Airbus takes on MAX and says best Boeing can get is 8%

Note: Plane Talking has this detailed story about NEO v MAX.

Over at AirInsight, we have published a long, long piece (some 3,500 words) stemming from a briefing we had at ISTAT Europe in Barcelona about the A320neo vs the 737NG and 737 MAX. The post is here.

Airbus believes Boeing cannot achieve the 10%-12% lower fuel burn it advertises with the smaller fan-diameter CFM LEAP engine. The best Boeing can do, in Airbus’ estimation, is 8%.

Take a read. This is the most detailed product comparison in the public domain yet.

65 Comments on “Airbus takes on MAX and says best Boeing can get is 8%

  1. Thanks for the article. Very informative yet as you have mentioned, “vague” due to lack of data from Boeing.

    I don’t know, but I’m of the opinion that the NEO is going to be a “better” plane than the MAX. I’m taking a guess here. IMHO only, in a “head-to-head” competition, all else being equal (financing, slot availability, etc.), I think the NEO would win the competition.

    For Boeing, having the MAX will keep existing operators (most) from going to Boeing. Maybe that is Boeing’s goal.

    I also don’t see too many A32X carriers (such as BA, AF, etc.) going to the MAX side. Again, availability, etc. is going to play into this, but all things being equal.

  2. nice expose, very nice to see an extensive comparison at a range of operating regimes (rather than the OEM’s standard “Whatever suits us best” approach)
    But predicting single digit percent advantages based on admittedly vague numbers and ball-park guessing… I’m not convinced.
    If anything this shows the specific idiosyncrasies of any airline will be more decisive in future 737vs32x fleet choices than the airplanes themselves. Add a toilet, use thinner chairs or load some extra movies to the IFE and the advantage is reversed.

    I am baffled that two so dissimilar platforms can result in such similar performance metrics, even at such a wide operational range.

  3. A 66 inch fan limited growth potential, we are told, while a 68 inch fan is more conducive to potentially growing the engine to a later size of 71 inches. A 66 inch fan means Boeing doesn’t have to change the landing gear. A 68 inch fan may not require a change but we are told Boeing will “slightly” increase the length of the nose gear but not the main gear. A 71 inch fan will require more extensive changes.

    The mention of a 71 inch fan must mean that fan area is highly critical. Would the 787 or A350 benefit from a larger fan or is that the optimum size?

    • when it comes to fan sizes, Bigger is Better (or at least more economical) – for energy efficiency. You want to take a large chunk of air and give it a small push (turbofan) rahter than take a small chunk of air and give it a large push (TurboJet, Fighter a/c).

      Of course this is just about the energy efficiency – As leeham notes, bigger fans are also heavier, produce more drag and require higher ground clearance.

  4. The debate between the 66″ and 68″ fan on the LEAP-1B engine is not the most important consideration at this point. I believe what is important is the other design changes, if any, Boeing is willing to add to the B-737MAX. While short lenghtening of the MLG and NLG (2″-4″ or 50mm to 100mm) might be possible, and relitively cheap, I think Boeing could make money with other design changes, such as weight reductions over the current B-737NG.

    Reducing the weight will help off-set any fuel comsumption shortfall of a 66″ or 68″ fan section. The 68″ fan is obviously better because of its slightly better BPR and slightly lower SFC.

    I think Airbus’s claim of the B-737MAX getting about an 8% lower fuel burn spec. it is in the same catagory of Boeing’s claim the B-737-800NG is within 1%-2% of the projected fuel burn of the A-320NEO. In other words, both are just corprate propoganda.

    Airbus can only have as much data on the B-737MAX as Boeing has on the A-32X-NEO, and that data was gotten from offers both have made to customers. In other words it is just data from the sales departments of the OEMs, spun to make their airplane look better than the other one.

    • Boeing doesn’t have exemption from hard physics. Neither here nor with the
      Dreamliner or any other product they announce.

      The salt and pepper stuff is for cloaking some tall statements.

      Remember all that super physics stuff for the Dreamliner? Just smoke and mirrors
      what remains of the boasted improvements is a one generation improved engine.

