A380 cost improvements limited to seating, for now: Bregier

  • MOM airplane doesn’t make sense.
  • A new MOM should have new technology and it’s not available until 2030.

June 9, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Cost improvements for the A380 will be limited for now to

Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus. Image from The Telegraphy via Google images.

increasing seating capacity, the president and chief executive office of Airbus told Leeham News and Comment in an interview today.

Aside from taking weight out of the airplane, which is already being done, Fabrice Bregier said Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs), such as aerodynamic improvements and adjustments to the wingtips, would wait until–or if–Airbus re-engines the airplane. And Bregier said Airbus is in no hurry to make a decision about this, despite pressure from the largest A380 customer, Emirates Airline, to launch the neo.

Bregier declined to offer a timeline for a decision whether to re-engine the A380–if it would be this year, next year or the year after that. The focus is on breaking even on production with the A380 this year, which Bregier says will be achieved.

The second priority is to convince new airlines to acquire the A380, he said. “We’re talking to some possible customers. I believe we will find a few. The third priority is to look for what the A380, let’s call it neo, might be, and well beyond 2020. This is where we stand. It’s not a priority. I believe we will do it, but we will do it in a timely manner.”

In the meantime, Airbus needs to reduce the seat-mile costs and improve the operating economics of the airplane. For now, adding seats is the answer, Bregier said.

“We can bring a lot through smarter layouts. As an example we now have a four class configuration on the A380, which is unbeatable. Our current economy class is similar to a premium economy,” he said. “It’s 19.5 inches (seat width). We can also offer 18 inches. We do not compromise on the comfort. We all believe at Airbus that you cannot fly very long distances with very, very small seats. We remain at 18 inches (for economy), but we now have a technical solution that works, which was not the case a few years ago.”

Bregier said there are small improvements to the airplane year-on-year with the engines. Other than weight reduction, Bregier said other aerodynamic improvements will wait “if and when” a re-engining.

“I don’t think it is necessary to do that now.” Airbus also increased the MTOW to allow very long missions, such as Dubai-Los Angeles.

Turkish Airlines say “no” to VLA but Airbus undeterred

The chief executive officer of Turkish Airlines, a target by Airbus for the A380, Boeing for the 747-8 and Malaysia Airlines to possibly lease two of its six A380s to Turkish as Malaysia downsizes, told Skywriter Aviation that he’s interested in frequency, not size in the Very Large Aircraft. With the opening of the new Istanbul Airport in 2017, the CEO sees relief of the capacity constraints that were driving the airline toward a possible order for one or the other VLA. The new airport makes this unnecessary, Skywriter reported.

Bregier is undeterred.

“I think they will need such an aircraft when they have the new airport,” he said. “Their business model is to create a big hub in Istanbul, similar to Dubai [the Emirates hub]. If this is their vision, the only way to achieve it is to attract passengers with the A380s. They would probably wait with that until the new airport is there.”

Middle of the Market airplane

Some airlines are calling for a replacement for the Boeing 757, but Boeing has largely redefined this as the Middle of the Market (MOM) aircraft. Air Lease Corp. believes Boeing has to do a new airplane, with an entry into service around 2023 or 2024, because the 737 MAX 9 is performing so poorly against the A321neo.

Bregier agrees with the latter statement (unsurprisingly), and considers the A321neo and A321LR the 757 replacement. He also calls it the MOM aircraft.

“I think [the MOM airplane] already exists in the A321neo,” Bregier says. “The market doesn’t need another airplane. If somebody is crazy enough to pour $10bn-plus dollars into a totally new airplane for a market of limited quantities, he can do it. I place my money somewhere else. This market exists, it is true, but the 321neo, I believe, brings an appropriate answer and is extremely competitive.

“More seriously, I don’t believe there will be a new game-changer in technologies before 2030.”

Bregier asks the question whether Boeing sticks with the MAX and adds another airplane. “This is not an easy question.” Does Boeing launch another airplane and a new development because it is weak in one segment?

“I don’t believe [the MOM] will go ahead,” he said. “I don’t believe you can invest in a new aircraft for a market which, all-in-all, is not that large.” To launch a new airplane requires a technological advantage. Bregier said a 787 fuselage (all composite) or an all-electric airplane (like the 787) is not such an advantage.

108 Comments on “A380 cost improvements limited to seating, for now: Bregier

  1. IMHO, a Middle of the Market (MOM) airplane should have, at the minimum, a MOM sized wing; or a Category D wingspan (e.g. + 36 m but < 52 m). Today, the single aisle aircraft have Category C wingspans (e.g. + 24 m but < 36 m), while the twin-engine wide-bodies have Category E wingspans (e.g. + 52 m but < 65 m).

    The wing areas of the smallest twin-engine wide-bodies are almost 3 times as large as the wing areas on the 737 and A320. That's a large gap in size.

    A MOM airplane that would have a wing with a Category D wingspan and sized in between the single aisles and wide-bodies, could have a wing area of around 240 m2. That’s more than the wing area of the A310 (e.g. 219 m2).

    IMJ, the market for MOM-sized airplanes could be much larger than expected if you'd have both a single aisle MOM-product and a twin-aisle MOM-product. MOM-sized airplanes would IMJ seem to be a more feasible undertaking if existing fuselages where to be used. So, that would narrow the options to the existing single-aisle and twin-aisle airframes, or at the minimum, a combination of one existing single-aisle aircraft and an all new twin-aisle aircraft, or one all new single-aisle aircraft and a derivative of an existing twin-aisle aircraft.

    As for all the talk about an all new, 7 abreast twin-aisle aircraft; it would need to be at least 50m long just in order to be competitive with a single-aisle competitor. Also, in contrast to 8 and 9 abreast twin-aisle aircraft, the twin aisles on a 7 abreast IMJ takes up too much space, as a function of width, and can’t carry LD-3s in the lower deck. For sure, a 50-plus-metre 8 abreast and 9 abreast MOM would have significantly higher passenger capacity, but would that be a bad thing? I don’t think so. For example, when talking about a MOM, Boeing is talking about a range optimization of between 4000nm and 5000nm. Now, there are no 50 – 55 metre long wide-bodies today that are optimised for an intermediate range of between 4000nm and 5000nm. The OEMs might say that there is no market for such aircraft, but IMO that’s because they haven’t got anything to offer in that market space – say for their larger wide-bodies.

    IMO, there is a market for both smaller intermediate ranged wide-bodies and for larger single-aisles than those currently on offer. For their implementation, you’ve got to look at a high level of commonality and the usage of existing platforms.

    In order not to develop two separate wings that would have no commonality, I believe there's a way to achieve significant wing commonality for both a single-aisle and twin-aisle.

