Odds and Ends: Airbus regional A330, IAG orders and Bombardier reviewing options

Airbus A330 regional might get sales after all, Airbus is negotiating a large order with China against local off-sets (assembly or final configuration, the experts are divided) according to Wall Street Journal. We reference Ben Sandilands writeup of the story to avoid the WSJ paywall. As we were told at Farnborough by Airbus the A330 regional is a de-papered A330ceo with an adapted interior. It does not make sense to wait for a neo variant for this aircraft as the fuel costs are a less important factor on sub 5 hour missions. It will be interesting to see if some other market will pick up on this 200 tonne aircraft, to some extent it is back to the roots for the A330-300, it started off as a medium haul complement to the long haul A340-200 and -300 at 206t maximum take-off weight.

IAG has given Airbus a cheer up signal after the bad news around SkyMark. In their second quarter report call IAG CEO Willie Walsh declare their A380 as “fantastic aircraft when you can fill it”, they see 98% load factors on their most popular routes (e.g. LHR-LAX). IAG also announced better results in their Spanish daughter Iberia, consequently it is allowed to order 8 A330-200 (ceos as the neo comes to late) and convert 8 of IAGs A350-900 options to firm orders for their airline.  Right now IAG is satisfied with the 12 A380 they have on order for BA according to Walsh.

Bombardier is re-examining its options for the recently created Aerospace divisions according to FlightGlobal; they want to leverage the Aerostructures divisions capabilities more when Boeing and Airbus looks for further partners for their booming supply chains. They also need to guard their bets on Russia as partner to drive sales of Q400 and Cseries, given the mounting political problems between Russia and the west. This results in renewed activity in the China / Comac discussions, initially for cooperation on the after sales side in addition to the present fuselage deliveries, but come a worsened situation with Russia such talks could find new depth we think.

50 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Airbus regional A330, IAG orders and Bombardier reviewing options

  1. 330R is somehow the most original Airbus, as it resembles the A300 from the early 1970s that was the cradle of the entire Airbus story. Should almost have been named A300-900.

    I will fly domestically from Beijing to Lhasa on an A330 soon, and for sure I ll think on how that would feel in 10 abreast 400+ pax in a few years!

  2. A330-300 allows up to 400 seats in 8-abreast (I have just looked up a 390 seat layout, but that is with center galley). The original Air Inter had 417 in 9-abreast.

    A330 final assembly in China appears less probable as the upfront investment is so large that the number frames would need to be huge. Another option would be a cabin installation. The general process of having first flight before cabin installation is known from A380. Inefficient, but doable. Anyways, does only affect some jobs in Toulouse.

    Regarding A380: I think pretty much every airline said this so far. It is the bl##dy passenger who doesn’t care how he travels as long as it is cheap that kills the A380. The 10-abreast B777-300ER is the aircraft of choice, and people don’t care.

    • Airlines, load factors and margins prove that passengers really don’t care what aircraft type they fly in. Except if its an A380. They know and still after 7 years in service. Wrecking the assumption comfort doesn’t really matter, cultivated by parties with clear interests on the topic.

  3. According to the article by Ben Sandilands the production for the A330R will start in 2016 in Tianjin. Likely the first A330 will fly in and the later ones will be shipped together with some A320s.

    I expect the A330Rs to have 9 abreast seating. What about an A330X with 10 abreast seating? Is the average Chinese small enough for 15” seats? Just one thumb less than 9 abreast…

    So by the end of October we can expect an update for this chart:
    http://leehamnews.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/a330_777-line-chart-2.jpg?w=593&h=444 (PLEASE use the png file formate and not jpg! )

  4. ” IAG CEO Willie Walsh declare their A380 as “fantastic aircraft when you can fill it”, ”

    The A-380 is not unique in this respect. Almost every airliner is fantastic when full, for the airline flying it.

    • BA has risen from a subsidised government quango to become truly customer focused, whilst not the best MD Willie is a totally different animal from a predecessor of his namely Lord King, who crashed through his role & BA

      As my preferred airline & having been loyal to it for over fifty years, mind you in the 70/80’s it was often rubbish.

      In an industry of declining standards todays BA customer experience is generally splendid. The A380 enhances this experience on the routes flown & is the preferred airframe for so many with good reason, not least the reason Willie inferring toward that passengers love it & its load factors reflect this magnificently.

      • Phil, IMHO BA is still rubbish
        Example: April 2013 two business class mileage tickets on BA, one-way LHR-JFK. Taxes and fees totaled $1,136.50 plus the mileage. When I asked for two seats together I was told that will an additional $99 EACH thank you very much [a paid ticket would have had the same surcharge]. The seating fee would be waived only for Silver status or higher.

