Overlooked possibilities for the A330neo

There are overlooked possibilities for the Airbus A330-800 and A330-900 New Engine Options.

What, you may ask, are these?

The A330neo might give new life to the poor-selling A330-200F program and, perhaps more importantly better position Airbus to compete for the next round of the USAF Air Force Tanker competition, the KC-Y program.

KC-Y is the follow-on to the KC-X intended to replace the aging fleet of Boeing KC-135s. After a leasing-procurement scandal that sent a USAF officer and the Boeing chief financial officer to jail and a bungled Round Two in which the USAF changed the rules of the specifications without telling Boeing (and resulting in a win for Northrop Grumman/EADS), Boeing won Round Three for the 767-based KC-46A, for 179 airplanes.

The USAF plan was to hold a second procurement for an additional round of new tankers. The assumption by many has been that the KC-X winner would be the KC-Y provider. Not so fast, however. A competition is all but certain.

One key point, other than price in which Boeing underbid EADS by 10%, was the operational cost driven by fuel consumption. Boeing claimed its 767-200ER-based KC-X had 24% better fuel burn, based on US Department of Transportation data, than the EADS-offered Airbus A330-200-based tanker. Airbus always disputed this figure, claiming the difference was 6%. Regardless, the 767 did burn less fuel.

An A330-800neo is claimed by Airbus to have 14% lower fuel burn than the current A330-200. (We will be performing our own analysis.) We don’t know that the Airbus figure is correct but we highly doubt the Boeing claim, in large part because it’s based on DOT 41 data that is inherently flawed, and in part because if the A332 was 24% worse than the 767, nobody would buy the airplane—and the 767 wouldn’t have been driven out of business by the A330.

The A330-800 will make a more compelling offering on economics for the next round. Working against a new Airbus bid will be the Rolls-Royce engines, the Trent 7000. The KC-330 proposal would have used GE CF6 engines, and foreign vs domestic sourcing was a major political football during the Round Three competition.

The final round, the KC-Z, will be to replace theMcDonnell Douglas KC-10, based on the commercial DC-10, at which time Boeing is expected to offer the 777.

As for the potential of breathing new life into the A330F program, market sources told Leeham Co. that the cost-benefit of the A330-200F didn’t pan out for a new-build, main-deck freighter of its specifications and capabilities. A more fuel efficient version might give the program new life, these market sources suggest.

But it all depends on the global demand for freight. Boeing’s new-build, main-deck 747-8F and 777-200LRF have been struggling for sales the last couple of years. Boeing forecasts sufficient demand, beginning in 2016-17, for three new main-deck freighters a month (and claims these will be its airplanes).

A more efficient A330-800F, with a purported double-digit improvement in fuel efficiency, may or may not gain new traction for this program.

92 Comments on “Overlooked possibilities for the A330neo

  1. Interesting, but I just can’t see any Airbus product being politically acceptable given Boeing’s investments in lobbyists in Washington DC. If I were in Airbus’ position, I’d be pretty disinclined to even bid. Let’s see how the DoD likes a one-horse race and the inevitably higher cost.

    As to the freighter market, with ever increasing underfloor cargo being carried by larger passenger planes, I see the dedicated freight market staying in its depressed state for a good few years yet,

    • The real question is given the acrimony, cost, time and political issues with last contest why would the USAF repeat it for KC-Y or KC-Z which are just notional procurement concepts, not something mandated by Congress or law. As long as the USAF is not looking for something significantly more capable than the KC-46A or something with a significant new capability the 46 doesn’t poses they won’t have a new contest anytime in the future. They’ll just extend the current contract and orders KC-46Bs if they want a little more range or capability. In the end it’s a lot easier in political and procurement terms to simply go with modification of an aircraft already in the inventory. If you want example of this just look no farther than the F-18 E/F for an example of how far a derivative to an existing air frame can go without running a new competition.

      There will be no USAF A330 Neo tanker for the simple reason that it would never offer enough of a capability increase over a notional KC-46B to justify a new tanker war, maybe it might be a little better, but in the context of a new tanker fight, and adding another air frame type to the inventory it would never be worth it. There may be a future contest between a KC-777-8/9 and a KC-A350-900 as these aircraft are significantly larger and more capable than the KC-46A, but in the era of the sequester its possible the USAF may decide to fore go a true KC-10 replacement in favor of simply buying more KC-46’s.

  2. “As to the freighter market, with ever increasing under floor cargo being carried by larger passenger planes, I see the dedicated freight market staying in its depressed state for a good few years yet,”
    That does not work for pure freight companies like UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. They typically by new build dedicated freighters or converted former passenger airliners. Many of these converted freighters are approaching the end of their service lives. These include the (converted) DC-8, DC-9, DC/MD-10, MD-11, B-727, B-737, B-747, B-767, B-757, A-300, and A-310. Older dedicated freighters like the MD-11F, A-300F, B-727F, B-747F, B-757F, and B-767F also will need replacement within the next 10 years, or so.
    It is true there are retired airliners and freighters sitting in deserts around the world, it is unknown how many can be returned to flying or converted and still provide at least 15 years of service to get a reasonable ROI.
    As for the A-330 NEO competing for the next USAF round of tanker acquisition program, it is possible, but as Scott already said, the RR Trent-7000 engines lower the US content of the airplane and makes it politically unpalatable.
    What Scott didn’t do in his story, above, is analyze an A-330NEO-MRTT/KC-45 against a KC/B-777-8F as the next tanker.

    • Dear KC,
      a KC-777 would have no chance against an A330NEO-MRTT according to price except for the tweaked fuel off load capabilties like we had last time the tweaked flight profiles to calculate the fuel burn: 7 touch-and-gos for every expected flight over the whole period of using for every KC-X.

      A KC-777-8F would be far more expensive than a 777-200ER. US Air Force would love to have another aircraft with folding wing tips. Last time there was a huge hype about ground footprint of the A330 compared to the “far” smaller B767.
      Wingspan / Length / “Footprint”
      767-2C: 47.6 m / 50.5 m / 2,400 m²
      A330-200: 60.3 m / 58.8 m / 3,500 m² (45 % more space as 767)
      777-8X: 64.8 m (folded) v 71.8 m (unfolded)/ 69.5 m / 4,500 m² (f) v 5,000 m² (u) (90 % more)

      The A330NEO will be very close to the KC-10 according to off load capabilites at long ranges.

      According to this paper http://fas.org/man/dod-101/usaf/docs/afpam10-1403.htm US Air Force expects the following fuel burn rates.
      KC-10: 17,775 lbs/hr
      767: 10,552 lbs/hr

      Fuel capacity:
      KC-10: 356,000 lb
      767: 207,672 lb
      A330MRTT: 245,000 lb

      Assumption: The NEO consumes as much fuel as a 767
      After a flight time of more than 17 hours a NEO-MRTT could provide more fuel than a KC-10.

      A KC-777-8X for sure would deliver more on everything than an A330MRTT. Just like the A330 MRTT could have delivered more of everything than the KC-46. The question is, could Boeing deliver a KC-777 for the price of an A330MRTT?

      I expect Airbus to compete again on the next tanker. It worked well last time to minimize the profit for Boeing. The original price was thought to be about $40 billion for 179 aircraft. Finally Boeing offered the aircraft for less than §30 billion.

      According to air freight you should remember that with more aircraft more belly space will be available. I could also imagen several A340F. Lufthansa has a fleet of 40 A340 to be retired soon.

      • I expect Airbus to compete again on the next tanker. It worked well last time to minimize the profit for Boeing.