    Solution: The twin aisle should use the single-aisle wing that would be "mated" to a wing-root insert extending between the single-aisle wing and the twin-aisle fuselage. The wing-root insert shifts the main landing gear assembly, the engine, and other wing systems (e.g., leading edge slats, trailing edge flaps, and spoilers) away from the wing-fuselage juncture, thus necessitating a lengthening of the inboard wing box, inboard slats, inboard flaps and spoilers and lengthening of the fuel, hydraulic, and electrical lines that extend to these systems from the centre wing box and fuselage. The wing, therefore, for the twin aisle would thus be thicker in root chord and have a larger centre wing box (i.e. longer and wider). Also, the outboard ailerons on the twin-aisle’s wings would be slightly longer than the outboard ailerons on the single-aisle’s wings – and finally, the wingtips on the single-aisle’s wing would be foldable (i.e. outboard of the ailerons). There would be no need to fold the wing tips on the twin-aisle’s wing, since it would be optimised as a Category D wingspan. On the other hand, we want the single aisle to fit into aircraft stands of Category C (i.e. less than 36m in wingspan), so we’d need a foldable wing tip.

    Let's assume that the single-aisle wing would have about the same wing area as that of the 757; or around 187 m2 (i.e., per Airbus definition of wing area). The 757 wing chord at the root is 8.2 m. Since the fuselage diameter is 3.7 m, the one-sided exposed wing area of each wing on the non-wingletted 757; is (187 -(8.2 x 3.7))/2 = 78.3 m2.

    For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that the wing sweep is the same as on the 757 wing (e.g. 25° of sweep), and that the width of the wing root is equal to the fuselage diameter of the 757; or 3.78m /2 = 1.39m. Thus, the additional area of each wing would be ((1.39 x 9) – 0.5); or about 12 m2 per wing; or 24 m2 for the additional exposed wing area. NB: wing sweep on a MOM would probably be closer to 30°.

    If we use a twin-aisle derived from an existing platform, say the 787; by attaching the single aisle wings + the wing-root inserts to an all new and smaller wide-body centre wing box (i.e., diameter of 5.91m), we get a total wing area for a 787-derived MOM; 156 m2 + 24 m2 + (5.91m x 9m) = 233.2 m2.

    The wing span of the 787 derived MOM should be slightly less than 52 m; or 51.75 m. The aspect ratio for a wing with a wing area of 233.2 m2 and span of 51.75m, is 51.75 squared / 233.2 = 11.48. In contrast the aspect ratio of the A310 wing is 8.8

    The wing span of the single aisle MOM would be 45.84 m. The aspect ratio for the single aisle with a wing area of 187 m2 and a span of 45.84m, is 11.23. In contrast, the wing span of the non-wingletted 757 is 38.05m, and the wing aspect ratio is 7.74.

    Now, the position of the engine pylon hard points would be the same for the two wings, although the engine for the twin-aisle would be larger and heavier. NB: the wing and engine for the twin-aisle would be designed for a MTOWs of plus-150 metric tonnes, while for the single aisle the MTOW would be quite similar to the MTOWs of the 757-200 and 757-300.

    The engine to fuselage centreline on the single aisle would be 6.48m (i.e. same as on the 757), while the engine to fuselage centreline on the twin-aisle (e.g. 787-derived MOM used in the case above), would be 8.9m.

    In comparison, the engine to fuselage centreline on the 737, A320, A310, A330, 787 and A350 are; 4.83m, 5.75m, 7.69, 9.37m, 9.91m and 10.5m, respectively.

    Finally, I’ve used 757 and 787 data points just as case study. Obviously, A320/A330/A350 data points could’ve been used instead.


    Boeing could develop a new single aisle platform consisting of two distinct families. The smaller family would use a wing similar in size to the current 737 wing, while the larger single-aisle MOM family members would use the larger single aisle MOM-wing that I’ve described in the example above. The twin-aisle MOM would use the slightly larger MOM-wing, while the aircraft itself would be derived from the 787. However, if Boeing would want to keep costs down, they could conceivably re-use the 737/757 fuselage. If that would be the case, they should IMO put at least a new 787-derived cockpit section on the single-aisle MOM and on the 737MAX as well.

    Airbus, on the other hand, should very well be able to use an A320-derived aircraft as a single aisle MOM and an A350-derived aircraft as the twin-aisle MOM.

    • Thx for that great post. That would be an ideal solution from a technical point of view.
      But I guess neither Boeing nor Airbus take that risk. The dual development will cost as much as 20b $ without production.

      • If the dual development would be undertaken by developing derivatives of two existing platforms (e.g. A320 and A350 fuselages) – IMJ, the cost would be about half that amount, or around $10 billion. 🙂

    • Such an insert (wing root “plug”) means you are essentially designing/certifying a new wing. All the torque box loads change throughout the span. You’ll not be able to get away with covering that as a derivative. But your right, two wings are needed to cover this market space.

      As for the single/twin interoperable fuse, would the twin aisle <5000nm market justify the complexity? I'm not convinced.

      • Clarification to above:

        Largest twin aisle and single aisle aircraft will have roughly the same PAX capacity as you are MTOW limited on the wing.

      • Yes, you’ve got to perform static testing and fatigue testing on both the single-aisle and twin-aisle MOMs. Static testing will comprise the full airframe, fuselage and wing box, to provide data for first flight clearance as well as limit and ultimate load tests. The fatigue test aircraft would probably only have be done on the centre fuselages, including the belly fairings and wing boxes.

        As for your second question; I’m not sure what you’re meaning with “single/twin interoperable fuselages”. What I’m talking about are two very similar wings having nearly identical outboard wing boxes, with the smaller wing attached to a single aisle aircraft and the larger wing attached to a twin aisle aircraft.

        Each member of the single-aisle MOM-family would each have a range of up to 5000nm (i.e. up to three family members), and have MTOWs from 100 to 120 metric tonnes.

        Each member of the twin-aisle MOM-family would each have a range of at least 5000nm (i.e. up to three family members), and have MTOWs from 140 to 170 metric tonnes.

        For sure, only the single-aisles would truly be MOMs. The twin-aisles would be as large as a DC-10, or even an A350-800.

        Finally, the complexity is reduced thank to a re-use of existing single-aisle and twin-aisle fuselages and the high level of wing commonality.

        • Ah, reading back through and I’ve become confused in your conclusion.

          ” The smaller family would use a wing similar in size to the current 737 wing, while the larger single-aisle MOM family members would use the larger single aisle MOM-wing that I’ve described in the example above. The twin-aisle MOM would use the slightly larger MOM-wing”

          But in your talking above that, you didn’t mentioned the SA fuselage ever going on the “big” wing.

          I didn’t see how you were going from 120T MTOW to 170T MTOW on the same wing – but you weren’t planning on that anyway.

          • @ Brendan

            The first point was about a Boeing new small airplane (NSA) – a 737MAX replacement. The NSA will, in all likelihood, be a single-aisle Aircraft and have a 737/A320-sized wing (i.e. around 125 m2).

