The higher level game

By Bjorn Fehrm


May 4, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The other day one of our readers asked something along the lines, “now that Airbus has the A320neo 20% more efficient than today’s A320, how shall Boeing’s 737 MAX fair in the market? It is only 15% more effective and there are question marks around the LEAP-1B?”

This made me realize that marketing works. I decided to write about the phenomenon that the OEMs seem to find further improvements all the time and how these continually higher improvements seem to work beyond the physical laws as we know them.

The answer boils down to the fact that there is more than meets the eye around how much fuel an aircraft uses to transport people from A to B. In fact, the OEMs’ marketing departments excel within the complexity of the task and can always find a way to say “my mousetrap has now improved another x% and is therefore Y% better than yours”.

To cut through these marketing moves one need a bit of background and first grade math. Let’s see how they do it.


Timing of new versions

To understand the differences between the OEMs and how they market the new versions of their single aisles we have to start with the different positions they are in. Airbus has been test flying the A320neo  with the Pratt & Whitney (PW) engine option for six months and is about to take the LEAP version to air any day now. Boeing is more than a year from the same position with the 737 MAX and its engine LEAP-1B.

The only announcement of an aircraft trip level fuel burn improvement for A320neo came when Pratt & Whitney last July said that they will provide a GTF version with a further 2% fuel consumption improvement around 2019, i.e. four years after the aircraft has entered service. This is positive news for those that have chosen PW’s GTF. It proves that the architecture is working well and that Pratt & Whitney has confidence in its performance.

But from an analytical perspective, one must note that this announcement came after 50 GTF engines have been running since 2010 and that the version that should fly on the A320 was within two months of flying on the target aircraft and had previously accumulated 1,400 flying hours on Pratt & Whitney’s Boeing 747. It does not detract from the achievement of PW with the GTF and their confidence in the engine but one must keep the timing in mind when one judges any announcements or lack thereof for 737 MAX and LEAP-1B.

The LEAP-1B and 737 MAX will be in a similar position around two years later than PW and the GTF for A320. This is also the reason why we say, “let’s wait and see” how any rumored present-day LEAP-1B deficiency pans out when this program is at the same position as the competition. One can’t ask it to have the same maturity as the GTF years earlier than it should, and perhaps one shall not expect CFM to declare now what the fuel burn improvement shall be 2021 (which is four years after the EIS of 737 MAX first version).

So much for aircraft, the rest is the cabin

The two percent improvement from PW’s GTF would not be from day one, yet Airbus is claiming that they have raised the fuel consumption gains from 15% to 20%. Where do they find these 5%?

It is all about the cabin. Take a close look at Figure 1. It shows the cabins of the top selling Boeing 737-800/-8 and Airbus A320ceo/neo.

737-800 and A230 cabins

Figure 1. Cabins of 737-800/-8 with 162 seats compared with the 150-seat A320ceo/neo cabin. Source: Leeham Co.

The figure is centered around the middle of the rear door for the cabins. As can be seen, the 737-800 cabin is overall 2.2m longer and 2.4m longer between the passenger entry doors fore and aft. The pictured cabin is the standard domestic two class cabin for these aircraft which have been the reference cabin for both for 20 years or more. It employs 12 domestic first class seats with 36 inch pitch and 150 or 138 economy seats with 32 inch pitch respectively.

It shows a larger cabin for 737 and based on the difference in seating capacity, Boeing has always talked about per seat for any economy parameter, fuel included, and Airbus has talked on an aircraft trip level as the shorter aircraft is slightly more efficient than the 737-800. By sticking to this apples-and-oranges method of comparison, both could make their claims of being superior and not telling any lies.

Recently Airbus has been changing tactic; they have also started talking per seat. Should they have stayed with the established 150 seat two class cabin, this would have been stupid but they haven’t. Airbus has used four facts to start turning the per seat tables on Boeing:

  • The after part of the A320, from door to pressure dome, is longer and not fully utilized in the classical cabin configuration.
  • The tapering of the A320 fuselage starts later than for 737. Seating can therefore be pushed closer to the doors without entering the aisles.
  • The passenger and service doors on A320 are larger than for 737. It is therefore possible to get a higher passenger max exit limit than for -800 with small modifications of the slides sitting at the doors.
  • Modern slimline seating makes it possible for Airbus to cram in not only the same number of seats as is maximally allowed in a 737-800, 189 seats, but more seats.

Airbus seat quest

The first that Airbus set out to do was increasing the useful length in the cabin for seats. The only way to do that was getting rid of the two rear lavatories and pack them together with the galley in the rear. This is how the Space-Flex program started. The goal was to keep as many trollies of catering storage as possible and to get a dual lav in there as well.

