Odds and Ends: 777-9X will create new class of airplane

Boeing 777X: The 777-8X, said to be a replacement for the 777-200, is really sized closer to the 777-300 and the 777-9X is a new class of airplane. See this story for details.

A330neo: It’s a story that won’t die: talk of re-engining the A330. But does it make sense? AirInsight completed a short report in which economics of the A330, the A330neo, the A350, the 787 and the 777 are evaluated. The results indicate that while the A330neo will have a major gain in fuel performance, and in fact will be almost equal to the 787-8 with substantially more seats for revenue opportunities, it still falls short of the 787-9 and the A350.

The A330neo, suggested by AirAsia, would mimic the minimum-change A320neo and thus be different in scope than the original A350 proposal, which was a re-engined, new-wing, new system version of the A330 (much as the 777X will be compared with the 777). Airbus says it’s not interested in the A330neo “for now” but consultant Michel Merluzeau predicted at a conference organized by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance that Airbus will eventually proceed with the airplane.

But are the gains good enough to make sense to proceed with the project? The report is offered for sale for a modest $99.

WTO, Airbus and Boeing: It’s another story that won’t die (and do we wish it would): The US vs the EU on the illegal subsidies to Airbus. The US has stepped up its pressure to have the EU decide that the assertions by the EU that it has complied with the WTO findings are inadequate. The US wants to impose $7bn-$10bn in sanctions annually. The EU says the US is full of it.

MAX v NEO: Guy Norris at Aviation Week did his own analysis of the fluff Airbus and Boeing put out about the MAX and NEO fuel efficiency. Just goes to show you can’t believe either party. That’s why we like to rely on the analysis of the customer. Lufthansa has analyzed the MAX and NEO and told us last year (and again at ISTAT last month) it concludes there is only a two percent difference (in Boeing’s favor) between MAX and NEO, which LH said both times simply retains today’s status quo between the two OEMs. (This also throws cold water on Boeing’s claim that the NG is 8% more efficient than today’s A320.)

51 Comments on “Odds and Ends: 777-9X will create new class of airplane

  1. The B-777-9X will carry almost as many pax as a B-747-400? The B-777-9X carry 405 pax, compared to the B-747-400 carrying 416.


      • Yes, I have heard that. The RAF A-330MRTTs Voyagers cannot refuel the RAF Tornados. The Voyagers do not have a boom, it is probe and drogue refueling only. But the British Tornados can refuel from anyone elses tankers.

  2. I think 400-410 seats is a more realistic seatcount for the 747-8i. Most 3-4 class 747-400’s carry around 350. E.g. BA, JAL, ANA less.

    For 469 seats Boeing assumes 7 abreast business class seats at 50 inch, 60 inch pitch First and no bars areas etc at all. Which is very common, around 1994-5.

    A380 cabin area is about 478m2 and the 747-8i has about 370m2. LH 747-8i will have 386 seats, it’s A380s 526 seats. Seems consistent.

    Real world 777-9X seatcounts? I guess adding 3 rows/ 27 seats on top off of 777-300ER seatcounts, what fits in 9 ft extra cabin.

    • Just goes to show that the LH A-380-800s are the cattle cars of their fleet, while the B-747-830I is for their premium customers.

      No body knows yet how any airline will configuer their new B-777-8Xs and B-777-9Xs when they begin ordering them.

      • 1.10 pax/m2 in the A380 vs 1.05 pax/m2 in the 747/8i is not all that different, especially when you consider that the 747 upper deck is essentially narrow-body width for lower space efficiency.

      • 1.10 pax/m2 in the A380 vs 1.05 pax/m2 in the 747/8i would suggest that the reverse of your assertion about which of the aircrafts is the cattle car and which is the premium choice.
        But then again I am not using tinted glasses….

  3. “Just goes to show that the LH A-380-800s are the cattle cars of their fleet, while the B-747-830I is for their premium customers.”

    yeah, hell with reality 😉

  4. I think the NEO vs MAX discusiion will be interesting.

    The aircraft have the same engine, one has a 10 inch bigger fan (why?).