        The only reason I will patronize BA at all is to burn off the miles earned before I retired in 2007.

        Comparison, October 2010: Delta business class mileage ticket SEA-ATL-TLV return. Total taxes and fees $47.99. No charge for seat selection, with or without elite status.

        • Oviver, sorry to hear of your fleecing by BA
          I can’t deny I having suffered similarly on occasion with BA Despite holding a BA Gold Card, two business Air Miles (Avios) free return tickets LHR to SYD resulted is charges of £1400 that’s approx $2240 in your money, this figure equates to the cost of two return economy on the same routing.

          The crew & their polite, reassuring professionalism & dry sense of humour were once again beyond reproach, which is why I fly them.

  5. The A380 is a bit unique. It generates very little if any freight revenue.

    The very first thing you heard from the operators was “we can’t carry any freight, the passenger luggage takes up all the belly space”

    Aircraft are revenue generation devices. One source of revenue is cut off on the A380, so you have to make up with higher passenger loads. It needs to be very full all the time. A 777 can be less full with total fewer number of people. You can also use a 777 on other routes as needed (or available). You can’t to that with an A380.

    Emirate tired that with an A380 route between Australia and NZ rather than an overnight sit in Oz. I suspect they lost a lot of money on it.

    A330 Regional: Why would you not use a A330CEO for that role?

    The numbers say that under 4000 miles (sm or nm?) the A330NEO is not as good as a CEO as a regional (and I have yet to buy they are going to take 6 tons out of that airframe at this time and date as it has been optimized for 30+ years)

    Is the proposal to Regional a NEO? Why not buy a used A330 and de-paper it?

    As for Iberia it is interesting that with all the upsizing, they think an A330-200 is needed.

    • The proposed A330 regional is a lower MTOW version of the ceo. Airbus announced it in September of last year.

    • Transworld – re the A380

      Passengers generate more revenue than freight – so if an A380 is filled with its money making machine that no other aircraft can match – note the “they see 98% load factors on their most popular routes (e.g. LHR-LAX)” comment.

      Orginally from the UK I now live in New Zealand – a long way from anywhere. I have on several occasions flown Singapore and Emirates 777s and A380 and believe you me the 777 comes nowhere close to the A380 passenger experience. The last A380 trip was between AKL and BNE in Y flying Emirates (Qantas code share).

      Before retiring my I was often required to work at AKL airport and got to know many of the airline station managers. The Emirates A380 park overnight at AKL because it if cheaper than parking overnight in Aus (SYD, MEL) and on the flights I have been on the economy cabins have always been pretty full. So from my personal experience I doubt you comment “Emirate tired that with an A380 route between Australia and NZ rather than an overnight sit in Oz. I suspect they lost a lot of money on it.” is valid.

      • And there will be still space for cargo on an A380 in case the aircraft is not filled up with pax. In other words the 777 moves a lot of dead space around in case this aircraft is full with pax. So airlines have to use this space to generate additional revenue. Space is related to surface and surface is related to drag.

        According to my knowledge Lufthansa has an A380 version with additional space for 2 more LD3 containers. That’s enough for several small high priority airfreight parcels. For more Lufthansa Cargo has a fleet of MD11 and 777F.

  6. A330NEO weight: They are using heavier engines (5 tons) and they are beefing up the wing and a bit longer.

    Ergo the weight has to come from someplace.

    Like the 737, the basic frame (from the A300) has been worked continuously to lighten it up (or as light as possible with all the stretching done, not sure it does not beat the 777 for going long at this point on percentages).

    Upshot is that they would have to take the weight out of the fuselage (noting that Airbus claims the wing is almost perfelcy optimal)

    That’s a whole lot of weight to take out of a fuselage sans a major makeover with Li aluminum skin and or frames and they are not saying they are doing that.

    I remain extremely skeptical. It sounds like a sale pitch from Leahy and then asking engineer to bail him out.

    • There seems to be some sort of confusion about engine weight that’s floating around the blogosphere. 😉

      The figure in the type certificate for the Trent-700 covers what RR supplies to Airbus. RR supplies the Nacelle as well as the bare engine. The figure does not state that the Nacelle is not included, just the Nacelle EBU and fluids etc.

      RR, apparently, is the only engine supplier on the A330 to include the Nacelle.

      To avoid any sort of confusion and to be able to compare engines as close to like-for-like as we can, we should compare bare engine dry weights without any of the additional items.

      Like for like –

      The Trent 700 weight is: 10,500lb*
      The Trent 1000 weight is: 11,924lb*

      *NB: Numbers received through e-mail from RR.