Through a lot of work (Airbus say they have passed eight different variants) they have now a solution which leaves four trollies out of the original seven stacked with a dual lav which also can work as one PRM (Person with Reduced Mobility) lav, Figure 2.

Figure 2. Airbus final (or should we say latest) A320 Space-Flex variant. Source: Airbus.

With this move, another 37 inches was freed up in the cabin which allowed additional seats to be placed there. If this would have been done on the standard cabin level, Boeing could have countered in the marketing war with similar moves. To win the battle on per seat efficiency, Airbus therefore moved the playing field away from the standard domestic two class cabin and into the high density LCC domain where they could position the comparison so close to Boeings exit limit that Boeing could not counter with making the cabin denser.

Figures 3 and 4 show the result. Figure 3 shows a one class LCC cabin with 189 seats, enabled with a Space-Flex rear section. The seat count is the same that can max be fitted in a 737-8.

A230 189 seat cabin

Figure 3. Airbus high density cabin for A320 with Space-Flex. Source: Airbus.

Going from 180 to 189 seats increases the per seat efficiency with the  five percent we need to reach 20% efficiency improvement, Figure 4, and Boeing can’t respond unless they go 737 MAX 200 with additional exit doors.

A230 efficiency improvment

Figure 4. Airbus argues for -20% fuel consumption per seat and 737 MAX 8 supremacy. Source: Airbus.

Had the comparison stayed at the usual two class cabin, the extra four seats would have brought 2.7% fuel burn improvement per seat and Boeing could easily have countered by increasing the density of the MAX 8 cabin. Had the operator not been able to accept a reduction in servicing capacity, i.e. to go from seven trollies aft to four there would have been virtually no seat improvements as the storing of three trollies in the cabin takes 2.4 seats out of the four gained in a normal config (a galley CART takes 80% of the space of an economy seats).


For a long time the real and bragging rights fight between Airbus and Boeing that “we have the best aircraft” was fought with aircraft level arguments like “better wing,” “lower weight” or “better engines.” This was a battlefield which the aircraft buyer and the interested public learned to understand.  Arguments were “simple” and done with technical facts, results could be debated but were easy to grasp.

Today the fight has moved to a more sophisticated level. It is all about the “per seat” thing and the tackling and feinting is around lavatories, galleys, CARTs, seats, exit limits and how all this suddenly makes a classical 150 seater the new LLC wonder of 189 seats and more.

One hundred eighty seats used to be the domain of A321 and 737 MAX 9. These have now moved beyond the 200 mark and their fight is a story as interesting as the one around A320 and MAX 8, but that is for another time.

71 Comments on “The higher level game

  1. Looking at the seating layout for both planes, is there any allowance for passengers legs, or, do they have to remove them on entry ?

    • Peter G, I think Airbus can reasonably forgo the allowance for passenger legs since they can be transported in the larger underbelly, no?

  2. Appendix -1A and -J to Part 25.803 say that if the OEM or the Operator wants to raise the seat count by more than 5 % over and above a given CERTIFIED Exit Limit, non obstante the existence of numerical simulation protocols for LOPA emergency evacuation timing, a full scale live emergency evacuation demonstration must be carried out … when applied, this rule for 738 gives 11/189 = + 5.8 % … and for the A320 it gives 15/180 = + 8.3 % … and for the A321 it gives 20/220 = + 9.1 % … In summary, all three higher density LOPAs need a full scale live emergency egress demonstration ?

    How come FAA and EASA have indulged in raising the Exit Limits based on mere paperwork ? Isn’t this kind of cooking applicable rules of Cabin Safety ?

    • not quite sure why this is seen as such an obstacle. this kind of test should take about 2 days to accomplish including setup and practice time.

      cost is minimal. just put an add in the paper for a free tour of the Boeing/Airbus factory and a free lunch and you’ll have aviation geeks banging down your door to participate.

      • @Bilbo : I suspect the reason is that they know the full scale live evacuation demo will fail, due to excessive pax density from the seat pitch now well below safe limits, causing both seat extraction jamming AND aisle jamming. On A320 @ 195 pax and on A321 @ 240 pax we’re down into a pitch of 27″ – never tested before – wherefore extrapolation of earlier live demo data into numerical simulation protocols is of dubious mathematical and physical validity, a fact FAA and EASA should consider ?

        • all the more reason they should be forced to demonstrate in order to get any increase over a previously demonstrated capacity.

          this is cheap. it matters. no brainer, no waiver, no modelling.

