777X decision due in October; where will it be assembled?

Lufthansa Airlines announced an order for the Boeing 777-9X, but the program hasn’t officially been launched yet.

Source: Airline Reporter

The Boeing Co. Board of Directors is expected to do so in October. Boeing doesn’t reveal the date of its board meetings, but they are typically toward the end of the month. Formal launch of the program is widely anticipated to come at the Dubai Air Show Nov. 17-21, along with major orders from Emirates Airlines and others. Emirates’ order is expected to be for both the 406-seat 9X and the ultra-long range, 350-passenger 777-8X, the latter providing Emirates with the long-sought ability to provide full payload, non-stop service between Dubai and Los Angeles.

Source: Boeing

While launch of the 777X is a foregone conclusion, where it will be assembled isn’t. This is of keen interest to Washington State, where the current 777 family is assembled, and South Carolina, which is becoming a growing Boeing assembly site.

Boeing has purchased hundreds of acres of land in Charleston in multiple increments and now owns slight more land there than in Everett.

We believe Everett is the only logical place to assemble this derivative of an existing program, and there are many who think so, too. But there is a smaller group that thinks Boeing Chicago favors Charleston.

Here are the pros and cons of each:



  1. The current 777 is assembled here.
  2. The 777 assembly line is highly efficient, and has progressively become more “lean.”
  3. The workforce is highly proficient.
  4. The workforce experience provides a basis for creativity and cost-cutting ideas.
  5. Boeing doesn’t have to invest is new buildings and related infrastructure.
  6. There is room within the current building.
  7. Boeing’s new, robotic paint shop is already large enough to accommodate the huge 777X wing.
  8. There is room at Paine Field for a 777X wing production site. Proximity of a new site to the factory would be a plus.
  9. A motivated Washington State and Snohomish County (where Everett is located) may provide incentives to win the assembly site.
  10. Supply chain in close proximity.


  1. Puget Sound and Washington State are higher cost than South Carolina.
  2. From Boeing Chicago’s perspective, the fact that the Everett workforce is unionized is a negative.



  1. Cheaper business climate than Washington.
  2. Non-union.
  3. State and local officials are more cooperative than in Washington.


  1. Workforce still on learning curve for 787, would face steep learning curve for new equipment type at Charleston.
  2. Major infrastructure development required.
  3. Duplicative tooling required.
  4. 777 supply chain remote.

There are more pros and cons that may be assigned to either site, of course. We believe, based on our sourcing, that Boeing Commercial Airplanes–headquarter in the Seattle area–favors Everett. The wild card is the disposition of Jim McNerney, CEO of The Boeing Co., who made the decision to put 787 Line 2 in Charleston despite a business case that favored Everett. The long-running disputes between management and IAM 751, the local of the International Association of Machinists that represents Boeing’s “touch” labor in Washington, was at such a low that McNerney selected Charleston over Everett.

Relations are better now, with a contract in place until late 2016 that provides production stability. But Boeing has systematically been moving union jobs out of Washington since it reached an agreement early this year with SPEEA, the engineers union. Jobs covered by SPEEA have been cut and work covered by the jobs cuts have been moved elsewhere. Chicago is clearly continuing its effort to shift jobs to non-union states and workforces.

Will the desire to move out of unionized Washington be the deciding factor?

For a derivative aircraft, we don’t think it makes sense. A clean-sheet, new design aircraft is a different matter.

Officially a decision on where the assembly site will be located isn’t said to be made until the first or second quarter. We hear the decision already has been made, but we can’t satisfy ourselves as to what the decision is. We think Everett will be the winner. But Jim McNerney’s antipathy toward unions is the wild card.

51 Comments on “777X decision due in October; where will it be assembled?

  1. However- the majority of the EXPERIENCED design and manufacturing and tooling Engineers and Techs are in the Seattle area. And shipping the expected 777 wing ( which may have a foldable wing tip as was more o0r less designed on the initial 777 ) may be a determining facto.

    IMHO – Spokane- Moses lake area would be a real winner airfield, diversity of facilities re weather, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes ( himacanes ) to be non gender , etc.