        So if Airbus wins the next tanker with a low-ball bid, does that “work well” for Boeing?

        • “So if Airbus wins the next tanker with a low-ball bid, does that “work well” for Boeing?”

          Not if civilian A330s will be coming off the production line at a rate of 8 to 10 units per month until 2030. Maintaining a high production rate of the basic airframe means that “low-ball” bidding on military derivative aircraft makes for a much better ROI than what would otherwise have been the case.

          Case in point: Boeing has only delivered one 767 this year (i.e. 21 767s last year), while having only 44 outstanding orders for the 767 (i.e. excluding the KC-46A)

        • For Airbus such a deal would be a door opener to US Air Force market.

          Last time the difference between Airbus and Boeing was quite easy. Airbus did already had a tanker aircraft flying while the first flight for the 767-2C is expected for 2015!

          As I remember the 2C will be somehow longer than the -200. With -300 wings and -400 flaps and a 787-style cockpit and fly-by-wire. I guess the NEO is cheaper to develop.

  3. I had been wondering about the next round of the Tanker competition for just this reason. 767X anyone? (But this tie a real one – CFRP wings+empennage as well as the latest engines (from GE/PW, I guess!).
    For the civilian market, try to get the slimmer sidewalls as per the 777X to aim for 2-4-2 in Asia.

    • I had been wondering about the next round of the Tanker competition for just this reason. 767X anyone? (But this tie a real one – CFRP wings+empennage as well as the latest engines (from GE/PW, I guess!).

      If price is a concern – which it is going to be – the answer to this is going to be a “no”.
      Firstly, look at the cost overruns Boeing is already experiencing on the minimal change KC-46.
      Secondly, the bidding price would be much higher than what Airbus could offer on an A330neo-based plane. The A330neo has no new wing to pay for, plus it already has a commercial life which will pay for the neo-treatment. A 767MAX tanker even without CFRP wings doesn’t have that commercial life already covering its development cost. So a 767MAX tanker is pretty high risk even before you add the additional cost (and time!) required for CFRP wings.

      Add to all that that a re-winged 767MAX is also going to give the 787 a run for its money, which I’m sure Boeing will not want.

  4. Shamefully, the 767 ‘frankentanker” won the KC bid on the past. Even with the cost overruns beoing is having, it seems like the US guys only US. I love the comment about beoing fuel consumption… Insane number.

    Cargo wise, with the huge increase in new ‘large’ long haul aircraft, perhaps dedicated freighters will become a niche. If airlines (or airline groups like star/one world) ‘lease’ their non-passenger capacity to freight companies, and leave cargo 100% to them then freight has the necessary route and schedule network for most. UPS powered by OneWorld, much like the Royal Mail logo on BA fleets, for,example. Seems like there’s so much duplication/under-optimization in the market.

    I see Ryanair et al into the a330neo realm for low-cost/availability/efficient medium range routes from, to US.

    Hope airbus does comment on upgrading all a330 derivatives to the neo… Suspecting,they,will from production efficiency, but US politics may be a hindrance – sadly.

    • Re: the KC-46A win over the KC-45A. The DOD and USAF both said, on the day the contract was awarded, “it wasn’t even close” (in mentioning the final bids between EADS and Boeing).
      The life cycle costs not only included the fuel and maintenance projected over 40 years, but infrastructure improvements at 10 bases that would be required to bed down the new tanker. McConnell AFB, KS and Altus AFB, OK are the first active duty units and Pease ANGB, NH the first reserve unit to get the KC-46 will not need any new construction to bed down the tankers (although some other construction will be accomplished for other reasons).
      You mentioned the KC-46A is “over budget”. You, sir, are wrong.
      Boeing is taking a charge off of $272M to redesign the wiring for the KC-46A. The GAO said (April 2014 report, GAO-14-190) the overall KC-46 program is projected to come in UNDERBUDGET by at least $300M, and the fly away cost (average) per new tanker delivered is $1.8M less than budget.
      But you failed to mention the RAAF KC-30A was way over budget (moe than the KC-46 is at this point in development of both tankers), and 3 years late. It still isn’t fully operational yet (the Boom still isn’t certified by the RAAF). The first KC-30 was scheduled to be delivered in mid 2008, the first KC-30 delivered (A39-003, the third KC-30A conversion from the A-330) was actually delivered in June 2011. The KC-30 also has had two Booms separate from the tanker inflight.
      The selection of the Boeing KC-46 over the EADS-NA KC-45 has, so far, proven to have been the right decision.

      • Re: the KC-46A win over the KC-45A. The DOD and USAF both said, on the day the contract was awarded, “it wasn’t even close” (in mentioning the final bids between EADS and Boeing).

        Strange how that changed from EADS winning the round before, once some modifications had been made to the criteria.

        I know you like to point out the boom issues at RAAF particularly. It’s maybe worth pointing out that Airbus is indeed planning to certify what they call Boom Upgrade 3 this month for the RAAF (and any future MRTT sold) to improve accuracy for refuelling larger aircraft, but that other than that, the RAAF have already been using the boom in service – and that Saudi Arabia and the UAE (the other boom customers besides Australia) have had their examples in full service for the whole of 2013, including the boom.
        That Boom Upgrade 3, is something that the RAAF are co-funding, as they requested the additional capability, which implies it’s not a shortfall on the originally contracted specs (because otherwise Airbus would have had to pay for it by themselves).
        (All that info as of June 2014, latest info I could find on the subject.)

        As for A330 MRTT delays – you might want to look at Boeing’s experiences particularly with Italy’s KC-767s (the ones that actually have a boom, contrary to Japan’s, which were also delayed by over two years).
        If you point out these KC-767s don’t give any level of indication of how early/late the KC-46 is going to be, surely the same would have applied for the KC-30/KC-45, wouldn’t it?
        If you want to you can even argue that thanks to the KC-767, the KC-46 won’t be delayed (as much), thanks to lessons learned, work done, etc. – but even then, the same would apply to lessons learned by Airbus on the first few examples of the A330 MRTT, wouldn’t it?

        But anyway – that’s all water under the bridge. The KC-46 has been selected and that’s that. We can enter another round of “which one’s better” when (if) the KC-Y RFP is issued.

      • I do find it hard to belive it costs $272 million to redesign the wiring on a aircraft which has been around for since the 80’s. The KC45 is three late years but it is way closer to entering service than the KC46. Only time will tell how late the KC46 will be

        • IMU they try to graft a lot of modern electronics stuff onto the tanker ( taken from the FBW 787?).
          I’d expect that to match poorly.
          Then, aren’t the A330 MRTT elements additions to the basic civil certified airframe?
          Does the NEOisation change that significantly?

      • Yep, the Aussies are so fed up with the KC-30A, they’re going to order two more. Oh wait…

  5. A330-200F is dead in the water. NEO version won’t revive it, especially considering it got beaten by the 767 at FedEx, and the 777 and 748 are eating the high end.

    A330MRTT in the next round to replace the KC10? Nope. It doesn’t even offer more capacity than the KC10 does now, so I don’t see why the USAF will go from a very capable tanker to a less capable one. If the KC777 is offered, expect to see it wipe the A330MRTT off the table. Way more capable, a more 1-for-1 replacement for the KC10 than the A330MRTT.

    The A330’s newbuild tanker for the USAF has effectively been shut, and the A330-200F isn’t having a great go about it right now, and its outlook ain’t good either I think …ah here it is:


    Nope…with 17 expected not to be delivered, I think the market is closing on that bird, too.

