Odds and Ends: Looking toward the South; Lion Air updates CSeries interest; 787 fuel advantage

Looking toward the South: As a follow-up to our previous post, Implications of the IAM-Boeing talks on 777X, here is a commentary from The Wall Street Journal about the migration of US industry to the South, were unions have a more difficult time.

Lion Air and CSeries: Indonesia’s Lion Air, which made news a few months ago with the prospect of a large order for the Bombardier CSeries, poured cold water on the prospect of placing one any time soon, according to this article in Aviation Week. Seeing actual flight test results from the larger CS300 is key, the airline’s head told AvWeek.

We previously raised our own doubts about the prospect of another large order because of the prospect of over-commitment of existing orders from Airbus and Boeing.

But Lion Air told The Wall Street Journal that an order for 50 CSeries could come by the end of the first quarter. A key piece of information in the AvWeek and WSJ articles is this, from the WSJ:

Mr. Kirana said Bombardier claims the larger of two CSeries models with 160 seats will be able to fly with the same economics as much larger Airbus A320neo jets, which carry around 160 to 180 passengers. He said the Bombardier CS300 jet’s range and economics makes it attractive for new longer international routes to smaller cities in China.

787 Fuel Advantage: In the never-ending war of words between Airbus and Boeing, readers know we always connect with airlines to cross-check what the OEMs say.

As readers also know, Boeing promotes its 787 as being 20%-25% more fuel efficient than today’s airplanes. With the (also) never-ending prospect of Airbus proceeding with an A330neo, the question arises over what the delta is between the A330 and the 787. We asked a fleet planner. The answer: 10% in favor of the 787, a gap that an A330neo could narrow considerably (but be unlikely to close altogether) with new engines and sharklets. So how about that 20%-25%? These figures compare with the 767 and A340 respectively, the fleet planner tells us.

53 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Looking toward the South; Lion Air updates CSeries interest; 787 fuel advantage

  1. “So how about that 20%-25%? These figures compare with the 767 and A340 respectively, the fleet planner tells us.”

    That’s not really a secret (to me), Boeing always said the 787 will burn > 20% less fuel than the 767, and we know the A330 burns less fuel per passenger than the 767.

  2. 330 is a bigger plane than 67 -and would have a lower fuel burn per seat; no news but the 787 keeps on giving – new talking points for the aviation enthusiasts.

  3. But airlines pay for fuel per trip. So the bigger and heavier A-330 actually burns more fuel on like trips when compared to the B-767.
    Sorry Scott. I just don’t see how an A-330NEO with Sharklets would burn just 10% more fuel than a B-787 on a like mission. It is just a matter of physics that tells you more energy (fuel) is needed to move the bigger and heavier airplane.
    The operating weight of the A-332 (current model) is 265,000 lbs with the GE CF-6 engines, it is 242,000 lbs for the (current) B-788. Both carry about 250 pax, and the B-788 can carry up to 28 LD3s while the A-332 carries up to 26 LD3s.
    The typical cruise speed for the B-787 is 490 KTAS (max 515 KTAS) and for the A-330 it is 465 KTAS (max 475 KTAS), although both aircraft may fly closer to 450 KTAS in reality.



    • AFAICS the 787-8 data on a.net have not been achieved ( yet / ever ).
      And I would guess the A330 data aren’t all that fresh either.
      So for a start you might want to replace 787-8 OEW @ 242klbs with 260klbs.
      Thus on the A330 side it is comparable weight lifted by a larger wing and driven by engines with slightly inferior sfc.

      • Uwe, you do know the B-787-8 has a wingspan just 10″ shorter (about 30 cm) than the A-330-200, 197′ for the B-787 and 197’10” for the A-330. The B-787-8 (186′) is just 7′ shorter than the A-330-200 (193′). The B-787 enjoys the same 4″ wider fuselage advantage the A-320 enjoys over the B-737. The A-332 has a MTOW of 529,100 lbs compared to the B-788 MTOW of 502,500 lbs, but flies some 700 nm further (out to 8200 nm vs. 7500 nm). The B-788 does this while burning less fuel, carrying the same pax load and 2 more LD-3s worth on cargo.

      • And, in 1 to 1.5 years from now the weight in a 787-8 will be at or below the current weight. I do not understand why anyone continues to think the A330-300NEO will be of interest to the marketplace. Think of it like a car purchase for you personally. Will you buy a car that uses 1980s technology today? When you know the components and the features in the car are not equal to today? Airbus will at some point come to the realization that an old A330 will not comppete. Build the A350-800 and just come to the party late with a much more modern and up to date airframe. The A330NEO is a bad idea and market share will prove it in 2 years.