    Perhaps may want to start a survey- pool- with winner getting a free subscription to leehamnews blog ;-PP

  2. Formally launching the 777X is a no brainer unless they want to can the company.
    The Boeing Co. Board of Directors should rather focus on who should be at the wheel of the company, starting by assessing the outcome of the 787 program; particularly how it was managed from the very top…

    I like the PAS slide on the 777, with the ‘about 400’ seats 777-9. It seems that admitting the VLA nature of the 779 is still a taboo at Boeing. It is a shame to not address realities, worrying to say the least.

    • Wouldn’t “be at the *yoke* (at Boeing) be more accurate?

      Of course, very few corporations these days are run like a tight ship. More like the “Costa Concordia.”

  3. I guess Washington has a skilled experienced labor force, expensive & ready to take Boeing hostage if they think they have to.

    • That should be one logical option for consideration, the low cost change. If they had the 747-8 to do over, what would they do differently? Maybe not reloft the wing? New engines, raked wingtips, and simple plugs for one more pallet at a 9′ stretch?

    • One problem with a pure re-engining programme would be the need for a 115,000 pound-thrust engine; or the same thrust level as that of the current GE90-115B engine, which has a 128 inch fan. To achieve the same efficiency as that of the GE9X engine, the fan diamater on a re-engined 77W would have to be greater than the currently conceived 132 inches on the GE9X. It’s the new greater wing on the 777X (span + area) that allows for significanly lower take-off thrust requirements. However, IMHO Boeing would be better off long-term by putting their all new wing on an all new airframe.

      • With the old wing and a GE9X on the 777-8, probably still could get 725,000 MTOW. Probably enough lift and range for the most part.

      • I’m not sure how competitive such a 777 derivative would turn out be when going up against the A350-1000, nor if GE would still want to expend a massive amount of resources on an all new engine for a seemingly marginal product.

      • I mean the Ge9x on the 773ER with the fan as large as feasible. Maybe with the 2 row stretch too. Basicly everything but an all new composites wing. I see the thrust range of the GE9X creeping up further in the next few years anyway. I’m not a firm believer in higher payload range and equivalent takeoff performance with significant lower thrust engines. Because Randy says so. Call me conservative 😉

      • Since the 787 program has undergoes a exceeding of cost, it is more preferable to occupy a market without competitor without having to launch a whole new aircraft.

        The case of the 777-X will be to provide the cash flow with the least risk and at lower cost.

        The 777-X seems to be a good opportunity and a continuity to have another cash cow other than the 777-300ER for another decade …

      • There are a few “problems” IMO with the 777-9X.

        First, AFAIK it will not better the A350-1000 in fuel burn per seat by much, if anything at all. In general, with all things being equal, a larger aircraft should always have the advantage of fuel burn per seat.

        2nd, the 777-9X will IMHO be inherently vulnerable to an all new, all composite, A360X aircraft with a partiel upper-deck, and that could EIS a decade hence. Such an aircraft could have the same lower lobe dimensions as that of the A380, while being codeveloped with an all composite A380-derived twin engine aircraft (i.e A370X). Both an A360X and an A370X could share an all new common wing.

        • Your mythical A-360X sounds like a B-747 because of the partial upper deck. As for your A-380 twin engined “A-370X”, assuming it could use the GE90-115B1 engine (todays most powerful jet engine for aircraft), it would be limited to about the same MTOW as the B-777-300ER, about 775,000 lbs. (351,000 kg) due to single engine failure on T/O roll (6.72:1 thrust to weight ratio).

          Why would Airbus want the same dimensioned lower lobe for the A-360X or A-370X as the A-380 currently has? The A-388 carries about 36 LD3s, the B-77W carries 44, so the B-779 should carry up to 46-48. The A-3510 carries the same 44 LD3s as the B-77W does today. IIRC, the B-747-8I carries the same 36 LD3s as the A-380 does, but with fewer passenger baggage LD3s, more are available for cargo.

      • “First, AFAIK it will not better the A350-1000 in fuel burn per seat by much, if anything at all.”

        I’ve heard this claim bandied about often lately in this forum. What is the basis for this? Is it Airbus PR or someone’s independent estimate. If it is an independent estimate, then what are the assumptions based on. I would equally not trust PR from either manufacturer.

      • Yes KC, the A360X would look like the 747 because of the partial upper deck. However, in contrast to the one on the 747, the partial upper deck on my conceptual A360X would have twin aisles and a similar internal width to that of the 767.

