War of Words between Airbus and Boeing over A330neo, 787

By Leeham Co EU

We’ve seen it for decades: the War of Words between Airbus and Boeing around their competing aircraft. It hasn’t taken long for the WOW to emerge over the prospective A330neo. Only a few months ago, Boeing was muted in its assessment about the NEO and its response. No longer.

For the 200- to 300-seat segment the WOW warning was raised Sunday at Doha, Qatar, in advance of the IATA Annual General Meeting, and no doubt it will stay aloft until this year’s Farnborough Air Show, where the formal launch of the A330neo is expected (as if anyone is doubting after Sunday).

The start
As Aviation Week reports from the eve of the IATA AGM, John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating office-customers, threw down the gauntlet by claiming an A330neo economics would be “unbeatable” and its “cash operating cost would equal 787-9.” Boeings counterpart John Wojick countered “at no price can it compete with the 787-10”.

Of course, that’s not what Leahy claimed. Comparisons have been between the A330-300 and 787-9, not the 787-10.


What it is all about
After our New Year’s analysis showed that there was a real case for an A330neo (A330neo prospect gains traction) we spent a further four months on the case, digging deeper and deeper. The result was put in our report The Business Case about the A330neo, a 60-page study which took a deep dive into the economics of the A330neo vs the A330 Classic and the Boeing 787-8/9. We did not examine the neo vs the 787-10 because these are different category airplanes, as Boeing’s Wojick should know full well.

In an apples-to-apples comparison, we found the A330neo significantly narrows, but does not entirely close, the operating cost gap between the A330 Classic and Boeing’s new airplane. Airbus can close the gap and achieve an advantage, however, if it lowers the price of the A330neo to a level the 787 can‘t give. This is central to Leahy’s argument, which is used for the A330 Classic but achieved only with the most favorable assumptions for the Airbus airplane

To summarize:

Payload: Equalizing payload side is absolutely essential (this is the source of most of the OEM wranglings):

  • The A330-300 (300 seats, according to Airbus) competes with the 787-10 (321 seat by Boeing). Is this because the 787-9 is too small at 280 seats? To really know we need normalized cabin configurations with equal rules for:
  • Type of mission. Do we fly long-haul, mid-haul or short-haul? Airbus likes to point out that the today’s A330-300 has an average mission of about 2,000nm—largely an intra-Asia airplane. But a neo, whether the A320neo or the A330neo, produces better economics on the long-haul. In our Study, we look at economics starting at 2,000nm through 6,000nm. For our discussion today, we’ll focus on long haul. Long haul rules includes, for instance, that crew rests are mandatory but it also means a lot of other things (increases in size of seats; galleys; wardrobes; closets).
  • Cabin class. Do we fly with 3 class or 2 class cabins? What seating standard do we then have for premium and economy and what seat ratios? Boeing uses three class with pitches from the 1990s to stay consistent since Integrated Airplane Configuration (IAC) was introduced, Airbus uses two class with today’s pitch standard but with no official rule-set (to our knowledge). How can one compare their numbers? One can’t.

We therefore redo everything with our standardized rule-set which uses modern seats and pitches and with constant ratios of premium to economy seats for all aircraft. We also use equal allocation ratios of WCs, catering space, closet and stowage capacity.

With these normalized LOPAs (Layout Of Passenger Accommodations) we found the A330-300 to be within two seats of the 787-9 and more than 30 seats away from the 787-10 (no wonder an A330neo cannot compete with the 787-10; they are not in the same capacity class). Likewise the 787-8 is within eight seats the size of an A330-200 (the next competitor is 50 seats away). On the cargo side the picture was similar.
We also compared the base characteristics of the aircraft; aerodynamics, structures, systems and maintenance.

  • We considered the aspect ratio of the A330 wing vs the 787, the wing sizes and the wetted surfaces.
  • The systems are where they differ the most but it does not make such a difference..
  • The maintenance cost champion of dual aisle gets beaten fair and square by the new 787 on the airframe side. Add the 787-derived engines and it is not so clear cut anymore.

The available engines for the A330neo are derivatives of the 787 engines: The GEnx (a version of which is also on the 747-8) and the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN. Aviation Week reports that RR is likely to obtain an exclusive supplier agreement—it currently has about a 75% market share of recent sales, but if Airbus is correct that the market potential is upwards of 1,000-1,200 neos (and we have our doubts), a dual sourcing may make sense. But our Market Intelligence suggests that RR will borrow technology from the Trent XWB to insert into the 1000 TEN, taking it a step beyond where GE can go with the GEnx. Therefore a RR-powered engine will be substantially improved before going on the neo.

We expect sharklets will be added to the A330neo. Other improvements: aerodynamics, new, lighter engine nacelles and potentially laminar flow, and further improvements on the maintenance side, does the tasks really need to be this close.
Our in-depth Study provides details of these summarized issues, detailed economics, prices at which the A330neo have to be sold and much more.

164 Comments on “War of Words between Airbus and Boeing over A330neo, 787

  1. Excellent commentary. Enjoy this site the most when labor/politics are kept out. A companion analysis with respect to Airbus/Boeings margin goals over the next 10 years might also make sense to add, imho. I seem to recall A wanting to double margins but I don’t see how heavily discounting 10 years of A330NEO production will help toward that.

    • I checked Wikipedia for Boeing’s 787 deliveries this year (2014): 26 aircraft for 5 months. That is in now way better than last year and slightly above 5 aircraft per month.

      In January 2013 we could read that 10 per month were expected by early 2014:
      or even by end of 2013:

      The A330NEO just has to close the 787 gaps. So there is no need for Airbus to heavily discount the NEO.

      The 787-10 might be better than any A330NEO but any A330 is better than no 787.

      • Well, the number through the end of May (5 months) is at least 33 aircraft, so the situation is not quite as dire as 26, but your point is taken.

      • It is well documented Boeing scheduled 10 per month late last year. They have not come even close, neither in 2014, with all further delays, compensations, cash stream consequences , but no analyst seems to notice or think its worth mentioning.

        A yearly A380 production shortfall of say 3 aircraft is all over the place with far reaching conclusions about the program. Remarkable, ain’t it?

        • I think that what Boeing really said was that they would be “building” 787s at a 10/month rate by the end of 2013. Since as I understand it they, for better or worse, define rate break as occurring when they start loading parts at the new rate, actually hitting 10 deliveries per month would not have been expected until about 4 months later, since I think that is the current average time period between parts loading and delivery. Note, that this is pretty much inline with their predicting 110 deliveries this year, rather than 120. It does look like they are behind the curve for hitting their target, but I think it is far too early to conclude that they actually will miss it. When and if it does become evident, I would think there would be plenty of attention to the situation from analysts and the press.

        • Well, Airbus has all but given up ever reaching their original production goal. The wiring fiasco still impacts the production schedule and probably will for the life of the program. Not that it matters. Demand for the A380 is nowhere near the Airbus forecast. Remarkable, ain’t it?

    • Well I think it’s well established, the NEO is much cheaper than a clean sheet design:
      – Lower development cost
      – No investment in building complete new production facilities
      – No expensive and lengthy ramp-up of an new production line

      I really see no near term alternative option to get a better Return on Invest. Do you?

  2. Thanks! A lot of information and a nice breakdown. How many copies do you think
    of the Neo will be sold over what timeframe?

  3. The “All Things 787” web site lists 33 787-8’s that have been delivered through 5/29/14. The line number, serial number, and registration number are listed for each delivered aircraft.

  4. “The 787-10 might be better than any A330NEO but any A330 is better than no 787.”

    I guess the opposite is also true, any B-787 is better than no A-330?

    Boeing has its very popular sky interior on the B-787. Airbus’s competing interior is just plane boring (personal opinion). Since passengers will be sitting inside these two airplanes for anywhere from 2 to 14 hours, interior décor is important. Also important will be the B-787 lower internal cabin altitude.

    • “Boeing has its very popular sky interior on the B-787. Airbus’s competing interior is just plane boring”

      Agreed. Very functional but dated in its look.

    • Airbus should be able to lend some of the styling from the A-350, don’t you think?

    • Isn’t the sky interior a generic Boeing interior, meaning most airlines will be putting their own interior in anyways, so what does it matter? I understand when it comes to things like window size which the A330 can’t match for obvious reasons, but if an Airline wanted to comfortably kit out the A330 to match their 787s, I don’t see why not. Agree on the lower cabin altitude, but then I wonder how overstated that is, seeing as the A380 has actually had the 5000ft cabin pressurization for a while now and I haven’t really seen anyone say they noticed it.

      • Can someone substantiate the 5000ft figure? I’ve seen it quoted before – but I’m curious as to why I haven’t seen it featured more prominently in airbus’ promotional material.

        • I cannot give you any sources (it is in the Airbus website, but not blown out with great fanfare) but it is true about the A380 having a 5000 foot pressurisation from day one.
          Why they didn’t feature it more prominently? PR is still not their strong point and now that Boeing has been going on about it for the past 7 years, it seems silly to come out and say, “But we had that already on our last plane!” At least that would be my guess.

          Besides, the airlines know what they are buying and the A380 is popular with passengers just for being what it is and not because it has a whole bunch of new features.

      • The 6000 ft cabin pressure was used by the Concorde as well. This while operating at a cruise altitude of 60000 ft.

      • I for one really notice the A380 cabin makes it my choice for long distance travel all the time

    • Definitely agree that anay A330neo would need an updated interior. Surely a lot of the design work for that was already done with the original A350.

    • C’mon guys…just how important is interior decor….Really? I mean, I just want to sit somewhere quiet…close to a restroom…with a big, comfortable seat…and an attentive stewardess. And maybe on a long flight I want to watch a movie….or maybe I’ll bring my own movies. And cold beer….that’s always good. And I want to carry on all my luggage…because I hate waiting at the carousels. And I’d really like it if they’d bring back smoking sections.

