EADS reported its first quarter earnings and in the process reiterated plans to fly the Airbus A350 in June.
Speculation remains rampant that Airbus will fly the airplane in time for the Paris Air Show.
Meantime, sales for the giant A380 languish, with open delivery slots in 2015–the year Airbus has said the program will break even. Like the rival Boeing 747-8I, sales of the Very Large Aircraft have stagnated while sales of the Big Twin engined airplanes have flourished. Airbus, like Boeing on the 747-8, took a huge write off years ago on the A380 program.
Airbus is sticking with its 20 year forecast of 1,300 VLA Passenger sales for Airbus and Boeing, and officially expects to capture 50% of the market. We’ve believed the forecast to be, kindly, optimistic. But the A380 has nearly 90% of the VLAP market and we expect this to remain the case. Airbus might reach its goal of 650 sales over 20 years, but even this is likely to be generous. This are new sales on top of the 272 already sold.
In a lawsuit between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney a few years back, it was revealed Airbus expected 630-650 program sales, which means about 42% of the sales have already been reached. (It took Boeing nearly 40 years to reach 1,300 747 sales, and for a time the 747 held a monopoly in the “jumbo jet” market). No orders for the A380 have been booked so far this year.
With the A351-XWB and B77X coming up in a few years, it will only put more pressure on the A380 program. The A380 program has financial skin hole from the start and will continue to do so for years on end.
Also, isn’t the RLA from the A380 program due soon?
The B748i is basically a finished product as well. Maybe once the freighter industry improves it will have some B748F sales.
Good to see the A350XWB project moving along. I wonder if there will be “unknown-unknowns” with the program.
The 747-8I was supposed to put pressure on the A380. Now, 4-5 billion dollars later, the 747-8I didn’t much succeed in doing that, did it? AFAIR, Boeing did forecast initially that only one third of all dash-8 sales would be freighters.
The 777-9X is not due until the end of the decade, or early in the next one. The A350-1000 should have a slightly better fuel burn per seat than the A388 (i.e. in a like-for-like comparison), but CASM should be about the same. Considering the fact that the A350-1000 will EIS a decade after the A388 (i.e. older engine technology etc.), that the A350-1000 is a structurally efficient stretch aircraft and that the A388 can be viewed as the “A318-version” of the A380 (i.e. structurally inefficient), it’s really not a “surprise” that the A350-1000 and a 777-9X should about equal the current A388 in CASM. The question is IMO, what will the future derivatives of the A380 look like, and when will they arrive. Now, I would not be surprised if Emirates ordered at least another half hundred of the current version.
By 2025, technology should be ready for an A380 twin, same length and capacity as that of the current A388; 450 metric tonnes MTOW; composite wing with a 80 meter span and a wing-area of between 700m2 and 750m2; two 130,000 lb thrust engines with a contra-rotating fan mounted on a three spool engine with the IP spool contra-rotating to the HP and LP spools, and a reduction gearbox fitted between the second fan and the IP compressor.
In the mean time the A388 could be re-engined with the Trent-XWB engine for EIS around the same time as that of the A350-1000. Also, the current wing of the A388 could be enlarged in the future with a 3-4 frame spanwise insert a la the wing of the A340-600; two 7.5m folding wing tips and a span of 95m. Having engines 20 percent more efficient than the current Trent-900 and the GP7200, such an A380 derivative with a total length of around 100m would certainly have an exceptionally competitive CASM
Quote: “Also, isn’t the RLA from the A380 program due soon”?
Comparisons of the B747 to the A380 are always difficult: initial B747 were bought primarily for range, not capacity. Like the A380, the most dangerous competition wasn’t the other VLA but the smaller aircraft using similar technology (in case of the B747 the DC10 and L1011). The B747-400 was bought for capacity. It sold 461 copies of the passenger version between 1988 and 2005. After launch of the A340-600 and B777-300ER (which both had better cost at comparable capacity) in 2000ish only 35 of those 461 has been delivered.
The B747-400 hence sold 424 units in 13 years, or roughly 33 units a year.
The biggest threat to the A380 is the B777X.
The fact that VLAs are quite bad in making money for the stock holders is well established, and actually quite irrelevant if you are no stockholder. From that perspective, anything else than modified B737 is bad and should be discontinued immediately.
I think Airbus estimate is optimistic as well. The fact that the market is smaller than expected has one serious advantage: no able-minded company will ever again develop an VLA, and Boeing will probably discontinue the B747-8 before 2020. As the A380 is pretty much the “ultimum” you can get in terms of subsonic aircraft design, it will probably sell a slow but constant pace.