  7. After more then a decade giving the A380 any credit remains like eating a lemon for some. Impressive popular & powerfull, not from here. BA (“not interested”) will have 40 before 2030, having committed to 19 sofar.

    • Just about everyone agrees that the A380 is a very comfortable plane to fly in. However, it has not been the sales success Airbus hoped for. Airbus thought it would replace the 747 in airline fleets, when in fact, the 777 is doing that.

      • Keep in mind that Boeing and affiliated ( and interested ) parties have been running the PR machine 24/7 no holds barred to produce negatives against Airbus in general and the A380 specifically.
        It will take some more years of these fake evaluations to wear off.
        But it is coming along ( See Aboulafia’s Druglike Rush … partiicipants will have to get over their withdrawal symptoms first.)

        • You’re saying the A380 isn’t selling because of a negative PR campaign by Boeing?
          That’s laughable! Even if it were true, you don’t think the airline customers couldn’t see through it?

          • Mr. Shaw, your answer appears to stem from a template that I’ve seen quite often now.
            And let me add that it does by far not jibe with my observations.
            Some time ago I noticed that for anti Airbus articles and over a wide range of writers ( professional / hobbyist/fanboy) writing shew only marginal derivation and close timing indicating a common template apparently handed out by someone. Asking privately around I got confirmation from at least three sources that “cheat sheets” are made available connected to perks when used.

        • You didn’t answer the question. Do you think airline executives are going to be swayed by this “template”?

          This template hasn’t seemed to discourage Emirates, has it? They are the biggest A380 customer because it fits their network needs, and they can fill it, on certain routes. Other airlines have chosen the 777, 787, A330 and A350, because that’s what works for them, not because of some alleged anti-A380 PR campaign.

        • The point about negative PR is not the airline management knowing the A380 could fit into their fleet. It is about the nervous stock holders. “This airline management is insane! They ordered the big white whale! Sell, sell, sell…!”

        • “This airline management is insane! They ordered the big white whale! Sell, sell, sell…!”

          Oh please. This isn’t about airline stock prices. It’s not even about Airbus’ stock price. The A380 isn’t selling because it’s not the best plane for most airlines route structures. Even Mr. Enders acknowledged, “the very large aircraft category is a weak category.”

        • As long as the top management is paid according to stock prices it is also about shareholder reaction to any management decision.

      • Though to be fair, Boeing also thought the 747 would be replaced like for like. I’m convinced that (with sufficient updates) the A380 will eventually see large orders, as mostly Asian and African airlines require higher capacity at slot-limited airports.

        Right now it’s not great however. Skymark’s cancellation is a technical negative though this was inevitable for quite some time.

        • African airlines? Currently there is not a single African airline operating the A380. Which airports in Africa are slot-limited?

          I doubt there will ever be much demand for the A380. The days of the 4-engine VLA are over.

  8. For all who are concerned about neo weight gain? It was Airbus themselves who said the A330neo would be 5-6t’s heavier than the ceo, And they have not retracted that statement since the briefing. I’d like to think that they knew what they were taking about when they briefed the whole industry on their newest aircraft. 😉

    • This is from Airbus’ presentation:

      A330-300neo net block fuel efficiency improvement vs. A330-300ceo

      Powerplant: -11%

      Powerplant & Aerodynamics
      Drag: +1%
      Weight: +2%
      Sharklets + aero optimization: -4%

      => -12% fuel per trip and -14% fuel per seat (+6 seats)

      • Addendum

        2 percent of OEW is about 2.5 tonnes. Bare engine differential in weight between the Trent-700 and the Trent-1000 (i.e. similar in weight to the Trent-7000) is 2 x 646 kg = 1292 kg. Hence, the increase in bare engine weight accounts for about half of the total increase in weight. The rest of the weight increase would be caused by the slightly larger nacelle, slightly heavier pylon, wing reinforcements and the increase in wing span thanks to the new A350-type sharklets.

        • Afair Airbus stated the adaptions for the basic airframe will be weight neutral _as achieved on the A320NEO_ . IMU on the A320 adaptions to wingbox and wings were compensated for by tweaks elsewhere.
          Now were the sharklets included in this balance or not ?

        • Yes, it’s + 3% for increased weight and drag, but – 4% for sharklets and wing twist change etc. Now, the wing tip extension unfavourably shifts the center of pressure on the wing outboard, thereby increasing the bending loads on the existing wing. However, I’d not be surprised if Airbus has found a clever way of designing the wing reinforcements at the attachment to the fuselage centre wing box in order to accommodate both the increase in bending load and the heavier engine, nacelle and pylon.