        As for the A370X, you are making the mistake in assuming that the aircraft would have the same high wing-loading and low wing-span efficiency as that of the 777W. For the A360X and A370X, I’m talking about an all composite wing with a wing span of up to 79.9m and a wing area of more than 650 m2 (i.e. significantly bigger than the wing on the 747-8-I/F). With a MTOW of 440 metric tonnes, engine thrust requirements should be in the neighbourhood of 125,000 – 130,000 lbs. For example, with a similar; or slightly higher wing loading and about the same wing-span efficiency, the 777-9X will require only about 90 percent of the take-off thrust requirements compared to that of the 777-300ER, with both aircraft having about the same MTOW.

        If the lower lobe — or “everything” that’s positioned below the main deck floor — is dimensionally identical on the A360X and the A370X, both aircraft can have the same wing and engine, MLG bays etc. Even the raised cockpit-section on the A380 could be used on the A360X as well. If so, most of the existing structure in the lower section-41 on the A380 could be re-used on the A360X.

        The dimension of a circular fuselage with an internal width of 254 inches and external cross section of 266 inches happens to coincide with the dimension of the lower lobe of the A380. 254 inches will give you an 11 abreast 3-5-3 configuration with a 17.2 inch seat width (same as 747-8i and 0.2 inches more than Emirates’ current Y-seats in their 77Ws), 2 inch wide armrests (times 14) and two 18.4 inch wide aisles (same as the aisle width of that of the A350 and 1.4 inches more than the 17 inch aisle width in Emirates’ 77Ws). As a comparison the usable internal width of the A380 is 248 inches. However, the A380 uses thick extruded fuselage frames from just below the lower deck floor all the way up past the floor of the upper deck. Hence, a circular fuselage based on the lower lobe of the A380 will have a slight increase in width at both the floor level and elbow height level. The image in the following link illustrates that last point nicely:


        The lower lobe cross –section has nothing to do with the carrying capacity on the lower deck. One reason for the relatively poor cargo volume of the lower deck of the A380, is the enormous empennage section. An A360X would have an empennage section similar in design to the one on the A350, minimizing the length between the aft doors and the aft APU exhaust duct, which means that both the cabin and the lower deck holds will be longer than what would be the case for an equally long A370X (i.e . total fuselage length).

        Compared to the 777X programme, both an A360X and an A370X would not be one trick ponies, but rather belong to a complete family:

        A360-800X and A370-800X would have a MTOW of around 360 metric tonnes. Both aircraft would have the same triple bogey main landing gear. The A368X would be about the same length as that of the 747-400 and would have an effective floor area about 10 percent bigger than that of the 777-9X. The A378X would have the same fuselage length as that of the A380-800, and would be designed as a CASM king on short-range distances.

        A360-900X would be a stretch version, and it would have about the same range as that of the A360-800X. Both the A360-900X and the A370-800XIGW* would have a MTOW of around 400 metric tonnes. Both aircraft would have a 747-type main landing gear configuration with four 4-wheel bogies. The A370-800XIGW* would be designed as a CASM king on intermediate-range distances.

        The A370-800XHGW** would have a MTOW of around 440 metric tonnes; or in the same MTOW neighbourhood as that of the 747-8I. Thanks to, among other things, engines that would be 10 percent more efficient than the TXWB engines and 15 percent more efficient than the Trent-900s on the current A380, a composite fuselage dimensionally identical to the A380-fuselage and all new, fully optimised composite wings, the A370-800XHGW** should have the capability to perform similarily to the current A380-800. A stretched A370-900 with lower range could be developed later.

        As for derivatives of the current A380-800, IMO it should be stretched to around 100m. The current metallic fuselage would be switched out with the one developed for the A370X programme, while the wing should have an increased span of around 100m (i.e. including two 10m folding wingtips) and an overall area increased to around 1000m2. Such a wing could be derived from the current one (i.e by using the same leading and trailing edge), but should have a new composite wingbox. The engine for such a beast should be all new, lower thrust engines derived from the A360X/A370X engines. The same engine could be used on an A350-re-engining programme. In fact, by putting an engine that’s 10 percent more efficient than the TXWB-97, on the A350-1000, Airbus could significantly reduce MTOW. As a starter, the “new” A350-1000 would use around 10 tonnes less fuel on longer ranged flights. Hence, IMO Airbus should not develop an A350-1100, since the A350-1000 can be significantly upgraded further down the road. Also, a re-winged/re-engined A350-1100 programme would IMO risk being a one trick pony. Better then to put all the resources into a bigger frame with growth potential