      But would I really care about some Sky Interior…or any fancy interior from Airbus? I just don’t think it’s near the top of my list.

      • Getting all breathy over interiors is “grabbing at straws”. Your basic product obviously is inferior or at least undistinguishing 😉

    • “Since passengers will be sitting inside these two airplanes for anywhere from 2 to 14 hours, interior décor is important. Also important will be the B-787 lower internal cabin altitude.”

      Also important is the seat size.

      • What about the beer/wine(red/white) temperatur?

        I need power for my mobile phone, computer, WLAN, entertainment system for the kids… Interior design? The best interior is a smiling cabin crew.

        “Mood lighting” is a cheap feature of economic LED lighting.

        Bigger windows? For what reason? For this short moment during take-Off and landing?

      • “Also important is the seat size.”

        Emirates’ Tim Clark ain’t buying what you (and Airbus) are selling on the “seat size” debate.

        From Aviation Week:

        What do you think of Airbus’s campaign that seats on its jets will have a minimum width of 18 in.?

        “It offsided me a little bit. The criticality of an 18-in. seat to the lower percentiles of the Asian market is not so important. In American and European markets, 18 in. is far too small. You need 36 in., truth be told. So, in the end, the important thing for me is to optimize comfort levels. You could have an 18-in. seat that is the most uncomfortable ever.”

        • Ah. Wonder what he’ll say about the “sky interior”, big windows, cabin pressure thing and all that if seat size isn’t a big deal to him…

          He’s also stated that the A380 continues to enjoy higher load factors than the rest of his fleet.

        • NYX,

          I think Tim Clark is a bit all over the map. But I wonder how his conversations went with Airbus after he fired that blast back about 18″ seats.

          He wants to optimize comfort levels but I BET he won’t offer that 36″ seat in economy, will he? NOPE.

        • It isn’t the width, its the length. You can do something about your width, last time I checked it was pretty gruesome to do something about your length.

    • Well, I’ve travelled back and forth the Atlantic – on 747s, 767s, 777s. No Airbus so far, but that wasn’t a matter of taste-based choice but ticket prices and stopover considerations.

      To be honest, the points that matter to me on a long flight are:
      Seating pitch/comfort/layout, IFE, and to a lesser degree, overhead bin size (which IMHO is still too small on “Sky” interior, especially over the middle seats).
      But I never cared about the design/decor at all nor would it be influential on my choice.

      On the other hand, I believe that the NEOs might have a better chance of being converted to freighters in the far future – there are plenty of aging 767-200/300 and A-300/310 freighters which will need replacements some day. Its conventional Aluminium fuselage can be more easily modified.

  5. Perhaps there is some merit to the apples and apples comparison between the 330neo and the 787-10, because the 330neo does not have nearly the range of the 787-9. Em terms of range it compares more closely with the 787-10

    • The problem is that it doesn’t really make sense to compare aircraft of such different sizes. I have seen comparable layouts where the 787-10 is 50 seats larger than the A330-300. That’s as big as the gap between the 787-8 and -9, or A330-200 and -300. Why would OEMs make different size variants if size was not so important?

      My personal opinion is that Boeing wants the 787-10 to be compared to the A330 since it makes a better story to say ´better operating costs and slightly better range’ (versus A330) than ‘similar operating costs achieved with a range penalty because we can’t afford a new wing’ (versus A350).

      The 787 is supposed to be a new generation of aircraft, so why not compare to the equivalent new generation A350-900, which is after all, the same size as the -10?

  6. Months ago it was stated the 787 is about 10% more fuel efficient then the A330.

    New gen engines are about 12-15% more fuel efficient then the CF6/ T700 they replace, according to GE and RR. Weight reductions, Sharklets maybe can do a percent too for a A330NEO.

    Before anyone can start jumping to conclusions, Boeing does a pre emptive stating the 787 is actually 30% better then the A330. As predicted, and done before on the 737MAX, inventing the 737NG had always been always 8% better then the NEO, when it was written on the wall NEO engines would have much better BPR/sfc.

    Boeing is moving the goalposts on the A330 vs 787. Pitty those airlines that ordered 800 A330s during the last 8 yrs don’t understand.

    • Boeing is moving the goalposts on the A330 vs 787. Pitty those airlines that ordered 800 A330s during the last 8 yrs don’t understand.

      Boeing is just [edited] making up facts as it fits their agenda.

      WOW actually is nothing more than a very one sided aggression.

      • No they’re not, they’re just moving them to push Airbus in a corner. The fight is not about the A330NEO it is about the entire widebody strategy. Boeing wants Airbus to include the A350-900R and the rest of the A350s into the discussion. You see, you and other believe this is a apples to oranges comparison. It is not, when Airbus says the A330NEO is a better deal than the 787-8 and -9, Boeing want the A350-900R included in the discussion. Now we have new technology versus old technology. Airbus has the slam the A350 at the same time they boost the NEO. Now there is confusion and the customer will ask why Airbus even did the A350 when the NEO was such a better product for regional applications. What will the answer be? The A350 was a testbed for A330NEO upgrades, Airbus never had a interest in the A350 program (which is why they killed the A350-800 for the A330NEO-200?)? Or, trust us the A350 program is far better a solution than the 787 because Airbus makes a better product? Leahy says the A330NEO will capture 1000-1200 frames, and at whose expense will those sales come from? Customers who already have 787s flying, or customers who are buying A350s? So I’ll buy a A330-200NEO after I have 5-7 787s by the time the NEO comes to market? I can get a larger -10 which is for an expanding market over buying a smaller A330NEO at a discount. I already have 787s in my fleet but I’ll dump them all for a dated A330, but I won’t do that for a new technology A350? Leahy wanted it, he never believed in the plastic market and now he has both. UK will be awash with A330NEO announcements this summer. There will be a small announcement about the A350-1000 and a few sales, and maybe some A350-900 sales. China will dance, Delta will sing, Air Asia will drink, and the A350 program will begin to talk discounts because their program will continue to be the bastard child of Airbus. Boeing, will smile to themselves and say they are sad to see the sales being lost, and they will continue to compete the -10 against the A330NEO. When it hits and it gets all the performance improvements from the -8, and -9, plus the added seats the NEO will have become the A340s real brother. Someone will say, why not do the A350-800 and -1000s as NEOs. Now slam me, but I will watch the market and I will wait to see where the money goes. I got popcorn and time.

        • I don’t see the A330neo as adversely affecting the profitability of the A350 sales. The latter will sell on its own merits.

          The A350 is presented to the airlines as a larger and more capable frame, commonality with other A350 variants in the fleet, better resale values, and the flexibility of having a regional variant that can at any time be upgraded to its full potential by a simple software update.

          If airlines don’t need any of these and availability is what they are looking for, they can take the cheap A330neo instead. Even if customers choose the A330neo at the expense of the A350, it means that Airbus saves the slots for the more profitable variants such as the A350-1000 for which it badly lacks production capacity.

        • L7room, that is quite near the image that Boeing would like to force onto the public.

          Looking from the other side :
          The initial allegation that the 787 is not much more than a cheap chineese A330 copy sailing on the advances in engine design ( compare A320->Comac, Comac using rather good engines and some new tech but getting ahead only in a discontinuous way) comes back into visibility if the same upgrade brings the “Ancient” A330 on/near par to the 787.

          The A350_XWB_ attacks the 777 slot and _not_ the original A330/787 domain.
          Thus doing an A330 NEO definitely does not question the A350XWB project and its obvious success against the currently available 777 top line model just 10 years after its introduction.
          Pressing the press 😉 to now include options ( that saw quite an inflation in numbers at Boeing ) in “real” sales numbers does not bring much improvement either.

          Further on the actual interest to the 777X is much more tepid that hot as presented publicly.

        • No they’re not, they’re just moving them to push Airbus in a corner. The fight is not about the A330NEO it is about the entire widebody strategy.

          Not if Boeing are very specifically comparing the A330neo to the 787-10, which is, as Scott points out, nonsense. Nobody considering the 787-10 would pitch it against the A330neo – they’d be looking at the A350-900 instead. Which doesn’t lend itself to such an obvious BS comparison, of course.

          when Airbus says the A330NEO is a better deal than the 787-8 and -9, Boeing want the A350-900R included in the discussion.

          Well, then Wojick should be talking about that instead of comparing the A330neo with the 787-10.

          As for the overall widebody strategy: If we assume an A330neo is launched, Airbus will be competing with a warmed-over plane on the lower end (A330neo) and with an all-new plane on the upper end (A350), while Boeing will be competing with an all-new plane on the lower end (787) and with a warmed-up plane on the upper end (777X). Granted, the 777X is more of a piece of work than the A330neo, but you can look at that as an advantage and a disadvantage, of course, depending on your agenda. Boeing are betting a lot of money on a warmed-over plane to compete with a brand-new plane (partly by means of stretching the 777-300ER to match A350-1000 CASM), where the brand new plane may just get another family member to compete with the 777X. There are a good few unknowns Boeing has to deal with there – is there going to be an A350-1100, what is it going to look like, how much of a threat is it to the 777-9X? Airbus would be spending much less on the A330neo, which of course to a point limits its sales appeal, but makes it – well – a lot easier/quicker to develop and fund. Also, Airbus know pretty well what they’re up against, as the 787-8 has been in service for a while, the -9 will be shortly, and the -10 has been on sale for a good while as well.
          As for the VLA sector – Boeing has the warmed-over 747 that they spent a lot of money on, much of which they’ll never make back as the pax variant is dead (partly at the hands of the A380, with the rest of the 747-8i market potential killed off by the 777-9X), while the freighter market is moribund. Airbus has the A380 that they spent a lot of money on, with at least some potential of making it back, as they’re breaking even in 2015 and still have the avenue available to them of doing a NEO (or, less likely, a stretch) on it. Both positions are not exactly enviable, but there’s little argument that if any of the two VLAs has a future in the pax market, it’s the A380, not the 747-8i.