  5. “Its the engine, stupid”
    That was the essence of Leahy’s message when the NEO decision was made
    I guess it’s still the case. How will MAX-Leap / NEO-Leap / GTF meet the expectations?
    It’s not only A vs B, it’s GE vs PW. If one engine supplier outperforms (fuel, weight, maintenance, price tag), it will have a decisive impact. GE wins, and there’s a kind of status quo. PW wins, and Airbus might make profit of it and recruit B 737 clients…

    • “Its the engine, stupid.”

      Richard Aboulafia also. He has specifically criticized B and and NSA because of its emphasis on aerodynamic improves in addition to engines, and said they needed to change the engine ASAP.

  6. I am reasonably confident that the 737MAX will have roughly the same operating
    costs/seat as the A320NEO, depending on the seat-configuration, as the existing
    737 and A320 models had, for the following principle reasons:
    1. Because of it’s wider body and many other heavier features, including the more
    stringent certification requirements, the A320 had a much higher OEW/seat,
    compared to the earlier 737 models.
    2.This in turn required the higher thrust, larger-fan & heavier CFM-56-5 engine on
    the A320, compared to the lower thrust, lighter and smaller-fan-diameter -3 eng.
    on the earlier 737s!
    3.The same higher thrust/weight, larger fan-diameter engine requirements will
    again be applicable to the A320NEO v.v. the 737MAX, because of the same
    above-mentioned higher weight of the NEO over the MAX, making the NEO as
    good or better, compared to the NEO!

  7. Correction:
    The second last line should ofcourse read:
    “, making the MAX as good or better, compared to the NEO!”

    • The 737 advantage may well be reduced to just the reduced frontal area of the 707 style fuselage. For current production empty weight for the closely matching types seems to
      be about eqal. ie. Airbus have silently but continuously shaved off some weight.
      ( were the manufacturing improvements (more welding, other stuff) for the 319 & 318 backported to the A320/321? I know about the upgraded cockpit, ..)

  8. Off topic, but nonetheless important:
    Analysts expect American Airlines – once the world’s most profitable carrier – to lose $1.1bn this year and $484m in 2012.
    What’s the impact of a possible AMERICAN AIRLINES BANKRUPTCY (as predicted by several important financial market blogs) on it’s aircraft orders with Boeing and Airbus ?
    “AMR Corp, the parent company for American Airlines, said it ordered 460 “narrow body” single-aisle jets from the two manufacturers, calling it the largest commercial aircraft order in history. The airline said this includes 200 jets of the 737 class from Boeing Co., with options to obtain an additional 100 aircraft of the 737 class. AMR also said it would acquire 260 A320 aircraft from Airbus, with an option to acquire 365 more.”
    Any suggestions ?

    • If American files under Chapter 11, the orders would be postponed for several years until the restructuring is completed.

      I don’t think it would have a big impact on Airbus or Boeing. Both are presently taking more orders than what they can deliver. That is the main reason why they want to increase the production rate. For when the delivery date is too late, the customers start to look for alternatives, like the Bombardier CSeries for example.

      On the other hand, if for one reason or another there was to be a major downturn in the world economy and customers not only stop buying new airplanes but actually canceled existing orders, a potential AA bankruptcy would have a major impact on the manufacturers.

      In either case we are not there yet.

  9. Question: Is there anything to prevent the FAA or EASA from saying that once a design reaches a certain age, let’s say 50 years old, the case for grandfathering should be dropped?

    After all, if such requirements aren’t really that necessary, then maybe they should be dropped altogether as there certainly doesn’t seem to be any urgency in getting them implemented on the largest single aisle fleet in the world, does there?!

    • Yes, both agencies can say that, but I doubt they will.

      The issue of grandfathering is centered around the additional certification requirements added since the original model was certified. For the B-737 that means the 1967 requirements and for the A-320 the 1985 requirements.

      Dispite popular belief the differences between the 1967 requirements and the 1985 requirements are not that great, when compared to the difference between 1985 and now.

      • I cannot say that I knew that about the number of changes required for each aircraft but for me the question still remains, Just how important can such regulations be if they can be “ignored” or “bypassed” for over 40 years?

      • KC135TopBoom,

        It is my understanding you got that wrong. That the changes between annex 15 (737) and annex 56 (A320) are more significant than the changes since annex 56.

        There is the difference in how V1 is calculated that allow more seats on 737.

        There are the evacuation rules that allow more seats on 737.