    • Offering a MTOW increase from 242 to 250 metric tonnes on the A330neo and developing a freighter model based on the A330-900 — in addition to an A330-800F — and you’d have a very capable and price competitive offering.

      As for the KC-Y, deluding oneself into believing that a KC-778 would be competitive on price with an A338 MRTT is quite amusing, to say the least.

      • “As for the KC-Y, deluding oneself into believing that a KC-778 would be competitive on price with an A338 MRTT is quite amusing, to say the least.”
        Thinking an A-338MRTT is even in the same tanker weight class as a KC-778 will be is just as amusing, OV-099.
        The original KC-777F proposal carried 485,000 lbs. of fuel, near twice what the A-332MRTT carries. The KC-777F would also carry twice the cargo payload (weight) than the A-332F does, and 50% more volume.
        Airbus does have a proposed A-359F and that would be a much closer airplane to compete against a B-778F.
        But, yes, on price alone the A-330 is better then the B-777. But if you are going on price only, just buy more KC-46s.

        • KC, I would assume that the KC-Y procurement procees would follow closely that of the KC-X. AFAIR, in the RFP, round 2, there were 372 mandatory requirements that both Boeing and Airbus had to meet before USAF would calculate the total estimated price for each of the two tanker offerings. If the bids were within 1 percent of each other, then and only then would the competition enter a second non-mandatory evaluation phase, where EADS would have been given extra credit for exceeding the mandatory fuel offload requirement in the KC-X RFP.

          Again. I would assume that the fuel offload requirements in KC-Y RFP would not exceed the fuel offload capability of the KC-10; which is about 235,000 lbs at a 500 nm mission radius; 199,000 lbs at 1000 nm; 155,000 lbs at 1500 nm and 79,000 lbs at 2500 nm.

          This would imply, of course, that the extra fuel offload capability of a KC-778 would only come into play if Boeing’s KC-Y bid would be whithin 1 percent of that of the bid from Airbus. So – yes, it’s amusing that one can actually delude oneself into believing that a KC-778 would be competitive on price with an A338 MRTT in a KC-X type of RFP.

          As for the A332 MRTT (i.e. MTOW of 233 metric tonnes) its fuel offload capability is around 153,000 lbs at a 1000 nm mission radius. Insert the A338neo either with the planned 242 metric tonn MTOW — or even a 250 metric tonne MTOW version of the A338neo — and you’d have an A330 MRTT having about the same offload capability as the KC-10 at 1000 nm mission radius. Since the DC-10 has a much higher fuel consumption than the A330, it’s not too difficult to predict that an A338 MRTT would have a better fuel offload capability than the KC-10 as the mission radius is increased to 1500 nm and 2500 nm.

      • Thanks for the humor on my dreary Monday, OV-099! To think that the USAF will degrade capability to get an A330 is very good laugh stuff. If it can’t even tank that gas that a KC10 has, why would it be even in the same mix? Nice try though…

        • Yes, isn’t it amusing when someone mixes up, or doesn’t seem to grasp the difference between the amount of fuel tanked up on a tanker at takeoff and the tanker’s fuel offload capability at distance.

          So – yes, the KC-10 can load more fuel than the A332 MRTT at the ramp, but it has about a 41 percent higher fuel consumption per hour; or around a 60 percent higher fuel burn per hour than an A330-800neo MRTT. As I explained above, an A338 MRTT having a slightly higher MTOW than the A338neo should have about the same fuel offload capability as the KC-10 at a mission radius of 1000 nm, while having a dramatically lower fuel burn than the KC-10.

          • That 7 year old spider chart was proven to be widely inaccurate several years ago. It has no place in today’s debate. It uses the KC-767A (2002 version, not the Italian version) as a competitor instead of today’s KC-46A. This is the reason EADS did not use that chart in the 2012 KC-X competition.

        • Dear KC,
          try to show the errors by the spider chart you claimed.

          The fuel load for KC-46 was pimped from 202,000 lbs to 212,000 lbs.
          MTOW for KC-30 was 230 t and the A330 is today available at 242 t. One tonne is more than 2,000 lbs.

          Did something else changed? Amount of pallets, passenger capacity, payload …

          On the other side the fuselage of the KC-46 was prolonged. So rotation at take off would be less…

        • KC, as mhalblaub indicated, the spider chart is still largely accurate, although the fuel offload capability of a 245 – 250 tonne A338 MRTT would increase by about 25 percent over that of the current A332 MRTT at a 1000 nm mission radius, while only having around a 4 percent overall higher fuel consumption per hour.

          Now, the reason EADS would’t have bothered using the spider chart during round 2 of the KC-X competition, was probably due to the fact the nature of the KC-X tanker RFP was indeed crafted as a price shootout competition that favoured the smaller aircraft havng the lowest absolute fuel consumption — but not the best relative fuel economy. Only in the unlikely event that EADS had been whithin 1 percent of Boeing’s offer would EADS have been given extra credit for exceeding the mandatory fuel offload requirement in the KC-X RFP.

        • Addendum

          …. while only having around a 4 percent overall higher fuel consumption per hour than the KC-46A.

    • A330-200F is dead in the water. NEO version won’t revive it, especially considering it got beaten by the 767 at FedEx

      That’s at least partially a reflection of the fact that the 767 was otherwise not selling and Boeing were eager to bridge the production gap between commercial 767s and the KC-46.
      The A330 was in a completely different position at the time, so commercial terms would have been quite different.

  6. I just love the way that these Big B supporters stand proud as if the KC-46A has met all requirements and is a viable bird. The simple fact is the KC-46A is overweight and budget and has yet to pass gas as required. First article could be a great day or dead or arrival, time will tell! Numbers of performance mean nothing until the bird makes them for real and that has not happen. Oh by the way the MRTT330 is currently in service around the world.

    • KC-767A/Js are also flying and refueling around the world….with no restrictions against Boom refueling. Yeah, that A-330MRTT is working out good, just ask the RAAF. They were the first customer, and no A-330MRTT with a Boom is combat ready, anywhere.

      • You beat me to it, KC.

        And it is kinda hard for the KC-46A to fuel anything when it isn’t even complete yet. But hey, losing booms in worldwide service is “service,” I guess.

        Interesting tidbits:


        But even more interesting is that when the last A330MRTT is flown to the boneyard, the crew can hitch a ride in a very reliable C-17. Or KC-46


      • Check the links above regarding combat-readiness of the MRTTs world-wide as well as the status of the RAAF’s examples.
        And ask Japan and Italy how on-budget and on-time their KC-767s worked out. Ironically, Boeing had bigger problems with the pods than with the boom.

        Thanks for sharing a story that’s over a year old at this point (plus a story of a pilot not knowing where to keep a camera). More up-to-date status reports on the A330 MRTT with the RAAF and others (as of June 2014, not 2013) can be found here (already linked above, but this saves the trouble of scrolling up):

        But to quote myself in a bit of a vanity exercise:

        But anyway – that’s all water under the bridge. The KC-46 has been selected and that’s that. We can enter another round of “which one’s better” when (if) the KC-Y RFP is issued.

        • “ask Japan and Italy how on-budget and on-time their KC-767s worked out”

          Ok, but let’s ask Australia the same questions, and how their 3 usable KC-30s (two more are in Spain for further flight testing) are fully combat ready.

        • Dear KC,
          which aircraft except the 6 thirsty C-17 should Australia refuel today with the boom?
          The Wedgetail just has IOC (cool, it flies!), the F-35 never touched Australian soil and the P-8 is way to go. Therefore I can’t see today a real need for a boom for Australia.