“The biggest threat to the A380 is the B777X.”
How can an aircraft with a floor area of 345m2 be a “threat” to an aircraft with a floor area of 545m2? Even if the -9X will equal the A388 in CASM, it can’t replace the A388 at slot constrained airports. For example, Emirates currently operates 5 daily A388s to LHR. Could the 777-9X replace the A388 on that route. Of course not. And yet we are talking about a smaller and older aircraft (777-9X) that will use an engine with upwards of 10 percent better TSFC than the engines on the bigger and newer aircraft, and where some people seem to assume that nothing will happen technology-wise to the latter one. That sounds like a fairytale to me.
Very interesting article in the Economist a couple of months ago on the options to deal with Heathrow congestion. They include 3rd runway at Gatwick, and an all new airport east, or their preferred option of moving it west with 4 runways.
Tough to build a case for a whole airplane program on a handful of city pairs. There are already enough A380’s built to handle constrained airprt demand. The trick to making money on a larger airplane is keeping it full. Smaller planes offer much more flexibility, lower trip costs, and ability to shift aircraft onto other routes or park one of them in serious downturns.
In reference to #3, the -400 increased range by 1000 miles over the -300 and a 2 person cockpit reducing costs.
“And yet we are talking about a smaller and older aircraft (777-9X) that will use an engine with upwards of 10 percent better TSFC than the engines on the bigger and newer aircraft, …”
In what way is the 777-9X older than the A388?
Also, the A388 can be updated with new technology but the market is going to first have to support the investment, which I believe is the main focus of this blog post.
The reimbursable launch aid (RLA) is – as far as I know – payable as premium on each aircraft sold. EADS sits on a pile of cash currently, so it shouldn’t be a threat to them.
That’s my understanding too. The previous arrangement stoppped payments after the loan amount had been paid back. This was regarded as being a one-way bet. Goverments now see the upside on a successful project to balance against any loss on an unsuccessful project. Obviously Airbus expected the A380 to be a success at the time, but diversification of risk is an important thing to them: more than saving a few points on the interest rate. These aren’t commercial loans, however. You get those from a bank.
Although the A380 was always a risky project in terms of getting a return on investment, I think they would have done OK if they hadn’t messed up the execution. The difference, in my view, with the 787 is that the A380 failed due to dumb mistakes, while the 787 always promised to be messy. The 787 was an ambitious program, developed on an accelerated schedule by people who had mostly never done this kind of work before .
I don’t think Boeing took a huge write off years ago on the 380 program…
Response: Boeing took a write off on the 747-8 program.
I expect the A-380 sales to top out around 350-400, or so. As is the case today, most sales will go to ME based airlines. The relatively few airplanes sold in Europe, Asia, and Australia won’t be adding more than a few more to those sales, maybe another 35-40 airplanes. The airplane is becoming known as a Middle East airplane, as the ME airlines tend to use it as their flagship airplane, even though the B-77W is doing a lot of the long range flying.
Yes, the B-777-9X will be the death nail for both VLAs. All Airbus has to compete with it (currently) is the A-3510. But, in reality the A-3510 is to small to compete with the B-777-9X, which will become the “top of the market” at about 400 seats. It seems few passengers want to sit in an airplane for 15-18 hours with 450-550 other passengers. About 400 seats will become the maximum size ‘sweet spot’ and it seems Boeing is shooting for it.
“Yes, the B-777-9X will be the death nail for both VLAs”
I’m sorry, but it won’t.
Now, the 747-8I is seemingly already on life-support though, and that’s before the 777-9X has even been officially launched.
“It seems few passengers want to sit in an airplane for 15-18 hours with 450-550 other passengers.”
Flying in economy, I would much rather sit in an A380 on a 15 hour flight than on a 777 configured at 10 across in Y.
“About 400 seats will become the maximum size ‘sweet spot’ and it seems Boeing is shooting for it.”
Is that Because Boeing says so?
Or is it perhaps due to the fact that come 2017, they won’t have a competitive product in the A350-900 to A350-100 size range.
I don’t think most pax have any clue about whether there are 300, 400 or 500 other pax on the same aircraft. Beyond price, cabin comfort (especially seat width, pitch) will be the top factor for customer satisfaction. After that, the A380 might get some bonus points over the large twins for easier boarding, thanks to the two levels.