          There’s advantages to both positions, and challenges to deal with as well. But to propose that one is infinitely better positioned than the other is just nonsense.

          Now there is confusion and the customer will ask why Airbus even did the A350 when the NEO was such a better product for regional applications. What will the answer be?

          You are aware that you are attacking a pretty tiny fraction of the market there? Namely the market of A330-300neoR, which would indeed overlap somewhat with the A350-900R market. So far, Airbus has sold about 800 A350s, and not a single A350-900R. So the regional niche is not one that is giving them major headaches, let alone make them (or anybody else) question the whole A350XWB programme. For the sake of the argument – a A330-300neoR on the order books instead of an A350-900R is still a frame in Airbus’ order books.

          Pressing the press 😉 to now include options ( that saw quite an inflation in numbers at Boeing ) in “real” sales numbers does not bring much improvement either.

          Funny how, about 10 years ago, the predominant Boeing line was how Airbus was very generous in reporting a fuzzy lump number that included options, MoUs and firm orders, and how you therefore couldn’t take them seriously. Ever since the launch of the 737MAX, where Boeing suddenly had to come up with a way of catching up with NEO sales, they’ve themselves started lumping “commitments” and firm orders together for both the 737MAX and now the 777X as well.

        • “Now there is confusion and the customer will ask why Airbus even did the A350 when the NEO was such a better product for regional applications”

          Strangely enough, it was the customers who demanded the A350 and the customers who are now demanding a A330 NEO. It is really quite simple and not so complicated as you would like to portray it.

          The big to be determined is the strategy for Airbus. The factors are:
          1. How much should be redesigned? (The more you change, the more it costs).
          2. The engine choice. Go with modern engines that are available in the next couple of years or wait for the RR engines that would only be available as of 2020 or later.

          I believe both of those factors are being checked through various business cases.

          I am pretty sure a NEO will be offered and it is now just a matter of deciding just what exactly they want to offer.

    • Can somebody confirm if it was 10% more fuel efficient or 10% better CASM?

    • If tasked with bringing the same payload over the same distance, the B787 is about 10% more fuel efficient than an A330. -9 versus -300. You can get this from payload range diagrams in a very rough form. Now come cabin interior and stuff, and you probably end up somewhere between 7-13% difference in fuel burn.

      As an A330-300 burns about 6t per hour, at 4000hrs per year and .65 EUR/kg you need to compensate roughly 1.6 million EUR per year, or 130 EUR/ month [10% fuel burn disadvantage] (somebody remembers Leahy’s presentation!?).

      Any new engine with a 12-15% SFC advantage over current Trent 700 or CF6-80 would require
      – larger diameter
      – more weight
      and hence out up parts of it. I doubt that an A330-200 will have an advantage over the B787-8 over a 6500nm mission. Onb the other hand, if an A330-300NEO comes out with a 2% fuel burn disadvantage, the money disadvantage shrinks to 320k EUR per year, 27k EUR per month, reflecting roughly 5 million EUR difference in pricing for a 15 year utilisation period.

      Apparently Airbus has figured out that the B787
      – has no meaningful advantage in airframe maintenance cost
      – does have a higher average cost to manufacturer, even at full program speed
      otherwise the A330 NEO would be a dead concept, as Boeing could offer comparable pricing once they run at 14/month and have reduced the backlog.

      • Yes, it all comes down to the price differential. Since Boeing is moving slow to produce, that should drive up the demand and price for the A330neo.

      • Thanks. Boeing claimed the average B787 would cost 110 million to build in 2011. Analysts pointed out that was a 40% better learning curve than the B777. Since then they have only had the same curve as the B777, not a better one, and the accounting block in now one model and 200 frames bigger. Even if they improve at faster rate now I can´t see them building B787s for less than 120-140. They have a 23Bn, at n deferred cost and rising, call it 26 for the sake of easier maths, 20 million a frame, plus financial costs of at least the same, so they need 160-180 million for every frame. To me it looks like Airbus can build an A330 worth 150-170 million on a line which is known to be profitable at less than 100 million each. OUCH.

        New email new icon, I like this one better:-)

  7. Didn’t Airbus try discounting the A340 to make up for the performance gap with the 777? That strategy didn’t work, as I recall.

    • The cost of building a bare A330 frame is much less today than that of the A340 at that time and availability has still kept the current A330 selling against the 787. Boeing cannot alone fulfill the market demand in this segment and the A330 is a good alternative.

      And by the same logic, is Boeing going to struggle in selling the 77W against the A35J even with the discounts?

    • The economic gap between the A340 and the 777 was huge. What killed the A340 was the FAA and its ETOPS 180 for twin engines. The performance gap between A330 and 787 is not that big and will be further reduced by the NEO.

      The 787 was discounted at introduction. The production is behind: 33 aircraft in 5 months instead of 50.

      10 aircraft per month were originally expected for 2012!
      “Boeing has long entertained the idea of a second 787 production line to raise production rates beyond 10 per month to meet customer demand and make up for 22 months worth of program delays.”
      Boeing delivered 65 Dreamliners in 2013 instead of 120. For 2013 and 2014 alone Boeing missed the target by 72 aircraft.

      Boeing has to deliver at higher rates:
      12 aircraft per month in 2016
      14 aircraft per month “by the end of the decade”
      I guess Boeing has to pay something to compensate for delayed deliveries.

      Even with 7 aircraft per month for 2014, 10 for 2015 and 12 for the rest of the decade there would still be a backlog after 2020 for the current orders.

      Maybe some smaller airlines will take the money and skip the 787. These airlines will still need aircraft. What will they buy instead?

  8. I am just throwing this one out here and don’t even know it if is at all economically feasible. Maybe those in the accounting department might be able to offer up their evaluations?

    What if the original A330 NEO were to have RR engines that are more or less available now and then a NEO II is launched across the board (A330 and A350) for when the new RR engines come online in post 2020?

    Might explain why Airbus would go with RR as sole source and why they believe that they can sell over a thousand NEOs.

    I just don’t know if developement/spares etc. costs could justify such a plan. But things don’t seem to be done the way they used to be and both OEMs seem to like to throw people off with what they have in mind.

  9. Somewhat off-topic, but it’s interesting to note that Saj Ahmad continues to post a large number of tweets describing how bad the A330neo will be for Airbus and how Boeing welcomes it. Saj’s pontificating has been getting even more hilarious lately.


    There’s even a fresh retweet right up Saj’s alley describing how bad it would be for Airbus if Qatar were to lose the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Would that be because Michel Platini is French?

    Retweetet by StratAero

    Max Onyx @maximus_onyx · 21 h

    Reply to @TelegraphNews Take away the Cup from Qatar and they will retaliate by cancelling many commercial deals. Airbus heavily exposed.

    Of course, Bill Clinton’s involvement in the case would not be an issue for Qatar Airways, so Boeing, apparently, has nothing to fear. 😉

    Qatar World Cup 2022 scandal: Bill Clinton’s fury at vote triggered global search for truth,

    • “Somewhat off-topic, but it’s interesting to note that Saj Ahmad continues to post a large number of tweets describing how bad the A330neo will be for Airbus and how Boeing welcomes it. Saj’s pontificating has been getting even more hilarious lately.”

      Hmmm…I could be wrong, but after reading through the tweets found at the link you have posted, it seems to me that Saj Ahmad may not think very highly of Airbus. Could I be mistaken?

      • Yes, to say the least.

        As a matter of fact he doesn’t think very highly of the C-series and PW GTF either –as you can see in his tweets. Surely, he must be a candidate for being the biggest Boeing and GE fanboi on the internet.

        • Try to ask there something about the difference between an A330NEO and a 777-X with new engine option. The NEO is a bad idea but the X is a good one. – Why? Because the NEO has no folding wing tips?

        • “Try to ask there something about the difference between an A330NEO and a 777-X with new engine option.”

          The biggest difference, of course, is the fact that Boeing will be spending upwards of 10 times as much on the 777X as Airbus will be spending on the a330neo. This would seem to indicate that the current A330-300 has already a much better optimsed aerodynamic performance than the very heavy 777-300ER (i.e. lower wing-loading, higher wing aspect ratio etc.). Hence, a simple re-engining program is essentially enough in order to keep the aircraft competitive with the similar sized 787, while the 777-300ER must be stretched and re-winged/re-engined in order to compete with the much lighter A350-1000, as simply re-engining the 777-300ER would not not lead to a competitive product.


    • – Aerostrategy thinks an A330 NEO will be welcomed by @BoeingAirplanes since Airbus has no choice but to offer wild discounts to sell it.

      – Vero Venia thinks it is a very difficult call for Airbus to launch the A330neo and that launching it means that they publicly admit that the A350 strategy has been a total failure.

      – 787 Customer Steven Udvar Hazy says Airbus could sell 1,100 to 1,200 A330 NEO’s over 20 years.

      – 787 Customer Richard Anderson says Airbus should move ahead with the A330 NEO because the industry needs it.

      Maybe two of these authorities are simply blinded by their preoccupations.

      • If 800+ orders before EIS represents a TOTAL failure, you wonder what it could have been had they got a better strategy.

        • There have been 800 orders 5 years before EIS of the 787. The PR seems to be a success but what about the finances? Can the 787 be produced cheaper than any other comparable aircraft? What about penalties for late delivery?

      • Strategicaero-“research” is spreading FUD – big time. Behind all the latest talk about the supposed inferiority of an A330neo lurks a seemingly increasing level of concern about the market attractiveness of a re-engined A330.

        • It is an attractive aircraft and Boeing can’t ignore the fact that you have airlines craving for the neo and well respected lessors stating that there is a potential market upwards of 1000 units – almost doubling the total sales for the A330. They could have pressed Boeing to increase their output instead, to meet demand if the 787 is so much better.