          Australia can refuel their F/A-18 / Growler fleet.

          The Australian Abram tanks are located at Darwin. So Australia won’t need to refuel the C-17 to reach any necessary point.

          • The following RAAF aircraft are air refuelable by the Boom;
            Total-17 aircraft
            Future Boom refuelable aircraft;
            C-130J-30 (study currently being conducted, Boom air refueling will allow more cargo weight to be lifted, then refuel the aircraft to the needed fuel load)
            Total-124 aircraft
            The following RAAF are probe and drogue refuelable;
            Total-95 aircraft

            RAAF KC-30 tankers will also refuel Allied aircraft using both refueling methods. Prior to their retirement, the RAAF could not refuel the F-111C/G. They had to rely on USAF and RSAF KC-135s.

          • BTW, all six RAAF E-7A Wedgetails were delivered by June 2012, and IOC was achieved in Nov. 2012. They have been fully operational for almost two years now.

        • Dear KC,
          I was talking about the necessity to refuel other aircraft by boom.
          The E-7A is far away from being useful.
          See page 161 and following: http://www.anao.gov.au/~/media/Files/Audit%20Reports/2013%202014/Assurance%20Report%2012/AssuranceReport-2013-2014_12.pdf
          The C-17 offers enough unrefueled range for Australian needs.
          The KC-30A has enough range to support 4 fighter jets and additional cargo from Amberley to Keeling Islands.

          The boom is already operational but Australia wants a better boom control for refueling large aircraft. So just in case all the aircraft you mentioned could be refueled.

          • From your link, page 162 (E-7A Wedgetail):
            “Materiel Capability Performance
            In service Wedgetail aircraft have participated in a number of local and overseas exercises over the past two
            years, with each successive System (software) Build delivered to the fleet demonstrating improved
            integrated system performance. Radar performance in the clear has been substantially remediated and a
            number of shortfalls in Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Communications Datalink and residual
            integrated system performance have been progressively remediated. Under the November 2012
            commercial settlement, the Commonwealth and Boeing agreed on a plan to resolve the remaining
            capability risks that need to be retired in the mission systems, communications and integration areas by
            December 2014.”
            Page 163:
            “Project Major Challenges
            Integration of the radar and other mission critical systems such as electronic support measures,
            communication systems and data links has proved to be more complex than originally anticipated. Initial
            planning for the project was optimistic, resulting in an aggressive schedule that had been compressed to
            such a high level that there was no margin for re-work or risks being realised.
            Radar performance was subject to detailed independent analysis and operational assessment in preparation
            for the contract settlement negotiations held in late 2009, resulting in a determination that performance will
            not achieve specification at final delivery and further development will be required.
            Subsequently, a radar remediation program was established. This program included a radar collaborative
            research and development program. A contract for the collaborative program was signed on 21 June 2010.
            The program has been very successful and consequently the period of performance was extended to the
            end of 2012. Radar performance in the clear has been recovered to very close to specification and
            substantial improvement in performance in clutter is anticipated by December 2013.
            Further technical challenges in the development of the Communications, ESM, Electronic Warfare Self
            Protection (EWSP) and ground support systems have been encountered and resolution of these drove the
            schedule to final acceptance.
            The remaining technical challenges are low-medium risk. Notwithstanding, incorporation of
            remaining performance improvements from the remediation activities now relies on the in-service
            software organisation and processes which are immature, but developing rapidly.”
            In other words, the E-7A is performing at or very near the contract specs.

            The same report discusses the KC-30A, beginning on page 269. On page 270:
            “Materiel Capability Performance
            To meet Defence strategic goals, the DMO has worked closely with Airbus Military to ensure that the initial
            configuration at acceptance provides essential capability for Air Logistics Support (passengers and cargo)
            and pods (hose and drogue) air to air refuelling. A suitable framework to enable contractual acceptance of
            aircraft with non-critical non-conformances has been established. This framework also ensures that full
            compliance will be achieved by Final Materiel Release (FMR) in order to achieve Final Operational
            Capability (FOC). All issues identified to date have suitable processes and procedures in place to reduce the
            operational impact. The non-conformances will be carefully managed to meet minimum requirements of
            Initial Materiel Release (IMR) and Initial Operational Capability (IOC), noting that IOC was declared in
            February 2013.
            Non-conformances to the contracted capability include, radio management, military avionics, mission
            planning and boom refuelling systems.
            Although the aircraft has been certified (with limitations) for boom refuelling of small and large aircraft, an
            agreement has also been reached on improvements to the ARBS to provide an effective operational
            While delivery of an operational boom refuelling system has been significantly delayed, the capability impact
            is not considered significant provided FOC can be achieved prior to the JSF aircraft entering RAAF service.
            The United States has also provided approval for the Electronic Warfare Self Protection system to be
            installed and tested (safety of flight and airworthiness only) in Australia, which will be completed by FOC.”
            Page 271:
            “Project Major Challenges
            Airbus Military’s ability to meet the rebaselined schedule milestones for delivery of the full contracted
            capability continues to be the greatest challenge.
            Principal challenges expected during the next reporting period include:
             The timely completion of testing and DMO acceptance of the documentation for qualification (contract
            compliance) of changes to the military avionics systems, Mission Planning System, and improvements
            to the ARBS.
             Planning and implementation of a program to incorporate modifications to the military avionics and boom
            refuelling systems to in-service aircraft and support to introduction into service of the boom.”
            In other words, the KC-30 is still a long way from FOC, mostly due to the ARBS.

        • Dear KC,
          you copied a huge amount of text. This is the essential part:
          “Although the aircraft [KC-30A] has been certified (with limitations) for boom refuelling of small and large aircraft, an agreement has also been reached on improvements to the ARBS to provide an effective operational capability.”

          Could we agree that the boom of the A330 will be full operational before the boom of the KC-46?

          Therefore I think to replace the KC-10 as quick as possible the A338MRTT is the aircraft to go. A KC-777 might be the right aircraft in case US Air Force decides to need the same fuel capacity before take of and not to look at the offload capabilities.

          • We could agree the KC-30 Boom should have been fully functional back in 2011, when the RAAF received their first new tanker.

            That said, I would hope the KC-30 ARBS would be certified fully functional long before the KC-10 Gen VI* Boom is. After all, the ARBS began flight testing on EADS’s KC-310MRTT test bed back in 2007. The KC-46A contract wasn’t issued until
            Feb. 2011.

            The KC-46 Gen VI* Boom is an advanced version of the KC-10 Gen IV* Boom, which is a FBW Boom.

            *Boeing/MD developed Booms:
            Gen I = KB-29, KB-50
            Gen II = KC-97
            Gen III = KC/EC-135, KC-137/B/KC-707, KC-747
            Gen IV = KC/KDC-10
            Gen V = KC-767A/J
            Gen VI = KC-46

            There have been 3-4 Boeing Gen VI Booms assembled to date, including the first flight test Boom scheduled for first flight on a KC-135R in 2015. Of the remaining Booms, one is a spare, and two will be fitted to KC-46 SDD tankers #3 and #4 (the first two KC-46s fully built to the final tanker configuration).

  7. If the KC-Y competition happens, it will be 2030, so the A330 may be gone by then. The X,Y,Z plan, like the Y1,Y2,Y3 plan, were fine frameworks, but are now most likely obsolete due to changing conditions over the course of time.

  8. You are or could be right so let’s go with maybe a MRTT350, now there would be a very fuel efficient aircraft with long legs. Also by that time the commercial needs would have been met and the price would be down not to mention that the A350 is far easier to modify then the 787.