    The second engine option is said to be even better because of optimized rpm’s.

    Then it would be interesting to see whats left of the OEW advantages (rather small) after the MAX/NEO modifications.

    Then we have payload-range, noise, cargo capability, comfort differences, and the A321.

    I don’t believe in miracles and tend to agree with MoL, SuH, Aeroturbopower on this.

    The 737 MAX wins for Norwegian and AA where bloody ones, A got new footholds.

    The SW and Lionair orders were confirmed build on strategic discounts, goverment financing and unbeatable fleet commonality. Leasing companies are paying lip service only.

    Randy would rather eat his Iphone before admitting, but IMO the jury is still out on the MAX. Hope and commitments are not enough.

    • As you said, that is your opinion. IMO, I think you have it all wrong. Only time will tell which of us is right.

    • If LH predicts just 2% fuel burn difference, the discussion will continue unabated. Such a small difference is easily consumed by operational differences between airlines/airports.

    • Except it’s not the same engine. Same FAMILY of engine, but two different size cores as well as different fans. Unless you are taking the stance that CFM and Boeing are lying about the engine.

  5. If 2% fuel burn advantage is so insignificant, why is it that airlines make a big noise about the
    747-8 falling short of specs. I understand that the performance short fall on the 747-8 is 2.6%. But again any airline company will welcome a 2% fuel burn improvement on an existing aircraft. So we must just accept that the 737 Max is a better product.

    • I think that when you are comparing 2 different products, you can easily compensate this 2% with other things (better price, better maintenance deal etc).

      In the case that an aircraft that you ordered falls sort of this 2% they can eat it themselves of make a bit of noise for help that the manufacturer considers some compensations….

  6. Hello M. Hamilton
    Hello everybody ?

    2% better for what metrics ?
    fuel burn per trip ? per seat ?
    trip cost ?
    Which model ?


  7. I looked for the LH comments that the MAX has 2% better fuel efficiency. I can find nothing on internet. Maybe Leham can provide a link or ask LH to confirm. Otherwise its for the want to believes.

    My logic says that the NEO A320 will probably be lighter then the 737-8 max. The small OEW advantage of the 737NG will probably be more then compensated by the heavier modifications necessary for the MAX.

    – The NEO’s 10 inch bigger fan diameter on the same engine means 5% better sfc in my book.
    – The optimized rpm and 3 inch bigger fan diameter of the GTF could easily add a few percent better sfc to the NEO.
    – Then we have the NEO sharklets, 2% lower fuel consumption. Airbus says more.

    Earlier 737NG vs A320 comparisons I saw showed the 737 being more efficient on flights < 500 NM, and the A320 better on anything longer. http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/299408/

    Based on this I assume:

    The Airbus A320 NEO will burn 3-5% less fuel then the 737-8 MAX.

    • keesje, the MAX will still be lighter in weight than the NEO, even after the modifications. In the current A-32X-OEO and B-737NG, the closest any of the various models is about 2,000 lbs, in favor of the B-738 over the A-320. The gap is as wide as 9,000 lbs between the B-739ER and the A-321.

      • leehamnet :
        LH told us, twice, and we’ve previously reported it.

        As Poncho did before, I’d also like to ask for some clarification on this – by what metric did LH conclude that MAX wa 2% better? Per trip, per seat, per somethingelse?
        Also, what A320NEO engines were used for the comparison?
        Curious as well, then, than LH did order NEO over MAX (with P&W GTF).

    • Uhmm, ok. So we have that the actual A320 CFM engine fan at 68 inches is 7 inches more than the actual CFM engine fan (61 inches) on the 737NG. So, by your calculation, the A320 is 3.5% more fuel efficient than the 737NG, correct?

  8. SUH says 737 MAX will have a 4.5t (10,000lb) weight growth. Airbus says A320 NEO’s weight has grown 1.6- 1.8t (3,500lb to 4,000lb).

    Combine this with your OEW’s and the writing is on the wall.

    Re A321 vs Max -9; the A321 is way bigger and more capable then the 737-900ER, and heavier too.