        A joint A360X/A370X programme would IMJ need a contra rotating fan in order to achieve a sufficient by-pass ratio, in order for the engine to actually fit under the wing. As I’ve indicated in an earlier comment, RR could develop a new 105,000 lb to 125,000/130,000 lb class thrust engine for an A360X/A370X programme incorporating an intercooled compressor and a contra rotating fan (i.e. second fan using a gear reduction system on the IP spool). Engine TSFC could be 10 percent better than the 2017 version of the TXWB-97. Hence, EIS of the A360-800X could be a decade hence (i.e. 2023/2024), while the EIS for the A370-800XHGW could follow a couple of years later.

        _*IGW = Increased Gross Weight

        **HGW= Highest Gross Weight

      • OV-099, Using the Lufthansa advertisement as evidence that the A350-900 and the 777-9X have the same fuel burn is a pretty big stretch. The ad talks about the two new types being in a different (better) fuel burn class than their current fleet. The purpose is not to directly compare the fuel burn between the two types.

        The following quote from the ad can be interpreted in more than one way.

        “The ordered ­Boeing 777-9X and Airbus A350-900 aircraft will only consume 2.9 liters per passenger and 100 kilometers on average, according to the manufacturer.”

        The interpretation hinges on what “on average” means. From the context of the ad, I would say that it is more likely that the two new types together will consume only 2.9 liters per passenger and 100 kilometers, rather than both the types having the exact same fuel burn.

        Besides, claims of A350-900 superior fuel burn have been made in this forum long before Lufthansa made its widebody fleet decision.

      • Mike, one can parse words such as the word “is” 😉 as much as one may like, but in this case I would assume that the word “average” is used in reference to two and three class layouts and several different seating configurations on the same platform.


        Even though the A350-900 would have about the same fuel burn per seat — with all things being equal — the 777-9X would still have lower CASM.

        As for the A350-1000 vs. the 777-9X, you should keep in mind that the floor area of the latter has slightly less than 10 percent greater floor area (i.e 345m2 vs. 315m2), while the 777-9X may seems to have roughly an OEW some 12 percent higher (i.e OEW (in metric tonnes) in the low hundred and seventies vs. low hundred and fifties) and MTOW some 13 percent higher than that of the A350-1000. (i.e 350 metric tonnes vs. 308 metric tonnes).

      • OV-099, Not parsing words, but just pointing out the obvious purpose of the Lufthansa ad which does not include precise enough statements to use as support for the contention that the 777-9X fuel burn per seat is not much better than the A350-1000.

      • Mike, I may be wrong, but you seem to not wanting to believe anything that not points to the direction that the 777-9X fuel burn per seat is “much better” than the A350-1000. Any reasonable objective individual would IMHO interpret Lufthansa’s statements in such a way that in a like for like, apple to apple comparison, the fuel burn per seat for the A350-900 and the 777-9X are, according to LH; in the same ballpark!

        Incidentally, Ferpe has done quite elaborate an analysis of the topic over at a.net.


        from reply 65: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/315161/

        ________Fuel flow in kg/nm/per m2




        =>…or that the A350-900 will consume 0.5 percent more fuel per m2 than the 777-9X, and that the A350-1000 will consume 2.3 percent more fuel per m2 than the 777-9X.

        If anything, LH seems to confirm Ferpe’s analysis.

      • OV-099,
        You are wrong. It is not about what I want to believe. If the 777-9X numbers are not any better than the A350-1000 then so be it. To be honest, I just wanted t know the real basis for your claim, because I wasn’t at all sure if the claim was based on an unbiased analysis.

        Thanks for sending me the link to the analysis on a.net. I’m sure it will be much more useful than the Lufthansa ad, which in my opinion, was purposefully vague on a comparison between the types.

    • Why do that when you can corner more orders than the A350-1000 in your second major announcement. Now that AF has said the A380 is not a good fit for their fleet strategy I will put my money on them getting ready to make an announcement for 777-9Xs too. Also, the new kid on the block will be the many orders Iran will be looking to fill to upgrade their fleet. That should make for exciting times in the aerospace world for both companies.

