Development of the GE9X for the Boeing 777X

Jason Brewer, general manager of GE Commercial Engines Marketing, appeared at last week’s Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance 2014 conference on the Big Engines panel.

Brewer discussed the development of the GE9X for the Boeing 777X, outlining the new technology going into this big engine for Boeing’s latest 7-Series aircraft.

One slide–which is available to the conference attendees–showed a market forecast of 3,000 aircraft in a context that appeared to suggest GE sees a market of this number of airplanes for the 777X. We clarified this with Brewer after the panel; the forecast is for the 350-400 seat sector. Brewer told us that GE hopes to capture 1,700 of these aircraft.

This is the first time we’ve seen this sub-sector broken out–Airbus and Boeing typically forecast for the larger 300-400 seat sector in their 20 year forecasts. Airbus and Boeing have previously indicated they think the demand for the 400-seat aircraft (i.e., the 777-9X) is between 670-780 respectively.

The sound is pretty soft on this. It will best be heard with headphones.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdJj-WlKoY0]

43 Comments on “Development of the GE9X for the Boeing 777X

  1. Hmm, so GE is counting on 3400 GE9X sales.

    What would happen to that sales projection if Airbus launched an A360X mega twin in, say, 2017, for entry into service in 2025, that would be powered by a new family of 100,000-pound thrust class Rolls Royce engines, featuring intercoolers, an ultra-high overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1 and having at least 5 percent better TSFC than the GE9X?

    Such a new engine would not only power an A360X mega twin family, but could be put on the A350-1000 form 2025 onwards as well (i.e. at least 10 percent lower TSFC than the Trent-XWB-97 engine).

    http://www.rolls-royce.com/about/technology/research_programmes/gas_turbine_programmes/lemcotec.jsp

  2. My quick google showed Boeing forecasting 3300 deliveries (2013-2032) for the 300-400 space. obviously the time frame Brewer was using can’t be the same and there is no reason to assume GE and Boeing forecasts have been converged for pr purposes, but is he really indicating that GE believe there will be only nominal (300 or so) 300-350 seaters delivered? Or do they have a wildly different set of forecasts to Boeing?

  3. Both GE and Boeing have a strong interest in communication the 777X success is assured. A done deal. The 773ER legancy is continued. Who outside Boeing and GE is saying so? Not Udvar Hazy. (nobody quoted him this time..)
    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/avd_11_18_2013_p01-02-637352.xml&p=2

    Back into the real world the 777X seems expensive, heavy and available late. For key customers like EK, AF/KL, AA it is a two row /20 seats stretch. They already have 10 abreast. It has become silent around the 777X and its orders. EK hasn’t even signed, for some reason. All large 777 operators have already ordered XWB’s and a re studying the 777X spec’s additional value under real operational conditions.

    The 777X will be bigger and heavier then the 777-300ER. Still it will have a GE9X of just 100 klbs, Fantastic. Or 103..107, did anyone say 110, 115klbs? Maybe realism is creeping in?

    • Waiting to see if Airbus will launch an A350-1100, reducing their EK needs from 150 777-Xs to less than 100? Maybe even negotiations in progress?

    • Another Udvar Hazy quote:

      Hazy is a strong supporter of the A380 and described the roll out ceremony as: A dream becoming reality. It is like a new baby being born, he said. It is the biggest aeronautical achievement in many decades and will set new standards by which all future air travel will be now judged.

      http://www.airfinancejournal.com/Article/2127329/ILFC-names-first-A380-customer.html

      As for the 777-9X, it seems to be getting very heavy. It’s incredible, really, that Boeing is going to spend $10 billion on something without any growth potential, and extremely vulnerable to being boxed-in a few years after its EIS by a re-engined A350-1000 and an A360-800X, with the latter having a capacity of 11 abreast* in economy class and 8 abreast* in business class; both of which could be using a new 100,000-pound thrust class engine from Rolls Royce that would be at least 5 percent more efficient than the GE9X.

      *2 aisles, 11 abreast With sats having 18-inch seat-cushion width. Effective internal cabin width = 6.7m; or 264″

      ** 8 abreast and 3 aisles, Direct aisle access from every seat: 2 staggered seats — aisle — 2 parallel seats — aisle — 2 parallel seats – aisle — 2 staggered seats)

      • “It’s incredible, really, that Boeing is going to spend $10 billion on something without any growth potential, and extremely vulnerable to being boxed-in a few years after its EIS by a re-engined A350-1000 and an A360-800X”

        Spending ~$30 Billion to “box-in” your competitor’s $10 Billion program after that $10 Billion program lands ~450 orders +/- takes fortitude on the big spender not the little one.

        • Where do you get your $30 billion figure from?

          It’s generally recognised in the industry that wing development accounts for about 40 percent of the total R&D (or RTD) costs for an all new airliner. On the 777-9X, you’ve got in addition to the all new wing, an all new vertical stabilisers, re-engineered side walls , 787 cockpit, etc.; or perhaps 60 percent of the way to an all new airplane.

          Hence, $15- $18 billion in R&D for an A360-800X sounds more reasonable. $30 billion sounds like Carl Sagan talking about billions and billions; you know, $20 or $40 bilion — what’s the difference, its still billions……. 😉

          NB: Don’t make the mistake in believing that just because the 787 and A380 went over budget, all new airliner programmes have to as well. The A350 programme, for example, seems to be running along nicely.

          As for your 450 orders, please keep in mind that orders can easily be cancelled. If something comes along with a 10 to 15 percent lower fuel burn per seat than the 777-9X (i.e. a re-engined A350-1000 and an A360-800X both sharing an all new engine as described above), then the order backlog for the 777-9X would be in risk of being evaporated overnight.

        • I don’t think 8 per month is that unrealistic but it is predicated on a 400-500 backlog at EIS. If its smaller then the rate will be less. 6/month may be more realistic for a 300-400 units backlog. I don’t think these OEMs want 7-8 year backlogs anymore my guess is the target is less than 5 years.

          I think the 778 won’t sell well for long and the 777F will be brought in pretty early in the cycle (~2025) to make up for any production short comings so long as cargo market is strong.

          I don’t know how many airlines would be interested in a 460-seat aircraft over a 400-seat one. Maybe there would be cancellations if it blew the market away but shut it down like the 77W/A346. Those were very close in seats. It certainly could work but there are dozens of 77W customers that I don’t see needing to make the jump unless the economics are 20%+ better than a 77W and even then there are not that many Cat F airports out there to handle those wings.