It’s funny how the same people that about eight years ago said that even a major revamp of a (pretty efficient) existing type C would never ever be competitive with a new programme H now are absolutely convinced that not only can a major revamp of a (pretty efficient) existing type I be very competitive with a new programme E, but on top of that beat a second (larger) programme that was launched much later than the basis of type I was.
As for reality, I don’t think the 747-8i even still needs a death nail. The A380 still has ~200m² more floor area than the 777-9X does. It probably won’t sell in the same numbers as the 777X, but then again, nobody really expected it to sell in the same numbers as the A330, A350, 777, 787 do/did to begin with.
In any case, I think total sales of the A380-800 will top out well above 400, and I do think that ~1000 VLAs over the next 20 years is quite realistic. Don’t forget that we’re still in a bit of an economic slump at the moment, and that frequency over capacity will only take you so far from some airports.
Scott’s comparison of A380 sales with how long it took Boeing to reach 1000+ sales with the 747 isn’t really saying much, either – look at how long it took the 767 to reach 800 sales, and then look at how long it took the 787 to reach the same number.
Right. Because sitting on the lower A380 deck with ~250-300 other passengers is so much worse than sitting on the 777-300ER’s or 777-9X’s single deck with 350+ other passengers…
From my own experience, it really, really, isn’t, and I definitely prefer Y class on the A380 over Y class on the 777 (200 or 300, I don’t care) any given day.
“Yes, the B-777-9X will be the death nail”
I don’t think that this X upgrade as 777 life extension wil be the death knell for the A380. Though I think you are correct in attributing ~400..500 sales to the A38-800.
My guess is the A380-900 and other variants will sell more than that.
Remember : Boeing started making actual money from the 747 line in the mid to late 90ties.
The comparisons pandered are A350 @ 2014 snapshot against a 777 @ 2022 snapshot. 8 years onwards usually is linked to 4%sfc improvements.
Yes, but the A380 won’t solve the problem that LHR is too small for London, and I understand it was an example. I just read the article and thought of our previous discussion.
One thing that is great for the Gulf carriers is that they have beautiful airports that don’t have the problems you mention, so their only problem is getting into cities with limited airports. There is no question about “rather big” aircraft; the debate is whether to buy two A380’s or three A350/777’s. The later is much better at building frequency. I would suspect that their fleets will be dominated by the large twins, even when measuring by seats, with a rather small number of A380’s flying into the very large, congested airports.
Also, if you are trying to reduce slot congestion, which is better: replacing 150 seaters with 200-300 seat planes or 300-400 seat planes with 600 seat planes?
Sorry – my post #16 should have been after OV-99’s #19.
Fact check on 747 making money: the peak sales periods were from 1977-1980: 239 were sold; 1985-1990: 419 were sold. From 1991-2001 only 288 were sold. Given the lack of competition during those periods I would suspect the margins were also pretty good.
“Remember : Boeing started making actual money from the 747 line in the mid to late 90ties.”
You are probably a decade late. As far as I’ve read, it was more like the late 80’s, although Boeing has historically been coy with that sort of info.
747 project break even:
Well, potentially it could have been either before outlay for the -400 started or a couple of years into -400 production to recoup that outlay. so late eighties would not work, early eighties is too early thus and imho I would go for mid/late nineties.
Anyway my point was that B had gone through 3 ( 5 SP,F ) subtypes to get there
in a timeframe of absolute market dominance for that product sector.
The A350 seems to be popular at the moment: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-14/airbus-said-to-discuss-a350-order-from-largest-japanese-airlines.html
Quite surprised that the Bloomberg article says negotiations are actually in “advanced” stages with JAL concerning an A350 order, thought it was mere speculation that wouldn’t yield anything tbh considering how much of a stronghold Boeing has there. Even more surprising is ANA, though the article only mentions them in passing so there’s probably nothing serious happening there.
That 4 runway proposal west of Heathrow won’t fly.
And again, LHR was just an example. Constrained airports is just part of the picture.
Air Traffic Growth Overwhelms Asia’s Airports
During the last decade, A380-bashers have regurgitated ad nasueum that “smaller planes” is better than bigger ones. In fact, that’s a pretty US-centric view of the world. With the advent of the Gulf carriers – particularly Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar — and now even Turkish Airlines, all strategically located in a world where most of the the growth is occuring outside the OECD countries, then new modus operandi for these airlines, that used to be nobodies, have been to order rather big aircraft by the hundreds, and starting operations by building frequency, then capacity.
Asia’s Airports already have plans in the works for new airports and significant expansion at existing airports. Many of the countries are bringing online alternative airports with significant carriers already committed to moving. Others are bring on new runways.