            The second point was that the larger 757 replacement aircraft would be derived from the NSA fuselage, but would use the single-aisle MOM-wing (i.e. wing area similar in size to the wing on the 757 – or around 185 m2 in area).

            The third point was that the twin-aisle MOM-aircraft could be a 787 derivative (i.e. 787 fuselage) that would be mated to the twin-aisle wing MOM-wing (i.e. wing area of around 235 m2).

            So, I was talking about three wings, but the first one is not relevant to the topic at hand. However, if implemented, Boeing would essentially be getting three wings for the price of two. 🙂

            Clearly, Airbus is IMJ in a much better position since a single-aisle Airbus MOM could be derived from the A32X-series, while Boeing would have to develop an all new NSA, concurrently with their MOMs – assuming that they wouldn’t re-use the 737 fuselage as the baseline for their NSA.

    • Airbus is for sure very comfortable with their current position, so they will sure not start anything new MOM-wise. Boeing has more of an issue, but they probably first need a change in management before they start the next clean-sheet design. For them it will be a very important decision which will revolve primarily around the replacement of the 737.
      But maybe there will be another manufacturer disturbing the duopoly, like Bombardier will do on the smaller end: The Irkut MC-21-400 looks like a very interesting solution. It is something like a 1.5 isle plane. This wider isle will allow for faster boarding and improved service. The somewhat wider body offers more comfort to passengers on middle range flights and takes more cargo. It would also allow to increase the length a bit further. The wingspan is around 36.7m (A321: 34,1m). Similar to the C-Series it will have carbon wings, so it will be half a generation ahead of the A321 and the B739.
      They will probably have a very difficult time to sell to Western Airlines, but a couple of Asian companies might be open to this proposal if Irkut is getting it right.

      • Airbus is so glad to have so much on there plate but new players are on the way.

    • The 737 cross section is a bit too narrow with its Boeing 707 heritage. One problem facing all 757 rpl Aircraft is the need for 40-45k Engines that would stay on wing for more than 10 000 cycles. It took the 757 some years Before that happened, the 767 never. If going for a pair of UDF’s the gas generator can be almost the same as todays A320neo Engines and give 40-45k TO thrust due to its counter roating massive fans.

  2. Slightly off topic, but it’s funny that Airbus says “We do not compromise on the comfort. We all believe at Airbus that you cannot fly very long distances with very, very small seats. We remain at 18 inches (for economy)…” given that I’ll have the misfortune of flying transatlantic on an A310 with 9-abreast seating (16.7″ seats) in a few weeks.

    I’m assuming that those (few) airlines that went this route on the 310/330 did so with the blessing and support of Airbus.

    • Transatlantic that is possible with a 310 ( or 300, or 320) is not long range

    • Air Transat is a low cost carrier focused on low fare flights for travelers on a budget. This is the kind of carrier which the 9 abreast layout is targeted at.

    • Bruce L:

      Airbus will give their buyers anything they want.

      Its all a spin campaign, as laughable as Boeing 777 production issuances.

      I think it was @Leila who said it best.

  3. Boeing should not contest the A321 until 2030? I’ll have to think about that one.

  4. Addendum

    The single-aisle MOM-wing and the twin-aisle MOM-wing would have – like the 787 and A350 – one-piece composite wing covers. The wing cover on the twin-aisle MOM-wing, would be slightly larger inboard at the root. However, the wing covers could be produced on the same wing tooling mandrels by using the same automatic tape laying machines etc.


  5. What about a 767X? With new engines al-li fuselage and wing?

    • The 767 fuselage would be too heavy compared to a single aisle fuselage and carry too few passengers. In fact, it’s too close in size to single-aisles, capacity-wise. For example, a 757-300 have more seats than the 767-200 in a like-for-like configuration. A nine abreast wide-body will have a much larger seating differential to a single-aisle in a like-for-like configuration.

      As for the 757-300; doors 2 are not positioned optimally on the 753. They should have been positioned about 7 fuselage frames further aft in order to effectuate a more efficient boarding process by the usage of two passenger boarding bridges.

      • If the 767X is ‘too heavy’ in all aluminium, what about a 767 fuselage but 787 derived wing.
        Sounds like a 777X ?. Yes it does, especially when they have the shorter span 787-3 wing design, which wasnt built, available.
        The 767 is still in production, the 787 wing is in production. The fuselage -wing integration issues cant be more difficult than they faced with the 777X and its composite wing matched to Al fuselage

        The 787 market has moved up to the bigger 9/10 versions which definitely leaves a gap in the range down to the 737-9.

        • The 787-3 was going to use clipped 787-8 outboard wings in order to comply with a Category D wingspan (e.g. + 36 m but < 52 m). That was IMO not a very good idea in the first place.

          Now, the clipped 787 wing would still have a 50 percent larger wing area than the twin-aisle wing described above, which would seem to suggest that a 767 fuselage mated to such a wing would be DOA.

          • Im not sure your 50% estimate is correct. The 767-300 wing is 283m2, while 787-8 wing area is 325m2.
            The 787-3 was smaller span so would be less area, but the bigger 787-8 wing is only 15% bigger than the 767.
            Maybe the 787-3 had only under 10% more area than 767-300. Thats a long way from 50%
            Longer wings are only suitable for longer range, so the reduction is a good method for a shorter range 767X.
            While this is a ‘paper’ plane , it makes much sense then the hopelessly impossible concepts being thrown around ( ie Al 787 wing. LOL)

          • There seems to be a lot of confusion on wing-area data. 325 m2 is what you get when you measure the wing area based on the trapezoidal definition. The wing-area data that I’ve used have all been based on the Airbus definition of wing area.

            Please do read this excellent overview by Björn Fehrm: Fundamentals of airliner performance; Part 7, the wing..




            NB: 787-8/-9/-10 wing-area data from the last link

            Trapezoidal: 325 m2
            Airbus: 370 m2
            Boeing/Wimpress: 360 m2
            Exposed: 301 m2

            Now, the 787-3 was going to have clipped outboard wings. That would have reduced the 787-3 wing area to about 345 m2 (per Airbus definition of wing area).

            The 767-200/-300 has a wing area of about 290 m2 and aspect ratio of 7.81, while the 767-400 has a wing area of about 298 m2 and aspect ratio of 9.04 (i.e. wing-areas per Airbus definition).

            51.9 m is the upper limit in wing span for Category D. For example, if you want an aspect ratio as high as the A330neo-wing (i.e 11.1) – and maximise the wing span to stay within Category D limits – then the wing area of a twin-aisle Category D aircraft would have to be around 242 m2. Hence, a 787-3 wing would be about 42.6 percent larger in size than the 242 m2 wing; or 47.9 percent bigger than the 233.2 m2 wing described in my initial post (e.g. 47.9 percent is “around 50 percent”). 😉

            So, you’d want a more slender and lighter wing for a twin-aisle MOM than the one on the 767. Again, the 787-3 wing is a non-starter.