  9. Frankly its all a mixed bag and are we talking about the KC135/767 tanker mission or the KC10 heavy fuel mission?

    As for Boeing, At this point we know that Boeing doesn’t pay taxes and has proven to to care a whit about anyone other than the CEOs and shareholders. Fine by me, if Airbus bids and wins then we are better off with the airframe assembly and partly built in the US with a lot of US components.
    If there is a competing I will endorse Airbus efforts. Better for the US.

    Did you know that the 767KC (KC whatever) does not have thrust reversers? It was not part of the bid, ergo, that brake saving device is not on the tanker. Amazing.

    I will disagree with Scott a bit, the Air Force did not change specification and not tell Boeing, they credited better spec than called for (same affect) That was not allowed in the bid documents, ergo you could call it a change. Boeing fairly called them on it and won.

    The Air Force got dazzled with if some is plenty, more is better (not the first time that has happened to the Air Force and a huge factor in cost overruns) When it was re-bid, they ensured language did not give credit for over-performance (you could over perform, you just did not get credit as the idea was to bid to requirement and the requirement favored the 767 as it was closer (it never came down to it as the bid was much lower as well)

    I detest the Frankenplane. Pure BS spin, putting a wing on a different frame is standard. Its not an issue, maing sure you do it right is (and as we have seen Boeing took a huge charge and I believe the US got charged as well for their wring screw up, wiring looms are sop and I would like to see what occurred and who caused it (looks like Boeing so far)

    A lot of controversy swirled around performance (and again I will disagree with Scott) in that Airbus had it specified with more fuel carrying, the 767 with less. Less weight carried correlate directly to less fuel used. The actual weight depends on which mission (though I believe the majority was a typical refueling orbit not a cargo/pax run)

    A 767 is lighter and smaller and with its typical fuel for fueling less than an A330. It should burn less fuel.

    Data shows most of the fuel is brought back. That is one of the keys to the suitably in that you are carrying more fuel out and brings it back and that all cost money. If you are bringing back a lot of fuel and A330 with more fuel on board gives you nothing (other than paying to move a lot of fuel around)

    Air Force also wavered the parking requirement for the A330 (spacing). Yes you can do that but the spec was intended to maintain safe distances.

    Boeing like Airbus maxed the contract immediately from the bid. That was allowed up to a certain figure, then Boeing pays for it. Something like the initial 4 (6?) aircraft were bid at 1.5 billion and they were allowed 400 million on top of that and took it. Legal yes, why that is allowed is a taxpayer/Congressional issue (or should be).

    Due to the way contracts are awarded “immediately” Airbus (aka Northrop/Grumman Airbus) got paid their insipid fee). They took it. Nice paycheck for nothing delivered but that is a US citizen issue our issue in the way the blow our money. Awards should only occur AFTER protests.

    Missions cargo was a contention. A330 carries more, but the vast majority of US mission (not foreign air forces) is dedicated aerial refuel. A tanker cannot carry cargo and fuel at the same time. You can do one or the other. Over 75% of the missions are dedicated fueling orbits.

    The only time cargo is a factor is when a tanker drags a group out to its new operation area form the US (far less common from an overseas base to another one) and carries the squadron maintenance and operation package (and or personal).

    The 767 is sized better to replace the KC135 and its all that is needed for that mission.

    The other spec is the heavy fuel spec for Bombers, and that is what the KC10 does. A 767 cannot full fill that mission and I am not sure an A330-200 frame could (NEO or not). An A330-300/ 900 might.

    777-200 KC could for sure.

    Also note that two Airbus booms having fallen off, Australia MRTs are not fully operational yet and they are years behind on their contracts.

    Building a tanker is not easy, Boeing had issue with the 767 Italian tankers and the wing tip drogue chutes

    Takeoff performance is also an issue and I believe Boeing had better take off and landing specs with the 767 and wear and tear (those pesky thrust reversers).

    • Thrust reversers are not needed. At best they reduce braking distance by about 15%. Wheel and aerodynamic braking methods do the bulk of stopping/slowing any airplane. The KC-135A/D/Q/R/T do not have thrust reversers, the A-380 only has them on the inboard engines. Airbus did not have to offer thrust reversers on their KC-45.
      The wiring issue with the KC-46 was found before any tankers were assembled and delivered. The A-380’s mis-wiring went on for 2-3 years after EIS and delayed many deliveries.
      TransWorld, you know nothing about heavy air refueling of bombers, that was the original mission of the KC-135A back in 1955, and the KC-135 has been doing it ever since, including on long range missions. The KC-135 was built as the stable mate of the B-52, which demanded huge off-loads from the tanker.
      During the Vietnam War, KC-135As routinely off-loaded 100,000 lbs. of fuel to B-52Ds on strike missions. These tanker missions (usually flown from RODN, the bombers from PGUA) typically were 750 nm to 1250 nm out to the ARCP (where the air refueling begins) and 1000 nm to 1500 nm back to RODN from EAR (end air refueling). The bombers would usually ask for another 5,000-10,000 lbs. of gas.

      • Thrust reversers save a huge amount of wear and tear on the high impact intial slow down. Not required, but they are worth it (my opinion, Air Force disagrees).

        As I recall back in 1955 there was no Wide bodies. The Air Force used what they had even if it took a lot of them.

        Do we still need that many tankers? Good question. Do we need heavy fuelers or more of them in the mix, also good quesions.

        The Air Force decided it had a need for a Heavy Fueler, i.e. the KC10

        Old story do you need a lot of small fuelers or a few big ones and their answer was a mix.

    • “I detest the Frankenplane”
      So everything is OK with the KC-46?

      “Most of the fuel is brought back.”
      So the mission planing was wrong or the safty margin to high for damaged aircraft with fuel leaks?

      Cargo was a factor during Gulf war. More than half of the whole KC-10 fleet was used for cargo missions only.

      US Air Force did rent aircraft to move trooos and goods to Afghanistan (CRAF) because the US AF does not have a proper aircraft. Therefor the next tanker was also thought.

      Check the RFP about fuel burn calculations. More than 7 touch&gos on every flight over the whole live time was only a gift to Boeing.

      Even the old A330-MRTT can deliver more fuel than a KC-10 on long distances or loittet times.

      KC777-8X? An A359-MRTT is not impossible.

      • Obvious the 767 has problems. That does not make it a Franken plane (A380 anyone?) There is nothing inherently wrong with the 767 any more than the A380

        EADS implied it was a screwed up miss match that would not work. That is pure BS. Wiring issue is not aerdyanmics and is a known and fixable layout problem, not a flaw in the aircraft (and it should not have occurred, but that is Boeing management at its best, lets screw something up and then spend lots of money to fix it latter and then cut wages for the cowering employees to make up for it.)

        Fueling aircraft are there to fly fuel missions. If you are flying cargo, you cannot fly a fueling orbit. The US has a world wide system and obligations, not small regional concerns.

        As we have seen in the Libyan campaign, Europe could not even supply enough tankers, (or electronic aircraft) to support a tiny operation against minimal opposition and had to rely on the US.

        We had the fuelers plain and simple. They were not busy flying cargo to Afghanistan (or Iraq or …)

        You can’t have both. Its nice to have an MRT and then be able to holler for help from the US (sop for Europe,

  10. Dear Leeham Co., the following question is not related to the present article, but I thought I might ask it anyway. Many investors ponder whether Boeing’s 777-9X will see a direct competitor or whether it will remain the only 400+ seat twin-engine plane on offer. During the past year, you have provided updates on the business case for the so-called “A350-1100” stretch model, https://leehamnews.com/tag/a350-1100/, and expressed that you believe Airbus will eventually proceed with this model. Airbus leadership has predictably tried to pour cold water on any speculations, but the A350 head engineer Didier Evrard has been quoted as saying there is potential to further stretch the A350 “for sure”.