        • “Think of it like a car purchase for you personally. Will you buy a car that uses 1980s technology today? When you know the components and the features in the car are not equal to today?”
          I you are a US citizen that example is hilarious. The majority there bought chromed 1930 tech cars for a very long time ( with uptodate technology available 😉

          The 787 performs better than an A330. Obviously. You would expect that from a
          20 years younger chinese copy. But the difference is marginal and the product quality is abysmal ( as with any cheap chinese stuff 😉
          Over all I would expect that an airline using A330 will consistently make more and “better” money than an airline using 787. This will change over time. But that will not be the near future.

      • I’m with you l7room – I’ll let Richard Aboulafia explain my view:

        The key paragraph includes: “…the market still prefers newer models. The increased role of third party finance means that everyone wants the latest models, largely due to the profound bifurcation between newer and older models in aircraft values and financing terms.”

        • But Aboulafia also understood where this came from and that these values apear to be spoofed:
          .. I paused to reflect on just what a tremendous drug-like rush the 787 program once was, and just what a ghastly let down it has become ..

          A substanceless perfect rush of a marketing campaign.
          Some haven’t managed to wean themselves of this drug yet.

      • If Airbus can sell 330s 30 million cheaper than Boeing can sell 787s then interest and depreciation will eat the operating cost advantage of the newer aircraft pretty well up. On short and medium haul the 787/a350 hasn’t much advantage. No point in Airbus not pushing the a330 as it will be many years before the a350 production system can handle current a330 and a350 demand.

        Old airframe makes it unviable?? Tell me again why they restarted Twin Otter production?

    • Sorry Topboom, but you missed something there. The fleet planner claims only a 10% difference between the 787 and the current A330, not the NEO.
      It makes one wonder what would have happened if Airbus had stuck to their guns back in 2006 and stayed with the original A350 concept.
      Certainly Boeing would still be making hay with the 777, and that without having to resort to any -x models. Would the 787 have still been so successful, saleswise? Would the A350 have really picked up? Would the A330 have been prematurely retired?

      Strange how things turn out. As little as 6 months ago, most people were slamming keesje for his A330 NEO predictions and here we are now seriously discussing the possibilites and probabilities of said concept.

    • The key issue, kc135topboom, is that the A330NEO with Sharklets would not even burn 10% more than the 787. That figure is for the current A330, not NEOed and without sharklets, as per the fleet planner Scott is referring.

      • I would only expect a 1%-2% fuel burn improvement by having sharklets replace the current winglets. It may not even be that high.

  4. As I recall, Boeings claims for the 787 were only up to a 15% improvement on the A330 numbers. But I am getting old, my memory is not what it used to be and <i am just too lazy to try and find it on the net.

    Sorry. =:-)

    • That’s about right, Boeing marketing claims (claimed?) 15-17%. Of course, marketing numbers are usually based on a particular mission, apparently the reality shows a number of 10%.

  5. The problem with 330 neo is that the fuselage is not able to realistically go to 8 abreast, the new engines and a few improvements will basically not be further upgrade able, and it won’t capitalize on the 350 technology. Why not delay the 800 and optimize it by taking weight off it and tweaking it? It capitalizes on the new 350 technologies. Even if the 330 neo improves 15% it will still be stuck with a 2 generation older wing. And the wings the thing…the 777 x and the 737 Ng could only compete (even with new engines) by upgrading the wing. Put the 800 on a diet and commit to another assembly line…

    • A330 changes apply to a working supply line and FAL that can deliver 10 or more frames a month that has a ~3.5 years backlog.
      A350-800 of any ilk will compete in production process with the -900 and -1000 on 1 per month now and increasing to 10 .. 14 in 2019 and a backlog 7..9 years.

      Wonder where Airbus can expand sales and where not.
      Wonder why the Boeing lockstepped informers try to make a case for not doing a NEO but flooding the A350 line.
      They don’t even have to invent a new sabotage tool for this as they’ve got all the experience one could need from the 787.

    • Erm, the A330 fuselage is already sized for 8 abreast. Your point about the engines not being upgradeable is not true as continuous enhancements for current engines show. Also, why change the wing when 1 – The engines provide largest efficiency gains and 2 – The A330 wing aspect ratio is higher than the 787 ?