  9. 2% doesn’t give you much on short range. LH has rather low average sector length with their single aisles. On long ranges, 2% makes a difference. On some occasions the ground handling cost are higher than the fuel cost. That’s the reason the link between fuel burn and cash operating cost (COC) is so weak at short ranges. When you pull a single aisles towards its design mission (~2000nm for B737-800 and A320) the difference becomes more important. But on longer ranges the B737-800 apparently has no meaningful advantage … always highly depending on cabin layout and engine (CFM versus V2500, the latter is better on SFC).

    • Somehow I think every dollar saved by an airline is meaningful. Even a TRANSCON flight between the A-320 and the B-737-800, if the B-737 costs $1 less in total operating costs for the mission, spead over a year, where an airline may have 5000 flights like that means another $5000 to the airline’s bopttom line.

      • an advantage easily lost due to:

        1) a go around required because the a/c minimum speed is too high to stay behind whatever is in front

        2) a slightly higher climb speed getting you above that adverse weather just a little sooner.

        3) pax appeal (galley, seat pitch, seat width, noise… looks)

        4) different baggage handling/compartment causing just a little more damage to bags

        and so many other things. The point is that the cost to fly an a/c is not the only important metric.
        Yes, all things being equal, a cheaper flight is better for the bottomline – but all things are not equal when looking at things as different as an A32x vs B737

  10. “A330neo: It’s a story that won’t die”
    It won’t because customers are asking for it, apparently. This will not happen however, even though I think it would have been a good idea. Airbus should have tuck with their A330neo for the 2010 EIS. It would have been a great offering and allowed Airbus to concentrate on the A359XWB and A3510XWB. That boat had sailed away now.

    Boeing 777X – I am really looking forward to seeing this concept, the -9X spells an end to the 748i.

    leehamnet :LH told us, twice, and we’ve previously reported it.

    But this was mission specific presumably, which will vary for other airlines. Overall this pretty much puts the NEO and MAX on eaqual footing, to the displeasure of some, I guess. Time will tell.

    • The original A-350 Mk. I was the A-330NEO. Most airlines, that eventually ordered the A-350 didn’t want it.

      BTW, it doesn’t seem to many like the A-3510 concept, either. Only about 70 of them have been ordered.

      The B-777-X9 is not the end of the B-747-8I, as it has about 65 fewer seats.

      • ‘Most airlines, that eventually ordered the A-350 didn’t want it.’
        Quite clearly the concept would have worked. Having sold ~700 A330 copies since the 787 launch it would have been a strong product in the current market. Only a year ago nobody wanted the neo…

        ‘BTW, it doesn’t seem to many like the A-3510 concept’
        We’ll see about that.

        ‘The B-777-X9 is not the end of the B-747-8I’
        And that as well. Even without the -9X, 748I is not getting anywhere.

      • KC135TopBoom :
        The original A-350 Mk. I was the A-330NEO. Most airlines, that eventually ordered the A-350 didn’t want it.

        The A350Mk1 was quite a bit more than the A330NEO would be (and more expensive, too) – it did include new wings and a few other things (a scope more in line with what Boeing is planning for the 777X, as it happens), while A330NEO would be just that – the A330 with new engines and possibly sharklets, as Airbus likes to call them.
        As UKair already pointed out, Airbus sold over 700 A330 since the launch of the 787, so I would be pretty sure that an A330NEO would find its market as well and be pretty competitive against the 787-8 and A350-800. The one part of that Airbus will like – the second part (cannibalising its own new offering) not so much.

        KC135TopBoom :
        The B-777-X9 is not the end of the B-747-8I, as it has about 65 fewer seats.

        62, according to the link further up. In any case, it would further narrow the gap between the 777 family and the 747. Even the 100-seat difference between the 777-300ER and the 747-8i today has so far not left much breathing space for the 747-8i between the 777 and the A380. The 777-9X would likely narrow that niche even further. Capacity is going to be slightly lower – but operating costs are presumably much lower than the 747-8’s. There would be about 120 seats between the 777-9X and the A380. I believe there are not going to be too many airlines for whom filling this gap in the high capacity market is worth introducing a new type for.