    At this point in time, using the information and intelligence that is presently available, which of the following, if any, do you deem most likely to be offered eventually: (a) No A350-1100, (b) A350-1100 with new wing so to match A350-1000 range capabilities, i.e. 8000nm, (c) A350-1100 with next-gen engine (e.g. RR Ultrafan) for around 7400nm range, or (d) A350-1100 as a straight-forward 18 ft stretch with circa 7000nm range, à la Boeing 787-10? Thank you for providing great insight and analysis.

    • A350-1100 with the new RR engine, longer range, and the engine will be shared with the A380neo.

  11. I was with Scott that a the A330NEO would make a compelling tanker until I started considering the comments in this thread and started thinking about the capability the USAF needs in the future. KC-Y and KC-Z won’t be refueling the B-52 or 707-based airplanes, but the next gen bomber and (I predict) RC-46s, EC-46s, and other 767 based cobra balls and rivet joints along with smaller numbers of less draggy fighters. Very little of the future inventory will burn as much fuel as the present inventory and so the need for a larger flying gas station is less. That along with smaller budgets will drive uniformity around the smaller KC-46.

    The only reason for an KC-45 or larger aircraft is for cargo capacity; but if that’s the case, then why not buy (or lease) a dedicated cargo aircraft and forego an expensive mission package that is scabbed to a more costly-to-fly air-frame? I predict a KC-46 only fleet.

    • The new KC-Y tanker needs a long leg. I won’t think we will see RC-46 or something like that. Such dedicated aircraft will be based on smaller types like P-8 Poseidon.

      For KC-Y the A332/8MRTT is not only the better cargo, tanker, troop transporter … against the KC-46, the A330 is also another aircraft. The US Air Force is not Ryan Air. In case of a fleet grounding it is always good to have another aircraft type around.

      For sure the 777-8X is bigger. The engines are much bigger, the wing is much bigger, the price is much bigger… and finally the A380MRTT is much bigger. Boeing could compete with a KC-787. On the other side an A350MRTT is nothing strange.

      The KC-10 is a gas hog – fuel burn rate: 17,755 lbs/h
      The real gas hog in US AF inventory is the C-17: 21,440 lbs/h

      The US Air Force has an actual problem delivering troops and palletized cargo with the C-17. The C-17 needs to be refueled where a modern tanker could travel easily unrefueled. The C-17 is overused while the KC-135 was underused for complete live time. That is the reason of misuse of this old single trick pony for other things like RC and EC. The KC-46 then ready will be more a troop mover and freighter than a tanker. No space for other missions.

      • Yes the KC10 uses a lot of fuel. Fact of an old aircraft and 3 engines.

        It may be that the AF needs to replace it sooner than the KC135s (newer ones are in good shape with new engines and the old ones parked in not retire reserve, ie retired in all but name) . FedEx has suddenly decide to replace the MD10s (and interesting enough they are replacing it with a 767.

        A380MTT? I hope that was a joke. Its not like the AF needs a London to LA cargo run.

        The KC135 sees low use because its scattered all over the planet in location they need refuelers. If your KC135 is flying cargo to Afghanistan, it cannot refuel aircraft in the Iraq theater and its real mission is to do just that, not haul cargo or people (nice and fine if it works but a lot of time it does not)

        You can hire cargo haulers (and people haulers) and that is what the split of doing so is at least is intended to do. Supplement your core combat assets when those core assets are actively commited or need to maintain a standby reserve in a given theater (Iraq just went hot and there will be a lot of obbits out of Turkey and the Gulf)

        A 767 cannot land in places the C17 can nor is it a combat designed aircraft like the C17. It needs different unloading equipment as well. C17 is drive on and off as well as the low deck.

        What it amounts to is its a balance. The US does not have anyone to ask for help, so the bias is to maintain the combat assets where they are needed and supplement. You can’t shift the entire system for one event, its the range and possible events that have to be balanced out.

        • KC-135s do handle cargo and pax, mostly when deploying to of redeploying from an area if no fighters need to move at the same time. They also do fast Med-Evac missions.
          The KC-46 is a combat designated aircraft, just as the KC-135 and KC-10 are. They just don’t land in the forward areas, but fly above the FEBA with the strike packages. The KC-46 will do this same mission, and it will have its own defensive suit.

        • The A380MRTT was for sure a joke just like a KC-777X.

          I can’t compute the FedEx switch from DC-10 to 767. FedEx operates operates about 120 DC-10 of all kinds (MD-10-10,-30 and MD11) and FedEx is going to replace these aircraft with just 50 767? On the other side FedEx also has several 777F on order.

          The KC-135 could hardly be used economically for other duties except refueling. It can haul some troops or some cargo but not very much and therefore very inefficient. The time in-between major conflicts aerial refueling is of rare use. The Gulf wars are a nice example. The KC-135 did hardly moved cargo or troops. It was done by KC-10. The KC-135 just had to wait until the air campaign started while the KC-10 were traveling around.

          The commercial CRAF is a nice to have but US Air Force should be able to do the daily business with its own aircraft efficiently and economically. That was idea of KC-X and sooner or later KC-46 will fulfill this task. It is very uneconomic to operate an aircraft for more than 50 years.

          The KC-X requirements were as “combat designed” as C-17. The KC-X was never a rough field aircraft but on any airfield you can land a KC-46 on a regular base you will find the equipment to unload such aircraft. During Gulf wars most tanks were delivered by ship to Saudi Arabia.

      • This comment makes no sense. The C-17 is designed to do things an A330 or 767 can’t do, like haul oversized or irregular sized equipment. That means things like tanks, MRAPs, Oshkosh trucks, MTVRs helicopters, etc And be able to do it in a forward location. Something you would not dare place a CRAF airplane and crew. The C-17 had NO PROBLEM with palletized gear and troops (does both, as I can personally attest to as a troop with the cargo). Of course that eats gas, so we have KC-10s and KC-135s to help form the air bridge.

        You think we’d want to tank apart tanks to load them onto pallets to fly in an A330 or 767 to be put back together in theatre? Don’t think so..

        • My point is that the precious C-17 is “misused” to move palletized cargo and troops around.

          During operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield 20 KC-10 were assigned for pure airlift sorties because it smarter to use just a tanker to move pallets instead of a C-17 and an additional tanker. Keep the C-17 for the tanks, helicopters or for delivery to real forward locations. The ramp up process and bases during Gulf wars were never at a “forward location”. The big logistic was and will never be located “forward”.

          The C-17 are aging faster than the US Air Force did expected. Therefore it is smart to relief this aircraft from parcel service any “commercial” freighter can do cheaper.

          As you could have noticed during the Gulf wars US Air Force didn’t need much tankers during ramp up process. The tankers were needed for air strike campaign after ramp up to prepare the way for the ground troops.

        • @mhalblaub

          We didnt have the C-17 in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Wasn’t operational at the time. Did have C-141 and it transported me around during that time.

          I don’t see how you say the C-17 is misused. What else were we going to use around Afghanistan/Iraq to move lots of stuff. Never did I ever hear or see a C-17 needing tanker gas during intra-theatre lift in Afghanistan, and those birds were in and out of LNK/Bastion all day long. I seriously doubt we could have kept up operations without them.

