Odds and Ends: A320 v 737 debate continues; Embraer on its future planes; ATR’s life story

A320 v 737 Debate: This continues over at AeroTurboPower, where an analysis of fuel burn cost per seat has been undertaken.

Embraer reiterates futures plans: No plane in the 130-160 market segment. EMB will continue to concentrate on its 70-125 seat market.

ATR 1000: This is a very clever video by ATR celebrating its 1000th ATR turbo-prop.

35 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A320 v 737 debate continues; Embraer on its future planes; ATR’s life story

  1. The ATR video is indeed fresh, I like 😉
    1000 units, that’s quiet an achievement isn’t it?

  2. A320 v 737 Debate

    “This little analysis shows how unimportant a few percentage of fuel burn are even in a high fuel cost environment. The higher capacity of the B737-800 can result in more revenue and profit when you are able to fill the additional seats. If your load factor is in the 80% range with a A320, you are probably better off with the slightly smaller aircraft.” This exert would be a good summary of the article.


    It must have been a painful decision for Embraer. They stole the show from Bombardier with the E-Jet. Now it looks like the neo and MAX have killed their business case for a 130-160 seater. But like the NSA for Boeing, they will have to do it some time in the future if they want to remain a major player.


    Fun to watch video. ATR is a good example of a successful industrial cooperation with more than 1000 aircraft sold in a relatively short period of time. It appears that Bombardier has the same problem with ATR and the Embraer E-Jet: cabin width. I think BBD understood that by the time they designed the CSeries fuselage, which is only 3″ smaller that the 737 fuselage but sits five abreast instead of six in order to offer a more pleasurable passenger experience.

  3. I have to say the corporate EADS ATR video is fairly representative of EAD’S cross company work & communication ethic.

    Despite size & individual country enthusiasm everybody talks, cross project problems are often shared & resolved, importantly clearly defined rules exist for both cross company & third party suppliers thereby effectively eliminating the constant need of dodging the knives & looking over ones shoulder.

  4. If lease rates are 4 million per year, but fuel is 8 or 10 million per year, fuel looks like an important factor.

    • TCook, I did not say that fuel is not an important factor – in thsi case it is about 40% of the COC – but leasing rates are (with Scotts data) 26% for the A320, but 29% for the B737-800. And these 3% difference can define which aircraft is cheaper to operate – a 1% difference in fuel burn means 0.4% difference in COC, so you would need a 7.5% difference in fuel burn to make up the 3% COC difference in leasing costs.

  5. Lets not fixate at the mentioned lease rates and draw far reaching conclusion based on apparently extremely soft assumptions. The discounts Boeing gave recently will impact new lease rates too.

    “There are just as many different leases as there are bonds, leases that last for 3 years, 6 years, or twelve years. Leases that pay, or don’t pay maintenance reserves. Leases that are fixed on signing, or adjust between signing and delivery for OEM escalation and swap rates. Leases that have early termination, or fixed price extension options. Leases that adjust for 6 month LIBOR every 6 month, or not. Leases that require lessor participation in certain maintenance, or BFE expense, or not. Leases that have an investment grade airline as counterparty, or a third tier airline in a third tier emerging market, etc, etc.”


    Fuel is very important at this moment and it seem to me the bigger fan (+5%) / GTF (+2-3%) and Sharklets (+2%) will enhance sfc significantly over the announced 737 MAX enhancements. How much? Depends on versions, engines but 5-10% seems a realistic assumption. Over 20 yrs that is a lot.

    • The leasers actually take away the profits the airlines could well need.
      Compare to the banks in ground hog life.
      Boeings (successfull ) efforts towards higher appraising values
      advantage the leasers only in this ecology.

    • Oil price is around $85 USD right now. It is still relatively low. It could remain low for some time because the world economy is slowing down; mainly because of the European crisis and the slow economic recovery in the US.

      Eventually, and inevitably, oil prices will go up. Somewhere above $100 there is an inflection point. I don’t know exactly where that point is, but I would say it is near $150. When we will reach that point the airlines will scramble for fuel efficient aircraft like the neo, MAX and CSeries.

      Fuel efficiency evolves slowly, but steadily, with refined engine technology, lighter aircraft materials and advanced aerodynamics. But the price of oil is unpredictable and can fluctuate widely and abruptly. It is better for an airline to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Just like the owner of a house has to be prepared for sharp increases in interest rates.

  6. I have to say I am a bit uncomfortable with aeroturbopowers ‘calibrated’ fuel burn data. Seems strange not to identify the source for this when he identifies sources for mainenance, crew and lease costs. Seems even stranger not to mention the actual figures used.

  7. Curiosity: does the capacity to use LD3 containers bring a significant gain of productivity for some customers? I never see this taken into account in the various operational costs projections made here and there. Does it only matter for a small part of the customer base?

  8. The 737 vs 320 debate has been raging on for a very long time. Seems to me that in about 90% of the applications, it’s a wash…they are basically equal in costs. There is no huge winner. Things like financing terms, fleet commonality, and the just the preferences of sr. management are bigger factors in whether an airline chooses the 737 or 320.

    • Market share going fowrad seems to point to Airbus taking the lead. the NEO seems to have an edge over max. I think the 737s age is starting to show more as time goes by.

  9. A painful decision for Embraer ? Oh yes ! It’s terrific for their leadership ! In fact, what is the future for Embraer with 150$ for the oil price ? Otherwise, what is the best response for Bombardier with this new situation ? CRJ revamp with Passport from GE or a new one like CS75 ? It’s a new field with many interrogations, now…

    • keesje had a very bright idea about Embraer and Boeing going for that 130-160 seat market together. Now it wont be done yet, but looking forward A+B are facing more competition from below, they need to cover a bigger range of market as 767/A330 gets replaced or EOLed. They idealy have to cover 150-230 seats with NBs, that will be very very hard to do in the same airframe. But if A+B seek out a partner they can do both 100-160 and 160-230. Embraer and Bombardier would fit well in this environment. Russia and China are stepping up to the plate.

