-200F 70t / 475m² := 147kg/m²
A330-300F 63t / 570m² := 108kg/m²
B777F 104t / 653m² := 159kg/m²
Hmmm, it seems I gave some pre-lim numbers of range of the A-333F and came out at about 2800 nm. That is not to far off as I estimated the range decrease from the pax model to the freighter model to be about 40%, which is in the same ballpark as Observer’s estimate of 36% reduced range. Yet, one “expert” who knows nothing of my background in avaition accused me of not knowing anything?
“Hmmm, it seems I gave some pre-lim numbers of range of the A-333F and came out at about 2800 nm”
You did and they were wrong.
I’d say ther is a big difference between 40% and 64%, or 36% off as you described it.
Then you got Observer’s numbers wrong as he proposed 54%, or 46% off if you prefer it described in that way.
I do not know much about your experience in aviation, only what I have seen in your posts. But I do know the claims you make and they are what I judge you on.
Still wondering what benefit a Sharklet would give to 330 series compared with the original winglet.
In engineering terms I would think the costs would be quite modest.
I don’t see where the additional slight benefit of blended winglets (sharklets) would warrent the expense of the mod over the current winglet configueration winglet on the A-330 now. It might be a fraction of a percent improvement, but is it worth the costs? How long would the ROI be?
Don’t be fixated on just ROI.
“I don’t see where the additional slight benefit of blended winglets (sharklets) would warrent the expense of the mod over the current winglet configueration winglet on the A-330 now”
The benefit is there, obviously depending on different configurations, and may well be worth the expense if the work done as part of a bigger improvement package.
What point are you trying to make with regards to the ‘fuselarge’?
If they make a parcel freighter out of the A330, would structure need to be added to the fuselage aside from strengthening the floor?
My understanding is that some structure is removed ( like windows, windowframes )
The 330-200F is 10+t lighter than the PAX version.
Interesting: 777-200LR and 777F share the same empty weight (145t, due to the pax version having been massively shaved down to make the “LR” worth its money ?)
The freight door should have influece on its periphery to
accomodate redistributed forces.
A dedicated freighter would get the “beauty bulb” under the nose while a P2F version would be used with a nose gear
Doesn’t all this talk turn on what FedX’s RFP is? The order is 50 planes, apparently wide bodies for use mainly in the US, but beyond that I’ve found little detail on the web. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-07/fedex-said-to-weigh-boeing-airbus-wide-body-order-to-renew-delivery-fleet.html What is clear is that there are a lot of variables:
1. FedX have a huge fleet of old planes 253 of which are wide bodies: 117 A300/310s, 73 DC10s (over 30 years old), and 63 MD11s. (Also 56 727s(!), and 44 752s.) The 50 planes won’t make much of a dent on these, so which ones do they want to replace first and when?. How many planes do they want, if any, with the capacities of the 763F, A332F, or 333F? I can see 763s for the A300/310s and 332/3F for the DC-10s. A might not do 333F in Mobile for 50, but might for follow ons approaching 100. To what extent is A willing to put money into the 333F now with all the other work it must do (B apparently turned down doing a 764F for this reason), and even if A is willing, will FedX take the delivery delay risks inherent is modifying a new variant?
2. The economic downturn, including the contraction of the US Postal Service, may nix any new build order. If that happens, the FedX might be announcing the end of the new plane order bubble, and inspire others to return to sanity as well.
2. Second hand planes, or a mix of those with new build, are a real option. There are few used 332/3s available and no ACF program like B’s BCF offerings. Could A and Qatar be colluding to create a 332F ACF program?
3. FedX will not order from B if Congress changes the laws that now make it hard for its pilots and workers to unionize (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-07/fedex-said-to-weigh-boeing-airbus-wide-body-order-to-renew-delivery-fleet.html), and may even lay down the law to B’s unions that they will not order unless there is a no strike guarantee to assure uninterrupted delivery.
Personally I do not understand why the customers of both manufacturer’s accept this rider in their contracts that do not hold them responsible for strikes. Had these customers had some backbone, and insisted that such a rider be removed, then Boeing might have had some more impetus to actually work with its unions and there might have been less strikes over the years.
I am far from being a union fan but let’s face it, Boeing’s tactics over the last few years has been to destroy the unions or at least make them ineffective.
What does a new employee working for Boeing get to look forward to?
Good work, good wages and the chance of getting laid off every few years when the market turns sour. I still remember that back in 2002 or 2003, when Boeing was starting to rebound, there was an article about how some laid off Boeing workers were not coming back after their callups as the up and down cycle was a real burden; emotionally, mentally and financially.