  12. “A more efficient A330-800F, with a purported double-digit improvement in fuel efficiency, may or may not gain new traction for this program.”

    If the USAF wants a more efficient K-46 they can put newer engines on it.

    • That’s correct. I was surprised the DoD didn’t spec the GENX for the next 40 years on the KC46, but instead selected a 25 yrs old engine for the next 40 yrs. Maybe the industry preferred the prospects of a expen$ive re-engining after the last KC46 has been delivered.

  13. I am really moved!! Reading of all the A330’s miraculous qualities which would compensate the wide-body crisis at Airbus, I am waiting for the BOEING response promoting a B707neo or DC-8neo

    • This would be the Airbus ‘wide-body crisis’ caused by selling more wide-bodies than Boeing last year?

      • This only seems so in 2013, as BOEING, contrary to AIRBUS , books only CONFIRMED orders, even if they have already commitments!!
        Consequently, 2014 shows many hundred of BOEING net confirmed orders (B777classic, B777X, B787). AIRBUS has a a negative total (A330, A350) and practically none at all in Farnborough!!

        If this is not a crisis, I would like to know what you call such!!

        • Contrary to Airbus? Are you suggesting that Airbus books orders which are not confirmed? I’m sure the European financial regulators would be delighted to see the evidence you have to support your preposterous claim.

          Comparing sales at one specific point in time is, well, pointless. The minimum period worth comparing is a full calendar year. So let’s review the status in early 2015 when 2014’s numbers are in.

          Crisis? Ha ha ha.

          • to stealth66  You write: “Contrary to Airbus? Are you suggesting that Airbus books orders which are not confirmed?”

            Yes. this is what I am saying!! I do not know if they do so internally, but they publish it and if you look what they did with the last 1/2 year report, not only such but rejoicing publicly of their triomph over BOEING. Only weeks later, after BOEING impugned it, the published the correct figures, showing that about 1/3 of these “orders” came for not disclosing cancellations, calling change of models, letter of intent .memos of understanding and  similar not confirmed, as orders.

            You can refer to the article of REUTERS (published at LEEHAM) an European agency, commenting such misleadings!!

            So, as you tell:re you delighted now??

            To STEALTH66

            Thanks for the Excel

            This shows that the orders are are nearly all affirming of options or similar I have when issuing the 15 month comment referred to NEW customers, but forgot to state so. My bad!!

            But fact is: in 1H 2014 Airbus sold 29 net A330, of which 23 were ordered by AIR ASIA, And it is more than obvious that AIRBUS has made an arrangement with DELTA and AIR ASIA that in exchange to promote the A330neo wich such orders, , they will get outrageous discounts. The A330 is amortized for a good time, but the discounts were not even near to what is playing now

            How we know this?? Because the DELTA CEO was going around bragging of getting such prices. 

          • otontisch, your post simply doesn’t make sense as you keep ‘moving the goal posts’. What difference does it make if orders are for existing customers or new ones? An order is an order, regardless of the customer.

            Airbus does not lie about orders – the spreadsheet is their official order book. They are governed by financial regulations just like Boeing.

            Regarding 2014 A330 orders, the 34 gross orders booked through July do not include any orders for AirAsia or Delta. Where are you seeing this? There seems little point in continuing a discussion with someone who cannot see or accept the facts.

          • Stealth66

            1) I got confused by the reporting of AIRBUS, and so are several websites, which are being so between other that in some Airbus info the do not use the word “neo” and instead the new names A330-800 or 900. This explain my erroneous reference to the 2014 25xA330ceo “order”, which was really for the neo!!
            But this my confusion does not change the conclusions!!

            2) It matters a lot if the newest orders are extension of previous orders or from new customers.
            ALL the 28x1H2014 orders are from Chinese Airlines, i.e. essentially from a single customer. MTAD is an AIRBUS company and shall not be included in the firm order list, and probably were “cancelled” because of this!
            These Chinese airlines have already important fleets of A330 and therefore, as happend before to other, were forced to issue such individually small additional orders if they needed the aircraft before 2020, independently of the A330ceo merits!
            DO YOU AGREE??

            3) You say that AIRBUS does not “lie” reporting orders. But End July they MISLED
            the public and attained a huge success with the international Media (and Analysts) by their enthusiastic tooting the 1H 2014 980 figure as a winner in front of BOEING, only to release a new list including “cancellation” of more than 270 aircraft which were “forgotten” to mention. And even so, there were at least three mislead left::
            * The “confirmed” order included 22 defunct A358, which will either be substituted or cancelled (as happened previously with other similar)
            * A 20xA380 “order from “Amadeo” was included, which are anything but firm
            * orders from bankrupt and most probably disappearing companies were still listed, basing on a “hope” that they will be taken over by somebody else. A strange definition of FIRM!

            DO YOU AGREE

            4) Last but not least, a most signiificant deception:

            The 270 unit order reduction was not only because of “forgotten” CANCELLATIONS: Equally, if not more, were due as they had to cover up the fact that they had originally included as FIRM Memos of Understanding, Options and provisional orders, foremost but not only regarding for the undefined A330neo
            DO YOU AGREE?

            DO YOU SEE NOW WHY I AM V E R Y RELUCTANT TO ACCEPT ON THEIR FACE VALUE THE AIRBUS STATISTICS AND ASSESS THAT THE TALK OF MARVELOUS A330, its efficiency and its great pricing will backfire by new airlines abstaining to order the CEO just in the window when the rapid delivery gives them such advantage and probably cut sales of the A359!!

            And further, my assessment that the cool heads at AIRBUS are aware of the
            drawbacks of such policy but are forced to try it given of the fact of the Wide-body crisis which Farnborough has pushed into the sunlight!!

            Obviously, JOHN LEAHY will try, by discounting dramatically, to attain some successes in the next month, but this will not change anythin, other tan force BOEING to go along

        • Otontisch you appear to really bend over backwards to make your nonexistent point.
          Could I direct your attention to this Reuters article from August 4:
          A rather explicit and differentiated statement on airbus gross and net orders.
          ( one of many with very similar statements but the nice thing with Reuters is that they seem to not do 1984ish changes to their articles.
          Usually all changes and additions are directly addressed )
          Finally reporting was about actual orders net and gross and not “what Mr. otontisch deems to be real orders”.
          Now suspect orders are exactly what they are: orders with some kind of risk attached.
          But risk is not a relevant metric for having an order on the books or not.
          As long as Airbus or a specific customer hasn’t officially canceled a contract or the customer has been dismantled orders continue to exist.
          How does Boeing handle orders from customers that forex pass through chapt 11 ?

    • Airbus sold nearly 1000 A330s since the 787 was launched. The A350 has 750 orders.

      The A350 development and certification is being executed far better then e.g. the 748, CSeries and 787. It will receive its TC in a few weeks. QR might receive their first A350 even earlier then they hoped.

      The A350-1000 is far a bigger problem for Boeing then they’ll ever admit. Higher end of the big twin market, light, capable and entering service at large, long term Boeing operators around the world. UA, AA, BA, AF, SQ, CX, JAL, QR, EY, JJ, OZ..


      The A380 has been selling every year since its inception and has a 5 years backlog. Soon more then 100 will be in the air at any moment. EY and QR will put them in service this year.

      Otontisch, frankly the “wide-body crisis at Airbus” seems more a product of imagination then something the industry sees or experiences.

      P.S. VeroVenia might be fun for a quick visit. “Crisis at Airbus” is the returning topic in various posts and the mod does an excellent job making sure contradicting facts are removed before anybody gets confused.