Relying on airport congestion to keep up the sales rate of the 380 is going to be a losing proposition, as it relying on current large operators to re-double their orders when they find out there isn’t much of a secondary market. The operators who can realistically operate and make money off the 380, have already bought the 380. Dropping 400 million for a new 380 + writing off in the rage of 100-150 million to get rid of a 12-15 year old frame will turn out to be a bad financial deal.
The only reason it would make any type of sense to replace an existing 380 with another is if he new 380 was significantly upgraded which means Airbus would have to be able to justify the upgrade. Given the current market performance this will be rather difficult. And a FTB doesn’t really do much, the number of different engines that have been on a 747 FTB but not on a commercial 747 can attest to that.
The days of 4 engine planes are numbered.
400 million? You’ve got to be kidding. No airline is paying list price for an A380, nor any other aircraft for that matter.
BTW, the list price for an A380-800 is only 22 percent greater than the list price of an A350-1000. That seems to be a bargain considering the fact that the A388 has about 73 percent greater floor-area than the A350-1000. 🙂
As for expansion in Asia, it looks like P2P is just not economically viable, at least not for Chinese carriers flying internationally.
China’s air transport plan: rising dragon
Even with an all new wing, the 777-9X is still based on an aircraft that entered into service in 1995. Hence the the A380 platform incorporates technologies a decade more advanced than that of the 777 platform, such as dual Hydraulic/Electric (2H/2E) flight controls architecture; lighter, smaller 5000psi hydraulic system; variable frequency electrical power generation etc.
“Even with an all new wing, the 777-9X is still based on an aircraft that entered into service in 1995.”
According to everything I’ve read, the 777X will have more than just a new wing. It seems to me as if the only thing that won’t change will be the fuselage diameter, the overall configuration, and external shape features. Boeing is talking about a new material for the fuselage and incorporating the best 787 technologies, which include things like the high-pressure hydraulic system, variable frequency generators and advanced flight control architecture. They’ll go back to using bleed air more extensively, but the 777X will get a whole new suite of technology. I think the 777X will probably be at least 80% new when all is said and done.
The old and tiresome “it’s not as good because it is based on an older model” argument is easy to make on the surface, but does not hold much water in this instance.
I’ve not seen any indications that Boeing is going to put a 5000 psi hydraulic system on the 777X. Upgrading all of the systems with 787 tech, except for the bleedless architecture, would in reality constitute an all new aircraft that would still be burdened with legacy architecture, assembly methods etc. It would be a pretty stupid thing to do IMO. Boeing would put most of their resources into a project with few, if any, paths to a future growth model, while being vulnerable to an all new Airbus Y3-sized aircraft a decade hence, designed with a proper 10 across configuration in economy or 11 across with the same seat and aisle width as that of the 777X. With the 777X, Boeing will IMO need to avoid mission creep. That can be done by retaining as much of the current 777 fuselage production infrastructure as possible.
With the 737NG, Boeing followed a similar path, although the wing was design-constrained in order to retain the dimensions of the centre wing box and main landing gear set-up. The 737NG entered into service a decade after the A320, yet with the MAX, Boeing has to put far more technical and financial resources into that machine than what Airbus has to do with the NEO. When Airbus is through with designing the NEO and the A350-1000, Boeing will still be hard at work with the MAX and the 777X. At that time, Airbus could announce an all new “YS
…..At that time, Airbus could announce an all new program — equivalent to a “Y3” in scope — and co-developed with an upgraded A380.
“Upgrading all of the systems with 787 tech, except for the bleedless architecture, would in reality constitute an all new aircraft that would still be burdened with legacy architecture, assembly methods etc.”
Obviously, Boeing has not yet revealed all of its plans for the 777X systems, but they have publicly stated that they will incorporate the best tech from the 787. This could mean almost anything, so claiming that the 777X will be saddled with less advanced systems is a bit premature. It also has been widely speculated that the 777X will have an advanced metal alloy fuselage. If this is indeed the case, fabrication methods will have to change somewhat.
So, the contention that the 777X will be an “older” aircraft than the A380 is unfounded with what we currently know. You may disagree with Boeing’s product strategy, but that is a different argument.
Again, the A380 was designed a decade after the 777 and took advantage of advances in aerodynamics, systems integration, architecture, automation, manufacturing etc. However, if you want to believe that the 777X will not be legacy constrained, that’s fine by me.
“However, if you want to believe that the 777X will not be legacy constrained, that’s fine by me.”