  10. Not sure why people even pay attention to Saj Ahmad and Fleetbuzz or whatever they’re called now. His fanboyism is bordering on psychosis.

    • Have to agree. To even bring them up in the comments here is somewhat tedious, to be honest. It doesn’t add anything to the discussion other than a really easy target to shoot down.

    • Well, it’s interesting at least IMO that as Boeing sales chief John Wojick made a hyperbolical claim that the 787-10 burns 30 percent less fuel per seat than the A330-300 — in a “war of words” — Saj Ahmad writes a number of similar headline tweets that IMJ seems to be based on an insider’s view of the marketing thinking at Boeing.

      What is bizarre, though, is that Saj seems to be taken seriously by quite a number of news outlets.


  11. The scary thing about the success of the A320 NEO, and if that success is repeated, the A330 NEO is that both programs are just what they say, a new engine option, and Airbus still have the option of an NG, (sorry Boeing) meaning updating the airframe, if they need to. Currently Airbus gets to keep their own resources and cash nearly unused for whatever they have upcoming, A350-1100 or whatever, and by having a healthy profit margin they will reduce financing costs in the future.

  12. For all its faults, we are not hearing many complaints about the 787 operating performance (fuel, etc.) of the 787. Not talking reliability or delivery here – operating costs. If its performance was all that bad, then all the current airlines would be cancelling large numbers of orders (like happened the MD-11 and A340) and wouldn’t be excercising options. The biggest problem for the airlines (who don’t care whether B makes money or not) is delivery – you can’t get any more until the next decade. If B could up the rates any faster they would/will.

    So the 20% vs. 10% for 787: from what I have seen, B never said 20% of a 330, they said “of current aircraft” and when they are pressed “current aircraft”, they say of a 67, which the independents sources confirm. Where is the new 30% coming from? Also, I thought the Leeham independent source quote was 10%-13% (corrections welcome) for a -8 over a 330. Based on the timing it was probably based on early production -8, which has been well noted was overweight with underperforming engines. AFAIK there is no independent confirmation of the performance of the -9 yet, which has many improvements over the -8 such as laminar flow control on the empenage and many weight improvements. The neo has to compete with that, not the -8.

    Why has the 330 sold so well – you can get one this decade! It doesn’t matter if there is something better a decade from now if you want to make money this decade. So if the Neo closes the performance gap to a few percent. But the 330 already has 777 generation performance improvements so it will be harder to get improvements vs the 767. With good discounts (again, airlines don’t care if the airframers make money or not) then an airline will have already made enough money on the early plane to offset the fuel savings years out. So the Neo has to close the performance gap (mostly), be attractively priced, and be available well before one can get a 787 or 350. I believe this is what Scott has already said.

    If there is a real big improvement in engines over the current 787 engines, which should be viewed with some skepticism IMO since both GE and RR didn’t meet early targets on the 787, then B will just turn around and re-engine the 787 to keep it ahead.

    I’m not quite sure where people are getting performance numbers for planes that don’t even have configurations pinned down (330 Neo, 777x) or no independent confirmation (879, 350). Both parties will present their case in the most positive light. Thank you Scott for providing credible independent information.

    • The 787 engines both appear to have “Mk1” ( never by a .. ) properties.
      Probably caused by too much haste early in the design phase. Just like the hassle
      around the 787 airframe.
      The years shaved off up front have not been added back at the end but instead have been replaced with endless time for fixing issues.

      TXWB seems to fare much better.

      Taking anything from the 787 as balanced reference how things stand is imho in error.
      State of the art is A380 –> A350XWB 😉

  13. I would put the market potential for the A330neo in the 500 to 700 unit range. The 773ER will end with between 800 to 900. The first widebody model to break 1000 will be the 789 or 359, assuming they stick with the same engines for ten years.

  14. So I was thinking about the A330 NEO program as a whole and came up with this. The efficiency gap between the 788 and the proposed NEO is around 8-10%, favoring the 788. I’m trying to see how and why an airline would wait until 2018 ,2019 for a plane that will become obsolete by the time the 789 and 781 are being cranked out. At the moment fuel is not super high. But if fuel skyrockets out of control, what then? Keep the heavier model and bleed fuel or cut weight and fly the alternative. Aircraft are investments as we all know. Help me understand why any airline is going to spend upwards of xxx, xxx, xxx for a handful of NEO’s that will become unfavorable when 789’s and 781’s start rolling off the FAL? The 1100 or so units that they are predicted to sell seem waaaayyyyy too optimistic. It’s my opinion but there is validity to my argument.

    • Lufthansa is an example for how this can work, capital cost is the key.
      They talked openly about the economics of retaining their existing 747-8s vs replacing them with 777-Xs.

      Lets assume your A330 (LH:747-8) has generated enough revenue to be paid and written off completly until the plane is “obsoleted” by competing models.
      If you have reached that point, flying a A330 (LH: 747-8) that has ZERO capital cost may well be competitive versus new-build 787s (LH: 777-X) with high capital cost. Bargain prices for the A330 or 747-8 only help to strenghten that business case.

      Admittedly that concept will fail once fuel costs rise over a certain point. But if you look at Deltas strategy, certainly there are some people who think the oil price will remain flat and will not skyrocket. We will see.

        • We don’t know if these five are stored for parts but we do know LH parks A340s to serve as back-up for surges in demand. The A340-300s are all fully depreciated so parking them costs nothing and gives them spare airplanes.

        • All ‘stored’ LH A343s are in Tulsa for part out and scrap, and will not fly again. D-AIGI and GP will leave the fleet this year, with 13 A343 of 2000 vintage remaining till the A359 is delivered.

    • So I was thinking about the A330 NEO program as a whole and came up with this. The efficiency gap between the 788 and the proposed NEO is around 8-10%,

      8..10% is the difference between a minimaly pimped OEO A333 and the 789.
      An A330 NEO would minimise or remove that gap. There is nothing “stopgap” in a NEOised A330.

      • “the A330neo significantly narrows, but does not entirely close, the operating cost gap”.
        So the A330 has some percent higher operating costs, but that can be offset by lower capital costs.

        Lets talk about possible countermeasures by Boeing that could make the A330 obselete and effectivly a “stopgap”.

        Pricing? Not likely due to higher production costs at the moment. They need to fix their rampup problems first. After that there may be potential to optimize further to build more planes with less effort and lower prices.

        787-NG/X? I see no business case there. If Boing can do a re-engine 10 years after EIS, Airbus can do it too. Result: Loads of money spent but competitive delta remains similar. So why bother.

        PIPs? After EIS of the 787-10 engineering resources may be available to do a 787-PIP before doing the NSA. Some percent are not impossible as Boing gains experience in using those composite materials. An engine PIP may also be possible.

    • Rotate … I think you are way to pessimistic and I can’t see any kind validity.

      “The efficiency gap between the 788 and the proposed NEO is around 8-10%, favoring the 788.”

      Why should the NEO be such a gas guzzler? The engine technology will be advanced compared to the 787? OEW of current A330-200 is just about 1 tonne heavier than the 787-8. The difference might be related just to lighter seats used on board of a 787. The weight difference today is about 1 %.

      Are the aerodynamics of the current A330 so bad? According to fuselage diameter the 787 has about 10 % bigger frontal surface.

      For me it is not unreasonable to expect that the A330 could consume even less fuel than the 787.

      Delta will laugh about all the other airlines which ordered all these expensive A350 or 787.

    • I think your assumption that the A330 would become “obsolete” is false. The A330 is way ahead of its time with regard to avionics, fly by wire, use of composites, efficiency. The 787 is basically the plane catching-up with airbus A330. The case for the A330 Neo is real. Also, lets not forget the 787 continues to pose an unresolved fire hazard that continues to attract attention from regulatory agencies.

      • I disagree with it as a fire hazard. That has been completely mitigated by a number of strategies . The risk is in the ELTs burning up (true on any airplane though unknown what would occur damage wise on an aluminum structure)

        The open question is how reliable are the batteries and the testing methods for them.

        Keep in mind that the NTSB report is dated, they did not address what Boeing did with the RTC and the upgrade in the quality control and testing (and if or what the RTC recommended for that)

        I do agree they did not admit what the problme was. While the containment structure got the attention, they redid the charging system, detection and huge changes in quality control, confirmation testing etc. Somewhere in there was where the issues was. Up to the grounding, they were passing 80% or more of the batteries. Industry standard is 60% with those types.

        While I think the battery still is an open question, its no longer a safety of flight though it would terminate any flight as soon as they smoked and they did have one more smoke and no follow up reports on that.

      • If what you are saying is true we’d see the numbers to substantiate your claim but it’s not the case. It’s general knowledge that the A330 family took advantage of the 787 follies and reaped a bountiful backlog as a result. But your aircraft with superior avionics, fly by wire, use of composites is getting a new lease on life because in it’s current state, a 20 year old design, doesn’t stack up to competitors such as the 788 and the 789 and to prevent the well running dry, we have the A330 NEO upon us. The A330NEO will come to market and sell a few hundred copies but don’t expect four figure numbers. It’s just not there

  15. The difference between the 787 and A330 CEO was said to be about 10%. Quoted here, by a fleet planner.

    “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.”

    Boeing is desperately trying to get these figures off the table, knowing the A330 engine upgrade potential. Playing the seatcount / CASM game, introducing new variables etc. Confuse the market.

    “The 787-10 burns 30 percent less fuel per seat than the A330-300. That is going to obsolete the A330,” Wojick said. “There isn’t a price at which people will buy the A330 once (you have) 30 percent fuel savings. It is a huge benefit to an operator.”

    • “Boeing is desperately trying to get these figures off the table, knowing the A330 engine upgrade potential. Playing the seatcount / CASM game, introducing new variables etc. Confuse the market.”