Maybe the unions have gotten a bit arrogant. From here I cannot truly judge that. But on the other hand, Boeing management’s behaviour over the last 10 years has left me in no doubt that their behaviour resembles that of the companies from years ago, which were the reasons why unions had been created in the first place.
Since the implementation of free trade and the removal of the iron curtain, I have noticed that employer/employee relations seem to have started to resemble the good old days of the industrial revolution, where employees were little more than indentured slaves.
“Since the implementation of free trade and the removal of the iron curtain, I have noticed that employer/employee relations seem to have started to resemble the good old days of the industrial revolution, where employees were little more than indentured slaves.”
It is (much?) less pronounced in Europe but noentheless present.
For the unsophisticated the end of the Cold War seemded
to have removed the need for encompassing society
wide beneficial coexistance.
Why would any OEM, including Airbus and Boeing accept removing such a clause? To do so would give the unions a blank check during new contract talks. That clause, I assume, works both ways, not just for the OEMs. (I am guessing here as I have not read any airplane sales contracts between the OEMs and the customers.) It is not just the OEMs subjected to strikes from unions. Most airlines, including FedEx, also have union emploees and are subjected to strikes. About 7 or 8 years ago UPS suffered a strike be the Teamster’s union. Such a strike to an airline can effect the pilots and crews, mechanics, customer service, or any other employee group. That could prevent that airline from accepting a new airplane from another airline, lease company, or an OEM if some employees groups are on strike.
767s won’t fit the FEDEX standard containers in the belly and maindeck.
If that somehow isn’t that important, used converted 767 might be a good option
Increasingly available / affordable and well suited for domestic flights.
UPS operate 53 A300s and 44 763s, so I guess it can be done. And then there is new build price. Rumors abound of B’s cutting the price for the 763 to the bone. Also, it is not clear to me why there is so much talk about the 333F. I thought A was offering the 332F.
That’s what I thought, too, Chris.
Keesje, you do understand the UPS began operating their new built B-767-300ERFs before they bought their A-300-600Fs. UPS first ordered the B-763F in the early 1990s, and in 2007 ordered some 27 more of them. I believe that 14 -15 of these newly ordered B-763Fs have delivered, leaving 12-13 more to be delivered by early 2013.
But my point is cargo igloos are relitively cheap, and they have been designed and build for the B-767-300ERF/-200ERBCF/-300ERBCF. There is about a $35M USD difference between the list price of the A-332F and the B-763F, that will buy a lot of igloos.
Airbus celebrates the first year of service with their A332F right after Avianca ordered four 332F.
http://www.airbus.com/aircraftfamilies/freighter/a330-200f/ with a small “propagandistic” video embedded.
Reply to AeroN #43, Uwe #44, and KC 135 #45. The union has made a proposal to B to replace/limit triking with binding arbitration which B has said they are seriously considering. (SCOTT, do you have any info on how this?)
I have to go so I can’t respond now to AN’s last paragraph except to say that you have hit the nail on the head. My hope is that B and the unions’ binding arbitration discussions will lead to a new, post cold war model in which disputes like these will be settled not just between the immediate parties but with input also by the other stake holders, so that the end result is one that considers our society’s needs as a whole, not just profit and loss and employee employment terms. The main reason B is in trouble today is that the Stonecipher crowd considered almost nothing except return on capital in deciding to out-source the 787 the way they did. My impression, Uwe, is that Germany has done better at this than we have; eg. worker agreement to BMW work rule changes, if I remember correctly. Fact is, we should all understand that to grow jobs we must as country become more efficient, and to do this we need to be clear that capitalism and worker rights are far to important to be left to the capitalists and the workers alone. (Borrowing from Clemenceau – War too important to be left to generals, etc.)
Oops late to work after all.
Germany has a completely different setup.
The basic worker and workplace conditions are state defined
via legislation starting with Bismarck’s “Sozialgesetze”.
( schooling, working hours, health care, pensions and workplace savety )
Bismarck being a conservative, notice that this was the bulwark of the haves” against
the “have nots” and _not_ an achievement of the working class.
In the 60ties “Mitbestimmung” came into the picture.
So you have a legal and formal setup of owners and workforce
negotiating conditions ( but on a much smaller scope: tarif , hours
and fine tuning working conditions only.) Unions are instrumental
in representing the workforce but not mandatory. jobs only for (non)union
members would be unthinkable here.
With the rise of the “commerce liberals” in the last decade we see
rising efforts to hack away on these achievements for very short term
profits trying to ruin a very productive setup that benefits all.
Speea has, yes. Not so with IAM (yet) as far as we know.