    • One thing manufacturer’s forecasts agree on, with a growing global market, the demand for airliners will be huge. Little risk and much to gain, in terms of worldwide manufacturing position.

    • Boeing has to ‘Bermuda Triangle’ the A321 and close in on it from above with a smaller 2-2-2, 160′, 210 seats in one class, or 200 two class. Airbus can take the next step up to a 2-3-2, 180′, 250 seat two class airliner.

      • While even 2-3-2 is challenging, a 2-2-2 TWIN is no economic option – no matter Boeing did draw a patent once (they draw a lot of patents). No way this would work against a single aisle in economics. If a small TWIN is an option than IMO it is only a 7-abreast for medium-haul with the option of 8-abreast for shorter and charter operations, more-or-less the fuselage of the 767, maybe slightly oval and slightly wider. The structure has to be very light with limited cargo capabilities so you can only trade range with 7-abreast for density with 8-abreast. MTOW 120t (between 737-300 and 767-200) and 140t for a stretch (767-300). But even that will be “hard”.

        • Then I will be the contrarian. For one to two hour flights, single aisle takes too long for anything over 175 passengers. 2-3-2 can’t be shrunk down to 200 in as light an airframe as 2-2-2. I see airports which will have limited airside space filled with 200 seat aircraft. 2-2-2, 14′-4″ circular, 150′ long, 36m wings with folding tips. While the extra foot of fuselage diameter may cost more in fuel, the benefits in space are worth it. The station wagon is more fuel efficient than an SUV or a van, but that is not the overriding design criteria. The 200 seat single aisle will be a dated idea like the station wagon.

          • Keeje:

            Airbus is taking advange of theirt A320 architivue and good for them.

            Its sill not an MOM, its really an all new market.

            757 for all the legend was designed for one mission and morphed into another. 737 and A320 have been nibbling at that market ever since.

            The A321 is still not a full replacement, just another bite though a bigger one this time.

            MOM has to have a market and some very secure commitments, otherwise it would make no sense for Airbus or Boeing to get into it.

            How that plays out with the need to replace the 737 is interesting

            I still go back to both side produce the same number of single aisles, so the market for actually sold is identical (give Airbus the edge in pricing on the A321 as its the only game in town in that segment).

            Both sides take their lumps in some areas,

          • Agreed consider 2x2x2. The new MOM could be similar to old MOM, one larger fuselage diameter, five lengths and two wings, (737-700 though 757-300). The 757-300 carries 243 in two classes or 300 with new thin seats and a high density design. The problem is a single aisle adds turnaround time and decreases asset utilization and the 12-4″ fuselage is based on 1950’s tech and a bigger two aisle fuselage diameter adds cost and drag and can’t cover the bottom of the range. Compare fuel cost per seat for a 767 to a 737. A light twin 2x2x2 (LT6) may be the best answer. It could be as little as 18″ bigger than a 737, with 30% less frontal area than a 767 . A LT6 would have the required capacity, quick turnaround time and some unique features. It could have an all aisle first class 1x2x1, five wide business 2x1x2 and 20″ seats in 3×3 for long haul flights. Design for low capital cost and high production rates following the Max model. Build a 757 replacement first with a Spirit built aluminum fuselage and an in house wing, either aluminum off the new automated 737 wing line or composite using 777X manufacturing systems. Follow with a 737max replacement later with a smaller wing.

  6. 757 & 767 development in tandem worked until an optimal single isle and an optimal twin isle were available. I don´t think this concept it will work again as things are now a lot more optimised, and orders are so large, that operators expect optimal performance. A320 series replacement would beat any single isle based on a wing that can be used on twin, that´s what is killing the remaining 757s now, the design ins´t much older than the A320, it´s just that the markets in which it has the advantage are so small.

    • Apart from the cockpit, there’s very little hardware commonality between the 757 and 767. Thus, the 757/767 is not relevant to the concept that I’ve outlined.

      The wing on a twin-aisle MOM, as described above, would be about 25 percent larger in area than the wing on the single aisle MOM.

      In comparison, the wing area of the 380 tonne A340-600 is about 21 percent larger in area than the wing on the 242 tone A330-300; the wing area of the 351.5 tonne 777-300ER is about 23 percent larger in area than the wing on the 251 tonne 787-9. So, the difference in MTOW between the single-aisle MOM and twin-aisle MOM would be less than the difference in MTOW betewen the 787-9 and 777-300ER

      What I’m talking about is a massive level of wing-commonality between a single-aisle and a twin-aisle, and where both aircraft would use state-of-the-art, long and slender wings having an unprecedented high aspect ratio.

  7. Boeing could be conservative and launch the MOM in 2018 for 2025 deliveries and build it at Everett. Or they could be aggressive and launch it in 2016 and build a new factory somewhere, expanding and diversifying their empire.

  8. It seems to me that Airbus has a bigger hole and therefore a bigger market potential for developing something between the largest narrowbody and the A350-900. I see the A330neo as only a stopgap measure, sales of which can be expected to dry up by around the middle of the next decade. They will need to replace it eventually with something…

    • I fully agree, the only thing that Airbus has is strong products at either end (a321/lr, a350). In the middle vast scope to build an aircraft of varying size from 200-300 and range. A true MOM concept that takes CFRP, NEO tech, but also takes the airliner into a new paradigm of blended wings and a proper lifting body for the fuselage with limited empennage. A proper moonshot to take the efficiency a further 20-25 percent to the left

    • I agree Airbus has a similar hole, although I doubt it is larger and it is less urgent. Longer term I would project it above a (low hanging fruit) A322 and under the A350-900. So basically between 240 and 320 seats, 3000-6000NM.

      Boeings gab is basically between the 737-8 and 787-9, 200-280 seats, 3000-6000NM. Boeing is wisely avoiding the A321 and possible A322.

      Above 230 seats a twin aisle seems a good idea to limit fuselage lenght / improve structural efficiency and improve cabin flexibility for long haul. On long haul a big part of the cabin is reserved for premium and a 2-3-2 cabin allows wider 2-2-2 , 1-2-1 or 1-1-1 seating options.

      The 767 cabin comes to mind but it 35 years old, heavy and LD2 didn’t catch on. With LD3-45 a new cross sections offers substantial improvement opportunities. I compared an earlier Leeham study with 767 a while ago:


      There’s one small second issue though: the good old 737 ain’t good enough until 2030. It has already become a one trick pony (-800/-8). If Airbus plugs a 320.5, it’s gone.

      They MAX seems to sell if the customer has 737 fleets already, needs ex-im support or the A320s are sold out. Boeing will Never say/admit, but the boardroom knows.

      • The hole is bigger for Boeing. Airbus has the A321, and Airbus has the smallest viable widebody, with a true economy product in the A338/9 at 8 abreast, as proved by Hawaiian and Delta.