      • “Otontisch, frankly the “wide-body crisis at Airbus” seems more a product of imagination then something the industry sees or experiences. ”

        I assume carefully crafted astroturfing. Too many Airbus doom topics sprouting up in recent weeks apparently timed to cocoon A350 certification and EIS.

        • UWE

          I refer to the post I sent to KEESJE a moment ago. Look at the facts, there is no conspiracy.

          Lets hope that yours and Keesje posts, refusing to se the reality, does not reflect the real opinion of AIRBUS. If it does, it would be very concerning for its future!!

      • Keesje

        Really, it would be nice if you support your statement with some data! See insertion below in your text!


        Airbus sold nearly 1000 A330s since the 787 was launched. The A350 has 750 orders.


        The A350 development and certification is being executed far better then e.g. the 748, CSeries and 787. It will receive its TC in a few weeks. QR might receive their first A350 even earlier then they hoped.


        The A350-1000 is far a bigger problem for Boeing then they’ll ever admit. Higher end of the big twin market, light, capable and entering service at large, long term Boeing operators around the world. UA, AA, BA, AF, SQ, CX, JAL, QR, EY, JJ, OZ..


        The A380 has been selling every year since its inception and has a 5 years backlog. Soon more then 100 will be in the air at any moment. EY and QR will put them in service this year.


        Otontisch, frankly the “wide-body crisis at Airbus” seems more a product of imagination then something the industry sees or experiences.


        P.S. VeroVenia might be fun for a quick visit. “Crisis at Airbus” is the returning topic in various posts and the mod does an excellent job making sure contradicting facts are removed before anybody gets confused.


        • Otontisch, the relevant facts is Airbus has a record 1200 A330/ A350 / A380 in the backlog. All 3 are low risk and popular this decade. Is that acceptable for you?

          Carefully selecting isolated periods / products / orders and generalizing / suggesting trends is not the kind of analyses that define a credible trend / development.

          Why look at 9 months and not a year? To exclude the A350 JAL, SAS, Air Caribes orders? Who do you think you are “informing”? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A350_orders

          • WHY I look on 9 months??? Because this is the time since AIRBUS practically did get no WB net orders and cancellation instead

            As for the A330, no firm order at all since 15 month. Boeing, in spite its inability of short time delivery, had a regular N. of orders, the latest during Farnborough!

            The ears before, the A330 had a good No. of sales, mainly because the delivery situation of the B787 was even worse as above.and the old B767 was no competion for the more modern A330

  14. Listen up, Everybody:

    I’m tired of this nonsensical back-and-forth about whether Airbus is better than Boeing, Boeing is better than Airbus or this plane is better than that, couched in purely personal biases and usually broad-based opinions. This sort of drivel belongs on other forums, not this blog.

    Airbus and Boeing each build very good airplanes, with economics that are often within a percentage point or two (using our analysis, not the biased data promoted by these two OEMs). That Airbus and Boeing split the airplane sectors typically within a 55%-45% range, either way depending on the year and the sector, should tell *everyone* (Airbus and Boeing included) that the airplanes generally are about equal.

    If you want to cite data, statistics and analysis to support your view that this airplane is better than that airplane, go for it. But drop the reliance on outright flag-waving biases–take this somewhere else.

    From the get-go, the intent of this blog was and is to enable rational, reasoned discussion of the issues posted–not international, flag-waving arguments. Most Commenters are guilty of this to some degree, but Keesje, Uwe, KCTopBoom and most recently Otontisch are most guilty. I, and others, don’t really give a damn whether you personally like or dislike Airbus or Boeing. What we are interested in is whether you have something of substance to add to the discussion.

    This recent direct back-and-forth between Keesje and Otonisch is not only riddled with highly selective and misleading data, it’s downright silly. It’s also a violation of my Reader Comment rules and can get both of you banned if you don’t stop.

    I have closed comments on another post and I have closed comments for new posts when Commenters have strayed off the reservation after warnings.

    Consider this your warning.


    • A330 ORDERS

      Some bloggr discuss the acuracy of my statement that no A330 orders were issued since 15 month

      Facts: The ASIA order was not a new one, but an extension issued 9 month ago. I was obviously referring to NEW firm orders

      DELTA annoonced its order ” we plan to…..”

      11 month ago with the phrase ” Delta plans to….” Hardly a firm order, but more a LOI!!!!

      Why we must be picky to ensure that order announcements mus clarify if they are firm and net!!  Obviously to ensure that as Airbus did, announcing in July a BOEING bettering 1H and bragging loudly, the manufacturer is spared the shame and shareholder misleading perception to admit a few weeks later that the real figure is 30%+ smaller, easily surpassed  by BOEING!!

      • Otontisch, please stop this nonsense. Continually repeating a falsehood doesn’t make it true. I have no issue with you expressing opinion, but please make the effort to present FACTS correctly.

        Airbus FIRM A330 sales in last 15 months for which figures are available (May-13 through Jul-14) –
        19-Jun 6 x A330-300 (Sri Lankan)
        31-Jul 3 x A330-300 (Turkish)
        05-Aug 1 x A330-200 (China Eastern)
        04-Sep 10 x A330-300 (Delta)
        01-Oct 6 x A330-300 (Air China)
        01-Oct 6 x A330-200 & 1 x A330-300 (China Eastern)
        01-Oct 1 x A330-300 (China Southern)
        01-Oct 1 x A330-200, 1 x A330-300 (Hainan)
        03-Oct 3 x A330-300 (SAS)
        17-Nov 1 x A330F (Etihad)
        17-Nov 5 x A330F (Qatar)
        18-Dec 25 x A330-300 (AirAsia X)
        19-Dec 4 x A330-200 (Undisclosed)
        26-Mar 4 x A330-300 (Air China)
        26-Mar 5 x A330-200 & 2 x A330-300 (China Eastern)
        26-Mar 9 x A330-300 (China Southern)
        26-Mar 2 x A330-200 & 6 x A330-300 (Hainan)
        28-Apr 6 x A330-200 (MTAD)

        A small matter of 108 FIRM A330 sales in the last 15 months. Now, stop this nonsense.

        • Before I respond your list of A330 orders, pls. send me the official Airbus disclosure of firm orders for A330, similar as the one for A350http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A350_XWB_

          • Through 31 July 2014

            OEM; Gross Orders; Cancelations; Net Orders;

            Airbus 980 -275 705

            Boeing 899 -59 840

          • to Stealth 66

            You may think that there is no need to respond, but instead to refer me to the official information filed by Airbus supporting the list of orders you cite for the last 15 Month, you send me only the 2014 1H info,instead  the list of open orders for A330, similar as the one for A350 I indicate as reference  ( A350http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A350_XWB_ orders )

            I repeat my question. Please indicate the URL of the support of the list of 108 orders you filed !!!  

          • The previous year’s numbers are rolled up into the ‘Worldwide’ tab. If you want the full 2013 spreadsheet I can email it to you.

          • stealth66
            AUGUST 22, 2014 @ 9:31 AM
            “The previous year’s numbers are rolled up into the ‘Worldwide’ tab. If you want the full 2013 spreadsheet I can email it to you”.

            Pls do so to caminito@netzero.com. After doing so, please advise me through th present blog

            Thanks in advance

    • Scott excuses for being drawn into to this and keeping reacting. Although I try to stay factual / back up with links I can imagine its tiresome for readers. I should learn just ignore stuff. I’ll take another ” sabitical”, dozens of serious topics asking attention anyway Rgds