      If you give three airlines what they want it becomes too much of a short sighted strategy. Sell 50 versus winning 250 frames to kick off a new program. Airbus might be taking the narrow body world, but Boeing has made significant investments in holding the widebody side. Look at the number of offerings (2) they have proposed in the last 12 months, and look at the willingness to do those efforts knowing that many of the deals are impacting 747-8I sales. If this approach is done to offset the needed discounts to compete on 737 offers, the wide body approach makes sense. Push the deal as much as you can and offset those actions with a strategy for capturing more of the more profitable share of the widebody side, might be better for the financial statement. Let Airbus do the warmed over strategy while Boeing is doing remakes which satisfy a broader customer demand. And all of it being done in face of the bad press the 787 is receiving everyday. They pick up 300-450 frames from two new programs before year end that will say much about where their heart is in their product line. If the -10 wins more orders that the -900R then that will say where that strategy lands. Right it’s at slightly more than 20% of the total -900 sales.

      • Now that AF has said the A380 is not a good fit for their fleet strategy I will put my money on them getting ready to make an announcement for 777-9Xs too.

        Well, Air France are already one of the biggest 777 operators anyway. It would be quite logical to assume that they will consider the A350-1000 as well as the 777X in the future.

        As for the 777X overall – I’m curious to see how successful that’s going to be, considering the slamming that the A350 Mk I got, which consisted of the same elements: Very efficient existing airframe, stretched, equipped with new engines and new wings, reworked interior, reworked avionics & cockpit.

        Also, the new kid on the block will be the many orders Iran will be looking to fill to upgrade their fleet. That should make for exciting times in the aerospace world for both companies.

        True – if everything goes according to the surprisingly optimistic timeline that people seem to suddenly have in mind. (Note: I do hope it does go by that optimistic timeline, too.)

    • The 773ER with new engines wouldn’t really help hit the 21% per seat fuel burn improvement needed to beat the A346 successor (A350). The extra 20-30 folks do help, and as they’ve been flying 773’s on many routes for years it make much more sense to keep growing capacity a little at a time.

      Airlines have favored fuel efficiency over discounted frames for at least 15 years now, I believe. With the duopoly, neither can afford to just produce a “cheap” (old) airframe and beg for a best-in-class engine tailored to it. Douglas worked that angle for 3 decades but, finally succumbed.

  4. I think Boeing will build the B-777X in WA. They will build the next new design airplane (B-797 or B-808?) in SC where they can start from plan paper. By then the CHS workforce will have completely spun up the B-787 learning curve.

  5. The 777X is a build from scratch aircraft (except the wing which almost certainly has to be build adjacent )

    It would be a nightmare people skill wise let alone cost and tech wise to get that build from scratch capability in Charleston as well as moving away from the suppliers of that build type (and the 737, 767 continue to be build from scratch with a cross capable workforce).

    Let it never be said though that actual facts ever stood in the way of management to spent billions screwing the pooch while patting themselves on the back in in their pocketbooks. Logic or business sense has nothing to do with it (pure chance if it occurs). The rank and file is supposed to be responsible, management can fritter billions on billions away and not suffer consequences.

    Charleston is going to have its hands full with the 787-10 (can’t move the longer fuselage to Seattle so it will have to be built there). And they are still ramping up on the 787-8 (and maybe the -9 as well)
    and very likely the 2nd assembly line there (they need both that and the surge line in Seattle to get that backlog down and only getting worse with the -10 offering.

    • Uhh fuselages are built out of several sections and joined during final assembly, sort of like stacking a bunh of tubes together END TO END – so your comment about -10 being too long is A NON-STARTER

  6. I would be shocked if McNerney decides to do something as bold as build the airplane in South Carolina. In my opinion, he was out of his management depth on the 787 program and he is probably petrified of any form of risk at this point.

    My guess is he will go the low risk approach and try to hang on to the ceo spot and the tremendous compensation levels as long as possible. Who needs succession planning when you are pulling in those kind of bucks? Especially if you have a board dumb enough to go along with it.


  7. The idea building it in Charleston is simply ammunition for negotiation with unions and local politics. Boeings wants them to do what Boeing wants. I strongly doubt that there is any cost advantage in CHS, especially not if you factor in non-recurring cost and learning curve.