        Those two alone account for most if not all of the seat count advantage the 738 has over A320.

        Looking forward to see you justify your statement. (There are some old outstanding questions too)

  10. Aero Ninja :I cannot say that I knew that about the number of changes required for each aircraft but for me the question still remains, Just how important can such regulations be if they can be “ignored” or “bypassed” for over 40 years?

    Its is not that the newer requirements are ignored, bypassed, or waivered. It is because the OEMs can request only a supplemential type certification (STC) to modifications or new models to the original design that was certified. Every model of the B-737 since the -100 version was certified under a STC. The STC also was peocessed for adding winglets, newer engines, and changes to the wing and fuselarge, etc. It is not just the B-737 and B-747 models, either. The A-318/-319/-320-200/-321 were all STCs under the original A-320-100 certification, as was the A-300-600R/F under the original A-300-B2 model and the A-310-300 after the -200 model, and the A-330s after the original A-340-300/-200 certs.

    It is not the big deal some make it out to be. All of these airplanes listed above, and more, are safe to fly in.

    • “All of these airplanes listed above, and more, are safe to fly in.”

      Take the TK 737 crash on the Polderbaan in Amsterdam.
      Would a fuselage certified to higher crash g values have saved
      some lifes ( incl some Boeing staff) ?

      • Well, each accident is so unique that is hard to say. But the AA B-738 crash also broke the fuselage, and there has been another B-738?) crash since the AA one that broke the airplane in two or more pieces. Both these accidents had everyone aboard survive, IIRC.

        Most humans cannot take more than 9G of instantanious acceleration/decceleration/sideways movements. Obviously some humans can, esspeically those conditioned for it and in very good health and physical condition. No human can take 20G of movement. TA-390 (an A-320, tail # EI-TAF) crashed in May of 2008 at TGU, the fuselage broke in two and 5 passengers and crew were killed in that accident. There is also AF-296, LH-2904, and many others. Survivability of any airplane accident is based on to many factors to know. The A-320 series is no more or no less survivable than any B-737 model, or any other aircraft. The dynamics of the accident have much more to say about survivoribility than airplane design does. I am no0t saying airplane design and certification don’t play a role in accident survivoribility, they do. I am saying the dynamics of the individual accident have more say in it.

  11. – Fan 0.5 % sfc per inch.
    – A 66-68 vs B 78 inch : -5% sfc
    – new winglets: -3%
    – how unimportant is noise up to 2035 ?
    – 81 inch GTF anyone?

    Physics don’t lie.

    Overwhelming the public with new variables, considerations, half truths and bold claims probably won’t do the trick facing grey airline fleetmanagers. I think there’s a gap on the wrong side of the line & I see B doing the landing gear/wing afterall.

    BTW the assumption A will do just the engines/ sharklets seems increasingly build on hope.

      • Boeing still has the VFW614 ( or future HondaJet ) option ;-?

        Will noise and emisions have impact beyond Europe?

        The US is on a “protect the old geezers” crusade that tries
        to turn the tide on any effort to kickoff competition in certain environmental areas.

    • “I see B doing the landing gear/wing afterall.”
      I would say Boeing still has it on the table. Since announcement of the MAX, there is talk of a rewing of the 777. If that makes sense, then investing in a new wing for a aluminum narrowbody makes even more sense. Then the Airinsight article with mention of a 71″ fan.

      New wing new gear, possible double axle, possible stretch of the 9.

    • “BTW the assumption A will do just the engines/ sharklets seems increasingly build on hope.”

      Good point. I think both B and A want to put off new replacements for their 737/A320 families as long as they can because the real battle is in the very lucrative 300-400 pax wide body mkt, so they want to put their resources there. This is particularly true for A as they struggle to define the A350. EAch also has other difficult, very expensive fish to fry.

      Leahy made an odd but revealing remark back when B was publicly saying they would likely do the NSA and not a neoized 737. He said B’s doing the NSA would upset the mkt balance the two had in the single aisles from 150-200 pax. I think this was a signal to B (perhaps also alerting anti-trust officials world wide) that A was trying to preserve its turf not encroach on B’s. You can argue the merits, spf etc of the two neoized planes until the cows come home but what really matters is whether either plane is sufficiently better than the other to induce the other’s customers to switch and incur all of the huge extra up-front expenses that involves. B will make the MAX just better enough to defeat that inducement, and so far they are doing well, notwithstanding the AA order.