        I think the 738 looks fine until 2030 for now. Lease rates don’t show pricing advantage for the A320. The A320 has sales, but they can’t convert to deliveries. What exactly is Airbus projected A320 delivery schedule for the next 10 years? Boeing laid their cards on the table for 777 production, Airbus needs to detail their plan for production dominance of the A320, otherwise it’s just marketing vapor.

          • Although Airbus enjoyed a 10% delivery advantage for 5 yrs 2010-2014, it is now tied at 500/yr. 2016 will be 500, 2017 both will go to 550, and 2018 both are contemplating 600+. Looks neck and neck for now. Will Airbus regain a 10% advantage in 2020-2024?

      • Keesje:

        Once again that overstates the case.

        Boeing has the commitments to keep making the 737 for some time.

        Airbus has not even started to produce the A320 stretch.

        Ego, say 5 years from now, takes future sales from Boeing who comes out with the Y3 (well assuming they get rid of Mcneneary)

        Airbus counters with a new wing on A320 series. Back to even maybe.

        The real problem is unlike the Auto Industry, neither one can ramp up production to catch a market trend, they wind up dead even in production (A350 ramp up will eventually be close to 787) and then its back to prices and availability etc..

        Game changes.

  9. Eventually Boeing needs to replace the 737 with a new design. It could be the MOM Aircraft as the volume of single aile Aircraft are moving up in size.

    Competing with the A321neo it needs to be more advanced and maybe have 2 more seats per row in a 2+4+2 config. This puts you Close to have a large cargo hold for LD3’s and you risk designing a Composite A310.

    The new Engines required might be open rotor Engines and this will drive the configuration of the Aircraft. The cockpit and systems most likely will be simplified and carried over from the 787.

    The Comfort and space will be there like in a Cadillac but can Boeing get the operating economics down to a Toyota Corolla level?

    Sacrificing some cruising speed and range for a quick to build cheap metallic fuselage holding the open rotor Engines and a Composite Clean wing looking a bit like the Gulfstream 650 wing might be one option. The wing might fold as on the new 777-9 so it can fit into todays narrowbody Airport gates. A 4 wheel boggie nose with carbon brakes might be effective enought to remove T/R requirement and let the open rotor be almost fixed pitch.

    • I don’t buy open rotor as the archive is going to be engine specific and you are stuck with one setup.

      I also don’t think it has enough advantage to overcome its liabilities.

      Ergo, the jets will keep advancing fast enough so that does not happen and you can mount anyone’s anywhere

      All the research going into open rotors is being passed into the jet engines and while at one time I thought it was the way to go, I think not.

  10. interesting, but is till can t see the business case… such a newly developed aircraft would be so expensive to buy that it has no chance against a de-rated 767 or 330-200 in dense seating, perhaps even with some weight savings as you need less fuel tanks.

    An absolute “killer” could be old 330s and 767s that are re-furbished and are bought cheaply as they get replaced by 787s and 350s and 330neos on long distance.

    Even if the market had demand for some 2000, I assume that most of it would be covered by these, less capital intense, solutions.

  11. What I was getting at is that Airbus could take advantage of the real qualities of plastic and move away from tubes and wings into a more efficient shape. Then you don’t have to have a hold that needs filling with bags and you can have self loading cargo with their baggage in the cabin. Move away from the checking bags model and concentrate on the value cargo. A wide cabin within a blended fuselage/ wing. This is all possible now as we have the fusion of cfrp/catia/fbw etc etc. this would be a true game changer

  12. Scott, I have just read about the new scope agreement for Delta.How did this madness ever begin?

  13. As for any A380 re-engining decision, it would seem as if Airbus is looking at an A380NG and not just an A380neo.

    Should we assume that you will not launch the A380neo in Paris?

    We will definitely not launch a new A380 version in Paris. That is a board of directors’ decision and is a long way off. The A380 is not selling as well as it could, and it is no secret we have ongoing discussions on how to enhance its attractiveness. But the A380neo slug wrongly suggests we are only thinking about new engines. Engines make a huge difference, but that is one of many options we are seriously studying.


    • Well A330 update is still called the Neo and it has sharklets..

      • Yes, and the A330-200/-300 were redesignated the A330-800neo/-900neo.

        However, that’s not really relevant to an A380NG. Airbus is probably looking at more fundamental changes to the A380 platform ; such as an increase in wing span and folding wing-tips, etc.

        • “Folding wingtips?” I thought Leahy said those were useless things?

          • You know, the Airbus bashers should really start to get a life and not take everything John Leahy says so literally.

            Case in point: A350 crew-rests.

            He still relishes taking pot shots at Boeing. At the ISTAT conference, he contrasted the spacious proposed crew rest area underneath the A350 cockpit with the 777’s crew rest area, which is in the crawl space above the passenger cabin — or as Leahy described it to laughter from the audience, “putting the flight crew in the overhead bins.”


          • Who’s “Airbus bashing?” Is pointing out what Leahy said publicly now “Airbus bashing?” If you think so, you need to take a deep breath, step back, and realize not everyone or everything is out to get you.

            A wee bit sensitive, eh, OV-099? Relax..

          • @Neutron73

            No, I didn’t accuse anyone of Airbus-bashing. 😉

            Again, I was merely pointing out that one shouldn’t take everything John Leahy says publicly, so literally.

            Case in point, what John Leahy said back in 2006 in regard to the crew rest areas on the original A350 vs. the ones on the 777/787. On the A350 XWB, the crew rest compartments are, of course, located in the crown of the fuselage – just like the 777 and 787.

            Now, what I did point out, was that more often than not, Airbus-bashers seem to be more pre-occupied with John Leahy than with Airbus itself, and to what John Leahy may be saying at any one time.

            Therefore, instead of taking what John Leahy said about the folding wing-tip device on the 777X, literally, it would’ve perhaps been smarter to look beyond that particular one-liner to find out if there would be some merit to an Airbus airliner featuring the same type of folding wing tip device.

            I’m quite sure, therefore, that John Leahy knows perfectly well, that just by increasing the wing span to 90 m, and introducing folding wing tips on the A380 – in order to limit the wing span to 80 m – fuel consumption would be reduced by at least 10 percent.

            The case of the new Airbus A380 also shows that technological advances may be greater when strategic considerations would have been ignored. The A380 is reported to be 12% more fuelefficient per seat-kilometre than the much older Boeing 747-400 (Bickerstaff 2005). However, this very large aircraft could be up to 11% more fuel-efficient than currently planned if the wing aspect ratio had been designed for optimum fuel use (Dalhuijsen and Slingerland 2004). This optimum wing design would also lead to a 2.4% reduction in Direct operating costs. Airport handling constraints result in a suboptimal wing design (energy-wise) limiting the wing span to 80 m. A solution with folding wingtips would keep the A380 within the 80 m limit and would still save 10.8% fuel and 2.1% DOC.