      Lastly, it would seem airlines are willing to accept the 737max and neo which shall retain the same wings (the 320neo designed with wing technology older than the a330), what makes you think they won’t with the 330neo?

  6. “10% in favor of the 787, a gap that an A330neo could narrow considerably (but be unlikely to close altogether) with new engines and sharklets.”

    Not a chance of seeing an A330neo if that really is the best we can expect from it!

    Selling on price alone is a thankless task in any business, but especially in an industry that requires high margins to fund large R&D investment and such a long ‘time to market’.

    • The current A330 backlog is about 250 aircraft. Maybe some more after the next show. Just 2 and a half of year production according to Airbus production plans I read somewhere – 11 per month in 2014/15 and then a phase out.

      To fund something you have to sell something. In 2014 Airbus expected to sell about 15 two aisle widebody aircraft per month and 16 in the following years. According to the ramp up of the A350 production Airbus has to sell additional 300 A330 to keep the money stream flowing.

      I guess a pimped version of the A330 will sell far better.
      I expect two changes: new engines and an A350 cockpit. I do not expect a new wing design.

      According to Airbus documentation the current ground clearance for PW is 1.13 meter and 1.06 meter for RR.

      Finally an A330NEO is also a far better compensation for airlines with delayed A350s;-)

      • Airbus dropped plans for 11 units per month, they’ll stay at 10 per month until 2015 and then slowly decrease the production rate.

    • With a superior and newer aircraft that will have reached its accounting block target, Boeing will have all the aces and flexibility with the 787 in the early 2020s – Airbus will be feeding off scraps with an inferior plane.

      But just think of the difference if Airbus went for a radical solution, with new engines, new wing and perhaps even based around the A350 fuselage – they would then have the potential to dominate with more efficient models from 150 seats through to 525 (if they develop a A350-1100 too).

      That’s the big prize – do Airbus have the will/resources to do it….?

      • That’s precisely what I’ve been thinking about as well. There’s no reason IMJ that the monthly output of A350s and A350-derived aircraft couldn’t be well above 20 per month a decade hence.

        Hence, Airbus could be producing A358s (i.e. fully optimsed, newer and lighter engine, MTOW around 230 tonnes etc), A359IRs (i.e Intermediate Range; same engines, MTOW as the A358), A359s and A350-1000s; in addition to an A350-200X, an A350-300X and an A350-400X — a new family of WB aircraft designed to replace the A300-600 as well as the A330-300.

  7. How quickly could Airbus scale the A350 line to 20+/month? If they want 50% of the widebody market, they need to match the 787’s 14/mo plus the 777’s 8.3/mo.

    If Airbus can’t get the A350 assembly process going fast enough, it doesn’t matter how amazing a tweaked 800 turns out to be; the line will be full with higher-margin 900 and 1000s. Being able to update the A330 and sell that for the 5-7 years needed to get the A350 line up to speed might make sense.

  8. Bottom line is not fuel, its totall costs. 787 has better fuel and will improve, it will get lighter (-9 is and that trickeds over to the -8) and it carries a bit more freight.

    On the other hand the cost to repair and keep all that stuff running costs as do flight cancellations. Long term ican tghe more electric manage to get reliable vs the bleed air systems. Pneumatics are easy tyo trouble shoot and less costly.

  9. So….after Boeing has spent Billions more n the 787 Program than it had attended and was still three (3) years late, and the fact that Boeing is looking at $25+ Billion Dollars of Deferred Costs and they still can’t produce the 787 at a profit on a unit basis (and there is no end in sight) – for all this: they offer a plane that is only 10% more efficient than its competitor? Is this what FAILURE looks like?

    • The aircraft itself is not 10% more efficient. The far biggest part of the difference is made up by the engines.

      I guess the problem was the 777. A real 9-abreast 787 would have been to close to the 777. Boeing tried to design something against the 8-abreast A330 that killed the 7-abreast 767. In return Airbus designed an aircraft to attack the 777.

      When did Boeing or the analysts realized the A350 is not only an answer to the 787 but also a contender against the 777?

      • Closer to the 777 would have made the 767 replacement target unbelievable.

        The size step seems to have been choosen for getting away from the compromised 767 section, a noteworthy increase in efficiency and to squat on the shown to be viable size slot for the A330.