      New airframe projects get more and more complex and expensive, this will certainly lead to more cooperation. I can even imagine Airbus and Boeing cooperate on the next gen VLA aircraft or a BWB freighter/passenger aircraft. Old rivals choosing to be partners, the common enemy being the financial dragon.

    • Oops, didn’t follow the news. Contrary to Boeing, Embraer seems to go for an all new wing/wingbox/LG to benefit from new engine technology. They also say they might leave out the shorter E170-175. Not illogical, looking at the sales domination of the E190.


      They say they want to offer 3 versions, with IMO could mean a further stretch of the E195, entering direct competition with the shorter versions of the 5 abreast RJs such as CS100, Superjet and ARJ.. and nailing A318, 736..

    • With the present wing configuration they don’t need to have an over-wing escape slide. But with a higher wing they would, because it would be above the regulatory maximum height.

  10. The MS-21 seems to hit A+B right in the face capacity wise? Almost identical to 737 capacity?

  11. aeroturbopower’s analysis shows quite well that actual COC for a specific airline can deviate strongly according to the actual circumstances. And a fuel burn difference of 3% is not relevant any more. Generally, the larger the fleet the more relevant becomes a tiny fuel burn advantage.

  12. ATR has sure done a great job on their program. The last few years have been very kind to them, and harsh as all get out for Bombardier. The Q400 is on its last legs. It has taken a paltry few orders, and been clobbered by the ATRs in the market. It’s clear that the Q400 needs and upgrade. ATR has been working on updating their products, but Bombardier has let the Qs get stale. Now with ATR talking about a 90 to 100 seater, that ought to be interesting. Of course, ATR needs Airbus to go along with the idea, which they seem reluctant to do. It’s rather sad that ATR has Bombardier punch drunk and woozy, but Airbus is holding back ATR from making the knock out punch. Of course, should BBD go down who would fill their shoes? The markets, so it’s claimed, don’t want monopolies, but if nobody orders the Q400s that’s what there will be in the Turboprop market. Unless someone in the West starts to want to buy Chinese MA600s, which I don’t see happening.

    • The slow sales of the Q400 vs the ATR has more to do with business than with the products themselves. The ATR cabin is slightly larger and has been upgraded recently. Since the ATR has been revamped a considerable effort was put into its marketing.

      In the meantime the Q400 remains a faster airplane with more range. But unfortunately the BBD sales department has been concentrating its efforts on the North American market and has until recently neglected developing markets around the world. But all this is about to change. You can have the best airplane in the world, but you still need people to sell it. Especially if you are facing a competent and aggressive competitor like ATR.

      Bombardier is contemplating a stretched version of the Q400 and I am convinced that ATR will follow suit. We have duopolies in the Narrow Body, Regional Jet and Turboprop markets, and this situation is not going to change overnight. Bombardier was number one in the RJ market until Embraer came in with the E-Jet. But BBD still remains an important player in that segment. In this case what made the difference was the product. But the recent success of the ATR is more circumstantial.

  13. At 190 seats in 10 years time, who will have the best aircraft of the 4? I have a feeling the 739er will be left behind, its the model I pick on most I know.

    • In 10 years time, we may have some new players in the 190-220 seat market. The B-737-9MAX will have replaced the B-737-900ER and the A-321NEO would have replaced the A-321. Boeing may even have its NSA/B-757 replacement in flight testing, possibly (although I doubt it) in airline service. Airbus would be closer to their NSA also.

      I think the B-737-9MAX and A-321NEO will begin pushing the B-737-8MAX and A-320NEO out of the market, just as those two airplanes are beginning to push the B-737-700/MAX and A-319/NEO out of the markets now. Anything below the 150 seat market will be going to the C-Series and E-Jets. The 150-190 seat market will begin to shrink.

        • keesje, you have been pushing your A-320.5/Plus now for years. Why hasn’t Airbus, or at least John Laehy called you? Airbus isn’t interested in streching the A-320, even just a few frames, as that will cut into the A-321 sales, which they keep saying is a B-757 replacement (it is far from that). The airlines have not identified the 180/185 seat market as an airplane they need. They have the B-738/A-320 that can squeeze in up to 180 seats, and the B-739ER/A-321 seating above that, so they really don’t need a dedicated 180 seat speical design airplane. FR has their 295 B-738s set up as cattle cars with 189 seats (I’m not flying on that), for their cattle car airline.

  14. Do we have any estimates of the MS21-400? Compared to A321neo and 737-9MAX?
    It is bigger, has more thrust, but its range lacks compared to say the 752. It might be a serious contender, first flight now pushed back into 2015. I have a suspicion that it will be a step above the 737-9MAX on most charts, including economics. GTF engines..

  15. KC135, I told John & Randy

    to do the NEO 6 yrs ago, http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/2724857,

    and Boeing better watch out for it, 6 yrs ago

    Boeing to stretch the 777- 200 and 300 2 yrs ago, http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/257954/1/#120

    Boeing the 787-3 is a bad idea 5 yrs ago http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/3496727/

    and Boeing the 737NG idid cut it 2 yrs ago

    A&B would re-engine 6 yrs ago

    Boeing better stretch the 747 Advanced a bit

    The 787 planning looked risky, 8 yrs ago

    usually folks jump all over mew asking prove, who am I to challenge what the big boys say. sometimes I’m wrong sometimes right. I’ll keep using my own eyes and brains anyway. Being docile & following orders leads to to many surprises & adjustments of opinions for me.

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