I never claimed the 777X would not at all be legacy constrained, however it’s going to be an 80% new aircraft, and the aspects that will be legacy constrained can be chosen such as to minimally affect performance. However, if you want to make sweeping judgments about the 777X, pronouncing it old compared to the A380 (designed a decade earlier), without really knowing anything about the improvements, that’s fine by me as well.
“However, if you want to make sweeping judgments about the 777X, pronouncing it old compared to the A380 (designed a decade earlier) without really knowing anything about the improvements, that’s fine by me as well.”
No, I said it was older. Old compared to the A380; that would be the 747-400.
Again, plenty of the improvements have been released into the public domain by Boeing. AFAIK, no announcement has been released on whether or not Boeing is going for a dual Hydraulic/Electric (2H/2E) flight controls architecture and 5000 psi hydraulic system on the 777X. But since you seem to be “intimately involved”, you should know the answer to that qustion since you already “know” that the 777X will be 80 percent all new, right?
I also said that the 777X will use an engine with upwards of 10 percent better TSFC than the current engines on the A380. However, as no amount of cosmetic surgery can hide the true age of a person, likewise will not even an all new composite wing hide the fact that the roots of the 777 design can be traced back to the early 1990s, while the roots of the design of a future upgraded version of the A380 can be traced back to the early 2000s.
Now, where the 777 used the “old” 1970’s designed 767 pointed nose and slightly modified windshield, Airbus took full advantage of the then state-of-the-art CFD, and designed the nose section of the A380 more like a “lifting body”, and partly in order to maximise the volume of the cockpit and avionics bay while optimising the aerodynamics of the nose and the extreme forward positioning of the nose landing gear. The A350’s nose section was designed using those same design principles. Even the nose section of 787 has virtually no design similarities with the the 1970’s era aircraft nose design of the 777.
Here’s a link just to illustrate what was really going on when Airbus designed the A380:
“without really knowing anything about the improvements, that’s fine by me as well.”
Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?
You’re claiming with absolute certainty that the 777X is going to be an “80% new aircraft”. Are you sure it’s not going to be 79 percent new, or 81 percent new? Where’s your sources for those figures, or is it just plain speculation on your part?
We do see StarTrek or StarWars technological provienience inversion.
The original tennet was “form follows function”
leading to function well done seen as beautiful a trained response.
Today we see a reversal : if it looks flashy and techie it is expected to perform well
without real proof and is invariably deemed beautiful.
This happens to be not a factual truth but an aberation in general perception.
I’m no more certain about my assertions than you are about yours. I’m working from the same publicly released information that you are. Scott has commented that he suspects that the 777X will be 80% new, much like the 748 and 737NG. Of course I’m perfectly aware that this is just a guess. However, you are also guessing when you say that the 777X won’t have certain technologies, or when you imply it will somehow be significantly hamstrung by its “legacy architecture”
Your “legacy architecture” concept is vague enough to where you don’t really have to be specific about how much it would really limit the 777X. Thus, one can make any argument one wants. You sort of define it by listing systems and features that the A380 has, but assume the 777X will not have. I am only going by what Boeing has publicly stated when they say that the best 787 systems will be incorporated into the 777X. The 787 does have a 5000psi hydraulic system, by the way, and some limited use of power-by-wire for the elevator and the spoilers. I do not know if these systems will be incorporated into the 777X, but it’s premature to assume they won’t.
Your point about the nose shape is true, but the question is how much will it really matter to the 777X. The shape was obviously good enough for the 777. Also, CFD was used in the design of the 777 nose, just not to the extent it was used for the A380 nose. In fact, CFD was used in the design of both the 757, and 767 noses, although mostly for shape tailoring to eliminate/reduce supersonic flow zones. I personally saw the results in print back in the late 80’s. The question is; what are the 777X performance penalties due to the legacy nose shape? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. Do you?
In my opinion, the biggest 777X limitation due to the previous design is the structural efficiency of the fuselage. There is only so much one can accomplish with Al or advanced AL alloys. Also, the advantages in structural efficiency when using composites get more pronounced for larger airframes. If the 787 or A350 benefit from composites, then the 777X would benefit even more, and the A380 even more then that. As for the real or perceived 777 fuselage diameter limitation, to me this is a product development matter, not so much a technical one. It really depends on where one sees the market going, and I can assure you that I’m no expert in that area.
Would an all new aircraft perform better than the 777X? Yes it would. How much better? I doubt any of us commenters on this blog know. So, invoking the tired “old always performs worse” argument to support a negative judgment of Boeing’s widebody strategy is a tad shallow.