      That said, here is my long shot bet: To defer the NSA as long as possible, B must improve the MAX as much as possible so its overall operating costs get closer and closer to the NSA’s. I think B has accepted that whatever they do will likely require more changes/expense re the 737 than A will need to make to the 320 because the latter is newer. So, why not bite the bullett and lengthen the main gear. My (very wild) guess is that this is what Southwest wants and that is why they have not said much lately about the MAX.

      • “Leahy’s observation of balance change if B starts NSA”

        In which direction?

        Going by how the ( not really rocketscience ) Dreamliner project worked out a “Real Rocket Science” NSA would have killed Boeing.
        Especially with the Dreamliner on the books already.

    • keesje, yes, physics don’t lie, but humans have made tremendous errors in calculating physics. Recently, even Albert Einstien’s theory of the galatic ‘speed limt’ is the speed of light, has been challanged, and in one lab experiment, proven wrong.

      Do the new winglets on the A-32X series give 3% better gas milage than the blended winglets already on the B-737NG series? I doubt it.

      BTW, the 0.5% improvement in SFC per inch of fan is a “general rule of thumb” and not always accurate. Since both the LEAP-1A engine and LEAP-1B engine are currently future engines (as is the PW1100G engine), it is hard to say if this general rule of thumb applies, or not.

      Also are you saying that because the PW1124G has an 81″ fan and the LEAP-1A has a 78″ fan, the SFC for the GTF engine is definately 2% better than the LEAP (on the A-320NEO)?

      • “keesje, yes, physics don’t lie, but humans have made tremendous errors in calculating physics. Recently, even Albert Einstien’s theory of the galatic ‘speed limt’ is the speed of light, has been challanged, and in one lab experiment, proven wrong.”

        Not true at all, the popular press doesn’t fact check. Einsteins theory does not rule out faster than light particles, it rules out crossing the light speed barrier ie accelerating past and through or decelerating from above to below it. It does not rule out particles being born with speeds above the speed of light – of course then we get into star trek territory but whatever – Einstein does not rule this out in fact he in fact specifically allows for the possibility of Tachyons, faster than light particles.

        But as usual the soundbite travels round the world with the added bonus in of attacking science without anybody actually being bothered to read up on what the theory that they claim to debunk.

        As usual the soundbite is a lie.

      • Let’s also not forget that it really is still ‘just’ a theory, and not yet proven to be a law.

    • I wouldn’t take those number as gospel. There is way more to it than fan diameter alone.

      Airbus originally selected a 76″ fan dia. Leap engine. However, as the article states the Leap was 2-4% lower on sfc then the GTF. Now they have a 2″ larger fan (78″) that is supposed to be on par with the GTF? If it were as simple as “Fan 0.5 % sfc per inch.” then someone is not telling the truth about the 78″ Leap. Because, we are still missing 1-3% sfc… No?

      Or just hang a pair of GE90-115B’s with a 128″ fan and get an additional 20% better sfc than the NEO’s Leap 78″ fan… 🙂

      • Yes, that’s what I wanted to ask!!! Fan diameter is not all of if. There are other (techies) things involved in engine efficiency beside the fan size.

      • If fan diameter was all that’s needed for better fuel efficiency, how come Bombardier has not switched to the 78″ fan diameter Leap engine for it CSeries planes?

  12. Discussing the benefits of an 68 over an 66 inch LEAP are OK & the gear should be lengthened but bringing in 78 inch makes folks realize it’s far too complicated / early to draw any conclusions.. Selective conservatism. I don’t buy it 😉

  13. keesje, Boeing has never talked about a fan section of 78″ for the B-737. Airbus wants to put the 78″ fan LEAP-1A engine on the A-32X. You do know that is a bigger fan section than the RR-RB211-535E4/-535E4B (74″ fan section) engine on the B-757. But the PW-2037/-2040/-2043 has the same size fan section as the LEAP-1A will have (78″) on the B-757 and C-17.

  14. Tom :
    If fan diameter was all that’s needed for better fuel efficiency, how come Bombardier has not switched to the 78″ fan diameter Leap engine for it CSeries planes?