          Again, I am sure it could work. Boeing’s breakeven is probably close to 250 so they are already in the black so as long as they execute it will be profitable whatever Airbus does. If Airbus proceeds with this A360 then I could see Boeing spending their time on a 787-10IGW to better compete with the A359/1 and also launching a 757 replacement possibly limiting A321 sales. Its all about putting your resources in the place that drives the maximum return not just stopping your competitor from making a profit.

        • “I don’t know how many airlines would be interested in a 460-seat aircraft over a 400-seat one. Maybe there would be cancellations if it blew the market away but shut it down like the 77W/A346.”

          BTW, I believe the seat counts generally are inflated due to

          However, the point is that an A360-800X would be able to offer, say, 40 more seats in three classes than the 777-9X, while having the same trip cost cost. That’s the difference. I’m not talking about a larger aircraft having a higher trip fuel cost.

          “Its all about putting your resources in the place that drives the maximum return not just stopping your competitor from making a profit.”

          True, but it’s also about the strategic development of your product portfolio. If you do that while at the same time you’ll stopp your competitor dead in the tracks, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

      • My $30 Billion figure included the A350 too.

        As for canceling orders: I don’t see anything competitive coming before 2020 and the ramp up should be much smoother for the 777x than the 787 because it is a known entity with longer wings. And even this A360 idea you have down to 2025 but by then Boeing should be a couple years into their desired production rate (8, 10/month?) and availability will play a big roll.

        Even the A340 didn’t have huge order cancellations (EK did but LH even ordered more) and that was a relatively one-sided competition if there ever was one. The 779 is still supposed to be the most efficient aircraft flying (even if you are pessimistic, at 10 abreast I don’t think many debate that) so there will always be demand for such an aircraft even if something better comes after it (and of course it will).

        • That sounds more reasonable.

          Now, they are now producing 777s at a rate of 8.3 per month. That’s with a current 100 percent market share. It’s highly optimistic, to say the least, to count on that same rate post 2017 when the A350-1000 enters into service.

          As for numbers of units produced; sure, they would produce a fair number from 777-9X EIS through an A360-800X EIS, but then what?

          What would the the game plan be if the 777-9X suffered the same fate of early termination as that of the A340-600?

          Orders for the A340-600 dried up when the significant lower fuel burn of the 777-300ER became apparent even before EIS of the latter. Then you had the cancellation from EK. However, by that time most of the A340s on order had already been delivered. I’d reckon the same thing would happen to the 777-9X.

      • Airbus lost a decade developing the A380 for nil financial return, when it should have had its eye on the 777. The A340 summed up that lost decade, a futile attempt to ‘do something’ about the 777 with the existing A330 airframe.

        With the A350 it’s done it again, trying to span the 787 and 777, but the 777-9X is a reach too far, so we’re already talking about all-new aircraft to compete with it.

        Airbus has been a ‘big twin’ short for nearly twenty years, and it will be nearer thirty before they have the line-up they could have had years ago but for Noel Forgeard’s blind ego.

        • “nil financial return”

          True only if the program had been written off, which of course, is not the case. The A380 was a strategic investment

          “Lost decade”

          Doesn’t look like a lost decade too me:

          http://blog.thomsonreuters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/AirbusBoeingGraphic.jpg

          “With the A350 it’s done it again, trying to span the 787 and 777, but the 777-9X is a reach too far, so we’re already talking about all-new aircraft to compete with it.

          “We” are not necessarily talking about that, but rather how the 777-9X program is at risk of being prematurely stopped dead in its tracks.

          The A330-300 and A350-900 is replacing 777-200ERs and the A350-1000 will out-compete the 777-300ER, which is why Boeing is spending IMO an absurd amount of capital on what looks like a regurgitated product.

          “Airbus has been a ‘big twin’ short for nearly twenty years, and it will be nearer thirty before they have the line-up they could have had years ago but for Noel Forgeard’s blind ego.”

          You know, this worshipping at the altar of the “big twin” is getting ever more ridiculous. The combined A330/A340 program has more orders and deliveries than the entire 777 program. That’s what counts. Both programmes were started in about the same time frame (i.e 1987/1990), but Boeing, apparently, had to spend upwards of $12 billion in then year dollars on the triple seven compared to $3 to $4 billion for the cost of the combined A333/A342/A343 programme.

          Also, Boeing has been short of a competitive, intermediate ranged twin for the last two decades as well. However, that doesn’t seem to have hurt them.

  4. GMFs are navil-oriented tools with the cross-hairs trained @ shareholders and investors, not @ airlines or analysts … Brewer needs to spend some 777X-connected money and is putting forward his hat to “whom may be concerned” … inconspicuously, he’d pretend ? Got’cha, Brewer !

  5. I guess the orders are finalized when Boeing can come around with a garantueed minimum performance. As far as I know, the B777-9X is quite far from being a frozen design.
    With more than 200 already sold, there is probably no delivery spot before 2022. I guess that EK and others will not stretch the delivery, but rather opt to replace the existing B777-300ER quickly. Oldest frames will be 15 years by 2020.
    Emirates B777 fleet at airfleets.net:
    http://www.airfleets.net/flottecie/Emirates-active-b777.htm

  6. “As far as I know, the B777-9X is quite far from being a frozen design”

    Design freeze shouldn’t be required before 2017 for fine tuning. For major definition earlier. Sales can’t work with a moving spec.

    I still wonder, if Boeing had progressed with just the new engines and wider interior and some weight savings, EIS 2018. Apparently they concluded it wasn’t enough.

    Just checked at Boeing.com, 777X firm orders stand at: 66. Lets stick to that Boeing number.

    Boeing 777X: 66 firm orders from LH, CX, EY.

    • “Boeing 777X: 66 firm orders from LH, CX, EY.”

      Do you honestly see the 200-unit EK/QR order falling through? What do you envision EK can order to replace their 175 77Ws in a reasonable time frame from ~2020-2025. Why would they back out on the program that they have been primarily responsible for?

      SQ might be right around the corner: “The airline is looking at a potential order for as many as 40 777X aircraft in a deal potentially worth $15 billion at list prices, the sources said, asking not to be identified.”
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/10/us-airshow-singapore-sia-idUSBREA190L020140210

      • “Do you honestly see the 200-unit EK/QR order falling through?”

