Odds and Ends: A350 EIS; A330neo; more on 757RS

A350 EIS: Bloomberg reports that the first Airbus A350 XWB could be delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways “before the December deadline.” According to the Ascend data base, the first delivery had been planned for July and then slipped to September and then October. Airbus later said November or December. Based on this movement and market intelligence, we had slipped EIS to early 2015. In the end, we’ll see where the date lands.

A330neo: Aspire Aviation reports that Hawaiian Airlines could be an early customer for the A330neo. The prospect makes sense: HA is a hold-out for converting its A350-800 order to the larger A350-900, preferring the capacity of the smaller airplane.

757 Replacement: News out of the Singapore Air Show about the prospect of a 757 replacement continues to pick up steam. This story in the Puget Sound Business Journal is as complete as any (besides which, it also quotes us and our stories).

Competing in Asia: CNN has a profile of the competition between Airbus and Boeing in Asia for the low cost carriers.

17 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A350 EIS; A330neo; more on 757RS

  1. I know its in the past but I would’ve loved to see a “B757NEO”…that would have been a cool plane. Or maybe a “B757NEO” with more composite parts such as wings, etc. (maybe not the entire fuselage).

    • To be honest, the 757 has never been a ‘cool plane’ in economy, particularly the -300. The fuselage width was, and still is, its bigger flaw

  2. Interesting Hawaiian analyses on Aspire. I think it serves a market that can create traffic for the right pckage / price. Still the A350-900 probably would be overkill for Hawaiian. So their refusal to upgrade seems justified. That why they have the A350-800 contract. I guess Hawaiian qualifies as a high profile customer for Airbus. Cancelling their order and taking just right 787s is something Airbus would like to avoid at not all costs, but considerable costs. HA knows.

  3. Hawaiian Airlines would be the most natural choice to be a launch customer.

    As for the A350’s earlier EIS, I doubt it, but only because things never go that well lol. They’ll most likely still make this year though. Does anyone remember the last aircraft programme that EIS’ed earlier than planned?

  4. Boeing has been tremendously successful with its NB fuselage design and width. It is the same first shown up in the B-707, then the B-727, B-737, and finally the B-757, more than 15,000 airplanes (combined). But it is time for Boeing to move on with a new fuselage and different cross section. Hopefully Boeing will launch the B-757RS sooner rather than later. It will be a tremendously successful airplane.

  5. I continue to say that the 757RS is just that, a study and its not picking up steam, its picking up internet spin.

    While there may be a market between the Single Aisles and the 787, the 757 is not the market (and those comments were included in the various stories)

    First and foremost, 80% of the former 757 market is gone. The A320/737s have vastly increased capability in range.

    UPS and FedEx account for 175 of the 757-200s. Call it a round 200 with other freighters conversions. They are not going to replace those reasonably fuel efficient aircraft.

    Some are parked as they no longer serve a range need. The ones that are flying are paid for and the balance is they use more fuel but cost nothing in payments. Most of those can and will be replaced by 737 or A320 when the economics get bad enough.

    That leaves the Trans Atlantic sector and again those are purely because they are paid for, they certainly are not comfortable to fly a narrow body and the 300 is worse.

    The 757 has already been 80% or better replaced.

    The question is, what market if any is there in between the singles aisle and the 787 and how big is it? It has to have some inter-Asian routes, US, Europe and Middle East/Africa if its to be launched. If there is and it is, then the trickle down affect would pick up that small remnant of 757 really needed mission, but in and of itself, there is no 757 market, its as gone as the horse pulled carriage.

    • Smoker this isn’t about the 757. Its about 220-280 seats short/ medium haul. See the Chinese buying the terribly oversized A330 for domestic. The thousands of 757s, 767s, A310/310s and misused 787s and A330s. 2000-4000 aircraft in the twenty years. Transcon, intra asia, leisure, EMEA, caribian. Airbus isn’t sitting on its hands and taking over with the A321 and A330R. Both compromized but available. The margins of a big single aisle are better and no competition helps too.

  6. Looking at Airbus A380 progress (Order, Asiana, First Japanese), A350 (Early EIS, JAL, BA, UA, EK, SQ, CX, AF), A330 (10/month, GE/RR paid NEO) and A320 NEO (60/40, A321) and biggest backlog ever, you would almost miss Airbus really is in big trouble & major twin-aisle product line disadvantage to Boeing. All of these challenges are emerging at a difficult moment in Airbus’s history.

    Richard Aboulafia tells you how come. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_02_13_2014_p0-663750.xml

    Boeing is Not in a late uphill battle stopping XWB with compromised 787-10 & 777-8X. http://johngushue.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451f25369e2015434f078d5970c-800wi

    • Richard Aboulafia is very good at analysing the civil and defense markets in the United States. As for having a clue about what’s happening in the rest of the world; he’s looking at it through an American prism. Every once in a while he makes an astute observation, but for the most part he seems to be rather confused about what’s going on.

      As for research and development spending as a percentage of revenue going below 6%, has it occurred to him that the Airbus Group is now at the back-end of three major development programmes (i.e A380, A400M and A350), and that the company’s revenues, for example, grew by 15 percent from 2011 to 2012: €49,128 billion in 2011 to €56,480 in 2012. A decade earlier, revenues rised 38 percent to €20,5 billion in 2001 from €14.9 billion in the year 2000. Hence, revenue-wise, the EADS/Airbus-Group is more than 4 times bigger now than when they launched the A380 programme, and now he’s sayin that “Airbus isn’t likely to have the resources to fund both an A330neo and A380neo and a new large twin, too” and that “tough choices will need to be made.

      Seriously, Dick, is that just wishful thinking?

      Doing an A330neo and an A380neo concurrently is more akin to killing two birds with one stone, than anything else. Airbus is just sitting and waiting for the best possible engine. An engine based on the new Rolls Royce RB3039 would make an A330neo more than competitive with the 787. If Airbus were to have problems concerning resources, they would definitvely not be financial, but human rather.

      Why doesn’t Dick talk about why Boeing can’t just do a 777MAX, or something like that. Why does Boeing have to spend an obscene amount of money on what seems to me to be a half-baked response by upgrading the 777 platform, when Airbus can seemingly get away with simply putting a new engine on the A330? This should be the real story here, not simply trying to obfuscate a non-issue.

      As for an all-new big twin, has it occurred to Dick that if Airbus were to go Ahead with such an undertaking, that the 777-9X would be in risk of not only being boxed in, but made completely uncompetitive by not only the new big Airbus twin, but by a re-engined A350-1000 as well. As I pointed out in an earlier comment, Airbus could launch an A360X super twin in, say, 2017, for entry into service in 2025. It could 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 (i.e. GE9X at a 60:1 ratio) 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 from 2025 onwards as well. Such an engine could have at least 10 percent lower TSFC than the Trent-XWB-97 engine, which would mean that the 777X would now trail the A350-1000 by 5 percent in TSFC instead of leading it by 5 percent. Thanks to the GE9X, the 777-9X should have about the same fuel burn per seat as that of the A350-1000, even though the former looks to be more than 30 tonnes heavier than the dash-1000. A 10 percent TSFC reversal in favour of the A350-1000, would essntially end the 777-9X as we know it — and I’ve not even mentioned what an A360X would do to the equation……

      Finally, Dick concludes that Airbus supposedly “will be paying the price for the A380 for many years to come”

      It’s obvious that the A380 has been a thorn in the eye to not only Dick, but to quite a few individuals in the American aerospace commentariat since the programme was launched in the year 2000. The general notion of the day seemed to be that “If Airbus dares to launch such an irrelevant dinosaur, they’d better be prepared to face the consequences”. So, when Boeing launched the “all-empowering” 787, Airbus according to them, apparently, shouldn’t have had the monetary resources available to just go ahead and respond with a competive product. Airbus “had made their bed, and now they should just go and lie in it”. Of course, on behalf of Boeing, the U.S. Trade Representative had already launched a preemptive strike against Airbus at the WTO, trying to stop the A350 dead in its tracks, while Dick was caught up in the ” tremendous drug-like rush of the 787 programme. That drug-like rush was likely enhanced due to Dick probably felt that Airbus now had to face the consequences of launching the A380, and that Airbus foolishly, hadn’t seen the “light” on Point-to-Point vs. Hub-to-Hub.

      In reality though, the A380 didn’t sink Airbus. They predicted that they would sell around 750 units over 20 years, which they won’t, but IMO they should quite easily be able to do it over 30 years (i.e. 2000-2030). All of the R&D for the A380 can now be considered sunk costs and all of the knowledge and lessons learned by the A380 programme was carried over into the A350. Dick doesn’t seem to understand that this industry is one that is characterised by strategic and long-term planning, and that consequently, what may be looked at as a reaonable rate of return in the financial services sector, doesn’t necessarily hold true in the Large Commercial Aircraft (LCA) business.

  7. @Keesje: Which japanese company has ordered the A380?