        The 787 was a PR success. IMHO very carefully orchestrated on a wide lockstepped front ( Boeing, The Press, Analysts of various ilk, ThinkTankers ..).
        A wide range of design decissions seem to have been done with PR leverage in mind.
        The 787 project was and will stay compromised by these decissions and also the compressed timeline as well as the risk sharing production model, selected to have the least outlay and a maximum of “WTO nondamaging” subsidies.
        All taken together this project is the airframer industries equivalent of the “structured credit” product that took down the financial markets and probably conceived by similarly minded persons.
        The Mk1 pedigree will stay with the central components of this plane.
        Looking back the initial A350 was a viable product that was very carefully killed by calumny. ( See Aboulafias admission later on though admitting only to a passive role : they missdirected us ..)
        In the next planned wave the NSA was presented to the public but Airbus called that bluff by introduction of the NEO _and_ ignoring the professional whiners.

        The way these projections are conceived and woven there is small probability that deciders at Boeing don’t have an inkling of the real landscape. The reality distortion is coldly planned and executed.
        The problem in this situation IMHO is that your behaviour must match the fake projection as the success hinges on this.
        This massively limits Plan B type preparations ( forex Boeing had to continue producing more or less worthless frames just to give substance to “FF in just a couple of days/month ) . Imagine the effort that must have been invested ( visible and invisible ) to keep this facade intact for such a long time. ( Airbus is regularly ripped to pieces for the smallest perceived slight.).
        Finally if you are good at this kind of convoluted mindbending you neccessarily lack the structured thinking and objectivity to pull through a “real” project.
        I would be surprised if Boeing did not realise early on that the XWB would encroach on the 777. ( Look out when derisionary articles started to crop up. “Ghandi: Second Phase” )

  10. The real problem with the A330 is that it cannot accommodate the flight attendant crew rest area as the 777, 787 and then after on the A350 XWB aircraft CAN BE ENSURED. It is for this reason that the A350Mk1 should be abandoned. The extra wide body can therefore compete with 777/787 more seriously.

    If the A330 becomes Neo it will fly further but it would not be able to accommodate the flight attandent crew rest area except to the sacrifice of the belly cargo and in this case the 787 is better!

    In addition, we do not know if it is the A332 or A333 which is compared against the 788, but we know that the upcoming 787-9 will be best therefore there we can conclude the debate, since we know that the 787 (all derivatives) flight further whith more freight (best payload) and more passengers.

    I think that the A330 will eventually be a good “Regional” before disappearing.
    Then comes the 787-10 very efficiency.

    Thank You Leeham to compare the oranges with apples but I understand that he must find a topic ..


    • Why should an a330 NEO have extra range nobody seems to want anymore? Rule one of the Boeing/Airbus duopoly is don’t build a new aircraft with the same specs as the competitor, too risky as the better plane will win and somebody will loose big time. I recon Airbus learnt that with the a340-5/600. Any future a330 developments will be optimised short to medium range developments.

    • “When did Boeing or the analysts realized the A350 is not only an answer to the 787 but also a contender against the 777?”

      I think you are spot on. I never thought the a350 a direct competitor against the 787 except maybe for the A350-800 competing against the 787-9. As time passes, I am also starting to believe that the a350-800 is not the aircraft that Airbus wants to match against the 787-9. The 787-9 is not only very competitive, it is also first on the market and could force Airbus to spend a lot of development money on the a350-800 in order to catch up. I could be wrong.

      I’m not saying that the a350-800 couldn’t be as good a deal as the 787-9 – or even better. I’m saying that perhaps Airbus doesn’t want to spend the money needed to make the A350-800 competitive – and I wouldn’t blame them. Perhaps the money could be used more wisely elsewhere.

      • I guess resource wise it comes down to 800 or 1100. The 1100 would have to come after the 1000 as timing of both aircraft will depend on TXWB-97. Between 320 NEO family and 350 family I think Airbus have a lot on their plate and reducing the load would also de-risk their eis targets.

  11. So why not commit to an additional 350 line now and prepare to sell an optimized 350-8 for 20 + years versus a suboptimal 330 neo for 10 years?

  12. GE says the GENX has about 15% better fuel consumption then CF6.

    A330s fly CF6(-80E2) engines. Genx engines were offered once for the A330, GEnx-72A1, years ago.. http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/farnborough-genx-offered-for-future-a330s-208087/

    Agree with KCT sharklets won’t do miracles on a A330. They replace sizeable winglets., But 1-2% is worthwhile.

    A 15% better fuel consumption of a A330NEO over a A330 seems not far-fetched IMO.