      Well put.

      I’d guess that from the point of view of the Boeing marketing machine, it doesn’t hurt to have a few surrogates further trying to muddle the picture.

    • The per seat comparison is cute because Wojick can choose a cramped 787-10 with 325 seats against a Cathay Pacific A330-300 with 242 seats or Lufthansa with just 217 seats!

      • Interesting to see you mentioned Cathay Pacific. They haven’t ordered the 787 yet but have quite a lot of A330s, not to mention their subsidiary DragonAir as well. Airbus will definitely try hard and pitch the A330neo to them.

  16. It’s about cash flow… A 330neo can provide this while it’s clear the ceo is drying up. Assume 1000 neos and 1 billion then it’s 10 million per plane. Assume the engine maker pays half which reduces your investment risk. If you can sell at 100 million and the 787 cannot go below 125 million at comparable sized aircraft then the business case can work. If you need more range then the case does not work as well. For a comparable ranged craft (787-10), then it will be harder for the older less optimized craft to compete and heavier discounts will be needed.

    • It would be 10 million per aircraft with just 100 NEOs sold.

      The 330-300NEO doesn’t have to compete with a 787-10 on range. Therefore the A350-900 is available. The smaller 787s would have to compete against the A330-200NEO.

    • Not for lack of interest but because the adverse risk of them being a leasing company. They’d rather see CX, LH, EK and QR operate it before he pulls this trigger to order it. Sitting on a bunch of planes that nobody wants to lease from you is foolish and costly.

      • I do think that he is likely to place orders for the 777X eventually. What I draw from this is that at this stage, he seems to be a bit more upbeat and interested in the prospects of the A330neo compared to the 777X in his portfolio.

        Consider your statement that as a leasing company he has to avoid the risk of sitting with a bunch of planes nobody wants to lease. Then, he’s very likely to be an early customer for the A330neo since he actually sees a demand for up to 1200 of these planes.

        • I agree with you in the regard of airlines showing interest but to the tune of 1200+ orders? Over what time span? Figure the 777 family sold 1500+ units over it’s lifetime and now a 20 year old plane with vast improvements along the way is supposed to eclipse 1200 units? Where are these orders going to come from?

    • Nobody is in a hurry to order 777x.
      let me guess: placing humungous options came at no cost for customers 😉

      It will be amusing to no end comparing A330NEO sales to 777noe ( as in not only engine ) sales.

  17. There is no apples to apples in this case.

    Size wise the 787-8 and 9 match up, but they have more range.

    Range wise the -10 is closer but carries more people. Buys your tickets and takes your chances.

    If anyone thinks the NEO will sell 1000 they are smoking something. The original only sold as many as it did because of Boeing foul ups.

    There are some that want it very much because it suits their routes, but in general no.

    And it still gets launched before the engine that might make it a killer application (GTF) will not be there (and P&W can’t get one out soon enough). So it goes.

  18. I think Boeing and others have been underestimated the strenghts of the A330 for 25 years now:

    – Needly fitting LD3 cargo deck
    – Excellent 4-6-8 abreast passenger cabin, 9 for leisure
    – Full A330/340 cockpit commonality, similarity with A320 series
    – Parts, maintenance commonality with 1400 A330/340s, 100 Operators
    – Proven reliability, maturity and predictable MRO costs
    – A330F Cargo versions of the line or retrofit (rest value assured)
    – Popular tanker versions
    – PW, RR and GE engine choice
    – A fat certified options/ STC catalog: interiors, systems, lavatories, crewrests

    A330 NEO would cash in on A330 selling points + slash fuel consumption by 15%.

    • When Boeing launched the 777 in 1990 they were pretty gung-ho on developing an aircraft that would be more efficient than the A340; a pretty easy target as the 777 was going to be a twin. Apparently they believed that the 767 could take care of the A330. When the 767-400 didn’t catch on they finally seem to have realised that the A330 was a formidable competitior. What they didn’t seem to grasp, though, was that from a production point of view, the A332/A333 and the A342/A343 were essentially the same aircraft.

      Interestingly, the original A333/A342/A343 programme cost around $3.5 billion in then year 1991 dollars (i.e. $5.3 billion today)**. The original 777 programme, on the other hand, reportedly blew the budget by 100 percent*** and cost around $10 – $12 billion in then year 1995 dollars to develop (i.e. between $15.5 billion and $18.7 billion today).

      So, how much has Boeing’s response (i.e. 777 and 787) to the original A330/A340 proframme actually cost?

      $15.5 billion to $18.7 billion for the 777 and >$25 billion for the 787. That’s more than $40 billion vs. $5.3 billion; or around 8 times as much.

      Of course, if we add the cost of the derivative programs as well (i.e. /A332F/A345/A346 and 773/77L/77F/77W) and the cost of the A350 and the 777X programmes, it would still appear as if Boeing has spent (-/will be spending) at least double the amount on the 777/777X and 787 that Airbus has spent (-/will be spending) on the A332/A332neo/A332Fneo/A333/A333neo/A342/A343/A345/A346/A359/A35X.

      ** http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1991/1991%20-%201247.html

      *** http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2002-05-19/boeings-secret

      To smooth out costs and revenues, aerospace companies are allowed to average them over the entire duration of an airplane “program”–usually defined as an initial production run of 400 aircraft. They do this by establishing a projected profit margin up front–say, 10% for the entire line. This number, which is continuously updated, is based on Boeing’s estimates of the average costs and revenues over the remainder of the program. Every quarter, the “profit” the company reports is based on these projected averages, rather than its actual costs or revenues. The whole system is built on faith that aerospace companies can come up with accurate long-term forecasts. To a degree unmatched in nearly any other industry, aerospace companies’ disclosures are based on their own private estimates. In this way, companies such as Boeing can absorb the ups and downs that characterize the industry.

      But that comes at a considerable price: little transparency for investors. “The problem with program accounting is that it is virtually impossible to audit,” says Lynn E. Turner, former chief accountant at the SEC and now director of the Center for Quality Financial Reporting at Colorado State University. “No one really knows whether the company will produce as many planes as [are] needed to recover the costs.”

      To mitigate this problem, the rules require companies to take an immediate charge as soon as they have evidence that a line’s long-term profit margin will disappear–or, in industry lingo, that the program will be in a “forward-loss” position. And that’s just what appears to have been happening to the 777 line in early 1997. Launched with great fanfare in the early 1990s, it had a development budget of $5 billion to $7 billion for initial design, production tooling, and flight-testing. By 1995, it had quietly overrun this budget by nearly 100%, according to two former high-ranking Boeing managers.

      • We can all agree that $15.5 billion and $25 billion (let’s just say $40 billion for both programs) in comparison to the mere $5 billion used in the Airbus campaign, is a lot of money to spend on airframe development. But if I spent that much money and produced a fine line of aircraft (777) and then produced another radical widebody aircraft with snazzy bells and expensive whistles, wouldn’t my investment be justified if my lineup effectively erased the A342, A343, A345, and the A346? Hold on. It gets better.

        Fast forward to present day and you have your A330 program humming along with a healthy backlog due to regular sales campaigns and unit sales derived from 787 program errors and delays. The $25 billion dollar problem child has given the A330 program headaches of its own. If the A330 family does without the NEO, what then. Fall victim to the bulbous over budget 787 program that cost $25 billion? Those same $25 billion that is forcing Airbus to put forth the NEO because if they don’t their wb market share falls, like Sept 17 2001.
        People will say that fuel prices killed the A340 program but by the same merit, the Boeing planes used Jet A as well, same as the A340’s.

        In closing, for the investment(s) made, Boeing is still flush with cash, a healthy backlog in it’s most popular wide and narrow body aircraft and more importantly not one of it’s programs have been cancelled. Derivatives sure. Programs. No.

        • “In closing, for the investment(s) made, Boeing is still flush with cash, ..”

          That imho is a mirage generated by program accounting.
          REAL outlay compensated by future potential earnings.

        • IMO Boeing has all along been to preoccupied with beating the A340 that they haven’t been able to see the forest for the trees — just like what you seem to do. 😉 In fact, it’s the A330 that IMJ is giving Boeing a headache, not the other way around — and we haven’t even been mentioning the A350 and what that aircraft has done to the 77E/77W.

          Yes, the 777 effectively put an end to the production of A340s, but it couldn’t do anything to the A330, which BTW, is essentially the same aircraft as the A340 (i.e. even the A345 and A346, for example, has much more commonality with the A333 than what the 747-8 has in common with the 747-400).

          Now, while the cheap A330neo will be able to compete with the 787, the 777-300ER cannot be made competive with the A350-1000 through merely being re-engined. That’s should really be the big story here. Why can a 20 year old A330 be inexpensively upgraded while a 20 year old 777 cannot? Wouldn’t that seem to indicate, among other things, that the A330/A340 was really the better investment, if not the better aircraft (A330)?

        • Back to WoW…

          Not one of Boeing’s programs have been canceled? I can still order 707, 727, 757 or 314?

          The 767 program was canceled by the airlines. Just the US Air Force has some 767s on order because they are so “fuel efficient”. I guess a NEO will burn as much fuel as a 767…

          The A300-Series is a long living program. The A340 is an A300 with 4 engines and new wings (777 -> 777X;-). The A330 is an A340 with just 2 engines.

        • Boeing has had some massive screw ups and the chickens have not come home to roost yet.

          787 is still as badly in arrears as the A380 (1000 airframes to break even, stunning). It will do that but at what cost? 747-8? Wonderful aircraft that Boeing has to hope the freighter market recovers (or Emirates saves them trying to force Airbus to NEO the A380)

          They let the A330 off the hook. While I know mechanics do not like the A330, its been good enough to beat out Boeing (though it too was in response to Boeing wrecking the A300/310 market with the 767)

          Boeing should be in the superior position but they are not. They are eating their seed corn, not saving and planting for the future.