          • I can only say I fully subscribe, Bilbo … and hope Scott & Björn will voice up together with Runway Girl and other interested parties (AFA-CWA …) to bend the arm of the Regulating Authorities who are the Guardians of Air Transport Safety : we all want to see these live full scale demos being carried out as expected, for the best of our Profession !? An invitation to attend will be honoured from this end !

  3. Do these marketing calculations work on actual customers or is this for general public? I suppose most airlines have their own comparison model for the aircraft, which includes PAX density.

  4. I’m surprised that a 2 class model was even relevant anymore. It is so long since I flew in a single aisle, legacy/mainline or LCC, that offered anything other than a single seat pitch (well, maybe the single with a bit of variability, as in the 28-29″ or 31-32″) that I can’t remember when it was.

    Of course, doesn’t mean that 28/29″ seating doesn’t fill me with dread….

  5. I think I read somewhere that for Airbus to push the A320’s seat count that high, the pitch will take a massive hit. So, you’ll get the efficiency, but passengers will have their knees in their throats to do it.

    • Do they hand out Warfarin ( blood thinning tablets ), along with the free coffee ? I do speak from experience, as I suffered a stroke, caused by DVT.

      I was cramped in middle seat on an overnight flight, and subsequently, suffered a stroke. Over 100 days in hospital to get me going again.

        • Keesje,
          I was talking to one of their staff re a Frequent Flyer query. I mentioned that I had suffered a stroke, one week after the flight . ” Oh.. that couldn’t have happened because of us ” .

          I still have 200,000 miles with the particular airline. Plan to use them later this year, but, in business class. Once I have used the points up, I will never fly with them again. I will fly with THAI instead. I did over 130 flights with THAI, and they were great.

          I discussed this with my doctor, and he commented that the stroke was probably caused by the flight. I have now been cleared for travel.
          Nothing like having your heart stop for 4 minutes ( so I was advised), lose the ability to walk, and lose your short term memory.

  6. Very interesting. However, I would be surprised if airlines made any purchase decisions based on publically-available marketing material. Surely the savvy airline would issue an excel (or similar) based model to all competing suppliers where the model presented some usage scenarios: flight routes, utilisation time over longer periods, passenger count forecasts, weather assumptions, maintenance requirements and so on. Then each supplier (boeing or airbus) would populate the model with their data in a standard fashion and the airline would be presented with like-for-like material which they can use in evidence-based purchasing decisions. This is how many other high-capex industries work (oil&gas, ships, electricity generation) to reduce the risk of qualitative material clouding anyone’s judgement. Alternatively the airlines would ask for very specific metrics from each supplier to feed into their own models.

      • It’s laughable to think that airlines will make billion dollar decisions based on PR.

        Years ago, I would have agreed.
        These days, I’m not so sure, and that’s not just limited to the aviation sector (despite the drug-like rush for the 787 in its initial days and almost complete lack of questioning of Boeing’s timelines etc. making an excellent case in point).
        The thing is that marketing quite often is about redefining/rephrasing the requirements and explaining why e.g. a metric used by a competitor is of course skewed. Once you’ve done that, you can frame the whole procurement process, which gives you quite the head start.
        Not quite as easy as printing a few glossy brochures, but it’s a type of marketing nonetheless.

        How much this works is also shown in Bjorn’s article, which is introduced by a few words about how discussions have changed from “more effective wing” etc. to CASM, to engines, to continuous improvements in airframe and engines, to the cabin.
        Part of it is of course driven by airlines’ changing requirements – if airlines hadn’t asked for 200 seats in a MAX, Boeing wouldn’t have offered it and started talking about how much cheaper this makes each seat.

        • I get what you and Bjorn are saying about the OEM’s attempts to re-frame the procurement process. I also agree that this is a type of marketing, albeit a type of maketing that is mostly not public. However, I contend that if industry analysts, such as Bjorn and others, can see through what the OEM’s are doing, than the airlines most likely have their own analysts that can do the same. If they don’t, then they certainly can hire people who have the proper expertise to help them through the procurement process.

          The main point of agreement that I have with Jacob is that the marketing that an airline sees is very different than the public PR. I’m quite sure the OEM’s share performance details and strategy plans with the airlines that they do not share with the public, and I would venture to guess that there are NDA’s in place to discourage these details from getting leaked. In my opinion, OEM’s engaging in a public war of words has little to do with the actual merits of their products, but is more about buffing the corporate image and tail-feather spreading.