    You know quite well that fan diameter is a compromise.
    For a similar compromise and a similar core setup
    fan diameter should scale with squared thrust.
    If you plot the available data for the GTF family members
    that matches quite well ( except the MRJ engine with reduced bypass rate : 9:1 versus 12:1 )
    Fan diameter**2/thrust gives you propulsive efficiency while a gearbox and/or a hotter turbine
    section give you instruments to improve thermal efficiency.
    While the GTF is relatively conservative beyond the gerbox it looks like CFM will have to
    do quite a bit of hotrodding for similar gains.

    Wondering how synergetic GTF and LEAP technology could be combined?

  15. Albeit the latest engines represent a fairly complicated business, it simply comes down to this!
    If a 68″ Leap fan would do the job, no question it would be on offer with the NEO as the alternative to GTF.
    It is obviously well behind even though it weighs less than the Leap NEO offering.
    Some of the suggestions that MAX needs a little more innovation are perhaps not so wrong.

  16. On-Time.If you go back and read all the back and forth about A and B before and just after the AA buy the big issue that was not discussed in detail was that all had concerns about deliveries and could Big B really deliver on its sales pitch for the now MAX or NEO 737. I think the airlines like both A and B, but they need aircraft on-time like any business. I hope Big B can step-up and regain its past rep with its customers.

  17. Jay, why just question that about Boeing? Airbus is also years late on some A-380 deliveries, and has pushed back deliveries of some models of the A-350. The on time delivery of the A-359 isn’t looking good right now, either.

    For the A-32X-NEO, Airbus gave itself 5+ years to deliver the first A-320NEO, but now may be late on the A-321NEO.

    I am not saying Boeing has not had trouble delivering airplanes on time, the B-787 and B-747-8 clearly show problems with that.

    Will the B-737MAX be delivered on time? I have no idea as the first delivery isn’t for another 5+ years, just like the NEO.

    Andrew, Airbus needed a bigger fan engine for the A-32X-NEO program just because the A-320 series needs more thrust than the B-737NG series does. The A-32X series is heavier than the B-737NG is, by several tonnes in some cases, dispite the fact the B-737NG already has blended winglets as standard equipment (it was formerly an option). The B-737NG also has a more modern and efficent wing than the A-32X does. Airbus estimates the NEO will add some 2 tonnes to the weight of each A-32X, including the extra weight of the new engine(s). The take-off rated thrust for the NEO is going to be between about 29,000 lbs and 34,000 lbs.

    The take-off rated thrust for the MAX will be between about 27,000 lbs and 32,000 lbs.

    It seems everyone is looking at just the engines when comparing the NEO to the MAX, and its true the engines will account for most of the SFC reduction. But Airbus is adding the “sharklet” blended winglets, which will reduce drag by about 3% and a few other aero-dynamic improvements accounting for another 2% reduction, according to Airbus.

    Boeing already has the blended winglets, as I mentioned, on the B-737. So, it looks like they are also working on more weight reduction as well as aero-dynamic improvements and new aero-dynamic features, such as a revise the tail cone, natural laminar flow nacelle and a hybrid laminar flow vertical stabilizer for additional fuel burn and drag reduction. I believe the hybrid laminar flow vertical stabilizer will begin flight testing on a B-787 test bed aircraft soon.

    • TB, why do you always try to make out bird droppings and elephant dung to be equal in pileup ;-?

      The GTF scaled to the thrust range of the 737 would have about 76″ diameter ( 81″ for the NEO) for an about equal compromise i.e. a bit larger than the C-Series engine.

      my guess is the final numbers at EIS for the GTF-NEO will be 15% from sfc + 3% from winglets +n% from other aero and weight improvements – a a couple % for drag/weight
      increase.

    • KC, As I read it, Jay suggested Boeing was the front runner in the AA competition and they made their decision to split their order based not on technical issues, but on the inherent risk in putting all your eggs in one basket.
      if leeham’s predictions turn out and the one is less than 10% better/worse than the other, I would give serious to buying from both…

  18. Like you said, you are guessing, as am I. I have not suggested a PW-1100G option on the B-737. But the LEAP-1A and 1B engines could be a near apples to apples comparison. Although they are Golden Delicious Apples to McIntosh Apples. One is red and green and the other is yellow and gold. Both are great for eating, but only the Mac is good for applesauce and cooking.