      • The original A350Mk1 wasn’t the A330NEO. In concept it was more like an A330X, i.e. similar to what Boeing is planning to do with the 777X.
        Also – the 777-X9 wouldn’t be the end of the 747-8i, but it would further narrow its niche. Today, there about 100 seats between the 773ER and the 747-8i, and another 60 up to the A380, and you can see that already, very few airlines believe that the 160 seat gap between the 773ER and the A380 are worth adding an additional type. If that gap is reduced to just 100 between the 77X9 and the A380, I believe even fewer airlines will see a compelling reason for the 747-8i.

        • The original A-350 was dubed the A-330-200Lite (announced at the FAS in 2004), the A-350 Mk.I, then came the reengined version, The A-350 Mk.II, then a rewinged and reengined version using the GEnx-1A engine (no bleed air) with 50 ordered from QR (I believe) at the 2005 PAS, the A-350 Mk.III. Then in late 2005 came the Mk. IV version, but it still withg the A-330 fuselarge, the Mk. V version was the first with the wider body, and finally the Mk. VI, the current version with the wider body built from Al-Li and dubed the “XWB”, even though it is still narrower than the B-777s it is to replace.

    • maybe the A330neo should/could be read as A330reo (re-engined).

      Such a large fleet featuring such high utilization could warrant an mid-life update. Certainly if the new engine tech’s deliver on their promises.
      That would of course also hold true for 777 and others.

  11. I still believe that 2% fuel burn advantage of the MAX over the NEO is still significant, it it was not, why would airbus add shaklets to the A320 to obtain a 2.4% better fuel consumption.
    2% matter whether it is on a 747-8 or an 738 or an ATR. As far as the weight of A320 family vs 737 is concerned, it’s a well documented fact that the A320s are heavier that the 737 (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2012/04/02/AW_04_02_2012_p28-441719.xml&channel=comm). Until the neo enters service and the 15% fuel burn gain is confirmed by in independent body, I still have my doubts about airbus claim.

    • After you bought a platform, improving it is very valuable.
      before you buy, considerations other than fuel burn should be considered.

  12. At this moment I think its likely

    * The Airbus A320 NEO will burn 3-5% less fuel then the 737-8 MAX *

    and I actually know why I think this also 😉

    – bigger fan / more efficient engines (5%)
    – lower OEW (2000-5000 lbs)
    – sharklets (2-3%)
    – GTF technology (x %)

    I think this is one of the reasons the airlines and leasing companies are hold back on signing up for the 737 MAX, unless they get <$40 million/ship "can't refuse" proposals such as Lionair, Norwegian, SW and AA.

    Boeing has been very quiet on the 737 MAX development lately, apart from saying it's the best. I suspect they might be reconsidering more dramatic modifications after the so so responds from the industry sofar. Similar to Airbus after the initial A350. They have options:

    – #1 bite the bullet and make sure a bigger, quieter, efficient fan possible (dramatic wing / center box mod)
    – bite the bullet and get rid of the 1954 cockpit, reducing noise and drag, facilitating a longer nose gear and modern avionics.
    – bite the bullet and size up a new wingbox / wing for a real A321+ competitor, skipping the 737-7.


    Sounds dramatic but remember only a yr ago Boeing was saying a 737 re-engining was a bad idea. Shortly after AA they said a simple re-engine would do. Then they came up with a new tailcone & fly by wire. Rumours go around about a GTF.

    Boeing of course knows exactly were they stand. Marketing smartly changed the baseline for their A320 comparisons stating in hindsight the NG was 7% more efficient then the A320 all along.
    Smart, but airline specialists don't eat it, they are not a receptive, forgiving, supportive audience.

    • Well, keesje, you have never been known to keep your opinions to yourself. But your track record is always towards Airbus products and away from Boeing products. All I can say is at least you are consistant.