  7. “Going from 180 to 189 seats increases the per seat efficiency with the five percent we need to reach 20% efficiency improvement…”

    This set of slides from Airbus says that the +9 seat increase gives a -3% fuel burn. The remaining -2% comes from the 2019 PIP.

    • Thanks nyx, should have thought of that. The difference between 180 and 189 seats is exactly 5% but then another 9 pax with seats increases the ZFW with 1 tonne. This increases the fuel burn again but only with close to 2% on the max range of A320neo, for normal trips its more like 1%.

      So we talk about 19% improvement per seat in the normal cases. To count an engine improvement that comes in a full 4 years after EIS is a bit iffy IMO.

      But the point of the article was to highlight that the OEMs play with seat tactics which might not apply at all once the aircraft is configured for a customer, it is marketing to get bragging rights.

  8. Boeings strategy towards the evident 737 disadvantage of not being able to carry containers/ pallets has been to look away, ignore, deny, don’t mention.

    One thing is for sure though; any NSA will have LD3-45 capability.

      • Back then the graphic ( paris Airshow 2013) touted the 737 as ‘being closer to the ground’ for easier cargo loading.

        Hasnt that come back to bit them?

      • “737 | Drivers of better economics”
        “Lower to ground”
        So the engines get a better ground effect during take off or landing.

        It is interesting to notice that no European airline with cargo business has ordered the MAX.

        • It is interesting to notice that no European airline with cargo business has ordered the MAX.

          Does Icelandair not count?

          • Not really,
            with just two or three dedicated 757 freighters and no underbelly capacity for containers today I would not count Icelandair.

            Icelandair is going to replace the 757 with the 737MAX. So no belly capacity for containers is replaced by no belly capacity for containers.

            So let me refine my statement:
            “No European airline with belly capacity for containers has ordered the MAX.”

      • Genius,why hasn’t Airbus thought of removing the undercarriage doors?

    • Keesje – I fully agree that the 737’s manual baggage handling is a major turn-off.
      turn-arounds are extended due to the extra time to load and unload, luggage gets scratched as they are loaded and unloaded.
      The big bug-bear of the 737 baggage comes through when a no-show happens and a bag has to be found and unloaded.

      My gripe with the 737 is the 15cm narrower width and having to eat a meal with my arms pinned to my sides.

  9. Another point, what Airbus means by “today” A320s because there are probably some performance differences between A320 produced in the 1990s and those produced in 2010s.

  10. Sir,
    I wonder, what is the roll of governmental groups such as FAA, AVS & CAA here. I think plane makers and airliners have to follow certain higher group directives, a group which don’t look after safety from the design point of view ONLY but also to look after the safety and CONFORT of the passengers.
    I am sure if we left this subject to the airliners, they prefer to keep their passenger standing all the time to maintain better load factor and to gain more income & profit to their CEOs. at the end of every year. I think FAA, AVS and JAA has to put certain regulation / policy to plane makers and plane users to make use of planes limited space and to ensure safety and comfort to their passengers.

  11. It would be interesting to read in another article if there are any missions where the 737-900ER/737MAX9 is more efficient or capable than the A321/A321neo.

  12. Tip: Some readworthy new contributions at the end of the 100+ posts previous thread!

    After the previous discussion I wonder what would a wise strategy for regaining initiative. Some folks pro claimed new projects citing Kennedy’s moon project . I think that is’nt realistic. It was coldwar and patriotism was blowing out of everyones ears after the unfree, unhappy, uncreative apparatski’s first put a man in space and were celebrating in the streets. Costs were no longer any issue to solve the resulting identity crisis.

    Apart from that we have to remember, after 9-11 & A380, the Sonic Cruiser and even 7e7 were moonshots. Reread the wording at the time. There was a rush and US industry was going to show how its done.

    For the next decade I agree with people that propose a two stream 75/767 like approach. A 737 replacement because it is needed, a 767 replacement because of the market-opportunity. A rational use of new technology, outsource opportunities (FAL’s elsewhere) and taking likely 2035 powerplant requirements into consideration.
    And don’t make the NSA too large / capable, because at that point Airbus will come up with something slightly smaller/ lighter, claiming the huge 140-165 seat <1000 NM segment.

  13. Bjorn

    As you state, the truth regarding the efficiency of these mainly short range sircraft flying aircraft will not be known, and really is not so important as it is for long range.

    By the way, the long range perspectives for AIRBUS seem dark black!