  8. Since the 787 program has undergoes a exceeding of cost, it is more preferable to occupy a market without competitor, without having to launch a all- new airplane.

    The case of the 777-X will be to provide the cash flow with the least risk and at lower cost.

    The 777-X seems to be a good opportunity and a continuity to have another cash cow other than the 777-300ER for another decade …

    • Is it worth to thing about an A350-1100 with a length of 80 m? About 6 meters longer than -1000 and about 36 more passengers. About 6 meters more mean also 4 more rows of LD3 or in sum 8 LD3s more.

      According to this time table: http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/busy-decade-ahead-for-new-derivative-airplane-eis-dates/ A-350-900 is expected in 2015, -800 in 2016 and -1000 in 2017. What about an A350-1100 in 2018 and Rolls-Royce delivering a suitable engine?

      Compare that to a 777-9X. The 9X would offer about 21 seats more and what else?

      • And what else?

        It must be realistic.

        A350-1100 has never enter into service before 2018.

        There will be a whole new wing and the development will take 5-6 years if it is launched.

        The wing will also carry more fuel, then it will require a whole new more powerful engine. Development 6-8 years?

        The 777-X seems to be an opportunity for the next decade.

        Since we remain in the speculation,

        are you asked what will be a 777-10X to 80 meters also?

        What else?
        Another thing …

      • Why whole new wing, A could do a 787-10 style stretch. Bigger but with less range, but still quite useful range. Engines same as -1000, i.e. XWB-97. Possibly same market as the A333 regional, intra-Asia in dense configs, or TATL with more pax than -1000, or whatever. If Boeing finds customers for the -10’s payload/range A could as well for similar payload (but more pax).

  9. Interesting that headline about AF and the A380. Has there been a change at the top in the last year or so? Or a change in their numbers? I cannot read the article so I don’t know what has actually been reported.
    It is interesting in that Air France just a couple of years ago was pressing Airbus to start on the A380-900, which they said would suit them better.
    So the question would be, what has changed? If AF is no longer interested in any A380 variant, that is definitely not a good sign for the program.

  10. “Air France: Airbus A380 not a good fit for network” is only a header of an article you have to subscribe for isn’t it. I’m trying to find any context, source, anything, but unsuccessfully. Maybe it is just a teaser?

  11. If you fly AF at all you know that it is a cut below Ryanair these days. The A380 is a quality level above their intended market. Having said that they are loosing so much money I wonder how long before the strategy changes. Emirates never made money while they concentrated on the 10 wide B773 cheap labour moving market either, did they? It wasn’t until they had the A380s in some number that they claimed a profit.

    • So in other words an airline that doesn’t love the A380 is no true Scotsman anyway?

  12. There are several reason why a carrier “does not like the A380” –

    filled not the seats as planned.

    What is more, (unfortunate combination)

    -lack of volume / belly freight 36 LD3 “only” as the A359.
    (773ER & A351 : 44 LD3 787-10 & 777-8X: 40 LD3 777-9X: 48 LD3 !?
    -Maintains 4 engines
    -airport taxes of weight
    -airport taxes of the code F (ICAO)

  13. Nobody has seen the article, but that’s witholding nobody to jump to conclusions. The titlle is good, who needs more? Great stuff!

    • Why are you surprised? Fans of both manufacturers regularly jump to conclusions in their comments here.

      I agree that details and context are required before forming conclusions, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that an airline might not consider the A380 a “good fit” for various reasons.

  14. Airlines considering the A380 have little negotiating power. And we are talking billions. They can’t say they are talking to a credible competitor and they got a very good offer. Everyone knows the situations. Leahy puts up a monopolistic smile at the other side of the table. That situation sucks for every aircraft purchaser.

    So you say you probably can do without it, the product doesn’t meet your requirements, is far to big etc. expensive, risky, it doesn’t fit your infrastructure. Involve the press. As soon as you say you like it, opportunities for addition discount are gone. As said we are talking Billions.

    Example of the game is BA. They hated it until they signed. Same for the Middle East carriers. Negotiation tactics.

    E.g. UA, ANA, DL, CX saying they don’t need A380s, wakes up Leahy.

    • Of course the negotiations are part of it. Why would anyone think differently. Cost is just as important as performance and availability. Whatever AF’s decision, I’m sure they are closely considering all three factors, not just performance. They already operate the type, so they know both the good and the bad.

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