AFAIR, the original A350 model that was derived from the A330, was to use a new composite wing, would have a new empennage section, and 90 percent new parts. Still, it would retain the original 3000 psi hydraulic system from the A330. Although the higher-pressure system allows for lighter and smaller pipes and actuators, improving fuel efficiency, Airbus apparently didn’t view it as a cost effective thing to do. Also, as pointed out earlier, by changing out all of the major systems on an existing airliner, you’re essentially creating an all new airliner within the shell of an old one. That’s why it’s never been done before in the LCA business. Airbus, for example, never “transplanted” A330 systems on to the A300-600/A310. Boeing has had plenty of opportunities to upgrade older platforms with the newer systems-tech from new aircraft, but they never did do that, did they? Neither the 737-300/-400/-500 Classic series nor the 737NG would use the 757 cockpit although they shared the same fuselage cross-section. The 757 and the 767 was never upgraded with the 777’s FBW flight control system, although the 757 and 767/777 cockpit sctions are virtually identical. The 737NG was never upgraded with a FBW flight control system, and hence, uses a mechanical system of pulley’s and cables to signal the flight control actuators. Same thing with the 737MAX and 747-8, although those aircraft uses/will-use a partial FBW system.
“So, invoking the tired “old always performs worse” argument to support a negative judgment of Boeing’s widebody strategy is a tad shallow.”
What would be “shallow” is if Boeing wouldn’t contemplate the possibility of Airbus launching an all new aircraft (bigger than the 777-9X) by the end of the decade, and with the 777-9X “boxed in” — using A-bashing terminology — by the A350-1000 and an Y3-sized Airbus equivalent aircraft.
“Today we see a reversal : if it looks flashy and techie it is expected to perform well without real proof and is invariably deemed beautiful.”
“Ooooooh! Shiiiiiiny!” – Homer Simpson
Though that also subsumed an “attention span measured in nanoseconds”.
Today we are living in a world more and more dominated by soundbites and instant responses. ( I see a trend when checking back with multiple questions in an eMail
to only get a response to the first question. The number of people that can’t be bothered to read more than one sentence is rising. Schnell, Schnell, Schnell )
757 and 737 have the same fuselage cross-section but significantly different nose shapes, with correspondingly different cockpit form factors.
777 development began only one year earlier than the 737NG. Since the 777 FBW system was still new to Boeing, I suspect that they considered it too high risk for the what they wanted to accomplish with the 737NG. Also, the benefits of FBW are maximized by aircraft that are designed to fully take advantage of it.
The 767-400ER was the only version to be developed after the 777, and the FBW system was probably considered too much work for what Boeing wanted to accomplish with a simple double stretch. Same for the 757-300.
Stretch variants are not typically worth it but a total revamp like the 777X could very well be different. Again, I’m only basing this off of what Boeing has publicly suggested.
“757 and 737 have the same fuselage cross-section but significantly different nose shapes, with correspondingly different cockpit form factors.”
Wasn’t it pretty self evident that when I said “using-the-757-cockpit”, I meant the entire nose section (Section-41). 😉
As a matter of fact though, I happen to believe that Boeing made a strategic mistake of not putting the 757 nose section on the 737NG. Hence, if the 737NG had gotten the 757 nose section and a nose gear bay that could accommodate a longer nose gear, and if Boeing had not put constraints on the wing design in order to reuse the existing center wing box and to accommodate the existing MLG, Boeing would have had a 737NG with longer landing gear and an aircraft ready to be re-engined with any new engine option.
Suggestions again Airbus may up A350-1000 production rates.
I can imagine airlines like JAL, ANA, SQ, UA and LH dwould not want to wait too long.
Wings made in Japan and another FAL also there?
Plans, plans, we all have them. Unfortunately, as Boeing can attest, plans are easier to make than they are to execute.
It makes me chuckle a bit, talking about increasing production rates on an aircraft that hasn’t been designed yet. However, I suppose they do need to get the ball rolling on an additional assembly line now if they want it to make any difference in capacity before the next decade.
With the FUD around the A350 evaporating Airbus must be able to satisfy the resulting increase in demand. Preferably near term. I would see FAL capacity as less of an issue than expanding pre FAL and supplier production capacity. As we have seen in recent time this could also require keeping suppliers financially above the tidelilne.
What FUD was there around the A350? What I detected in the past was customers not being satisfied with the design. Besides, there is still a substantial amount of unretired risk associated with the program execution.