  9. I would have to re-read it, but I believe they said there would be no net gain despite heavier engines (which needs to include nacelles as it’s a package deal) and the heavier wing.

    How you juggle all that and if they are using a completed aircraft (per Boeing) or bare and not realistic per Airbus is a tough one to sort through without a spread sheet.

  10. As we say in the article, the A330R or regional will be a A330ceo and not a neo variant, Airbus once again clarified that on the Thursday wrap-up press conference at Farnborough.

    • I get lost in who said what to whom and what got clarrified.

      Need a better fact sheet on the details.

      Does not make sense to set up an FAL for an aircraft that is going out of production.

      • I think there’s some confusion at work here, so let’s go through the different elements here.
        Firstly, there’s the A330R. That’s going to be CEO, not NEO.
        Secondly, there’s talk of Airbus opening a FAL or completion centre in China for the A330, possibly as part of a Chinese deal for A330R. No word on NEO/CEO there, nor even a word about whether Chinese A330Rs would be finished/built there. But if they open a completion centre/FAL in China in 2016/17 it’s safe to say it will not be limited to CEO.

        • There’s an article here from Wang Xiaoyu of the China Times. It’s in Chinese, but you can get the gist of it with Google Translate:

          – Airbus and China agreed completion and delivery centers for the A330 back in March, in principle. If they go ahead it will be for all A330 models including the Neo. Airbus Sales Director for China mentions the importance to the China Civil Aviation Authority of developing a domestic aviation industry. He claims technical co-operation between Airbus and China will be long term and will involve up-to-date technology. He says Airbus are actively pursuing A330 regional sales and their A330 sales strategy is not a simple one.

          The article also mentions a planned joint development of a widebody plane between Russia and China. It seems Russia is keener on this project than China, who would prefer to link up with a western partner. [Bombardier?]


        • Sorry, the last bit is that they will be selling a mixture of regionals and non-regional NEOs. It sounds like the regional version will carry on after the NEO has been introduced, but I am not sure.

  11. The flying experience on the A380 is superb (very quiet on the upper deck). However, everything around the actual flight is not that nice. Boarding areas and queues are endless and if you happen to check in luggage, it’s taking forever to get them back. After all these years, when presented the 388 or 773 options, I always choose the 773 (smallish C cabin behind first on AF). It’s always a pleasure to arrive somewhere where 500+ passengers just made it before you at customs…

    • The flying experience on the A380 is superb (very quiet on the upper deck).

      Not just on the upper deck.

      However, everything around the actual flight is not that nice. Boarding areas and queues are endless and if you happen to check in luggage, it’s taking forever to get them back.

      I’ve been on A380s a 6 or 8 times now and to be honest never had issues getting my luggage (I waited longer for my luggage getting off a 767 in Rome two months ago). Boarding was an issue once – with MAS on the LHR-KUL leg. But that was mostly because the ground staff weren’t very apt at managing the boarding process. It seemed a bit disorganised from start to finish. No such issues on the KUL-LHR leg, even though load factors were the same on both flights.

      • It’s got to do with the airport/terminal, not the plane. My partner went to Cancun via Miami from LHR on AA (77W). She waited an age and a day for her luggage and almost missed her connecting flight, despite priority sticker. I have waited ages in IAD on my luggage coming off a 772ER, or it was ready when I passed through customs. Random. No waiting for us as a family when we went to SIN on an A380 from London. In FCO you wait hours for your luggage in any case, whether its an RJ or a triple decker.

    • Having worked for an airport baggage company I got to know many senior staff working for the airlines. One such person, who worked for Qantas and has since retired, mentioned that he was aware of people altering their travel arrangements just to travel on the A380. I was rather spectical of this, but since flying on Emirates A380s (both business and economy) I can now well understand this because the aircraft offers. On my A380 trips I have never encounter any excessive queues or baggage reclaim issues mentioned above.

      Since Emirates introduced the A380 at AKL they have succeeded in capturing a large share of the outbound international traffic and the feed back I have had from those who have flown on the A380 is positive – in fact when given a choice they often go out of their way to select the A380.

      I my case since travelling on the A380 it has become my aircraft of choice – so much so that I would be prepapared to pay a small premium to fly it.

      PS hope the A380 operaters don’t take this up.

    • Sorry mate but I have had the same experience on E-jets. It tends to comes down to the airport. If I had to generalise 737s are worst, not surprising as it is the biggest aircraft to be hand loaded/discharged

        • Nope, I guess my 757 flights have just been to better run airports. I hear that now 757s are retiring 737s are a baggage handlers biggest nightmare. I´m sort of wondering how long before Scandinavian and Australian baggage handlers demand a 737 bonus.

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