          Airbus is making the best of what they were handed by former organization and structural and doing a good job. They are not eating their seed corn.

          Airbus is about the future, Boeing is about the CEO getting all he can and could care less about the future as long as he gets his.

          Airbus has a bright out look and Boeing is a dark cloud.

        • Uwe: “That imho is a mirage generated by program accounting.
          REAL outlay compensated by future potential earnings”

          “Program accounting” — Boeing-style — is explained in the May 19, 2002, Businessweek article that I linked in the above comment:

          Boeing’s efforts paid off: The company never declared a forward loss on the 777 in 1997–and has not done so at any time since. Does that mean that the line met the original profitability targets? Not necessarily. Very quietly, Boeing has bought itself time to resolve the line’s problems by increasing the number of planes in the 777 program. The initial block of 400 units has been extended twice–first to 500 planes, and then later to 600.

          Under the rules of program accounting, these maneuvers directly improve the 777’s reported profitability by lowering the percentage of the original development costs that are charged each quarter. Just extending the block from 500 to 600 aircraft reduced deferred production costs for the 777 program alone by $8 million per plane, according to Todd Ernst, a Prudential Securities Inc. aerospace analyst. He calculated that this saved Boeing $68 million a quarter and boosted quarterly earnings by up to 6 cents a share for 2001. “The magnitude of the impact struck me,” he said. “It was a big change in the cost of the airplane.”

          A neat trick–and one that is perfectly legal under the GAAP rules governing program accounting. The company didn’t have to announce this important development with a big press conference. To the contrary, the news was buried in a cryptic sentence deep in Boeing’s 2000 10-K. For its part, Boeing claims that programs are extended not to defer production costs but to reflect more sales than originally anticipated. When Boeing has firm sales contracts or high “certainty that the market is going to absorb more airplanes than we have in the current [program], we extend it,” says Controller Bell.

          No doubt other corporations would love to have such financial flexibility. The wonders of program accounting give Boeing more ability to paper over any short-term disasters than is enjoyed in nearly any other industry. As a result of this situation, investors need to be able to place an unusually high degree of faith in the company’s managers. Boeing says that it has always earned shareholders’ confidence with its rigorous cost- and sales-estimation process. The business planning process in 1997, for example, was “methodical and analytic,” the company wrote to BusinessWeek. “It represented Boeing’s half-century of experience in manufacturing commercial airplanes. Hundreds of industrial engineers and accountants worked as separate teams to estimate the thousands of separate cost items in each program.”

          That may well be the case. But if there’s a moral to this story, it’s that when the stakes are high, the temptations to take advantage of any flexibility in accounting standards can be great. “If you can prove that subjective judgments are dead wrong to the tune that Boeing is willing to cough up $92 million, they must really have been exaggerating their hopes for the future,” according to Imhoff, the University of Michigan program-accounting expert. The ease with which executives have the capacity to manipulate program accounting is one reason why the SEC told the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in the early 1980s that it would not permit the extension of the system to other industries, according to Turner, the former SEC accounting chief.


        • ===> “In closing, for the investment(s) made, Boeing is still flush with cash, ..”

          That imho is a mirage generated by program accounting.
          REAL outlay compensated by future potential earnings. <===


          I suspect you may be right to a degree, but I do think that Boeing has cash. From what I understand about the generation of cash in the commercial aircraft business is that a lot of cash is generated when the sale is made, and is approximately 10% of the List Price (notice I said LIST Price, and not actual SALES Price). For example, a plane with a List Price of $85 Million will generate $8.5 Million at close of sale for the seller even though it's actual Sales Price was closer to $45 Million. And this helps to explain why the List Prices of both Airbus and Boeing Aircraft seem to be rising so much faster than inflation: they probably need that money to cover the A350 and 787 development programs and the rising List Prices generate more income at the time of sale.

          A Hypothetical Downside of all this….this relying on airplane Sales Cash for Operating Cash – is that it can be like playing in Vegas with borrowed money. I mean, the money up front that's generated from the sale may be nice – so nice in fact that perhaps a builder will start selling aircraft below the actual Build Price in hopes that when delivery is due (as much as 5+ years down the road) he can have squeezed his Supply Chain enough to make the sale profitable. If he can't squeeze the Supply Chain Hard enough….then he is screwed. "And there shall be much wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Mathew 13:42)

          At least…this is how much I remember learning about Aircraft Finance while I was in Bible School.

        • @Transworld

          “…though it too was in response to Boeing wrecking the A300/310 market with the 767”

          In about the same time span, the A300/A310 sold 816 while the B767 sold 1110. I wouldn’t exactly call it “wrecking”. It’s a pretty good run considering how it took a while for it to get established.

          “While I know mechanics do not like the A330…”

          Of course! We all know how it’s like to be out of work. 😉

      • @OV-099

        “Interestingly, the original A333/A342/A343 programme cost around $3.5 billion in then year 1991 dollars”

        Keep in mind that a lot of the development was passed on from the A300 as well.

        It’s not easy to put an exact cost figure for aircraft programmes, even today. Some of the A380 stuff has been passed on to the A350. Same with the 787 and 777 etc.

        • Exactly!

          The 767 that was launched as a response to the A300 could not “donate” anything except for the forward cockpit section to the 777. Boeing had to start from scratch with the 777. That the A300 lives on in the A330 just goes to show how good the fuselage and cross-section is. The 767 cross-section, on the other hand, was a dead-end with its relatively “useless” LD-2 containers.

    • Keesje,

      Maybe it’s me but the bullet points you provided aren’t eye popping. LD3’s have to fit neatly in order to fit flush in the plane lol. The resume of the 777 program as a whole has the same if not more meaningful highlights except the tanker comparison.

      I don’t think people are dismissing the strengths of a 20+year old aircraft (A330 program) but when compared to other similar models like the 20+ year old 777, the 777 has accumulated more sales, awards and has a brighter future in the coming years.

      • It’s meaningless to compare the 777 with only the A330. The combined A330/A340 programme has 1719 firm orders through May, 2014, while the 777 programme has 1548 firm orders through April, 2014.

        I’m not sure if the 777X will be able to get more orders than the A330neo as the 250-300 seat market is significantly bigger than the 350-400 seat market.

        Also, you might look at my comment above. It’s a fact that Boeing spent at least three times as much on the original 777 programme than what Airbus spent on the original A330/A340 programme — and no Boeing is planning to spend some $10 billion on the 777X while Airbus will be not be spending more than one or two billion dollars on the A330neo.

        • I see your point but I’m not entirely buying the whole A340/A330 are the same aircraft. If they were they would all have the same name. Throw in the 767 then. A 35 year old design with 1110 lifetime orders Vs 1342 for the A330 family. That’s great and all but the 767 is still producing airplanes. 767- highlight reel –>>Freighter and pax models, shiny paint, all rubber tires, sturdy lav, reinforced window shades yadda yadda yadda all the points he mentioned the 767 has as well.

          • If you are not buying it, buy some literature. The name “340” was mostly because of the 4 engines.
            Main differences are: slightly altered wing for mounting the 2 additional engines and some 4-engine-related wiring/fuel system, adapted flight deck for 4 engines, more (body) fuel tanks, additional center gear to carry the additional weight. I’m not sure if the vertical stab on the 330 was also slightly larger in order to cope with engine-out scenarios.

        • At least the A342 and A343 are very much the same. Airlines bought the A340 for what the A330 couldn’t do – long haul. I don’t know how many airlines out there actually used the A340 for short-medium haul routes for which the A330 is much better, but it’s not going to be many.

          As for the name, heck, they’re all A300s anyways, stretched and upgraded with new wings, engines and avionics – pretty much like what the 777X is to the current generation 777s.

        • @Rotate…

          That the regulators classify the A330 and A340 as two distinct aircraft doesn’t change the fact that from the manufacturers point of view the A330/A340 is one aircraft programme. That’s what’s important. There’s more than 90 percent commonality between the A333 and A343 (i.e. excluding pylons, nacelles and engines).

          The 767 has no commonality with the 777 bar the forward fuselage Section-41. Hence, I’m not sure why you bring the 767 into the equation.

        • @nyx

          “As for the name, heck, they’re all A300s anyways, stretched and upgraded with new wings, engines and avionics – pretty much like what the 777X is to the current generation 777s.”

          ..or between the 747-8 and 747-100.

  19. It is funny, to me, that keesje and the A fan club were so quick to dismiss 737Max as too little too late (2 years), but the 15-year wait for an A330 NEO launch is now hailed as a future 1200 frame category king.

    It remains the same basic debate; will a new engine on an old bird competing with newer competitors that targets a 35-40% market share be enough if it means selling at a 20-30% frame discount?

    • That to me is the rub. We’re talking about new engines and MAYBE the implementation of sharklets. There’s gotta be more to the equation than just new engines to warrant people saying 1200 orders.

    • You introduce complementary funniness by not realising that the “1000..1200 A330 NEO potential sales” quip is from A350MK1 killer Steven Udvar Hazy.
      Also, in contrast to the 737 of any ilk the A320 and A330 have everything a modern plane could need and seem to have no restrictions leveraging up to date/future engine tech .

    • “Enough” to achieve what? Depends a bit on your objective.
      The NEO may not be a 787 killer, but for a low-cost revamp it’s enough to keep the A330 alive. Boeing can’t build enough 787s to grab 100% market share in that size and range category anyway, so the hurdle is not that high.

      For airbus it may be acceptible to live with lower production numbers on the A330-NEO and lower prices. The production line is paid and written of already and the engine OEM will pay most of the development costs of the NEO.

    • Airbus has sold more than 800 A330ceos since the 787 programme was launched in April 2004. It has been an extremely competitive platform. Neo-ing it in 2004 would have been a premature undertaking. Delaying the A330neo by a decade means that it can be equiped with engines a decade more advanced, with newer and lighter aluminium alloys not even available a decade ago, cabin and interiors derived form the A350 etc.