So on the one hand you say that there wasn’t any FUD to begin with, on the other hand you’re spreading FUD yourself?
As for the design – complaints focused on the -1000, which was surrounded by a cloud of FUD from Boeing about being a paper plane, not being defined, etc.
The same plane that drove them to start considering the 777X, mind you.
The -1000 was indeed redesigned somewhat (chiefly with regard to engine thrust levels and MTOW – which also added 1 1/2 years to its EIS target), drawing criticism from Qatar and Emirates. Which led some people to declare the -1000 a dead duck. That was a prime example of FUD.
Airbus did not redesign the -1000 again, so the same plane that was allegedly a dead duck in recent months won quite a few respectable endorsements, including an additional 17 from Qatar, and 18 from long-time Boeing 777-faithful BA, with even Boeing-faithfuls JAL and ANA seriously considering it if reports are to be believed.
“So on the one hand you say that there wasn’t any FUD to begin with, on the other hand you’re spreading FUD yourself?”
My statement is a fact. While enormous progress has been made with the A350, significant program risks have yet to be retired. The A350-900 still has to be flight tested, debugged, corrected and certified. Then production has to be ramped up while changes are incorporated to MSN-5 through MSN-16. Then further, more substantial, changes will have to be made at MSN-17. Can all this be done? Of course, but it is not a slam dunk schedule wise. Even Airbus officials admit this.
Go ahead and call my statements FUD if you want, but I’ll continue to live in reality and talk about facts. To me, the whole idea that Boeing was spreading FUD about the A350-1000 is ridiculous. Airlines are very well informed in a way the public is not because they have to constantly make billion dollar capital investment decisions. To think they are being fooled by negative press is a bit naive. By definition FUD is perception, and the airlines have a very different perception than aviation enthusiasts commenting on a blog.
Just because we don’t like to hear negative news about our company of choice, does not mean there is a FUD campaign by the competition.
So far, and I use the term guardedly, Airbus seems to have done better than Boeing in getting the A350 progressed v the 787 – they have made up lost ground despite slipping on their own timelines. As their approach is, in any case, more conservative there’s a reasonable chance they will not experience the glitches that have beset the 787 post first flight. And, to add to that, assembly is a much better known and understood process than actually designing the plane.
Maybe Airbus and RR should take a one time charge and pay out the partners in the existing Trent on the A380 and offer the Trent XWB.
A lot of engineering must have been done for the FTB, so costs would be quite low, and they may neatly dispose of the Engine Alliance as a competitor.
How much better is the CASM of a 500 seat A380 vs a 385 seat 747-8? I don’t think there is that big a difference. Will Lufthansa or Korean order more of either in the next 10 years, that will be one test. The 747 seems to have a lower load per foot of wingspan which should have helped it. Perhaps the A380 fuselage is more structurally effecient for floor area per weight. How will the long 777x fare? Will its slenderness hurt the structural efficiency like the A346?
Lufthansa re-ordered the A380 already. On the other hand they cancelled one 747-8i (because it is used as FT aircraft by Boeing and they don’t want to have a “white elephant” in their fleet). When they cancelled it, they said they will order a new ojne at a later date. It will be interesting to see, if that ever happens. Maybe for a very competitive price along with a 777-X order. Up to now, LH is stacking up A380ties and no word about 747-8i other than the usual “aircraft is performing fine” phrases.
The carriers are not “debating”. 😉 As I said, they typically increase frequency to two, or three flights per day, then they increase capacity. EK, for example, started with 727s and A300s, now the smallest aircraft in their fleet is going to be the A350-900 by the end of the decade. They have already built frequency on a massive scale. Increasing capacity is underway. By the way things are going, they could have 200 A380s in operation by the mid 2020s. While the blue chip airlines in the US and Europe barely manage to keep their heads above the water, EK keeps on generating record profits.
Also, there are plenty of examples of long haul frequency saturation. Long haul is no like short haul where you can reach ridiculous levels of frequencies. Cathay Pacific, for example, has 4 daily 77W and 747-400 flights to New York. Assuming current air traffic growth levels; if they want to maintain their market share in the future, they’ll have to increase capacity.
Also, if you are trying to reduce slot congestion, which is better: replacing 150 seaters with 200-300 seat planes or 300-400 seat planes with 600 seat planes?
There are currently no single aisle aircraft available that can accommodate 200-300 seats. Only LCCs operate A321s at more than 200 seats. In China though, the A330-300 has become a short haul trunkliner on quite a few routes.