    – Still far from ready to peform, the A359

    – A351 challenged by the more competitive B779 on the upper side and B781 on the lower,

    – The A359, challenged by the B789 and B781, and if the cheaper A330neo really can compete with the AB788-9
    (until now, we only know of the latter the dubious data informally supplied by A., which only seems achievable with a new (but not foreseen!!) optimal wing with the new hyped engines. Here, the affaire of the A350classic many years ago, which already was substantially a A330neo) was ordered by many only to be withdrawn later, should not be forgotten)

    And adding insult to injury, all the B787 (including the smaller -8 and -9) are wodely compatible “intra se” and quite so with the B778 and -9, and the latter with the B777 classic, whilst the A359 is not much compatible even with the A3591, which is allegedly the reason EMIRATES cancelled their order for both!

    No market available, and the A380neo only desired by TIM CLARK, but AIRBUS cannot afford,

    And the fact that SKYMARK and now MAS returning to the seller market its new or nearly so units, a move expected to be followed by other, virtually assures the slready perception that their will be no more factory order for A38!!

    AllSeems concerning, and makes the success of Airbus with the A320/21neo critical!!

    And to ignore above and trying to talk down BOEING withthe help of some duly motivated analysts, babbling of sales numbers of the B773ER (AIRBUS has more such wih the A330) and free cash flow ofthe latter in high profit. orders and production enjoiing BOEING, is a open way to disaster!! But AIRBUS do not care: France and EU, even if already hurting, will shovel in some money!!

    • @Reuben

      Do you really believe all this to be true:

      And adding insult to injury, all the B787 (including the smaller -8 and -9) are wodely compatible “intra se” and quite so with the B778 and -9, and the latter with the B777 classic, whilst the A359 is not much compatible even with the A3591, which is allegedly the reason EMIRATES cancelled their order for both!

      Back in the real world, the A350-1000 will retain 70 percent commonality with the A350-900 while the TXWB-97 engine on the former will have 80 percent commonality with the baseline XWB-97 engine.

      In contrast, the 777-300ER has 60 percent more new, or revised parts over that of the 777-300 and Boeing envisaged (a few years back) that the 777X would be maintaining a 60 percent systems commonality with today’s 777 offering (i.e. excluding the all new GE9X engines.

      So, apart from the fact that the A350-900 and A350-1000 will have a significantly higher level of commonality than the above mentioned Boeing aircraft – and the fact that there’s very little commonality between the 787 and 777-300ER/777X,
      what exactly is the problem?

      NB: Sources are below.

      Airbus’s A350 programme manager estimates the A350-1000 will retain 70% commonality with the smaller A350-800/900 after changes have been made to the large twinjet to improve payload and range.

      Some key advances being introduced in the XWB-97 are in the turbine and combustion sections, and include shroudless turbine blades, tip-clearance systems and advanced materials and coatings. ­Rolls-Royce claims to have achieved 80% commonality with the baseline XWB-84* engine in terms of line-replaceable units

      *Baseline TXWB-84 (i.e. corrected from “XWB-97”).

      Compared to line number 94, the first 777-300, the first -300ER (line number 423) has 60% more new, or revised parts. But due to the large number of lean manufacturing initiatives (introduced since 1996-7) and the -300ER production initiatives, the first long range derivative took 40% fewer unit hours to build compared to the first -300. The task has been complicated by significant changes, such as the new overhead space utilization (OSU) for the crew rest areas. “We’ve had to fundamentally redesign parts of the aircraft, particularly the main cabin because of the introduction of the OSU. It is completely different from a manufacturing perspective, with systems distributed to the sides and a new overhead lattice assembly which replaces the stow-bin ladder and secondary support structure,” says Court.

      Under the skin of the new 777X family, which is likely to be advanced aluminum-lithium alloy, Boeing’s concept envisages maintaining a 60% systems commonality with today’s 777 offering, moving to a 38.3cm flight deck display arrangement similar to that of the 787. The aim, say those familiar with the planning, is to cut the 777/787 to 777X pilot transition time from five to 2.5 days.

      In the cabin, Boeing looks to remove 4in from the 777X by carving the sidewall and frame shape, accommodating a more comfortable 10-abreast economy arrangement and nine-abreast premium economy offering.

      Yet, those familiar with the planning caution that concepts are meant to evolve, and point out that just a year ago Boeing’s New Small Airplane concept was the frontrunner to replace the 737, rather than re-engining.

      • Dear OV-099

        My point was not thatthe commonality between B779 and B777-300ER is higher or lower than between A359 and A351, but factually the two latter have n communality with anything else!

        And that the commonality between themselves was not satisfactory was told by TIM CLARK and not invented by me!!