        No no just noticing that according to Boeing, EK did not place a firm order for the 777X, contrary to the popular press.

        Boeing has a total of 66 firm orders for the 777X by the airlines mentioned.

        If you say EK ordered 777X, there are some more “orders” that are not in the books.

  7. Armchair quarterbacks rejoice! So we have a 350-1100, 360-megatwin, 380-800 neo, 380-900 (all unknowns) + the 350-1000 (known) to answer the 777-9x and 8x. I would ask what makes sense? The market does not appear to like >550 seat aircraft so the sweet spot appears to be 350-450 where the risk/reward ratio is best for everyone except Emirates. I vote with Scott in that a 350-1100 makes the most sense IF they can launch it in a timely fashion so as to get into the market before the 777-9 gets too far a head start. The problem I see is that the 350 line is going to be output constrained while the combined 787 and 777 lines will have earlier delivery dates and more nuch higher output overall. The 350 has to put out the 900s and 1000s to compete against the 787-9, 10, 777-8 and 9.

    • Agreed Mike, I think this has a lot to do with why the A358 will be canceled. The 787 and 777 lines should be able to produce around 22 units per month (14 and ~8) come early next decade and the A350 line is only speculated to hit 14 and vendors had previously speculated that the limit was 13 (thanks Scott). I bet the A351 would have sold better if it had more pre-2020 production slots available. From that perspective dropping the A358 was/is a good idea.

      If the A350-1100 has such great economics then its trip cost shouldn’t be much higher than the A350-1000 which I am sure will convince existing customers to switch reducing the ROI on the A351. I wonder if it is better to execute what you have in front of you and when production slots open up in a more reasonable time frame (<5 years?), launch the new derivative (like the 781).

  8. The Airbus mega twin is IMO nothing more then a decoy Boeing supporters use to emphasize how good the 777X will become.

    Airbus IMO has no plans at all. Not even a business case. They have their hands full, the largest backlog ever and the A321NEO, A350XWB and A380 that have little direct competition. And a A330 milkcow that can easily be upgraded, paid by the engine OEMs.

    To suggest they have to respond is a 180 with reality. If you can’t convince..

    • I agree that at Aspirin Aviation, StrategicAero “Research” and in the blog to VV, the 777-9X is talked about seemingly as a “Second Coming”; that the 777-9X will successfully repel anything Airbus will be coming up with, and that Airbus is perpetually doomed to be number two.

      However, back in the real world the airline business is doubling every 15 years. Although there might not be a massive demand today for an aircraft sized between the A350-1000 and the A380-800/-900, I’m quite convinced the demand will be there for such a plane by the end of next decade, at the latest.

      The 777-9X can only compete with the A350-1000 due to the GE9X .Take away that advantage, and then some, and you have a dead-end project. Not exactly a “Second Coming”, is it? ;-

      • No program has ever launched with more value in commitments. Why wouldn’t people be proportionally optimistic? You have an airliner that the ME3 are committing to in very significant quantities and it is those airlines that are growing the fastest, so why the pessimism? You say there needs to be something in between the A351 and the A380, you’re right there needs to be!

        The A351 is bound to be excellent and phenomenally successful. If you agree with that then why wouldn’t an aircraft with identical seat cost economics but ~50 extra passengers, a wider cabin for more premium class options, more cargo capability, more range, and therefore more options for airline profit be similarly fantastic? You agree that it completes with the A351 (with the GE9x of course) so why won’t it be great? Its ok if you don’t like it just because its not Airbus. I am sure many will agree with you.

        Of course Airbus can do something to stop/slow it. The question is, will it take $5 Billion? $10 Billion? More?…and ultimately is it worth it? I think it is. I think they will do something but I think it will be A350 based and not a clean sheet.

        • “Of course Airbus can do something to stop/slow it.”
          Yes. But it seems there’s just no need.

          “You say there needs to be something in between the A351 and the A380, you’re right there needs to be!”

          My sportwagon is also in between a VW Golf and a schoolbus. A bit closer to the Golf for the more precise among us 😉

          “~50 extra passengers”
          EK has 10 abreast today, pick it up from there.

        • IMJ, the 777-9X is not that aircraft. It only offers about 10 percent more cabin space than the A350-1000, while the A380-800 offers >55 percent more floor area than 777-9X.

          “Its ok if you don’t like it just because its not Airbus.”

          That’s a silly suggestion. This has nothing to do with the “A vs. B” thing. In fact, from Airbus’ point of view, I’d guess that they wouldn’t mind Boeing making a strategic $10 billion mistake following on the heels of the troubled 787 development. You see, I’m a contrarian to the Boeing cheerleaders who seem to believe that the 777-9X is the “Second Coming”, while I tend to believe that Boeing should have gone the full monty and developed an all new $15 – $18 billion airplane instead of the $10 billion 777-9X.

        • “EK has 10 abreast today, pick it up from there.”

          Good point. EK says they will seat above 440 but haven’t said what figure it will be. I bet EK will only be able to add about 35 seats. I should have said 9-abreast 777 operators can find 50+ seats.

          “IMJ, the 777-9X is not that aircraft. It only offers about 10 percent more cabin space than the A350-1000”
          EK says that they see the A351 as “a 320-, 330-seater which will be very economical on missions up to 10 or 12 hours,” EK says they will see 342 seats in their 778s. 779s are certainly not just 10% more seats in some airline configurations.

          “Boeing should have gone the full monty and developed an all new $15 – $18 billion airplane instead of the $10 billion 777-9X.”
          Gotcha, it just seemed like odd logic that in one breath you say the 779 is lousy and then in the next say Airbus needs to spend $15 Billion, in part, to stop it.

          I think Boeing needed to keep costs down on the 779. I don’t think the option came down to ‘clean sheet’ vs the current vision but rather current vision vs even cheaper re-engine and non-cfrp and smaller wing which was certainly being debated as late as a year ago. Airlines have been complaining that airplanes are getting more expensive and the 777 is already an expensive aircraft and I don’t think Boeing customers were willing to pay ‘that much more’ for a better aircraft.

          The A350 has the acquisition cost advantage and if the 777x went clean sheet there would be an even bigger disparity.

        • “IMJ, the 777-9X is not that aircraft. It only offers about 10 percent more cabin space than the A350-1000″

          EK says that they see the A351 as “a 320-, 330-seater which will be very economical on missions up to 10 or 12 hours,” EK says they will see 342 seats in their 778s. 779s are certainly not just 10% more seats in some airline configurations.

          It’s quite funny how you’re suddenly “all over” EK. You should keep in mind that EK’s cabin products on the 77L/777W and the A380 are not equal. In fact, the cabin product on the A380 is superior in business class and economy class.
          Also, you should keep in mind that the 2-3-2 business class seat-configuration used by EK on their 777s, is fast becoming a thing of the past. The trend among blue chip airlines is unequivocally towards direct aisle access from every seat in business class. Hence, up to half the cabin length of the 777 can’t take advantage of the extra cabin width offered compared to the A330, 787, A350 and upper deck of the A380, thus it’s essentially wasted.

          These are the cabin lengths from the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 4 on the A350-1000 and 777-8X and to the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 5 on the 777-300ER and 777-9X

          Cabin length:__ Door 1 to Door 4_/_Door 1 to Door 5
          ———————————————————————-
          A350-1000______52.69m_____________52.93
          777-300ER________X_______________52.93
          777-8X*________48.66m______________X
          777-9X**_________X_______________55.58m

          *777-8X is an 8 frame shrink of the 777-300ER
          **777-9X is a 5 frame stretch of the 777-300ER

          The effective cabin floor area of the 777-8X is about 310m2 and 320m2 for the A350-1000. The cabin of the former is about 4 meter shorter; or 5 rows of seats with a pitch of 31”. In addition, the aft cabin on the 777 tapers more than on the A350, so you can’t maintain 10 abreast all the way to door 5 on the triple seven. Hence, you’d be pretty clever if you managed to put more seats in a 777-8X than on an A350-1000.

          Also, how can Emirates seat 342 seats on their 777-8X when that cabin is about 4.3m shorter than the 777-300ER cabin; or about 50 less seats in economy class if the premium class configuration is the same. The current EK 777-300ERs three class configuration is 344, 358 and 364 seats. It seems to me that you’re seriously misguided on this. Real world data always trumps fictionary tales. In fact, if you want to do a real world comparison for a blue chip airline operating a 777-9X and an A350-1000, just add one extra seat in economy class to get a more accurate idea of what the difference might be in seating capacities. For say, a Cathay Pacific 777-9X we would be talking about an extra 30 seats in economy class over that of the A350-1000 – assuming a similar, or identical set-up in first and business class; or a 10 percent higher capacity overall.
          😉
          http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Cathay-Pacific/seatplans/B777-300ER-10

          “Boeing should have gone the full monty and developed an all new $15 – $18 billion airplane instead of the $10 billion 777-9X.”
          Gotcha, it just seemed like odd logic that in one breath you say the 779 is lousy and then in the next say Airbus needs to spend $15 Billion, in part, to stop it.

          No, you got that wrong. You’ve totally misunderstood everything I’ve been saying. Airbus doesn’t need an A360X in order to “stop” the 777-9X – PERIOD! The A350-1000 will be a formidable competitor to the very Heavy 777-9X. What I am saying, is that Airbus – if they want – can quite easily put Boeing out of business in the large twin market if they were to decide to build a new aircraft family sized in between the A350-1000 and A380-900 (i.e assuming the dash-800 will become an ULR aircraft if it’s re-engined). You know, the NeXT logical step….

          The smallest member of this conceptual A360X family, would have about 10 percent higher seat capacity than the 777-9X, but as mentioned previously, it would have the same trip fuel cost. All of this would be caused by Boeing’s board and management seemingly wanting to play safe after having launched the 787 and 747-8 programmes on the cheap, instead of developing an all new product that would be hard for Airbus to better. With the 777-9X it’s all too easy for Airbus; The 777-9X is too heavy, too expensive and too dependent on the 5 percent TSFC-delta of the GE9X over that of the Trent-XWB-97 engine that can easily become a 5 percent TSFC deficit to a new family of 100,000-pound thrust class Rolls Royce engines, featuring intercoolers, an ultra-high overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1, half a decade after the EIS of the 777-9X.

          I think Boeing needed to keep costs down on the 779. I don’t think the option came down to ‘clean sheet’ vs the current vision but rather current vision vs even cheaper re-engine and non-cfrp and smaller wing which was certainly being debated as late as a year ago. Airlines have been complaining that airplanes are getting more expensive and the 777 is already an expensive aircraft and I don’t think Boeing customers were willing to pay ‘that much more’ for a better aircraft. The A350 has the acquisition cost advantage and if the 777x went clean sheet there would be an even bigger disparity.

          The point is the same as what Airbus customers complained about with the original A350Mk1; if you’re building a new wing and re-designing the entire airframe as well, using only 20 percent, or less of the original hardware, why not do the obvious and build an all new airplane?

          When you’re building an all new aircraft, you’re also putting together a whole new production system. If you’d look at the level of automation on the latest generation jets, you’d be surprised to see how archaic part of the 777 manufacturing chain looks in comparison. Hence, you’ve got to look at the whole picture when deciding what to do, not just the new aircraft itself. Clean sheat doesn’t have to mean a “bigger disparity”, and in this case, when you’re already spending an outrageous amount of money on a programme that can quite easily be out-competed by your competitor, upping the ante would IMO definitively be the way to go for Boeing.
          The 787 is still expensive to build, though, but that’s more to do with how the programme itself was set up on the cheap, by seemingly an arrogant and incompetent management group; later to be approved by bean counting, know nothing, board members.

  9. Airbus sponsored the megatwin study did they not? In any event, they clearly have plans… the fun part is to guesstimate which direction they are going to go ;0)
    My guess is 330neo (since they are clearly dropping the 350-800) and an -1100 in 5 years with rights to upsize for the -1000 buyers.

  10. Boeing went in a bad direction with the B747-8. The wing re-design was a catastrophe. The policy for the B777-9 appears to be reversed in direction: optimize for performance, money not an issue. The specs are probably the biggest issue. The 200-order from the Gulfies gives em a very strong influence on the final spec, and may result in an aircraft less ideal for your average next door airline.

    With all fantasy concerning growth, there is also a limit up to which the market can absorb new designs. I think after A350 and B777X, a new widebody program would be an investment that either goes bad for the investor, or fouls the investment by the competitor.

  11. “or fouls the investment by the competitor”

    Did you mean, “fouls the competitor’s investment”?

    It seems to me that the 777-9X could well become Boeing’s achilles heel. It looks to bee too heavy, to have little or no growth potential, barely competitive with the A350-1000 on a fuel burn per seat basis, and thus potentially very vulnerable to a larger Airbus product entering into service a decade hence.

    • “little or no growth potential”
      -its the 3rd version of the aircraft that will take them out to 40 years in production (most likely). Its not meant to be a new basis for the future.

      “barely competitive with the A350-1000 on a fuel burn per seat basis”
      -The fact that it is comparable to the fuel burn of a clean sheet is support for building it in my opinion.

      “potentially very vulnerable to a larger Airbus product entering into service a decade hence.”
      -Of course it is but it will take a similar $10 Billion+ advancement to try to join the market that many are saying is a ‘niche’.

      • Agina, it’s only because of the engine that the 777-9X can compete. Reverse that in, say, 2025 with a re-engined A350-1000 sharing the same engine as with an A360X and with a TSFC some 5 percent better than the GE9X and 10 percent better than the TXWB-97 engine.

        As for a “niche” market, GE has a somewhat different outlook.

        • Addendum

          First word above should be “Again”, and please ignore all of my duplicate posts below. I didn’t know what happened to my first comment further up-thread, and re-arranged the comment several times to see if it would make any difference. Now suddenly everything got through. 😉

        • “It’s quite funny how you’re suddenly “all over” EK.”
          -We are talking about 400 seat aircraft, I thought it prudent to talk about the biggest customer of such aircraft.

          ” Hence, up to half the cabin length of the 777 can’t take advantage of the extra cabin width offered compared to the A330, 787, A350 and upper deck of the A380, thus it’s essentially wasted.”
          -The upper deck on the A380 (where the EK premium cabins are) is essentially the same width as the 777 (about 12″ difference) so any limitation of one is the limitation to the other. Regardless, EK’s (and others) herring bone J allows you to turn the J seat to take advantage of width to maximize length and that is why the J seat in an A380 only takes up 48″ of pitch for 70″+ in bed length. So the wider cabin furthers this dynamic still giving the 777 and advantage whatever EK chooses. (I personally prefer to fly the A380 but that isn’t the argument)

          “the aft cabin on the 777 tapers more than on the A350″
          -Definitely right, I think Boeing will amend this and there appears to be a difference in the renders. In regard to your point about the cabin length, I have no clue. I just know EK says they will fit 342 seats in their 778 and less in their A351s. Maybe its 10 abreast. Maybe its 7 across in business. I don’t know why, it just is. When the cabin area are within 3% of each other I suspect some will seat more, some will seat less. EK seats more. Maybe its that fantastic 18” seat I have been hearing about 🙂
          You call me misguided but I already gave you the Sir Tim Clark quote. Here is Jon Ostrower: http://twitter.com/jonostrower/status/402147534027517952. I tend to respect him. Also, on the SQ dimensions you forgot to add the 2.6m or 3 rows of SQ economy to the seating numbers or 30 seats and then we are should be on target.

          “What I am saying, is that Airbus – if they want – can quite easily put Boeing out of business in the large twin market if they were to decide to build a new aircraft family sized in between the A350-1000 and A380-900”
          -But you said that would be $15-18 Billion – that does not sound easy!

          “The point is the same as what Airbus customers complained about with the original A350Mk1; if you’re building a new wing and re-designing the entire airframe as well, using only 20 percent, or less of the original hardware, why not do the obvious and build an all new airplane?”
          – But that was for an A330neo. I contend that airlines didn’t care to have two aircraft in the same space let alone one re-engine head to head with the clean sheet 787. Similarly if Boeing came out with a re-engined 77E I would expect airlines to be very unhappy! Instead, Airbus went larger and went long haul and they have changed the dynamic and so has the 777x; the economics are substantially different and all programs are about 15% away from each other from 240-460 seats (for now) which makes for easy one stop shopping.

          If Boeing did a clean sheet I think it would have taken longer and it would have cost $5-8 Billion more. Or about how much it will probably cost to do the 757 replacement. I think they wanted to save the money and I think they did a cost/benefit analysis and it just doesn’t work out. A CFRP fuse would save about 2% on fuel burn…worth $5 Billion? No. Everything else will get a hefty 787 upgrade which should bring it into the 21st century pretty well. After all its not an old aircraft. It just entered service 10 years ago, has everything changed?

          If they reach 400 by the end of the year on the 777x we have to collectively think its a good strategy right? The 777 backlog is already more valuable than the entire A350 backlog so that has to be seen as a good thing. Its nearly bigger than the entire order log for the entire A380 program so I think most people would think that is good. Sorry to sound flippant, but hasn’t the market already spoken? I wouldn’t hold out for canceled orders in the honeymoon phase. I think we will see SQ, ANA, BA, ET, BR, AF, etc all make orders in the coming year or two and then we have the ILFCs, ILC, GECAS, this order book could get really big really quick and I wouldn’t want to be arguing against it.

          Jump on the bandwagon, weather is nice. 🙂

        • No, the upper deck of the A380 was designed at 8 abreast in economy (i.e comfort equivalent to the 777 at 9 abreast), and standard 6 abreast in business class. The effective cabin width of the upper deck on the A380 is 208 inches. On the A330 the effective cabin width is 204 inches. For the 787, A350, 777-300ER and 777-9X. the effective cabin widths are 214.8″, 220″, 230″ and 234″, respectively. Hence, the cabins of the 77W and 77X are effectively 22 inches and 26 inches wider than that of the upper deck cabin of the A380, and not 12 inches as you’re claiming; indeed, a lot of space wasted in business class if you can’t put an extra seat across.

          As for EK; no, they don’t have the herring bone configuration in business class on any of their aircraft. On the A380 they use a staggered seating configuration, while on their 777s, they have the standard Boeing 7 abreast configuration (i.e. 2-3-2)

          Seriously, where are you getting your information from?

          As for the herring bone configuration itself; where do you get your data on that one? 😉

          If you look at Cathay Pacific, their new herring bone seat in business class are slightly wider the the ones on the A330s, while the bed is one inch longer on the trile seven. Also, the angle that the seating faces away from the aisles are slightly different. However, since you’re claiming that by merely “turning” the seats on the 777, you’ll maintain the width advantage of the 777 in business class, could you please tell me how, exactly, CX are able to do this?

          http://www.jpadesign.com/_projects/cathay_business.pdf

          The new extension sees bed width increase from 23.5in to 26.4in, while a retractable armrest takes it to 27.6in on the carrier’s A330s; bed width is 26.6in (with extension) and 29.5in with the armrest retracted on its 777ERs. The bed is also an inch longer: “From tip to tip our new bed is 82in long,” says McGowan.

          There is also a slight variation in the angle that the seating faces away from the aisle between aircraft types. “In both cases it is under 30°,” says McGowan, “but I’d prefer not to give exact details.”

          As for EK putting 342 seats in the 777-8X — assuming they’ll have the same number of first class and business class seats; trust me, it’s not possible. However, it’s doable if they take out the first class seats, but then you-re no longer making a like-for-like, apples-to-apples comparison, right?

          As for the 5 frame stretch of the 777-9X, you seem to assume that 2.7m of added cabin length will all come in the back end of the aircraft. That’s not correct. They’ll probably stretch it by 3 frames forward of the wing and 2 frames aft of the wing. Hence, you can’t automatically take it for granted that the extra floor space available will lead to 3 extra rows in economy, when what we’re really talking about is just one and a half row extra in the back. Also, more passengers require extra toilets and galley space, so at best, I’d reckon that the 777-9X would be able to carry some 30 passengers extra over that of the A350-1000 (i.e. an extra row in business class and an extra row in economy class)

          Now, if they’re changing the tapering of the aft fuselage, they would have to change the empennage as well. That sounds crazy. They’ll might as well deign an all new airpane; or is Boeing addicted to doing aircraft fresh-overs and re-designs, over and over again? Also, the 777 entered into service in 1995, not 10 years ago. Hence, in 2020 it will be quite an old platform.

        • “Hence, the cabins of the 77W and 77X are effectively 22 inches and 26 inches wider than that of the upper deck cabin of the A380, and not 12 inches as you’re claiming; ”

          -I had the A380 cabin width as 5.92m and the 779 as 6.1m. It could be that my numbers are at the floor level and not ‘effective’ where they take out the unusable space that the A380 has.

          “As for the herring bone configuration itself; where do you get your data on that one?”
          -Seat guru gave me the pitch and bed lengths and it wouldn’t be the first time that data is wrong. Could have sworn it was herring bone. Mea culpa.

          “However, since you’re claiming that by merely “turning” the seats on the 777, you’ll maintain the width advantage of the 777 in business class, could you please tell me how, exactly, CX are able to do this?”
          I am not sure I understand, maybe they use 5% angle on the A330 and 30% angle on the 777? There is a lot more width to those seats then just the seat cushion width itself. I have just read operators refer to changing the angle of the seat to fit more seats in length-wise. AA is doing something similar. You can have these exact seats in QR’s 787 but they are don’t have much of an aisle angle on the narrow fuse not unlike the A330 I would imagine.

          2-3-2 in J is the most common configuration among 77W operators. There definitely is a trend toward 1-2-1 for premium airlines but I expect there will still be a lot of 2-3-2 cabins in the 777x and less so on the A351.

          “As for EK putting 342 seats in the 777-8X — assuming they’ll have the same number of first class and business class seats; trust me, it’s not possible.”
          -I don’t know what to tell you, I gave you the sources. Maybe they will shrink business, or maybe they have a great herring bone :). It certainly would be 10 abreast and 7 abreast which should make up for the 4.3m difference in length. As you say the 2.6m stretch of the 779 doesn’t add any seats so maybe the 4.3m difference on the A351 only adds one row. A fleet planner at EK said their A351s would seat 317: “Emirates has 10-across in economy and the 777-300ER in the airline’s Ultra Long Long Range tri-class configuration accommodates 354, while the A350-1000, which is about the same length, in the same ULR configuration will seat 317, according to Emirates vice-president route and fleet planning Richard Jewsbury. “Based on Emirates’ mission rules, the A350-1000 will burn 21per cent less trip fuel, and on a seat basis 11 per cent less than the 777-300ER,” Jewsbury says.”
          http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/emirates-order-signals-drift-to-airbus/story-e6frg95x-1111115499268

          I wouldn’t be surprised if EK’s 779s seat 450+ in two class. There is significant differences between the A351 and 779 which is why we are seeing them positioned in the same fleet.

          “Now, if they’re changing the tapering of the aft fuselage, they would have to change the empennage as well.”
          We will see. The pictures make it look to different to me but I have heard nothing. A year ago carving out the side of an airplane sounded crazy to me. They change the tail on the 789 from the 788 and they have 6 years to get this design right and it could add 8-10 seats which is worth tens of millions of dollars in revenue if they can solve it. I would like to see them change the empennage. They have that capability in house and they are building a cfrp wing facility, why not add the tail too? Not optimistic but hopeful. I am confident it will have hybrid laminar flow which will give it an advantage.

          In regard to the age of the 777; the 77W/L/F was a substantial re-design with new MLG, Engines, Wing, Wingtips, and even some systems improvements in 2004. This is not a 1995 machine; other than the 788 it is the most modern twin in service. We aren’t dealing with a dinosaur.

        • Effective width is measured from armrest height, not at the floor level. Why don’t you check for yourself, it’s all here: 🙂

          http://www.airbus.com/support/maintenance-engineering/technical-data/aircraft-characteristics/

          http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/airports/plan_manuals.page

          “I am not sure I understand, maybe they use 5% angle on the A330 and 30% angle on the 777? There is a lot more width to those seats then just the seat cushion width itself.

          Again, why don’t you just google to check if there’s any hold to your claims.

          http://www.ausbt.com.au/review-cathay-pacific-s-new-business-class-seats

          As you can see, the seats are angled not too differently to those aboard their 77Ws as you can see from the link in my previous comment. Also, didn’t you read that quote about the 1.9-inch increased seat width on the 77Ws:

          The new extension sees bed width increase from 23.5in to 26.4in, while a retractable armrest takes it to 27.6in on the carrier’s A330s; bed width is 26.6in (with extension) and 29.5in with the armrest retracted on its 777ERs. The bed is also an inch longer: “From tip to tip our new bed is 82in long,” says McGowan.

          Conclusion: This comparison is between the herringbone seats on the CX A333 and 77W fleet, where the difference in angle is barely noticeable, however much you want to find one. Now, what we’re really talking about is the A350 vs. the 777. The former has effectively a 16-inch wider cabin than the A330; hence, the difference would effectively be none existent and thereby no extra capacity advantage for the 777-9X over that of the A350-1000.

          Sure, a one, or two operators might still opt for 2-3-2 on the 777X, but the vast majority of operators will definitively not do so, hence the wasted space.

          The problem with the 777 cross section is that it’s really both too narrow and too wide in business class. It’s too wide vs. the A350 (i.e. extra cross section adds weight and wetted area), and too narrow vs. a larger optimised airfame that can take full advantage of an increased cabin width.An A360X, as I’ve explained numerous times already, could have an effective cabin width of 264-inches. That extra would allow an A360X to accommodate 8 abreast in business class, while all of the seats would have direct aisle access (i.e. 2 staggered seats outboard at the windows and an extra aisle between the middle 4 seats). The herringbone configuration is really not that efficient, space-wise. An A360X could therefore have nearly double the capacity of that of the 777X in business class, for a given length of length of cabin.

          I don’t know what to tell you, I gave you the sources. Maybe they will shrink business, or maybe they have a great herring bone :). It certainly would be 10 abreast and 7 abreast which should make up for the 4.3m difference in length.

          How can they make up for the 4.3 m shorter length when their 77Ws already are configured at 7 abreast in business and 10 abreast in economy?

          Answer: Only by reducing the size of their first and business class.

          So, you want Boeing to change the tail and the empennage. Again, if they did that, I’d reckon that the 777X would be close to have lost upwards of 80 percent of the commonality with the current 777, and the $10 billion in R&D might not suffice at all. IMHO, this is getting ridiculous. Due to the short-sightedness and lack of strategic thinking, it seems to me that Boeing just aren’t able to letting go of past successes and think strategically about the future. For example, if they’d undertaken a proper response to the A320-series back in the 1990s and developed an all new aircraft instead of seemingly letting Southwest Airlines decide what they were going to do (i.e. WN wanted as much commonality with the 737 classic as possible), they would, in all likelihood, not have to fight to maintain a mere 40 percent market share of the single aisle market. It’s pretty sad, really. Doing the 777X instead of an all new aircraft, when the expenses are closing in on two thirds of the costs for an all new programme, is putting Boeing at risk in being completely shut out of the long range , 300+ seat wide-body market, just a few short years after the EIS of the 777X.

          Finally, the A350 platform is nearly 20 years younger than the 777 platform. The 777 cross section, for example, has served Boeing very well since EIS, but I’m afraid that won’t necessarily be the case going forward. Again, the 777-9X is too heavy and far to vulnerable for my liking to both an upgraded version of the A350-1000 and an all new A360X. It’s empty weight will be in excess of 30 tonnes over that of the A350-1000; or nearly a tonne per extra passenger; not good, not good at all.

  12. EK says that they see the A351 as “a 320-, 330-seater which will be very economical on missions up to 10 or 12 hours,” EK says they will see 342 seats in their 778s. 779s are certainly not just 10% more seats in some airline configurations.

    It’s funny how EK, suddenly, is the answer to everything. You should keep in mind, though. that EK’s cabin products on the 77L/777W and the A380 are not equal. In fact, the cabin product on the A380 is superior in business class and economy class.

    Also, you should keep in mind that the 2-3-2 business class seat-configuration used by EK on their 777s, is fast becoming a thing of the past. Hence, the middle seat is on its way out. The trend among blue chip airlines is unequivocally towards direct aisle access from every seat in business class. Hence, up to half the cabin length of the 777 can’t take advantage of the extra cabin width offered compared to the A330, 787, A350 and upper deck of the A380, thus it’s essentially wasted space.

    Now, these are the cabin lengths from the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 4 on the A350-1000 and 777-8X and to the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 5 on the 777-300ER and 777-9X

    Cabin length:___ Door 1 – Door 4_/_Door 1 – Door 5
    ——————————————————
    A350-1000______52.69m______________X
    777-300ER________X_______________52.93
    777-8X*________48.66m______________X
    777-9X**_________X________________55.58m

    *777-8X is an 8 frame shrink of the 777-300ER
    **777-9X is a 5 frame stretch of the 777-300ER

    The effective cabin floor area of the 777-8X is about 310m2 and 320m2 for the A350-1000. The cabin of the former is about 4 meter shorter; or 5 rows of seats with a pitch of 31”. In addition, the aft cabin on the 777 tapers more than on the A350; you can’t maintain 10 abreast all the way to door 5 on the triple seven. Hence, you’d be pretty clever if you managed to put more seats in than on an A350-1000.

    Also, how can Emirates seat 342 seats on their 777-8X when that cabin is about 4.3m shorter than the 777-300ER cabin; or about 50 less seats in economy class if the premium class configuration is the same. The current EK 777-300ERs three class configuration is 344, 358 and 364 seats. It seems to me that you’re seriously misguided on this. Real world data always trumps fictionary tales. In fact, if you want to do a real world comparison for a blue chip airline operating a 777-9X and an A350-1000, just add one extra seat in economy class to get a more accurate idea of what the difference might be in seating capacities. For say, a Cathay Pacific 777-9X we would be talking about an extra 30 seats in economy class over that of the A350-1000 – assuming a similar, or identical set-up in first and business class; or a 10 percent higher capacity overall. 😉

    http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Cathay-Pacific/seatplans/B777-300ER-10

    Gotcha, it just seemed like odd logic that in one breath you say the 779 is lousy and then in the next say Airbus needs to spend $15 Billion, in part, to stop it.

    “Gotcha” — Is that some kind og game that you’re playing? 😉

    Now, you got most of it wrong, though. You’ve totally misunderstood everything I’ve been saying. Airbus doesn’t need an A360X in order to “stop” the 777-9X – PERIOD! The A350-1000 will be a formidable competitor. What I am saying, is that Airbus – if they want – can quite easily put Boeing out of business in the large twin market if they were to decide to build a new aircraft family sized in between the A350-1000 and A380-900 (i.e assuming the dash-800 will become an ULR aircraft if it’s re-engined). The smallest member would have about 10 percent higher capacity than the 777-9X, but as mentioned previously, it would have the same trip fuel cost. All of this would be caused by Boeing’s board and management seemingly wanting to play safe after having launched the 787 and 747-8 programmes on the cheap, instead of developing an all new product that would be hard for Airbus to better. With the 777-9X it’s all too easy for Airbus; The 777-9X is too heavy, too expensive and too dependent on the 5 percent TSFC-delta of the GE9X over that of the Trent-XWB-97 engine that can easily become a 5 percent TSFC deficit to a new family of 100,000-pound thrust class Rolls Royce engines, featuring intercoolers, an ultra-high overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1, half a decade after the EIS of the 777-9X.

    I think Boeing needed to keep costs down on the 779. I don’t think the option came down to ‘clean sheet’ vs the current vision but rather current vision vs even cheaper re-engine and non-cfrp and smaller wing which was certainly being debated as late as a year ago. Airlines have been complaining that airplanes are getting more expensive and the 777 is already an expensive aircraft and I don’t think Boeing customers were willing to pay ‘that much more’ for a better aircraft. The A350 has the acquisition cost advantage and if the 777x went clean sheet there would be an even bigger disparity.

    The point is the same as what Airbus customers complained about with the original A350Mk1; if you’re building a new wing and re-designing the entire airframe as well, using only 20 percent, or less of the original hardware, why not do the obvious and build an all new airplane?

    When you’re building an all new aircraft, you’re also putting together a whole new production system. If you’d look at the level of automation on the latest generation jets, you’d be surprised to see how archaic part of the 777 manufacturing chain looks in comparison. Hence, you’ve got to look at the whole picture when deciding what to do, not just the new aircraft itself. Clean sheat doesn’t have to mean a “bigger disparity”, and in this case, when you’re already spending an outrageous amount of money on a programme that can quite easily be out-competed by your competitor, upping the ante would IMO definitively be the way to go for Boeing.

    The 787 is still expensive to build, though, but that’s IMO more to do with how the programme itself was set up on the cheap, by seemingly an arrogant and incompetent management group; later to be approved by bean counting board members.

  13. You should keep in mind that EK’s cabin products on the 77L/777W and the A380 are not equal. In fact, the cabin product on the A380 is superior in business class and economy class. Also, the 2-3-2 business class seat-configuration used by EK on their 777s, is fast becoming a thing of the past. The trend among blue chip airlines is unequivocally towards direct aisle access from every seat in business class. Hence, up to half the cabin length of the 777 can’t take advantage of the extra cabin width offered compared to the A330, 787, A350 and upper deck of the A380, thus it’s essentially wasted.

    The the cabin lengths from the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 4 on the A350-1000 and 777-8X and to the centre line of door 1 to the centre line of door 5 on the 777-300ER and 777-9X are 52.69m, 48.66m, 52.93m and 55.58m. The 777-8X is an 8 frame shrink of the 777-300ER and the 777-9X is a 5 frame stretch of the 777-300ER. The effective cabin floor area of the 777-8X is about 310m2 and 320m2 for the A350-1000. The cabin of the former is about 4 meter shorter; or 5 rows of seats with a pitch of 31”. In addition, the aft cabin on the 777 tapers more than on the A350; you can’t maintain 10 abreast all the way to door 5 on the triple seven. Hence, you’d be pretty clever if you managed to put more seats in than on an A350-1000.

    So, how can Emirates seat 342 seats on their 777-8X when that cabin is about 4.3m shorter than the 777-300ER cabin; or about 50 less seats in economy class if the premium class configuration is the same. The current EK 777-300ERs three class configuration is 344, 358 and 364 seats. It seems to me that you’re seriously misguided on this. Real world data always trumps fictionary tales. In fact, if you want to do a real world comparison for a blue chip airline operating a 777-9X and an A350-1000, just add one extra seat in economy class to get a more accurate idea of what the difference might be in seating capacities. For say, a Cathay Pacific 777-9X we would be talking about an extra 30 seats in economy class over that of the A350-1000 – assuming a similar, or identical set-up in first and business class; or a 10 percent higher capacity overall. 😉

    http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Cathay-Pacific/seatplans/B777-300ER-10

    Gotcha, it just seemed like odd logic that in one breath you say the 779 is lousy and then in the next say Airbus needs to spend $15 Billion, in part, to stop it.

    “Gotcha” — What kind of game are you playing?

    Now, you got it wrong, though. You’ve totally misunderstood everything I’ve been saying. Airbus doesn’t need an A360X in order to “stop” the 777-9X – PERIOD! The A350-1000 will be a formidable competitor. What I am saying, is that Airbus – if they want – can quite easily put Boeing out of business in the large twin market if they were to decide to build a new aircraft family sized in between the A350-1000 and A380-900 (i.e assuming the dash-800 will become an ULR aircraft if it’s re-engined). The smallest member would have about 10 percent higher capacity than the 777-9X, but as mentioned previously, it would have the same trip fuel cost. All of this would be caused by Boeing’s board and management seemingly wanting to play safe after having launched the 787 and 747-8 programmes on the cheap, instead of developing an all new product that would be hard for Airbus to better. With the 777-9X it’s all too easy for Airbus; The 777-9X is too heavy, too expensive and too dependent on the 5 percent TSFC-delta of the GE9X over that of the Trent-XWB-97 engine that can easily become a 5 percent TSFC deficit to a new family of 100,000-pound thrust class Rolls Royce engines, featuring intercoolers, an ultra-high overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1, half a decade after the EIS of the 777-9X.

    I think Boeing needed to keep costs down on the 779. I don’t think the option came down to ‘clean sheet’ vs the current vision but rather current vision vs even cheaper re-engine and non-cfrp and smaller wing which was certainly being debated as late as a year ago. Airlines have been complaining that airplanes are getting more expensive and the 777 is already an expensive aircraft and I don’t think Boeing customers were willing to pay ‘that much more’ for a better aircraft. The A350 has the acquisition cost advantage and if the 777x went clean sheet there would be an even bigger disparity.

    The point is the same as what Airbus customers complained about with the original A350Mk1; if you’re building a new wing and re-designing the entire airframe as well, using only 20 percent, or less of the original hardware, why not do the obvious and build an all new airplane?

    When you’re building an all new aircraft, you’re also putting together a whole new production system. If you’d look at the level of automation on the latest generation jets, you’d be surprised to see how archaic part of the 777 manufacturing chain looks in comparison. Hence, you’ve got to look at the whole picture when deciding what to do, not just the new aircraft itself. Clean sheat doesn’t have to mean a “bigger disparity”, and in this case, when you’re already spending an outrageous amount of money on a programme that can quite easily be out-competed by your competitor, upping the ante would IMO definitively be the way to go for Boeing. The 787 is still expensive to build, though, but that’s more to do with how the programme itself was set up on the cheap.

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