    I won’t go jumping to conclusion regarding the fleetplanners 10% 787 advantage over the A330 here. Specially if you go “per seat”. Far too subjective. If an A330 has the same size/capacity as a 787, Airbus will probably stretch it 2 meters/rows. E.g. A330-250 😉

    checklist: “The real problem with the A330 is that it cannot accommodate the flight attendant crew rest area as the 777, 787 and then after on the A350 XWB aircraft CAN BE ENSURED. It is for this reason that the A350Mk1 should be abandoned.”

    checklist, I think the A330 and 340 have crew rests too..

    • How can the GEnx engine be 15% more fuel efficient than the CF6 engines and the B787 be only 10% more efficient than the A330? This does not sounds right.
      I think that one the reasons the B787 might not be a little bit more efficient compare to the A330 is because the engines are still not performing at the level that was promised. They are getting closer though and it can only get better. Scott, its the comparison between the B787-8 vs the A330-200 or the A330-300?

  13. Funny, I once compared long ago the A330 versus the B787 with very crude Payload-Range diagrams. Came out 10% in favor of the B787. Nice to see that confirmed. However, the actual mission and cabin have – as usual – large influence.

  14. A330NEO is just a pipe dream for Airbus fans. It won’t happen and I seriously don’t think Airbus is even considering it. They would spend a ton of cash to get an aircraft that, by the time it hit the market, would still be considerably behind the 787, and would soon get left in the dust. The sales that the 787-9 and 787-10 only reinforce this idea.

    • But it is a simple and compelling idea, and that makes it so sticky.
      I think many underestimate the technical hurdles that have to be overcome for such a project.

    • Neutron73

      “A330NEO is just a pipe dream for Airbus fans.”

      The A330 Neo)Dreamliner!

  15. No. Keesje you read across and you are polluting the discusion!

    I say:

    “If the A330 becomes Neo it will fly further but it would not be able to accommodate the flight attandent crew rest area except to the sacrifice of the belly cargo and in this case the 787 is better!”


    you’re not supposed to know that the market has chosen the flight attendant crew rest area above the cab??

    That is what you are talking to me about the A330/A340.

    The aircraft of the age old databases on the A300 of the 70 ‘s?

  16. I think we have a bit of crises here. Scott’s fleet manager analyst says the 787 is “just” 10% more fuel efficient then the A330. GE says they can put a 15% better engine on the A330.

    And A330NEO costs, well, however you look at it, its not something like a new wing or major redesign. Airbus has put 5 different engines there already.. The aircraft is pretty up to date. FBW, has a huge option catalogue, everyone bought them already, there are freighter/ tanker versions and the 10 a/c a month A330 assembly line seems pretty efficient.

    What if some airlines agree the 787s 17 inch is a bit narrow for their passengers?

    Prospects: Air Asia, Virgin, Delta, US, Cathay, the Chinese, Ryanair and who knows some legacy’s might come to surprising discussions too.


    • “GE says they can put a 15% better engine on the A330.”

      That may be true but I assume such an engine will be heavier and will need a reinforced wing too. This all might add a few tonnes to the A330 weight, the real fuel burn advantage will be more like 10%.

      “What if some airlines agree the 787s 17 inch is a bit narrow for their passengers?”

      And airlines don’t care.

      • These careless airlines can also go 9-abreast on an A330NEO just like AirAsia X.

        I doubt Airbus would need to reinforced the wing. The wing is nearly identical to the wing used on A340 and this wing could carry two engines.

      • Hello guys
        I’ve read once that the A340 wing doesn’t need to be stronger than for the A330. The two outer engines with their wieght dampens the structure that can in reality be lighter. Thuis wing with 4 engines is rated at 275 t MTOW vs 242 t MTOW with 2 engines

  17. I think the seat width issue isn’t allowed to be an issue, because teher no solutions. In the end it not the OEM or airline, but the passengers who decide it is perfectly allright to pay $2000 for that 14 hr trip in a 18.5inch A380 and also pay $2000 for that 14 hr trip on a 17 inch (middle) seat on a 777 too.

    If you sell 17 inch seat you can only say its not a problem 🙂

  18. @Aviaponcho:
    Yes, that is right. A wing with 4 engines is in theory lighter than a wing with two engines. The difference can be very small, especially if high strength material (= CFK) is used. The 242t MTOW of the A330 is not reasoned by wing strength but by take-off performance. The A340-300 is equipped with a total of 136klbf of thrust, while the A330 has 144klbf. But that is the cost of having just two engines. Also explains the rather reluctant climb performance of A340-300s.

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