        And by the way: assign a figure to such communality is an absurd tasK; the common issues must be weighted and this is widely subjective, it canonly be said: “strond, much, certain,
        a bit”

        Remember the butcher who is asked for what meet is used in the sausage respond truthfully “50% chicken, 50% horse”, as one horse and one chicken were mixed!!

        • According to the EASA pilots need just a type rating to switch from an A330 to an A350. Would that be true for a transition from a 767 to a 777X?

        • @Reuben

          My point was not thatthe commonality between B779 and B777-300ER is higher or lower than between A359 and A351, but factually the two latter have n communality with anything else!

          Are you really so sure about that?

          In fact, there’s a huge amount of systems commonality between the A350 and the A380.

          A380/A350: Main new systems

          1) Hydraulics: Only 2 circuits, 5000 psi

          2) IMA: Ethernet Technology

          3) Flight Controls: Electrical Back-up

          4) Cockpit: Commonality + Innovations(OIS, KCCU, ECAM, VD, AESS, OANS, BTV etc.)

          5) Electrical System: Variable Frequency Generator

    • Reuben, I don’t see why the XWB’s are challenged, far from ready, not competible. Can you detail?

      • KEESJE

        My post was already long enough to make it konger what is evident from past stated fact. On the upper end, the reasosn are the same why Tim Clat and Al Baker, Lufthansa, Honk kong and ANA chose the B779 (order for the A351 were isues before the B771 was a certainty), in other side it is too large

        The A359 is just beginning within QR test passenger flights, still very oberweight, is not compatible wit anything, not even with the futute A351 (as TIM CRK stated), flying with provisional conventional batteries,

        And the fact of nearly total lack of recent firm orders, just when the aircraft was about to get firts delivered, has also to do somewhat with my statement!!

        • The A350 is certified with both type of batteries. It is up to the customer to chose.

          “[…] still very oberweight, […]”
          I am too very overweight – about 2 kg. Could you be more specific and provide some sources?

          Never mind what we don’t no much details about the A350 deals and how easy the orders could be switched to the bigger A350-1000. Never mind that Tim Clark ordered 43 A350-900 and 37 A350-1000. Never mind for what price the 779X was offered to Lufthansa and others.

          “And the fact […]” Paris Air Show 2015 is not over today.

          What about some facts?

    • I try here to correct my friend’s REUBEN imteresting post in a better “spanenglish


      As you state, the truth regarding the efficiency of these mainly short range sircraft flying aircraft is not achievable, and the oill burn really is not so important here as it is the LONG RANGE dark black sales perspective, which makes the commercial AIRBUS rely nearly exclussively on the A320/321

      – Still, including the A359m far from ready to peform

      – A351 challenged by the more competitive B779 on the upper side and B781 on the lower,

      – A359, challenged by the B789 and B781, and if the cheaper A330neo really can compete with the AB788-9, of the latteruntil now, we only know of the latter the dubious and wishful data informally supplied by A. (which only seems achievable with the new (but not foreseen!!) wing optimslly designed in tandem with the new so hyped engines. Here it shell be reminded the affaire of the A350classic many years ago, which really was substantially a first version A330neo), which was was ordered by many “innocent” customers only to be withdrawn later, should not be forgotten)

      And adding insult to injury, all the B787 (including the smaller -8 and -9) are widely compatible “intra se” and quite so with the B778 and -9, and the latter with the B777 classic, whilst the A359 is not much compatible even with the A351, which is allegedly the reason EMIRATES cancelled their order for both!

      No new market is available, not only due to the oil burn issue, and the A380 neo only desired by TIM CLARK, which AIRBUS cannot afford,

      And the fact that SKYMARK and now MAS returning to the seller market their new or nearly so units, a move expected to be followed by other, virtually assures the slready perception that their will be no more factory orders for A38!! And to expext that the Turs will spent a los of money toe adapt aiports and Aircraft to a provisional Rear Service is really a stretch!!

      To ignore above and trying to talk down BOEING withthe help of some duly motivated analysts, babbling of sales numbers of the B773er difficulties (AIRBUS has more such with the A330) and free cash flow ofthe latter in high profit. orders and production enjoiing BOEING, is a open way to disaster!! But AIRBUS do not care: France and EU, even if already hurting, will shovel in some money, in addition to billions due the A400 fracas!!!

      • @Joseph

        I’m sorry, but this still doesn’t make sense:

        Quote: “And adding insult to injury, all the B787 (including the smaller -8 and -9) are widely compatible “intra se” and quite so with the B778 and -9, and the latter with the B777 classic, whilst the A359 is not much compatible even with the A351, which is allegedly the reason EMIRATES cancelled their order for both!