      The 737MAX was launched in haste and bewilderment and still seems to be too little too late. It’s a one trick pony and it has an engine that’s tripping down a dead end street, architecturally speaking.

      As for hailing the prospect of 1200 A330neo orders, I’m not sure if Steven Udvar-Hazy can be categorized as an Airbus fan.


      Industry guru and Air Lease boss Steve Udvar-Hazy is helping steer Airbus’s evaluation of its re-engining “A330neo” project with the view to being a launch customer and sees demand for up to 1,200 aircraft.

      “We’re providing input to Airbus and talking about possibly being a launch customer,” says Udvar-Hazy.

      Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says that no decision has been taken about a go-ahead but “watch this space”. The re-engined variant would offer the same seating and cash-operating costs as the 787-9, but have “slightly” less range and “significantly lower capital costs”, he adds.

      Udvar-Hazy says ALC forecasts a market for between 1,100 and 1,200 A330neos over the next 20 years, and that the aircraft would replace today’s A330s and A340s at lower trip costs. “We’ve done some very extensive market research and we see maybe 60-70 aircraft a year at the beginning and then at the backend of the 20-year period it probably starts tapering down,” he says.

      Leahy indicates that Airbus concurs with ALC’s forecast, putting A330neo long-term demand at at least 1,000 units.

      • “60-70 aircraft a year”
        Thats 5 frames per month, 50% of the current production rate.

        • An Airbus “production year” is equivalent to 10.5 to 11 months of production. Last year Airbus delivered 108 A330s. From the first A340 delivery in 1993 through the last A330 delivery in 2013, Airbus delivered a total of 1423 A330s and A340s; or an average output of 67.8 A330s/A340s per year. So, an annual 60-70 A330neos per year would be close to the average output during this 21 year production period.

          A330/A340 deliveries:

          1993: 23
          1994: 34
          1995: 49
          1996: 38
          1997: 47
          1998: 47
          1999: 64
          2000: 62
          2001: 57
          2002: 58
          2003: 64
          2004: 75
          2005: 80
          2006: 86
          2007: 79
          2008: 85
          2009: 86
          2010: 91
          2011: 87
          2012: 103
          2013: 108

        • The highest production rate for A330 was in 2013 with 108 aircraft delivered. That is exactly 9 aircraft per month.

          5 years before, in 2008, Airbus produced just about 70 aircraft a year. Therefore going back to “just” 60 aircraft per year is not that bad at all.

          The delivery of the A380 started in 2008 (I skipped the one aircraft in 2007).
          At the moment Airbus is also producing the A350. Delivery will start this year.

          65 aircraft is about 60 % of the peak production rate of 2013.

          Will Airbus sell less A350?
          I guess Airbus won’t give a damn as long as they can make more profit on an A330NEO.

        • 60 aircraft a month at a cost of say 5 billion is bad how? 1200 airframes over the life, wow, whats not to like.

          While I do not think the A330 will sell that well, any mfg would take it. I could well be wrong on the numbers. If there is one person in this I respect it is UH.

          It gets back to the debate of whats the market. 757 thing. Is there a market there or has it moved on and up? Is your structure such that you can make a A330NEO work for the life?

          And 20 years could mean a second re-engine (they would be better off with a GTF and really up the ante but the timing is tough.

          And there will be a steady trickled of A330 Tanker/Transports in this. China and Russia aren’t going away and the land and air grab in the South China Sea is going to come to shooting sooner or latter.

        • “the land and air grab in the South China Sea is going to come to shooting sooner or latter.”
          Wouldn’t that disruption stop airtraffic growth in asia for some time? War is not excatly good for economic growth.
          And the chinese are known to delay or cancel aircraft orders when they feel beeing miffed. I’d suspect chinese demand for long haul aircraft is certainly much larger than that handfull of freighters and refueiling A330. The latter is a niche market really.

    • “It is funny, to me, that keesje and the A fan club…”


      Wat…that’s a pretty-unfair characterization. Seriously…there is no Airbus Fanboy Club on this site and you know it.

      Yeah…and I do take it personally. Hey…I like Airbus and all, but it’s not like I worship them. I mean, the only thing I even own that even hints of Airbus is a poster of John Leahy….which hangs next to my Justin Bieber poster…in my Mom’s Basement.

    • That old bird has technology that Boeing just caught up with with the 787. That old bird doesn’t just catch on fire. Orders for the reborn A320 old bird has shown that legacy and reliability counts. A reborn A330 will do the same and has caught Boeing’s attention.

      • Joe,

        Could you please name these technologies that you are referring to? Immense not sure the A330 had HUD (head up displays), electronic flight bags, Hybrid laminar flow control, onboard health monitoring system, the jet lag reducing feature (setting the cabin pressure at 1.800 meters rather than standard 2.400 meters which reduces headaches and jet lag), the use of composite materials for over 50% of the airplanes structure, etc. The A330 does not incorporate any of these except for the use of composite materials. But if you can share with us something we are not aware of it’d be kindly appreciated.

        It’s a pity you have to reference events such as fires to emphasize the point you’re trying to make. I’m curious if there was loss of life if you would still stoop as low to remind us that fires delayed the entry of service of the 787. Thanks for the reminder but you’re not telling us something new.

        • Just of the top of my head and to play your game and make you happy:

          Could you please name these technologies that you are referring to? Immense not sure the A330 had HUD (head up displays),
          check ( option ).
          electronic flight bags,
          check ( didn’t Airbus invent that and health monitoring with the A310/A320 forward facing cockpit?)
          Hybrid laminar flow control,
          pretty limited on the 787, isn’t it?
          onboard health monitoring system,
          the jet lag reducing feature (setting the cabin pressure at 1.800 meters rather than standard 2.400 meters which reduces headaches and jet lag),
          read the A330 FCOM 😉 .. and I actually would like to see a cabin altitude trace for the 787. Then, cabin differential pressure and humidity aren’t hard linked to CFRP as Boeing PR wanted to insinuate just like the problems are not hard linked to AL fuselages ( Remember “rain in the plane” as a major 787 problem. If they did fix it how did they fix it ;-? )

          the use of composite materials for over 50% of the airplanes structure, etc.
          beyond the drug like rush … the question is open if all that CFRP is really in places where it makes sense. Funny tidbit: 777X Wingbox appears to come in AL ?)

          The A330 does not incorporate any of these except for the use of composite materials.
          Think again 😉 a 767 is not an Airbus plane.

  20. Lets put it simple given
    – the A330 is younger / up to date in comparison to e.g. 737, 747, 767 similar to 777
    – the airlines / lessors ask for it,
    – engines are available / fit on,
    – production has been paid for,
    – Engine OEMS want to subsidize development
    – the 787 isn’t all to everyone
    – the A350-800 seems a low in capacity for its costs
    – the A330F/MRTT are without real competition

    Let the cash-cow A330 FAL bleed to dead would be an economic crime.

  21. Ruling out development costs, is it cheaper to produce aluminum fuselages and wings than CFRP ones? Could Boeing just re-engine the 773ER and sell it for cheaper than an A3510?

    • ====> Ruling out development costs, is it cheaper to produce aluminum fuselages and wings than CFRP ones? Could Boeing just re-engine the 773ER and sell it for cheaper than an A3510? <====


      That's a good question and I am beginning to think that…No, they can not. A few years ago, people asked Mitsubishi why they weren't building composite wings and structure for the MRJ and they replied that (paraphrased) "The plane is too small for carbon to be economically viable". So…it appears that the smaller the plane, the less impact that CFRP will have on it's performance as compared to what it costs to build.

      • Good point Jimmy. If Boeing put the best engines out on the market on the 77W right now, it’d be a trade off between the heavier 77W with more efficient engines available now or a lighter A351 with comparable engines available much later on.

        Me personally I don’t get the purpose of the A351. I get that it was supposed to wipe the 77W off the face of the map but now the 77W has morphed into the 777x. Granted we have to wait for the A351 in ’17 and the 777x in ’20 and ’22, but for an aircraft that was specifically designed and built to tackle the 77W, it really hasn’t. My point is that Airbus should have waited and came out with something that would not only beat the 77W in overall economics but then go further and develop a plane that would compete equally if not have the slightest edge. IE not developing the A351 but rather the A350-1100 super twin that has been mentioned here and a couple of other places. Just my 2 cents.

        • Rotate, it doesn’t seem to have to sunk in everywhere, but the A350 already captured a large part of the 777W market. The largest 777 customer ordered A350-1000 or say they might convert to it. Those are EK, QR, ET, BA, LH, AF, UA, AA, SQ, CX, JAL and more.

          There are aircraft that carry more, fly further but the fact the A350-1000 is more then 30t lighter then the 777X and offers acceptable long haul 18 inch seats in the back just won’t go away.

          Boeing keeps feeding the world about the amazing receptance and sales of the 777X and most absorb without checking. Look at sales and see Airlines are not exactly stumbling over each other to secure slots. A yet untold, unpopular story.

          • Keesje,

            I didn’t mention the latter portion of my reply to Jimmy to spark debate but I did however spot errors in your reply. ET, AA/US, AF and LH have no A351’s on order. Of the carriers you did mention who do have A351’s on order, CX, QR, SQ have no options for the A351. Who do have options is EK and EY. What CX, QR, EK, EY, and SQ all have in common is that they have bought the 777x. (SQ order will be announced next month.)

            So that would tell me and the rest of the world that the A351 is good but not as good as other aircraft and/or they don’t compete but rather compliment each other and are used for different missions entirely . We’re talking about an aircraft, with all of its 18 inch seats for those long haul passengers, that since its launch in 2006 (8 years ago) has 189 orders. Fast forward to present day and the 777x program has 300 orders announced as of today. Launch was 7 months ago, by the way. It’s clear that despite being 30 tons heavier and minus those plush 18 inch seats, the 777x is a pretty formidable foe to the A351. I rest my case.

