Odds and Ends: Airbus to rethink A380 strategy, says Reuters; Boeing B-29

A380 Strategy: Airbus may rethink the near-term strategy of the A380, with an eye toward reducing production rates, reports Reuters. Earlier this week, Boeing announced a rate reduction for the 747-8. Very Large Aircraft (VLA) continue to be a tough sell. YTD, Airbus has net orders of minus three for its VLA, although a Memorandum of Understanding for 20 was signed at the Paris Air Show and is expected to be firmed up by year end and possibly at the Dubai Air Show next month.

Still, the VLA market is very tough. Boeing sold five 747-8s this year and had cancellations of five. Airbus hasn’t met its annual sales target for the A380 for a couple of years.

787-9 Video: In a change of pace, enjoy this video that is nothing but a relaxing visual.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUZmTzPyR-A&w=560&h=315]

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Boeing B-29: Here’s a sight not seen much anymore: take off and landing of a B-29. As interesting as this is, the weather and the photography is pretty cool, too.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-r8p97vPt0&w=560&h=315]

17 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Airbus to rethink A380 strategy, says Reuters; Boeing B-29

  1. FiFi, the B-29 is an amazing aircraft. I saw her once inflight over Fort Worth. We get to see some interesting flying examples of vintage WWII airplanes here. I have seen the B-29, B-17, B-24, P-38, P-40, and P-51. Several years ago we had the Me-262 replicas built here before the project moved to Washington state.

  2. A’s simultaneous decisions to consider a reduction in A380 production and a double stretch of the 350-1000 is thick with irony. If they do stretch the -1000, they will finally have the well conceived and executed family of airplanes across the entire 300-400 pax segment that they should have launched in 1998-2000 instead of the A380 and A346.
    A’s claim that the -1000 will replace the -300ER requires clarification. First, they will not replace -300ERs in service now or the at least 300 or so that will be delivered in the next three years. Most -300ER operators will likely keep them for their entire 20-5 year service lives. Even LH is doing this with their gas guzzling A346s. This means that the earliest delivered -300ERs in 2004 will not be replaced until 2024 at the earliest, while the rest will remain in service will into the 2030s and beyond because B’s current back log won’t be delivered until 2016-17, and maybe later if there are more orders. Thus, if A is talking about replacing the -300ERs in service and on order, that is not likely.
    One exception is EK , which says they will replace their large -300ER fleet in 12 years; and they have 70 -1000s on order. Another relates to a point CM, a knowledgeable B person, made a while back on this blog. For some carriers the -300ER is too large, but they bought it anyway because it was the only thing available. CM said B is very concerned about the -1000 because at 350 pax it might fit the needs of these carriers very well, so instead of continuing to buy -300ERs they would opt for the -1000. This may well be the case for the Japanese carriers which configure their -300ERs in the lowest number of passengers of any of the many users, including that their planes all have 9 abreast economy seating.
    Finally, B’s launches of the 7810 and 777-8/9X are the first times in a decade or more that B has forced A to respond to them rather than the other way around.

    • There have been several airlines that rolled over their fleets long before 20 years. Singapore Airllnes for example has been doing this for decades. When they bought 747-400’s in the late 1980’s and early 1990, the -400’s were their 3rd generation of 747’s. Their 747-400’s started leaving the fleet soon after the turn of this century; they are now all gone.

      Singapore has also been getting 777-300ER’s since 2006; selloff of the oldest ones will probably start before the end of this decade

  3. Thanks for the link on B-29 Fifi.
    Nice to hear the sound of the Wright engines again.
    And what a weather! I assume they very pretty happy to be back on time.

  4. Daniel (Aspire) says Boeing is upping the installed power on the 777X, one of the least surprising developments. I never was a real strong believer in a bigger 777-9X with 15% less powerfull engines 😉 Up to 108 klbs 7 years bekfore EIS, 115 klbs here we come..
    http://www.aspireaviation.com/2013/10/24/boeing-widebody-dominance-777x-success/#comment-4823

    The 777X even with super narrow 10 abreast (rumours say CX, JAL and SQ balked on the 10 abreast proposal) will have to compete on additional revenue potential (long range belly cargo capability), not on costs.

  5. The 787 what was on fire at Heathrow has it tail removed (see plane Talkting for photo) by the go team it looks like boeing is going to replace the tail good luck i hope the team sucseeds.

  6. The Reuters article contains a lot of bunk:

    But the A380’s birth was beset by technical and management rows, and sales fell abruptly when the discovery of wing cracks in 2011 hit momentum.

    Sales were moribund long before the wing crack discovery.

    and this:

    “The slow period of [A380] sales coincided with the great recession. I am aware of airlines that were going to take the aircraft but didn’t because of the global economic slowdown,” said Doric Lease Corp Chief Executive Mark Lapidus.

    The global economic slowdown didn’t seem to affect the sales of the A320, A330, or A350.

  7. If Doric sign off for the 20 in a few weeks, there’s a follow up order and maybe there will be a new customer. Have the industry shifted again at that moment? Next year Qatar, Asiana, Ethihad and the Japanese will introduce the A380 into their fleets. Since Lufthansa cancelled orders for 3 a new excitement seems to be grabbing around it, far reaching conclusions are drawn. Let’s cool down and see how things really go, objectively.

    • Objectively, you have two months until the Gregorian new year, three months until the Chinese new year, and what, about four months until the Airbus new year? Good luck with that A380. In the meantime, 5 orders from KE for the 747, bookem Dano.

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