            Page 23

          • OV99:

            We refer to ourselves as BS bashers thank you

          • @TransWorld

            BS or not; ruling out folding wing tips on existing or future Airbus products, just because John Leahy at PAS 2013 derided the 777X’s folding wingtips as “silly things, would seem to be quite silly IMHO.

    • Of course they will not only hang some new engines on the A380, as that new product will have to be good for another 15-20 years. So what they will do, besides new wing tip devices is pretty straightforward I think:
      1) Stretch the body to the originally intended -900.
      2) Reduce the size (and weight) of the tail.
      3) Implement as much CFRP as possible both in the wing and the body.
      4) Put the first large geared engines on (possibly RR exclusive)
      The weight reduction of 2) and 3) will make up for the added weight of the stretch, and maybe some more. Including the efficiency gains through the engines and aerodynamic improvements the seat mile cost will come down by maybe 30%. Here you have your game changing plane every international carrier will have to have, like once the 747-400.
      Such a project will also match the timetable both for RR and the Airbus R&D department, as they will be done with the A350-1000 by then.

      • All true, but then there is a big cost and what is the return?

        Maybe down the road but we are now hearing the A380 was 10 years ahead of the times, maybe 20?

        Can it change, yes, but right now no.

        • Boeing sold only 205 pieces of the 747-100. Should they have stopped by then? Next they put on a new engine, the CF6-50 and the 747-200 (basically a MAX or NEO if you will) became quite successfull. Isn’t this where the A380 stands today? It might even take a second round of improvements (like the 747-400) to bring the total success that the original design has in it.
          I am quite sure that the above measures will double the sales of the A380, just like it once did with the 747. And that will turn the A380 into a big, exclusive money-maker, just like the 747-200 and 747-400 once were.

          • @Gundolf

            You’re absolutely right. I actually half-started a blog about this a while back, just because… a380x.blogspot.com

            I don’t think the analogy to the 747-100 works quite as well: that was a much smaller aviation market; the initial version probably did better than this version of the A380. But with a new wing, engines and empennage it’ll be a world beater. I also suggest smaller landing gear, as your MTOW is going to be way lower.

          • @Eric

            With all due respect, I don’t get why you keep harping on about an A388X. It would still have a significantly less cargo carrying capability than the 777-9X (i.e. volume-wise). The A380 fuselage will only start to get competitive with “the big twins” on a cargo carrying basis when it’s stretched to 80m and beyond.

            An A380-900NG*-Combi, A380-1000NG and A380-1000NG-Combi would put the A350-1000 and 777-9X to shame.

            An A380-800X should IMJ only be developed initially as an intermediate ranged twin. When you’ve got a 135-140,000 lbs of thrust engine available – i.e. with a contra-rotating fan in order to limit fan diameter – you’d have your A388X twin – or A390-800X.

            An all new wing for such a beast could be shared with an all new Airbus twin. The MTOWs for both the all new twin and A390-800X would span 400 to 450 metric tonnes.

            The all new twin would be a single-deck widebody with 11-across seating in Y-class (i.e. 266 inches effective width for seating). However, the fuselage of this notional A370X could have the same dimensions as that of the lower lobe of the A380 fuselage. Since the lower lobe of the A380 is cylindrical up to just below the floor of the main deck, an A370X could reuse the nose gear bay and cockpit section of the A380 and would have identical centre wing box and 747-style MLG as that of the A390-800X – in short, maximum bang for the buck.



          • @OVB

            First, cargo isn’t nearly as important. Its yield on international long haul is ~1/5 of pax by weight. Thus a full LD3 makes the revenue of ~1.3 3-class passengers. That’s the biggest reason nobody’s built a widebody combi in a couple decades.

            That said, my A380X would also have a combi version. When you’re much more efficient, you can afford to trade capacity risk for lower-yielding cargo (as does your proposal). A380Xcombi would give up 12% of seats for cargo equivalent to 35 more LD3. Still would be more efficient than 777-9, pre-cargo, by -22% CASM. You don’t need to stretch a double-deck fuselage to match big twins. It’s more efficient already at any reasonable fineness ratio.

            Re your twin A380-800NG proposal.
            -quad is more efficient than twin for a big plane. Bending relief, landing gear height, vertstab size, total propulsion system weight, and cruise SFC all benefit. I don’t see the value added of a twin.

            -135k thrust would be excessive. You’re forgetting that my proposal, by reducing MTOW to ~940k lbs and thrust to ~210k, sheds ~90k lbs in the propulsion system, empennage, and landing gear. It sheds another ~15k lbs in the fuselage with Al-Li, door removal, and due to lower aerodynamic loads on the tube. This is a much lighter plane that gets up and cruises with much smaller engines.

            -For these reasons its production would be cheaper than both the CEO and your NG. It would profitable at $430mn list price, optimal for Airbus at ~$500mn.

            -Unlike your NG, A380X wouldn’t rely on the emergence of 600-pax routes. It would beat the 777-9 by 8-10% CASM with only 400 seats fitted out. Your NG might have similar fuel economy, but it’s going to cost a lot more and have higher maintenance so DOC will be higher. I doubt it would be as efficient at 400 seats. My A380X’s market appeal is extremely broad, not niche.

            -of course A380X is more expensive to develop than your NG as described. That’s the tradeoff I’ve made between development costs and commercial appeal. I’ve assumed such a tradeoff is needed to optimize for the -800. But we can’t productively discuss that tradeoff if we don’t share my premise that optimizing for a -900 or -1000 damages the expected sales of A380X/NG.

            Thanks as always for the discussion!

          • @OVB

            I have a simple model that compares planes based on parasitic and induced drag, weight, and relative fuel burn. I took a screen shot of it below. First let me describe weight and drag parameters:

            -I put your A389NG at 660,000lbs OEW. The stretch and 95m wing would contribute at least a 44,000lb weight delta, imo. My A380X is at 500,000lbs OEW. I got there by using smaller engines, smaller wing, lighter landing gear and empennage. Plus Al-Li fuselage. Induced drag is proportional to (Lift^2)/(Span^2). Also inversely proportional to air density, which is proportional to wing loading at equal lift coefficients.

            -For parasitic drag I compare wetted areas plus Cd coefficients. Your A389NG gains 200m2 Swet from the stretch, 40m2 from bigger wing area. My A380X loses 400m2 from smaller wing, plus smaller empennage and engines. I give my A380X a 1% penalty against A389NG – mostly due to fuselage fineness ratio.

            -The model “starts” with landing and adds weight to each plane according to relative drag. SFC I assumed to be equal. Here are the results:


            The far-right column is fuel burn per pax. I have 15% more pax in your A389NG, my A388X has ~10% better fuel burn per pax. In order to make things equal, I have to add about 90,000lbs to my A388X. Or take 80,000lbs out of your A389NG so that it’s actually lighter than the CEO. So it’s not a matter of playing with weights.

            Even if I extend A389NG’s wing span to 100m, keeping OEW at 660,000lbs, you’re still behind by ~7% fuel burn per pax.

