Airbus provided some answers to some (but not all) of our additional questions posed in our post a week ago about the A330 and A350 “Lite” versions.
We noted that Airbus had provided Direct Operating Cost (DOC) comparisons for the A330-200/300 vs the Boeing 787-8/9 but only Cash Operating Cost (COC) comparisons for the A350-900 vs the 787-10.
Airbus provided a detailed explanation, which is below.
But we also asked Airbus what are its assumptions underlying the DOC and COC conclusions. We specifically asked about the following assumptions, since they are important elements of reaching the conclusions Airbus did:
Airbus responded with the seat assumptions for its aircraft but not for the Boeings:
Airbus also provided the assumed lease rates for the A330 and 787-8/9 but not the A350 nor the 787-10:
The A333 and 789 lease assumptions have been used since Airbus first revealed them at Innovation Days in 2011, and we wrote about those at the time. The A332 and 788 lease rates are new information.
“We have not included figures for the A359 vs 787-10 because Boeing’s own figures are currently sketchy,” Airbus said in excluding this data.
“I do not have any more info to give you at this time, but I have been advised that we may have more visibility around October,” an Airbus spokesman wrote in an email.
Because of the “sketchy” information on the 781, the spokesman wrote that absent 781 list prices (which Boeing has yet to publish), Airbus can’t calculate a DOC with capital cost.
“The A350-900 has 4% lower trip cost (COC) than the 787-10 (comparable per seat),” the spokesman wrote. “The A350-900, in its regional variant, has been specifically optimised to offer the same payload range characteristics as the 787-10. The design weights of both aircraft are very similar. In fact, in operation, with its slightly larger number of lower-comfort seats and additional passengers and stretched fuselage the 787-10 is actually heavier than the A350-900.”
Airbus also said that the A350-900’s wing is optimized for this design while the 781 wing is the same used on the smaller and lighter 788, “resulting in compromised aerodynamics that penalise fuel burn in such a large aircraft.”
(Of course, the same principals could be applied to the smaller A350-800 and the larger A350-1000, which use the same wing at the A359.)
“The newer engines of the A350-900 burn less fuel than those of the 787 which are still struggling to deliver a fuel burn level close their specification,” the Airbus spokesman adds. He said initial test flights of the A359 show fuel burn results at spec level, which he says is lower than the 787.
“Operating at a lower rating of 75,000 lbs (vs 84,000 for basic spec) for regional applications, the engines of the A350-900 will also benefit from significant reduction in maintenance cost compared to the 787-10 engines that will be operating very close to their maximum thrust capability that was designed for the 787-9,” the spokesman wrote.