        Having shown up-thread that the A350-900 and the A350-1000 have a significant higher level of commonality than what’s the case between the 787 and all 777s; between the first generation 777 and the 77L/77W; and between the 77L/77W and 777-8X/777-9X; it’s worth mentioning that whereas the 787-10 is stretched by 9 fuselage frames, (i.e. 5.49m) over that of the 787-9, the A350-1000 is stretched by 11 fuselage frames (i.e. 6.99m) over that of the A350-900.

  14. So if we are compare an A320neo to a 737-8, both with leap engines, with 180 seats on both, will they be equal in cost or will one be better and why?

    • I only can see the NEO will have 8.5 inch larger LEAP fans, with the higher BPR, lower noise and sfc gains that come with that. If smaller fans were more optimal somehow, Airbus would have specified them. The NEO can carry containers.

      The 737-8 has 2m’s more cabin, but reading Leehams article, I’m not sure if this will mostly translate into 2 extra rows anymore.

      • That’s what I was thinking. What is the area comparison, it looks almost equal. Apples to apples the 737 needs about another inch of pitch to make up for the loss of width. I’ll say a 20″x 29″ seat area on the A320 is equal to a 19″ x 30″ seat area on the 737.

        So maybe the 737 is only good for another row, or lets just assume about equal. That just leaves weight, aerodynamics, and engine. Probably the first two are so close that the main differences will result from the engine choice, leap, leap, or GTF.

      • Keesje

        Nearly if not all newaircrafyhave a noiselevelby no means too high for confort. Factually, too low levels are negative, as they make internal disturbances, as passengers speaking, mor bothering.

        • Internal noise disturbances can be lowered by better sound absorbing cabin ceilings.

    • Again , if airlines order one or the order, depend of specificss oftheir needs. AIRBUS have, or had, a distinct advantage due to shorter delivery dates and that for a good while BOEING has had nothing to offer, Factual, after considering this fact and that many hundreds of their orders are from “low quality” , which issuing first a monster order for BOEING East-Asian carriers, as Scott Hamlton wrote some time ago, from India and Indonesia, BOEING was more successful with the Max.
      Particularly, the monster order of LION Air to BOEING, which already is a stretch, followed up later by hundreds more dor Airbus, makes the latter not credible, especially considering (also) the quality of the Indonesian airline industry, as shown by the handling of the AirAsia accident

    • Keesje

      The notoriously unstable AL BAKER is a minor A380 player, but who has ordered 50 firm and 50 optional B779. Of course, as not his but AIRBUS’s development money is in play, he dispose of it very generously. Differently as TIM CLARK, who at lests mentioned a possible additional mega order for the 380neo, what he in reality intends to do is order a few “pro forma” and convert as far as posiible as many of the outstanding orders to Neo!!

      By the way, to motivate RR to continue to be active clamoring for the Neo, he affirmed the order for the 50 Engines a few days ago, but with a clause which allow to change these for the new Ne0’s Engine!!

      As for the A350-11. If Airbus can implement a larger 11 with the same wing, engine and landing gear as the 10, they are followers of the Count MASOCH if —as they alleged the 10 was an extension of the 11—by not fully achieving the full potential, as BOEING did with the B789 extension to the B781
      But of course: the truth it that Airbus was not able to reach the values of the 10 by a simple extension of the 9, bu had to do a lot of redisign, which as TIM CLARK commented when justifying the cancellation just because the 9 and 10, alleging lack of thecompatibility as was offered.

      Therefore you may be right that with the same wing, engines and landing gear the larger 11 could be achieved, but at cost of the RANGE, as in case of th B787-10. But I ASSUME they didn’t not do so, because the reduction of range neede would be to big to compete with the B779!! So, as they are NOT masochists, there is not, and I assume will not be, a A350-11! (seems a tongue twister!)!

      So, it seems to me, that the A350-9 to 10 issue will be will be a new failure of Mrket assessment and design, addint to an already too long list of WIDE- BODIES
      (as other bloggers presented before me):
      A350 Classic (really, something as a A330neo old —====version!!) Died during pregnancy due to lack ——=-====development
      A340 murdered by B777 classic
      A400 In permant Life sipport by EU
      A350-8 Died in infance due to disnutrition
      A380 Still alive, but slowinly fading away due to disnutrition

      Only the A330 is not in there, but as other bloggers have already adressed. As the first A350 (alias A339neo) is on the watinglist waiting list: presently being offered without fact supporting


      NOT SO, except where I tell so

      • The A350MK1 was killed by the 787 hype. The hype is over and the A330NEO was born.