            On the original 95m wing calculation, your trip fuel burn is 22% higher. Your plane would be more expensive to buy, maintain, and land at airports. You do beat the A380CEO by ~40% on this model, as you predicted.

            Your A389NG has greater range at 570t MTOW, but going beyond ~8,000nm range doesn’t add a ton of value.

            If you want to play around with these numbers, I’ll be happy to share the model with you. Email me at A380geeks@mail.com – I just set that up specifically for you. 🙂

            Basically I think you’re making a mistake by going bigger to chase efficiency. The bigger the A380 gets, the more niche it becomes, the less it sells. IMO it’s better to make a bigger investment for a more attractive product in a big market, than to make a smaller investment for a less attractive niche product. But I’d love to discuss further, maybe through email offline. You have good ideas.

          • @OVB

            Just noticed that I didn’t change the label in my spreadsheet from “777X” to A389NG. The rows marked 777X contain the parameters I used for your A389NG.

            There are a few refinements I could add here. The “Misc Drag” term I usually adjust for trim drag, fuselage upsweep drag, and wave drag. The first two would favor you, the second one me… I left it neutral here, though you’d probably have a slight advantage because trim drag is probably the biggest “miscellaneous” drag component. Still, we’re talking 1-2% percent effect on total drag and fuel burn.

          • @OV-099

            Don’t know why I thought your handle was OVB. Apologies. Feel free to email me.

          • @Eric

            “First, cargo isn’t nearly as important. Its yield on international long haul is ~1/5 of pax by weight.”

            True, but it doesn’t change the fact that the additional lower deck volume that’s available on the 789/A359/77W/A350-1000/777-9X, compared to what the A388 can carry of general cargo on its lower deck, means that the A388 is permanently disadvantaged when airlines look at the whole picture – including lower deck cargo. Only when you stretch the A380 to 80m and beyond will the inferior cargo carrying capability of the A380 be permanently nullified.

            Why the 747-combi was not more successful was due to the fact that its passenger carrying capability was not greater than the A333/A343/77E that became available in the 1990s. A combi-version of an A380-900NG, on the other hand, would still be able to carry more than 50 percent more passengers than the 777-9X and beat it resoundly on CASM. The A389-combi should have the same main deck cargo capacity as the 744-combi and would be able to carry 7 747-type main deck pallets on the aft part of the main deck (i.e. aft of doors 4). On an A388-combi, you’d have to move doors 4 forward (i.e. not practical) in order to accommodate 7 main deck pallets.

            Furthermore, the A389-combi would be able to undercut regular freighters by being able to handle large volume shipments on the aft main deck, such as automobiles, small boats, heavy machinery, drilling equipment and even small aircraft or helicopters.


            “Re your twin A380-800NG proposal.”

            I was primarily talking about a 400 metric tonne MTOW version that would be optimised for intermediate range. The 450 metric tonne version would only come later – depending on engine development – e.g. like the 777-200 A-market version vs. the 777-300ER. The 400 metric tonne, A390-800X should have an all new wing with folding wingtips in order to make it a category E aircraft when parked and taxing (e.g. 75-77 metre span and 570-600 m2 wing area).

            There’s no reason why a double decker aircraft like the A380 only would be viable as a long range aircraft. In fact, IMJ you could put an A350 wing on an A380 fuselage body as well, thereby creating a short range ultra high capacity aircraft.

            Also, it so happens that an intermediate ranged, twin-engined double decker would have about the same wing-size as that of a very large single-deck, long range, twin-engined aircraft. Hence, my suggestion of developing both aircraft simultaneously – just like the original
            A330 and A340 programme. They would both share the same wing, MLG, nose gear cockpit-section etc.

            “Basically I think you’re making a mistake by going bigger to chase efficiency. The bigger the A380 gets, the more niche it becomes, the less it sells.”

            I don’t agree. For example, there are plenty of routes (e.g. most Asia-Europe flights) where the only ideal departure time is late night departure with a morning arrival. Hence, the concept of frequency on these routes are quite meaningless. There’s no reason why 100m long A380-1200NNGs – carrying 850 – 900 passengers in three classes – wouldn’t be plying these routes some 20 years hence. Such aircraft would kill the economics for smaller “twins”.

            Meanwhile, my A390-800X (i.e. double decker twin) would have mindbogglingly low CASM on transatlantic flight routes, Middle East to Europe/Africa/India routes and intra-Asian routes. Also, due to the higher frequencies on many of these routes, the lower cargo carrying capability of an A390-800X would no be as deleterious as on the red-eye flights from Asia to Europe.

        • As I pointed out up-thread; just by increasing the wing span to around 90 m, and introducing folding wing tips on the A380 – in order to limit the wing span to 80 m – fuel consumption would be reduced by at least 10 percent. Add 2025 state-of-the-art engines that would be at least 5 percent more efficient than the GE9X engine on the 777X – and 15 percent more efficient than the current A380 engines – plus a CFRP wingbox, and you’d be looking at a trip fuel burn reduction of at least 30 percent for an A380-800NG over that of the current A380-800.


          About half of what’s required for the 777X.

          • Really? A whole new wing design is that cheap. wow.

            Of course then we have new engines and update some of the other stuff that would make a difference and away we go.

          • No, unlike the 777X, that’s not a whole new wing design. I’m talking about the wingbox only – not the entire wing. The high-lift system would not be changed. Inboard of the ailerons, the outer moldline would remain the same. Changing to CFRP in the wingbox (i.e. spars and wing covers) would lead to significant weight savings, even when taking into account the span extension.

          • @OV-099

            Assuming your proposal is practicable, a fact about which I’m dubious but will grant you, consider the following:

            -bending weight increases cubically with span so a 42% delta right there. Say CFRP saves 10%, your delta is still 28%. If bending weight is 40% of wing weight, wings 40% of OEW, that’s a ~28,000lb OEW delta.

            -Wing area is going to have to increase as well with the extended tips. If it grows by 10%, and you’re not changing the high-lift system to CFRP, you’re going to have a +delta for area weight as well.

            -You’ll get some bending moment relief from the heavier wing but all in you’ll be lucky if only 20,000lbs heavier.

            -Induced drag is proportional to lift^2 (=weight in cruise) and inversely proportional wingspan^2. Your total induced drag reduction will be only 6-7% with weight gain of 20k lbs.

            -Parasitic drag is going to increase with the bigger wing, wiping out some of that induced drag gain.

            -If total drag delta is -5%, SFC delta -15%, fuel trip cost should be ~19%, maybe in the low 20’s for longer missions.

            -A -20% fuel delta, combined with +20% capital cost delta gives you only -5% CASM delta (you mentioned selling for $500mil+ to recover development cost).

            I just don’t see this working. The wing needs to be both longer and smaller to be optimized for the frame.