      How do you know the A-320NEO series will have an OEW some 2000-5000 lower than the competing B-737MAX models? This opinion goes against those who are in the know about both airplanes.

      It think it is a great leap to think the LEAP-1A engine will be 5% more efficent than the LEAP-1B engine when CFMI has said they will be comparable in SFC.

      I’ll give you the sharklet reduction in drag. Even Airbus says they will improve fuel burn by some 2.4%.

      BTW, even the airlines were saying the B-737NG was up to 7%-8% more fuel efficent than the A-320OEO on like missions. It was not just Boeing. But there are not many exactly comparable missions between the two models. Perhaps they best known was the B-6 A-320 US East Coast to US West Coast (TRANSCON) always having to make a tech stop in PHX during the winter months, where DL or AA B-737-800s flying between the same two airports (BOS-SFO or JFK-LAX, etc.) during winter and able to fly non-stop.

      BTW, I am partial towards that 1954 nose design, I really like it. It does date back to the B-367-80, KC-135, B-707/-720, B-727, as well as the B-737. I am sorry Boeing decided a few years ago to eliminate the ‘eye-brow’ windows. They always added a unique look to these famous Boeings

    • Keesje, you predict a combined total of >7% advantages, but only claim <6%

      where do you see the NEO loosing some of your predicted engine/sharklet savings?

  13. I base my OEW estimation on OEW for the current models and what is being communicated on the mods by SUH and Airbus.

    The only party I have been hearing saying the MAX will be more efficient is Boeing. And part of the analysts that take Boeing PR as credible information to base upon their analyses.

    I think I substantiated and backed up my opinion above. I can’t say I have discovered numbers contradicting them sofar. It seems much is based on someone said something I like, I take that as a starting point & who am I to ask questions / look at the numbers..

    I think we could be up for some more “surprises” on Boeing NB strategy.

    • Well, I agree the B-737MAX numbers are only coming from Boeing. No one else has any numbers for the MAX, except Boeing. Those numbers may change as we get closer to design freeze. But there is no logical reason to doubt the numbers put out by Boeing, as anything else is just a guess.

      So, you may have the NEO weights, but without the weights of the MAX, you cannot say the NEO is going to be 2000-5000 lbs lighter in OEW, unless it is only your opinion.

      I do hope you are right about getting more surprises from Boeing on their NBs.

      A pleasent surprise just recently surfaced from CX and others about the new B-747-8F actually being 2%-3% more efficent than Boeing promised. Just 6 months ago all the pro-Airbus folks were saying the opposite, that the B-747-8F missed its marks and is 2%-3% less efficent than promised. The freight airlines are saying the B-747-8F has a double diget better SFC than their B-747-400Fs, and is carrying the 16% more cargo promised, and is flying longer ranges than spec’ed.

      You have been may have read it on a.net. But you have been surprisingly quite about it there.

      • Reading comprehension Mr. TopBoom.

        What Randy said was “better than predictions” and not “better than spec as sold” i.e. the shortfalls are slightly less than what was talked about during the initial delivery bruhaha.
        ( and note that Randy is not so brash as to mention any absolute numbers 😉

  14. Regarding “Boeing WTO Airbus” and US pressures, I reiterate once again: this conflict will never be resolved at the WTO by lawyers.
    Airline companies never buy aircraft by asking how much subsidized they are. They order along how the aircraft performs, in the air, but also on the ground (including maintenance), and over a long time scale (product life).
    Thus, the real competition is taking place at the drawing board (or more modern at the CAD CAM workstation). All those expenses for WTO lawyers are wasted and lost money.

    • That is correct, but:

      The image the US WTO litigation tries to push is
      “a subpar european product pushed into the market by subsidies”.
      “Boeing was outsubsidized and not outclassed”.

  15. Boeing will have to consider about undercarriage on future 737 to match airbus 320 family for a room on engines

    • I thiunk they might be doing that. But Airbus will have to consider adding a frame or two to the A-320NEO to match the seating capacity of the B-737-8MAX.

  16. Dont think airbus would consider adding a frame on A320NEO as they already got A321 which selling well could have shrink easy .

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