        The A340 was killed by FAA changing the ETOPS rules.

        The A400M development is quite the same as the C-17 (

        For A350-800 see A330-800. No big deal at all.

        The A380 was not a quarterly based decisions. This aircraft will stay for decades.

        The future order will be A330NEO – 787 – A350 – 777X – A380. Boxed in?

        • When the ends of the boxes are the 330neo and the 380 that is one mighty weak box.

          • According to the lower end the A330-900 and A330-800 orders look not that worse with 145 orders within less than a year. Did the 787 get more orders within this timeframe?

            The A380 orders are not strong at the moment. The 777X was a reaction to the A350 and A380. The other reaction by Boeing, the 747-8i, failed. With a reasonable seating the 777X in not so far away from the A350. The A380 has much potential and is here to stay for several decades.

            In my opinion this box is quite stable.

          • Since it’s launch the 33neo has gotten 24 orders. The latest Aviation week declared “Airbus clings to idea of souped up A330but the marketplace seems to say otherwise”, The 330neo is basically the rewarmed idea Airbus first proposed to counter the 787 and the market soundly rejected so what makes anyone think it will now make serious run at the 787?
            You mention the 787 sales, well they stand at 74 in the 2014-15 period compared to the -32 for the 350 which makes up the middle of this formidable “box” you talk about. Of course the 787 stand at 1104 which is a pretty formidable opponent for an old re-engined airframe like the 330neo to take down.
            The 380 is dying, deal with it. It’s only national pride and UAE that has it on life support. It has a grand total of 115 orders in five years (and only 13 in the two before that). By comparison the 777x in under three years has generated 286 orders so who is boxing whom? The 380 backlog stands at a paltry 158 including orders (such as Virgin Atlantic) that nobody really believes will actually be fulfilled.
            So yes you have the 330neo at one end which the market seems less than thrilled with and has had no momentum since it’s launch looking up at the staggering market share of the 787. You have the 350 in the center who is lagging behind the 787 consistently and the 380 which is getting demolished by the 777x.
            That is no box. The 330neo will chug along, making a profit for Airbus but never challenging the 787. Of course the orders will start to dry up when Boeing makes a 757/767 clean sheet replacement and Airbus is forced to answer.The 380 is dead, the era of the four engined commercial plane is over. It doesn’t even have a freighter version to pin slim hopes on.
            The 350 is the only aircraft with a real future but even it seems unlikely to catch the 787.
            Airbus will continue to dominate the narrow body war while Boeing will dominate the wide body market. It will remain a steady duopoly for many years to come.

          • Geo, I don’t know where you get your figures from for your statement:
            “Since it’s launch the 33neo has gotten 24 orders.”

            “To date Airbus has won 145 orders from seven customers for A330-800neo and A330-900neo.”

            Geo, “The 350 is the only aircraft with a real future but even it seems unlikely to catch the 787.”

            Al Baker said something different:
            “When you compare the A350 to the 787, the former is head and shoulders above Boeing,”

            “The 380 is dead, the era of the four engined commercial plane is over.”
            I doubt this. We should talk about the A380 after Paris Air Show again.

          • MHalblaub

            It has gotten 24 orders SINCE it’s launch. Those 121 orders were launch orders.

            As for Al Baker he can say what he wants but the marketplace says otherwise. The airlines speak with their wallets and they have spoken in favor of the 787.

            Ditto the 380…

          • Keesje

            Your chart is out of date, current 787 orders stand at 1104.

  15. Great lets put the toilet in the galley, very appetizing!

  16. Geo, those were the initial, most space efficient, configurations by Diehl and Zodiac. Now they are both on one side making possible a curtain. There is a galley space extension option by replacing the 3 seater of the last starboard row with a galleyblock.

  17. Getting back on topic. I have grave misgivings about a less than 30in seat pitch.
    The regulators should have these new seat layout retested for emergency evacuations. Add to the size constraint, passengers now use devices with cables and other accessories. All of these combined must be retested. In a crash, the aisle passenger could be incapacitated, the seats could still be reclined – if you are in window or middle, can you still get out in within 2 minutes?

  18. I would mot be surprised if Airbus is tweaking the A321LR.

    United is withdrawing many 757s from the Atlantic because the number of flight diversions had become unacceptable and Brand damaging. Those 757s have a ~4000NM range. And there are many similar 4000NM markets within Asia and e.g North-South America.

    I can see UA and others have told Airbus (and Boeing) they’re looking for a NB 200-220 seats two class with a range>4500NM.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *