Odds and Ends: A350-800 stretch; Mixed results on P-8A; BBD takes hit; Hot seat

A350-800 Stretch: The idea of an A350-800 stretch, to around 300 seats, was floated at the Airbus annual press conference January 13. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. This would put the airplane almost on a par with the A350-900  at 316 seats. Typically the seating differences between minor model variants range from 10% to 15% to 20%–not a mere 5% as would be the case with the suggested 800-to-900. The operating results would be the following, according to Leeham Co EU’s analysis:

  • On  6,000nm trip, ie a 12.5 hour flight the fuel burns would be:
  • – 900, 65.4t      datum    2.33l per seat and 100km
  • – 800l 63.9t       97.7%  2.44l
  • – 800  62.4t       95.4%  2.53l

The -800 would have slightly lower trip costs but per-seat costs would be somewhat higher.

Mixed results: Bloomberg News reports mixed operational results for Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon, the replacement for the 1950s-era Lockheed P-3 Orion sub-hunter and surveillance airplane.

Bombardier takes hit: Bombardier takes a harsh hit in this column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, coming on the heels of 1,700 layoffs.’s CEO gave this interview to Bloomberg News.

Hot seat: Runway Girl Network reports that magnesium might be used for airplane seats. Let’s hope the plane is evacuated in the mandatory 90 seconds in an emergency and fire.

Embraer forecast: Embraer sees 150 orders through 2015 for its E-Jets, according to this Bloomberg News report. EMB needs the orders, if they include the E-Jet E1; there is a production gap between the E1 and E2. Boeing has a gap for its 777 Classic to 777X and Airbus has one between its current A330 orders and expectations that it will continue production into the 2020 decade.

19 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A350-800 stretch; Mixed results on P-8A; BBD takes hit; Hot seat

  1. Matching the 787-9 with exactly similar capacity (but higher comfort / payload-range) could help in sales campaigns with airlines deciding for either 787-9 + 787-10 or A350 XWB’s for which the 787-8 is too small anyway..

    Cool Trent XWB noises: http://youtu.be/B_K0brhse7U?t=5m44s

    Btw ATR CEO putting pressure on Airbus about a 90 seater: “I have a list two pages long of airlines asking us to build this plane,”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-23/airbus-reviews-future-of-atr-turboprop-venture-with-finmeccanica.html

      • Well…what’s so great about 494 sales of the 787?. Boeing has delivered about 100 787s and already has over $20 Billion in Deferred costs associated with those deliveries.

        According to the Underpants Gnomes Formula for Aerospace Success:

        1. Sell lots of planes for less than it takes to build them.
        2. ???????
        3. Profit!

        • The 494 orders are just for the 787-8, but the 787-9 also has 404 orders. So, the deferred costs are spread over 998 frames. It’s debatable how much of current deferred cost can be attributed to the 787-10 (132 orders).

    • Nice XWB video, thanks. But, it’s quite different from what John Leahy said after the XWB’s maiden flight, “Did you hear how quiet it was? Did you hear what you didn’t hear?”

      I like the sound of that power on take-off and miss the crackle and exhaust trails. All that’s left are old military aircraft like the B-52’s, but even then they’re not the same and not viewable on a regular basis.

      Now, is Leahy deaf?

  2. Airbus has another option, delete the A358 and A330neo, then build a clean sheet seven abreast aircraft in two or three lengths for various range-capacity combos.

    • Ha,
      you still need a problem for that solution! 😉

      IMHO any potential for improvements should work on near term improvements.
      An unavailable A350-somewhat800 model does not best an unvailable 787.
      And however fast Airbus can ramp up A350 production delivering the larger models will make more sense.
      Thus methinks that measures that will enable staying with current A330 production levels for longer should have the eye of Airbus management.
      Longterm objectives are obviously different. -1100, -800Light, ..
      Then, order attrition on the 787-8 ( and A330-200 ) front could be an indicator that capacity upsizing shows an accelerating pace.

      • You and Airbus have the same issue. Chasing sales without a strategy will result in a widebody program full of island configs. The A350-900 went after the 777-200ER replacement and picked them all up, but then they ended up with having to address the regional market with a plane not designed to address that requirement. Answer, float configs of the A330 and claim that to be a strategy and add an R to the -900. Yeah that will work!!!. Now we have the A350-800, what do we do with that because it really competes with nothing Boeing had flying. Answer, we say we’re not going to build it. But we have to deal with the customers who want it. Answer, offer the A330NEO as a concept and say we can lighten it up and it will work for you. Now that’s not working too well what now? Answer, let’s make the -800 bigger and let it come into the -900 space because we think we need to do something about the A330 replacement. As I’ve said all along a strategy of response is not a winning plan. The Airbus widebody program got lucky with the A330, and it took them A LONG time to make any headway with the program. Let me try this again, kill the A330, redefine the A350-800 based on customer defined specs and not based on what Boeing is doing or not doing. Get the A350-1000 up and running and then come back and address the A350-800. Don’t waste your time chasing the 777-900 because Boeing waited and played the card based on knowing Airbus would not build the right plane but would try to build a one up 777-300ER replacement. John does a great job with the A320 program but he has been a terrible tea leaf reader in the widebody segment. Proof- the A300 was held on for way too long. The A340 family went south before it even took off. The A380 is huge mess that went after a space even Boeing wished it had run from. Go back to France and make some calls and ask the majors what they want in a widebody program. Don’t listen to Air Asia because they’re a single data point. Listen to China, hell build them in China and get this mess fixed fast. If not the world will be held hostage by the 787. Good luck John, and please build a widebody strategy that is based in market growth requirements and not based on trying to out be Boeing. For Boeing, your willingness to say me too will enable them to have the entire 787 program and 777 replacements flying before Airbus has two configs of the A350 flying. All the -900R, ERs, -1000s, and A330NEOs in the world will never help get this thing going..

        • Your explanation does not jibe with Airbus going from 0% to 50% marketshare.
          As I wrote previously they seem to have made less misssteps ( and/or better “steps” ) by a magnitude than Boeing.
          Though IMHO the NB market was easier due to Boeing’s attachment to a dated design.
          A330/A340 as a very high comonality / same production path type was a rather good idea too.
          Whatever happened in respect to ETOPS and in view of engines being the great improver while FBW gave necessary enhancement flexibility Airbus did the right things most of the time.

    • I guess the civil servants in the Pentagon are a little bit more concerned after the Darleen Druyun‎ case. The Navy brass is still looking for good job opportunities after their service. The Navy is also responsible for the progress of P-8 program.

      Just compare this with military reports concerning the V-22 or F-22: everything is well!

  3. Compared to the cabin length differential between the A330-200/A330-300 and the A340-200/A340-300, the cabin length differential, as currently planned, between the A350-800/A35-900, would be larger than the formerly mentioned pair of aircraft.

    Now, please do note that the fuselage frame spacing on the A330/A340 is 21 inches (i.e. 0.533m), while on the A350 (and A380) the fuselage frame spacing is set at 25 inches (i.e. 0.635m).

    The A330-200 was shrunken by 10 frames over that of the A330-300; or a difference of 5.33m in cabin length (i.e. 10 x 0.533m).

    The A340-200 was shrunken by 8 frames over that of the A340-300; or a difference of 4.27m in cabin length (i.e. 8 X 0.533m)

    The A350-800 is planned to be shrunken by 10 frames over that of the A350-900; or a difference of 6.35m in cabin length.

    An A350-800 that would be shrunken by only 8 frames instead of 10 frames would have a 5.08m Shorter cabin than that of the A350-900. Hence, it seems to me that such a shrunken model wouldn’t be unreasonble at all. 😉

    • Good observation, remember its 8 vs 9 abreast too. We haven’t really compared -800s to 900s. Streching it a bit could keep airlines like Hawaian happy and leave some extra room for A330NEOs too. I think even more -8s will be converted to -9s. Maybe another 200.. Airlines that ordered in 2005 see a different market situation.

  4. This A350-“850″ stretch idea seem bogus for the reason given in the top post.
    Seems like it makes sense to just drop the model, and instead develop the 350-1100 stretch.
    Hell, just do with A350-900 what they are doing with A330 now, and certify a low MTOW version, structurally identical, but that will save airlines on airport fees based on MTOW.
    Airlines have demonstrated that they have no problem operating both 787 and A350, so expending resources on such a marginal model seems a waste whena A350-1100 would be way more profitable and actually a relevant strategic move vs. 777X.

    Additionally, that leaves the focus more open for an A330 NEO.
    Actually, I wonder if a more extensive A330″X” would be justified…
    Wider carbon wings, folding tips if necessary, possible cockpit commonality withA350, and really go for engine improvements.
    Pratt is touting GTF in larger sizes, with further improved gear ratios.
    Certainly IAE and/or Rolls could also be interested in bringing forth new tech…
    Pushing the limit, but within normal risk for the time period it would fly.

    • A330x with carbon wings, plus the fuselage, improved with scandium…whatever it is, it must be good.

  5. I think Airbus will just build the A350-900 and-1000 in a segment where Boeing offers the compromized 78-10 and 777-8X.
    The 787 Regional was launched and ordered but killed off before birth. We can learn from that product strategy error that saying a long haul machine is ok for short flight too will have limited succes at best.
    The A330 ? Simply reengine, it probably will prove its critics wrong again, keep the line open and sell many hundreds. The “it hurts the A350” stories are non-sense. The A350 is sold out, bigger, flies further is more expensive and complicated. Boeing would hate it, but thats a reality for the last 20 yrs already.

  6. I do agree that offering an A330NEO with finely tunes specs will work out well for airbus and allow a smooth development of a new frame for the 2020s, like a major evolution of the A350-800 original plans

  7. From several directions I hear the 787 is 10-12% more fuel efficient then the A330. That seems a dangerously low percentage for the 787.

    Ask around how much better a GENX /Trent1000is then a CF6-80/Trent700, what a new wing tip does, the AlLi A330 panel Airbus is testing as we speak, other not so radical weight reductions..

    I would like Analysts like Richard Aboulafia, Daniel Tjang or Guy Norris to make a rough estimation. They stop 10 feet before the finish, publicly..

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