In Asia, slot congestion is currently being caused by the increase in LCCs flying single aisle aircraft. In the future, slot congestion will be caused primarily by the sheer growth projected for air travel in Asia; transcontinental and intercontinental travel.
I don’t think Airbus said the programme would break even, but that by 2015 every individual frame would break even (presumably including the charges for R&D that are put on it). Given the cost overruns and that they will only have delivered about 190 or so planes at the end of 2015 (compared to the pre-cost overrun break-even target of 250), I think it will be impossible for the programme to achieve break-even. So at present they are still making a loss on each frame (which does of course not mean that there isn’t also a positive contribution to the bottom line, depending on what they charge onto each frame in terms of overhead), and it is that loss they expect to cease in 2015.
We raised this very question with Airbus when it was said. The answer was the program will break even after the huge write off is taken into account.
Thanks – I’m a bit dumbfounded now. How would that be possible? They’d have to recover USD100m or thereabouts per plane just for the write off… They must have some creative accountants 🙂
Did they ever explain how they’d do this? Quite bizarre. All the explanation I’ve seen concerning the A380’s break even is what Andreas explained- on a per frame basis. Programme break even would be wonderful, but seems impossible right now
The A380 programme will probably never be profitable. But eventually it will start generating positive cash flow when the cost to build will pass below the selling price.
Anyway, the A380 was meant to be a prestige aircraft. Airbus needed to make a statement to affirm its position as an “equal” of Boeing. But I doubt the A380 will ever become a household name as the 747 still is and will probably be for a long time to come. The latter was a quantum leap in commercial aviation when it first came out to replace the much smaller 707.
That being said, when the A380 sales reach 500 aircraft it will be quite an achievement for Airbus. Profitable or not.
It would make sense for A to increase 350 production as rapidly as possible, as this is their major (and only) WB program with a volume constrained future going forward (presuming no 330neo). It is likely the 350-8 will be delayed or replaced in the order of introduction by the 1000 as there is little demand for it and the competitive craft 787-9, 10 will be better perfomers.
If true VLA demand is really 650 aircraft (excluding freighters?) and A and B together have sold or are in the process of delivering 300 of them… is there a sufficient ROI for A to launch a 380-900? What will be the impetus for the market as by the time it is available, there will likely be resale 380-800s on the market to compete for new sales (? (If EK turns over their fleet at 10-12 years)
Money is going to be tight in Europe for the foreseeable future as governments and the economy are relatively broke. I would guess that A is resource constrained until 2017-18 in order to get the 900, 1000, neo (and variants) out the door and ramped up. Then the choice would be 330 replacement versus 380-9?
Many of you remember JFK early in the 70s’ just at around 7 PM at the time when only 707 and DC8 were leaving for Europe or else were … there were up to 60 aircraft waiting for departure … then Boeing came up with 747 … good idea …and also help develop travelling…
Now one can seat in HK airport for example and see at night many aircraft in the 747,777 or 330 range also queing to leave for New York or London or Paris etc…
The main constraint is that there are “windows” to leave or to land in airports.
The carrier who comes with an A380 and lower fare seats can rack up a lot of passengers from competition
JAL and ANA will consider that option sometime for Narita and/or Haneda at least!!!
I think the news of JAL and ANA discussing A350-1000 is still more about JAL then about ANA. ANA has been closer to Airbus all along. Less government influenced, operating A320s and discussing A380s for 4 years.
In terms of loyalty to Boeing, I think JAL and ANA have honoured their obligations, staying calm, polite and optimistic over a seemingly never ending sequence of damaging 787 dissapointments.
Comparing A380 with B748I is like comparing apples to oranges:
So A380 outsells B748I about 6½:1.
Unlike the soon 50 year old 747 the Superjumbo can be easily modernized to stay relevant in the future as well.
Why is the B777X the closest competitor of the A380?
Because it offers equally good or even better costs per seat (strongly depends if you squeeze a 10-abreast econ into the B777).
For many airlines eternal growth is not in sight. Many connections are developing sideways.
The B777X will not kill the A380 (like the B773ER killed the A346), but will reduce margins and reduce sales. However, when Boeing delivers initial B777-9X (2019), the first A380 is 12 years in service and probably logged north of 60000hrs. With modest growth of the VLA market and replacement sales Airbus can keep its line busy. There is no competitor in sight.
Sorry to be a partypooper but I too see a VLA market shrinking with the global economy still in the toilet and no light in sight.
Will Airbus give up on the VLA market with time? Boeing seems to accept that 777-9X will be their largest offering going forward.