    That article of Aboulafia’s has in fact some bizarre spin.
    As long as the A350’s orderbook is full for many years to come, it certainly makes sense to scrap the A350-800 for now and sell 330-Neos instead.
    If the Engine OEMs are paying the bill for the NEO-program its not a financiel burden at all. It extends the life of an already paid for production line. That may even put some pricing pressure on further B787 sales. All that almost for free for Airbus. So where is the problem ?

    He got a point however that Airbus has no answer to the 777-9 yet and the A380 is not selling well.
    For the A380 the A330 Neo program might provide the right engine to make it compatitive again. So maybe problem solved there too, with moderate costs.
    Sure the 777-9 is a new (capacity) class of its own. Yes, it puts pressure to the A380. But it remains to be seen if the demand in that class is high enough to repeat the runaway success of the 777-300R and force a response.

  8. if Airbus plays this in a clever way, then they will have a great run.

    What do I mean? Remember the Yellowstone-concept? That included a new big airplane. Y1 will be the NSA, Y2 is the 787 and Y3 is … äh nowhere. Instead first a warmed over 747-8. Now a warmed over 777-X, but no new plane. New derivates save costs but they are vulnerable.

    So what I must ask and where I have not gotten a response yet from anybody is why can a 777, which once started as a 63 meter 777-200 evolve into a 76 meter 777-9 but it is absolutely impossible to evolve a new, modern 350 with the baseline 66 meter 350-900 into a 79 meter 350-1X00 with similar capacity but much lower costs?

    So, I assume it is possible and doing without the -800 leaves resources to upgrade the 350 family around 2022. Important: do not kill the 777-9. Just let it not take over the upper end market … a bit like the 747-8i today.

    • but it is absolutely impossible to evolve a new, modern 350 with the baseline 66 meter 350-900 into a 79 meter 350-1X00 with similar capacity but much lower COSTs

      Of course, it’s not impossible, but one “problem” with an A350-1100 could very well be the landing gear footprint; or the distance between the centre lines of the nose gir and main landing gear. As with the A380, Airbus put the the nose landing gear bay much further forward than on the A300/A310/A330/A340; in the space directly underneath the cockpit. As With the A380, it was done in order to maximise the volume of the cockpit and the lower forward avionics bay, while optimising aerodynamics and the positioning of the nose landing gear.

      Here are the numbers:

      28.665m on the A350.900
      31.22m on the 777-300ER
      32.475m on the A350-1000
      32.82m on the 777-9X
      35.65m on the A350-1100*

      *A350-1100 stretched by 9 frames; 5 in front of the wing and 4 aft of the wing.

  9. “The A380 is competitive because of its shear capacity per slot.”
    That is true when you are heavily slot constrained. But currently that seems not to be the case for many connections. That is a small niche market.

    I see Airbus between a rock and hard place.
    A re-engine and further PIPs are currently the only option to at least roughly maintain the status quo in seat mile cost. But will that be enough ?
    The capacity gap between the 777-9 and a A380-NEO/PIP is narrower than with previously available offerings. So the risk to buy an A380 instead is even more unattractive than before (relativly) because a lower risk option with comparable seat mile costs is available that is less far away in capacity than before.
    On the other hand they cannot successfully (re-)gain a lead in seat mile costs by squeezing in more seats or stretching it. The demand is simply still not there, yet. Only Emirates currently can generate enough demand to utilize a sizable fleet of A380s on non-slot constrained routes. They can only hope passenger demand finally catches up to their forecasts, enabling more high-capacity routes.

    Why cant Airbus do a A350-1100 that is compatitive with the 777-9 ?
    It could. But if you need the range that means extensive and expensive changes. For long range even a new wing. Additionally, if the A350 order book doesn’t dry up, production capacity will simply not be there for a third variant. That means further extension of the production capacity would be required.

    2022 it could be time to invest in the NSA, and a A330-Neo2 or clean sheet replacement. That market is larger than the 400 seat segment and certainly more important.

    • “The A380 is competitive because of its shear capacity per slot.”
      That is true when you are heavily slot constrained. But currently that seems not to be the case for many connections. That is a small niche market.

      Even airlines that aren’t slot restricted at their home base fly to the big populations centers/ A380 hubs, that are slot / noise restrained at critical moment of the day. JFK, LAX, CDG, LHR, FRA, SIN, DXB. Everyone wants to use the airport at the same moments because of global time windows and network/ fleet optimization.


      FYI :125 A380s delivered, 324 on order.

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