    My point is both will sell well the NEO and MAX, and for the most part fly the same missions. Each will have qualities their sister models won’t have.

    BTW, bird have been traced to dinosaurs, and their droppings must have dwarfed those of today’s elephants.

  19. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them”

    IMO we are seeing a smart marketing campaign by Boeing.

    They start claiming their MAX product is superior.

    Airbus says the same about the NEO.

    The bigger public assumes the truth is somewhere half way, they are about equal.

    Even if they are not.

    In which case the one with the better product lost a point.

    • It’s not politics, Keesje. The OEM’s have nothing to gain by swaying opinion of the “public”.

      Airplane purchases almost always are the result of a detailed evaluation of multiple products by the airline. The evaluation will cover every aspect of ownership and operating costs, as well as revenue differences between the products.

      Neither OEM is going to waste time crafting a story expressly to convince the people who write or read this blog. What would the point be?

      If you are ever able to sit in a technical product overview from either manufacturer (I’m not talking about the pandering we see from Leahey and Tinseth, or the communications people who feed the media – I mean a presentation from designers, performance engineers, economics & network & revenue specialists, etc.), then you’ll realize there are no vagaries, there is no lack of detail, there is no effort to “confuse” in order to make the “better product lose a point”. That would be suicide for either OEM, because typically the airline has their sharpest people doing the evaluation. If the report to the airline BoD from the evaluation team was “Brand X came in with smoke and mirrors in an effort to deceive us.”, how long do you think brand X would last?

      In the end, it’s just more conspiracy theories. If you have convinced yourself one OEM is the devil… well, you really could never be a part of an evaluation team, could you?

      • If you consider the “public” to be the investment community, then there actually is something to gain: a more positive outlook for both our shares on the stock market, and potentially better ratings for your debt (resulting in lower interest rates and thus lower costs).

        Investors rarely have access to (nor likely would understand) the level of technical information that the airlines would receive.

      • Thanks, CM for a great and accurate explainition of the process by the airlines in selecting a new airplane type, or a change in models.

        The airlines are going to spend several tens of millions to billions of dollars, depending on the order size, leasing or buying them outright.

        Just like the OEMs, the airlines have shareholders they have to answer to, too.

      • The “fully rational market” is an interesting myth.
        It has been disproven on a regular basis.
        ( The various recent crashed are one line in that context )

        The Dreamliner wouldn’t have sold a single specimen under
        those assumptions 😉

  20. Obviously you cannot fool all the airlines, all the time. But maybe you can fool some of the airlines, some of the time. Selling airplanes is an international business and technical competence varies somewhat from country to country and between arlines.

    That being said, there are more to it than technical considerations. The selling price of an airliner is a big factor. When you combine technical merit with an attractive price you have the recipe for a smashing success, like the initial sale campaign of the 787 was. They sold nearly a thousand before first flight because they were almost giving away a very promising product, with a prestigious name. It is an irresistible formula. Now they have to build them at a lost. They are the victim of their own success. They pushed it outside the boundaries of the financial envelope. They fell into their own marketing trap.

    If the airplane was that good, and I think it was, they didn’t have to give them away. That was their mistake. If there was that much fuel and maintenance savings to be made by operating that aircraft, why did they have to add more savings upfront on the selling price? The answer might be that they were aiming to shoot Airbus down. But Boeing ended up shooting itself in the foot instead.

    They won’t repeat the same mistake on the 737MAX. Not only because they have learned their lessons on the 787, but also because they can no longer afford to loose money on each aircraft they deliver. So they will maximize the hype on hypothetical performances while at the same time trying to stay competitive on price with the A320NEO. For now they are outsold 2 to 1. But the simple fact that Airbus will no longer be able to offer acceptable delivery dates, the balance should be restored eventually. That’s the beauty of a duopoly.

    A third factor to take into consideration beside technical merit and selling price is customer psychology. Boeing’s image has been tarnished in the last few years and they will spare no effort to restore it to it’s pristine past. They will act like if they were still the undisputed number one, which they have not been for more than ten years. They will pretend to have better economics, like that 8% for example. They will also boast to have superior technology, like control column versus side stick. And some people will believe them.

    But instead of working only on the psychology of their customers they should also work on the psychology of their hard working employees. Put them first, even ahead of the customers. It will be to the benefit of the shareholders anyway, more so than putting the benefit of the shareholders first.