        • Remember that Airbus initially placed the -1000 even lower in the (assumed) target window than the current iteration. Where will the -1000 stand 5 years after EIS if we keep Airbus “designed to grow in capabilities” in mind. ( also look at how A330 capabilities grew continuously over 20++ years.)
          For a true 2022+ -1000 || 777-9x comparison one would have to take that into account: i.e. the -1000 will stand 2..4% better than the @EIS specs would indicate.

        • Keesje wrote:
          “The largest 777 customer ordered A350-1000 or say they might convert to it. ”

          You changed that to “have bought” to allow for your “correction”. not OK imho.

          On the other hand we are still waiting for a humungous number of 777x sales to be firmed.

          • uwe,

            That was my fault. I read the post in haste which lead to my reply. I really didn’t want to research all those airline orders but I had time. Slow day on the oilfield

        • 66 orders for the 777x, no orders so far in 2014. Why pay a huge premium for the 777x when CFRP 359 and 789 are available with the same of lower CASM? Or buy a 748 for a lower price and an earlier delivery. What’s the accounting block for the 777x? 500 units? Until Emirates/Qatar firm up their orders and cover the base of the accounting block, the aircraft is not even launched. Like the A330neo, either the numbers are there, or they’re not.

        • If an aircraft is not needed between the A321 and an A330, which is more than double the MTOW, then their is no need for an aircraft between the 359 and the 380. It’s just a bad investment.

        • “If an aircraft is not needed between the A321 and an A330”

          That’s wrong. Many airlines would love to have someting above the A321 just not at any (seat mile) price. A seven abreast plane just isn’t competitive. Too much unused floor space. Staying at six abreast and stretching the A321 further would increase turnaround times, which is a no-go for short haul. If you loose one leg a day by stretching the plane, for most airlines the business case is just not there.

          For long haul you fly less legs a day so increased turnaround times for streched designs don’t have such a negative impact on usage of the plane.

  22. Its not the material cost, its the weight (within limits) . 787 is still costing as much to build as its been sold for but the process is still being worked out. Supposedly you can offset that with production efficiency (assuming you got it right and they are about there finally with the 787 unless the CEO does something boneheaded again)

    Boeing is doing the least it can and still beat the A350-1000. There is both capacity and range increases involved so its not an apples to apples.

    If they were going to do what is right they would to Li-Al fuselage. They don’t have to so they arn’t (I think thats another short sighted McNenarney move but thats typicality of Boeing management these days).

    Currently the CFRP costs a lot more, but you get a lot more out of it both weight wise and form wise (you can mold it to a more efficient shape, ergo the reason the wing is CFRP). Wings are harder than fuselages due to the hand labor required.

    Airbus has a newer and supposedly lighter structure vs the older one. Its not a matter of the A320 that was setup to be a NEO candidate vs the 737 which was not (far more changes and costs as its a very old dated airframe vs a newer one)

    And the amazing irony is that Boeing in its stupidity, if they had done the 787 right by normal methods, it would have killed off the A330 like the 777 killed off the A340

    Now they have created a multi headed monster in a successful A350 program and what may be an ability to retain a market with the A330 NEO.

    All of this is context like car makers where they move a car up a notch and abandon the market below it. In this case Airbus may pull off splitting that coming out with a market notch up and keep the old Mustang market.

    Boeing looks to be the deer in the headlights

    • ” .. if they had done the 787 right by normal methods, ..”

      They couldn’t. Just like the NSA floated against the A320 NEO the 787 was presented as bigger than life. Boeing had zero chance of producing the 787 as advertised. ( timeframe, assembly, manuf. cost .. )
      Had they presented the Dreamliner the way it is actually produceable and useable they would have sold significantly less ( half or even a magnitude less )
      The sales campaign already was gravid with a deformed ( by the same drug that floated the sales campaign ) spouse so to speak.

    • Trans World,

      I knew that when Boeing opened a second 787 Assembly line in Charleston during the Production Ramp-Up phase that nothing good would come of it: I was certain the situation would result in additional costs and delays and a depressed Learning Curve. But…never did I expect the situation to get this bad. And…I don’t think anyone else did either.

  23. @jimmy
    Flush with cash from up front payments.

    For me financially prepayments are balanced by the liability towards my customer over the same amount. Thus it is significantly different to earnings. handles more like borrowed money than anything else.

    How is this handled in GAAP?

    • Uwe,

      You see things pretty much like I do. Now…I don’t know exactly how Prepayments are handled under GAAP, but I know that a company who gambles that these Prepayments is courting trouble.

      The most disturbing thing about Prepayments is this: what if a company grows addicted to them like a Drug? Would this mean they would have to keep selling aircraft even if the price was not right?

      Well…I figure we will know soon enough. The pace of aircraft sales can’t go on like this for too much longer….there is just not enough production capacoty to justify much-higher backlogs. Thus, we will see if either Airbus or Boeing can slow down the pace of sales in order to ensure profits.

      If either of these companies insists on selling bunches of aircraft while the other sells just enough to replensh backlog, then ya’ got to think someone’s gotten addicted to the Sales-Cash Drug!

  24. I’m interested to read this report, where it’s available?

      • Just curious, but where could someone purchase it? Had a look at the leeham corporate site, but did not see a catalogue or other indication of where to proceed to. Ok, I am not really in your market, but still as a marketing exercise letting people know where and what they can buy is good, right?

  25. I think the 787F will be some time away, just like it took 15 years on the A330 to get to an F.

    I foresee a substantial number of A330F NEO’s to be ordered later this decade, efficient proven, LD3 compatible, capable, affordable and silent (night flights). Replacing DC10, MD10s, MD11s, A300s/310s, 767Fs, 747s, 707s, DC8s, 727s etc.


    • There are so many directions to go in, regarding your comment. If you’re comparing the 789 freighter ‘s to the A330NEO freighter it’s almost comparing the Wright flyer to the B757. The 789 is way more advanced in aerodynamics, weight, and economics. The NEO says “hey but I have new engines though?!?” Add the fact that by the time the 789 freighter comes to market, it could have newer engines than those offered for the pax version. A more realistic comparison would be to the 767.

      The problem is that Airbus has the NEO freighter and the mrtt, and that’s it. Right now Carriers can choose the 748f on the high end, 777f mid level and the 767 on the lower level. I still don’t get why you mention those bullet points like “capable, efficient, proven, LD3 compatible, affordable.” What’s affordable for CX could be expensive for DHL/ABX. All the Boeing model freighters are all of those as well.

      • against the A330 .. “The 789 is way more advanced in aerodynamics, weight, and economics. ”

        This appears to be a faulty assumption., let me correct it for you:
        over the 767 the 787 is way more advanced in aerodynamics, weight, and economics.
        if A+E ~= B+E the A ~= B : i.e. if either airframe with same techlevel engines provides for comparable economics both airframes are similar enough.
        Do we see any similarities : A320 versus Comac C919 and A330 versus 787 ?

      • “capable, efficient, proven, LD3 compatible, affordable.” What’s affordable for CX could be expensive for DHL/ABX. All the Boeing model freighters are all of those as well.”

        No, the 767 isn’t LD3 compatible, efficient and capable. The 777F heavy and expensive. The 789F, I haven’t even heard it mentioned.. I do not have the sales figures of the 748F and 777F of the last 5 years. It seems cargo carriers are not driven by getting the latest technology aircraft. Low cost per tonne km are driving the business.

        • Keesje,

          767’s can take one row of LD3’S but they have to be turned facing a different direction. The 787-9 will be the future freighter for the 787 family http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-19/boeing-sets-future-787-freighter-to-fend-off-airbus-jets.html and http://allportcargoservices.com/retailnews/allport-knowledge/supply-side-news/boeing-to-use-7879-for-freight-operations/801601388.

          Last 5 year totals. 777f -128 748f – 69 A330f – 38. A330f represents 2010-2014. Sure the 777 is heavy and expensive yet it still garners orders and is capable, reliable, and heavy and expensive. The point you make regarding the 777 freighter model and the 779 are moot because despite it being heavy and expensive, they’re selling pretty quickly, quicker than the A330 freighter. Yes, there is currently a soft cargo market but over the last 4 years the A330 freighter and the 777f have been on offer at the same time and the Boeing model has outsold the A330 freighter by a ratio of 2.7 to 0.80

          I agree that cargo operators do not look for the latest in technological aircraft but while people lie, numbers don’t and it looks like fleet planners have spoken with their checkbooks. While its true they look at the lowest cost per ton/km, other factors are important too like gate space, weight, engines, maintenance etc.

        • Airbus should make one fuselage length A330neo at 61m, half way between the 200 and 300. That would give them a slightly larger A330Fneo, with another 8′ pallet spot.

        • Likewise, I think Boeing should follow the same recipe, and build only the 777-8 with the existing wing and a new engine at 100K. Save the multi billions for a new airplane.

  26. Rotate good points I guess we’ll have to wait and. I expect not so long..

  27. Scott,

    May I ask if you assumed 8 or 9 across in coach for the 787 analysis?

  28. 1) As the author of the study says, to bring the performance of the A330neo even near to the B787, a lot (as a new wing as M. Bregier stated) more must be done AS no composite will used, as it is and was done with the B777X and he B747-8i, the goal cannot be achieved.

    2) I do not understand why it is assumed that the A333neo will be cheaper than the B787. The List Prices for the clasic (which would be proportional to the real ones) are practically thesame, if the range is considered, factually lower for the B787!!
    To compete on the comfort side, many perks must be added on this more than 20 years old model, some of them not achievable as larger windows. And as the new wnfines are more expensive, the price of th neo should be higher (!!!)

    Unless they sekk it under cost, which the AIRBUS board is less than eager to do!!!

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