    Boeing is still a great company, with great people. Don’t waste that heritage and talent on hype. It’s time for Boeing to walk the talk.

  21. “It’s not politics, Keesje.”

    .. since when is aerospace not politics?! R&D, financing, trade balances, taxes, strategic interest. Probably one of the most political industries after (closely related) arms trade.

    Who do you think is the OEMs #1 customer, supporter, lawyer, sales agent, tax agent, financer, R&D agency, all in 1?

    I have seen fleetselection from close by, including specifications & network simulations. Still history is full of broken companies that thought good products sell themselves & public support is an unnecessary extra.. That’s why OEMs are spending so much on it in the first place. The industry is soaked with government support in many forms. The money comes from voters, who base they opinion largely on feelings.

    • CM, it is a loss cause trying to put some sense on certain people. If one take a close look, the comments are made by just a handful of people and the messages seldom change. If one also takes a look at the posting time (I do not know how accurate it is) it seems that those same posters are posting just about anytime of the day or night. Kind of makes you think if they do anything else really. But don’t try to find out, we will revert to the same topic as for every other post!!!

      • Ups, exposed.

        All us round the clock posters get wined and dined
        by Major Tom so there is no need to leave our vigilant post.

        ps and pssst: wanna buy? [[ opens coat to show US flags in all sizes and a range of “Easy handling R us” flagpoles ]]

  22. With due respect to all of of you who talked about a new wing and a larger fan
    size to get higher efficiency, but requiring a taller gear, I say PLEASE take into
    account that the enormous popularity of the A320NEO is based nothing nothing
    more than a simple engine change!

    If Boeing should now go to a new wing and or a taller gear to accommedate a
    larger-fan engine, it would put that “new” Boeing airplane at a severe disad-
    vantage v.v. the A320, because: 1) It would take too much time to develop, 2)
    cost much more than it cost Airbus to do the NEO and 3) just make that new
    Boeing airplane NON-COMPETATIVE with the NEO, during a period of max-
    imum popularity and thus demand, already already established for the NEO for
    this decade! Forget it Boeing, pls!

    • From the AirInsight article, “A 66 inch fan limited growth potential, we are told, while a 68 inch fan is more conducive to potentially growing the engine to a later size of 71 inches.”

      Is this 71″ engine eventually headed for a MAX or some other aircraft?

      • Well, the Boeing NSA is not dead, as I understand it. It could have an EIS as early as 2021 or 2022. Since we know nothing of the NSA, a 71″ fan LEAP engine is a possibility. A 71″ fan engine is just about 3″ smaller that the RB-211-535E4/E4B engine installed on most RR equipped B-757s. It is just about 2″ smaller than the original RB-211-535C on the early B-757s.

  23. What if the core runs at higher pressure ratio and if the core temperature is higher? Physics don’t lie.

    • Sure.
      Higher pressure and temp ( actually higher turbine inlet pressure and temp gives increased efficiency ( it is a carnot process so that is obvious ).
      Higher temp will require better ( currently exotic ) materials and/or result in higher MX cost ( i.e. a usefull lifetime reduction ) .
      CFM/GE planning seems to be to go a similar path to the GE90-115 ( high initial MX cost
      due to introduction of materials and processes that are not “fully ripe” ).
      I have no clue as to the portability of this strategy from a WB long range application with
      long stationary utilisation periods over to NB short range city hopping.

    • If it were that easy, why wouldn’t Airbus go for a 68″ engine on the NEO to reduce weight and further increase efficiency?

  24. “What if the core runs at higher pressure ratio and if the core temperature is higher? Physics don’t lie”

    Higher then what? Another CFM Leap?

    Rudy, I agree Boeing probably took the right decision with the MAX. Likely because anything else would have created serious marketshare damage, short term.

  25. flapjack :
    “keesje, yes, physics don’t lie, but humans have made tremendous errors in calculating physics. Recently, even Albert Einstien’s theory of the galatic ‘speed limt’ is the speed of light, has been challanged, and in one lab experiment, proven wrong.”
    Not true at all, the popular press doesn’t fact check. Einsteins theory does not rule out faster than light particles, it rules out crossing the light speed barrier ie accelerating past and through or decelerating from above to below it. It does not rule out particles being born with speeds above the speed of light – of course then we get into star trek territory but whatever – Einstein does not rule this out in fact he in fact specifically allows for the possibility of Tachyons, faster than light particles.
    But as usual the soundbite travels round the world with the added bonus in of attacking science without anybody actually being bothered to read up on what the theory that they claim to debunk.
    As usual the soundbite is a lie.

    Tachyons haven’t been shown yet to exist so Einstein’s law that nothing travels faster than light in a vacuum.

  26. KC135TopBoom :
    Well, the Boeing NSA is not dead, as I understand it. It could have an EIS as early as 2021 or 2022.

    If the MAX is as good as Boeing is leading us to believe, I doubt it’s having a 5-7year lifecycle(assuming EIS in 2015-2017). Despite what Boeing is saying, I don’t see a NSA until 2025 at the soonest. The only way the NSA will be built that soon after the MAX is if the latter is very inferior to the competition and Boeing decide to use the MAX to tide over their customers until they can get something better. A programme launch for the NSA in 2022 is more plausible.

  27. If the MAX is significantly less efficient then the NEO, Boeing is forced to continue developping the NSA.

    I think that is likely. The NEO’s bigger fans, GTF, sharklets, PIPs, cargo capability and other yet to surface low risk enhancements are hard to match by the MAX specifications.

    The MAX looks like a stop gap to me, the NSA teams probably have not been disbanded.

  28. keesje, MAX will very well be Boeing’s steping stone to the NSA. But you are also ignoring what the LEAP-1B engine, and the aerodynamic improvements to the B-737 are. To say Boeing cannot match the Airbus NEO 5 years before either makes its debut is just being biased towards Airbus. BTW, I think you also know I am biased towards Boeing.

    How much reduction in drag do you think the laminar flow vertical tail and redisigned APU tailcone will have? To me, it COULD be some 3%-5% which equils, or exceeds the 3% improvement the sharklets give. The GTF, I will admit is an advantage for the NEO. But to assume Airbus will benefit from PIPs to the airframe and LEAP-1A, without making the same assumptions Boeing and the LEAP-1B engine may get is not very logical.

    You forgot to mention the B-737MAX has a seat count advantage over the A-320NEO and A-319NEO. The A-321NEO has more seats than the B-737-9MAX.

    Don’t forget the weight advantage the B-737 enjoys over the A-32X, in all models.

    Have a good day, my friend.

    • Up front one has to decide what is objective observation and what can be reduced
      to being a biased oppinion. There certainly are various shades of grey to bias.

      Independent of CFMI’s good name grooming the last percents of sfc onto the LEAP
      will not be easy. ( And it has been noted that mature CMC materials are delayed
      2? years to 2018 )

      If the NSA is going to be a stepchange the MAX won’t provide much technological
      stepping stones on that path ( it just may provide financial stepping stones )
      Dreamliner might provide those , but I don’t think so. Imho more leads on how not to.

      If Boeing feels pressured to start an NSA early the needed progress may still be in
      infancy or juvenile “delinquency” mode i.e. not mature enough. Another Dreamliner foundation in the making. Unconquered overpromised tech for a slightly above average product.

      At the core is Boeing being too lazy to make a step change instead of doing the NG.
      Early profits in exchange for a product with a more limited lifetime

  29. Pingback: More on MAX: Aspire Aviation does long analysis « Leeham News and Comment

  30. My summery comments re. the 737MAX v.v. the A320NEO:
    1. It really does NOT matter anymore, what fan-diameter eng. either a/p
    has, because the MAX is significantly lighter and both have been re-
    engined with just about equally fuel-efficient engines.
    2. The 737 has a much larger customer base and in spite of the significant
    “head-start” Airbus has with the number A320NEO’s sold, they are sold
    out until after 2017, the date the 737MAX will start delivering in equal
    or larger numbers to existing and potentially new 737MAX customers!
    3.The dyes have thus been cast and I firmly believe that the 737MAX will
    eventually secure a just about even number of a/p’s sold in this cate-
    gory, by the time a new technology aircraft will be developed in the late
    2020’s, which will cause the 737 to be THE ALL TIME RECORD BREAK-
    ING AIRCRAFT in the present and future of commercial aviation history!

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