            If you do a completely new wing, engines, and empennage, you can build an ~85m wing with ~700m2 area. The deltas between area and bending weight even out, approximately. You save weight with CFRP. The new high lift device is forming a shorter aerofoil on takeoff, is CFRP, and is lighter for both reasons. Meanwhile MTOW goes below 1mil lbs, allowing you to save weight in smaller engines, empennage, and landing gear. The weight reductions in each component enable weight reductions in other components generally, such that you can cut up to 90,000lbs out of OEW. Induced drag decreases by 35-40%, parasitic drag decreases by ~10% due to smaller wing, empennage, and engines. Trip fuel decreases by ~40%. Smaller engines means lower capital and maintenance cost. Lower MTOW means lower landing/nav fees. COC decreases by ~30%.

            I like your idea but I just don’t think there’s any to get around building a new wing.

          • @Eric

            How much the bending moment increase will increase structural mass, due to a span extension, depends on the aspect ratio of the original wing. Low aspect ratio wings, like the A380 wing, will be much less affected than higher aspect ratio wings.

            Now, the wing curvature grows with the inverse of the square of the spar height. A lower relative thickness of the wing will produce more bending. An increase in thickness to chord ratio, therefore, both increases fuel volume – which is the reason why the A380 has a dry centre tank – and allows the same bending moment to be carried with reduced skin thickness – with an accompanying reduction in weight.

            The thickness-to-chord ratio of the A380 wing is significantly higher than on LCAs of the same generation. For example, the max thickness of the A380 aerofoil at the wing root is about 3.6m while the chord at the wing root is 17.7m. The thickness-to-chord ratio at the wing-root on the A380 is: 3.6/17.7 = 0.203 – or 20.3 percent. In comparison, the thickness-to-chord ratio at the wing-root on the 787 is 0.134 – or 13.4 percent.

            Also, you shouldn’t forget the comparison of Young’s modulus of aluminium vs. composite materials. It’s used to describe the elastic properties of objects when they are stretched or compressed. CFRP has a higher Young’s modulus than aluminium, but it’s elastic until rupture, so it can be stretched more and produces more bending at yield stress.

            So, a wing with a 95 m wingspan on an A380NG – featuring two 7.8 m folding wing tips – would have a wing area of about 890 m2 (i.e. about 45 m2 larger than on the current A380). Thus, the aspect ratio of the wing on an A380NG would be 10.14. In comparison, the wing aspect ratio of the wing on the 777X is 10.25 (i.e. assuming 71.6m wingspan and 500 m2 in wing area – NB: per Airbus definition of wing area).

            Now, here’s an interesting paper. The authors look at wings featuring aluminum alloys, CFRP composites, and an hypothetical composite based on carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers – and the aspect ratios looked at are much higher than what would be the case for an A380NG wing……

            High Aspect RatioWing Design: Optimal Aerostructural Tradeoffs for the Next Generation of Materials


          • @OVB-099

            Thicker wings make for lighter wings, yes, but that’s for comparison *between* aircraft. My off-hand calculation was analyzing what happens to the A380’s wing weight if you extend its span to 90m – didn’t realize you want to go to 95m.

            -You’re adding 15m of span but only 5% of area, so those wing extensions are going to be very small. Yout induced drag reduction will probably be smaller than the simple AR ratio would expect because your lift distribution won’t be elliptical and your “e” number will be worse.

            -Re A380 wing thickness, thanks. I was aware of this fact but not the exact numbers. Can you provide a reference? (thanks for your other references as well). Do you know the extent to which the A380 suffers a wave drag penalty from its extraordinary root chord thickness? Or did Airbus somehow resolve this problem by using area ruling around the wing body join? I am particularly interested because my modeling of an “A380X” is more favorable versus the 777X than versus the A380CEO. The implication is that the A380 is carrying some drag penalties for which I’m not accounting.

            -Thanks for the link to the CFRP paper. I don’t quite understand your point here though, if any (if you’re just spreading good papers, all the better). I granted a 10% weight reduction owing to CFRP in my counter-argument, not sure if you’re saying this paper establishes that the Young’s modulus analysis (of which I’m aware), makes that figure too small. I’m not sure either, seems a more complicated issue than I can handle.

            -Have you modeled to any degree the performance of your proposed A380NG? I have a spreadsheet for my A380X, would be happy to share – although it’s tough to decipher unless you built it… I don’t claim any high degree of accuracy for my modeling but, as with all abstract calculations, it’s good to have a tool that allows one to quickly quantify interrelationships like wings versus empennage, engines, etc.

            -Re those calling us “Lego Builders.” Like I said I claim no great expertise. For 30,000ft strategic considerations like whether investment in VLA’s is warranted, however, expertise is not dispositive. Airbus and Boeing had the world’s greatest collection of aviation brains and came to opposing conclusions circa 2000. Strategic sense and judgment are what matters and, in the end, the the judge is market outcomes. I happen to believe that the VLA market can be profitable for someone who builds a double decker with 20-30% better CASM than the competition. The technical parameters of that statement are sufficiently wide that it comes down to how you think our species will get around in the future and engineers aren’t necessarily better equipped to answer that question.

          • @Eric

            Let’s look at the planform of the A380 wing.

            The wing sweep at the quarter-line chord is 34.6 deg. The leading edge (LE) sweep at the outboard wing section is 33.5 deg outboard of the outer engines and 35.73 deg between the engines. The trailing edge sweep is about 23 deg, outboard of the outer engines and 21 deg between the inner and outer engines. The wing chord at the tip is 3.98m. The wing chord at the root (trapezoidal) is 15.3m. The taper ratio (trapezoidal) is 0.26

            In comparison, let’s look at the planform of the 787 wing.



            The wing sweep at the quarter-line chord is 32.2 deg. The leading edge is a straight-line and has a sweep of about 34.5 deg. The trailing edge outboard of the flaps has a sweep of about 23.5 deg. The wing chord at the tip is 1.69m. The wing chord at the root (trapezoidal) is 9.4m. The taper ratio (trapezoidal) is 0.18. The wing span is 60.1m, while the span excluding the winglets is 58.7m.

            Now, if we extended the wing span of the existing A380 wing and would aim for the same taper ratio as that of the 787 wing, the tip chord would be 2.34m (i.e. 0.18 x 15.3m), and the span excluding winglets would be around 93m. With winglets, the wing span would be about 95.2m.

            So, the wing extensions wouldn’t be “very small” – as you put it. In fact, an A380NG with a span extension to 95m would have an outboard wing that would be proportionally similar to the outboard wing on the 787.

            NB: The thickness of the A380 wing-root is about 3m – and not 3.6m.

            The thickness-to-chord ratio (gross) at the wing-root on the A380 is therefore: 3/17.67 = 0.17. The thickness-to-chord ratio (trapezoidal) is 3/15.3 = 0.196

            Like for like, the t/c at the root (trapezoidal) on the 787 wing, is 0.134 (i.e. t = 1.26m).

            However, the relative outer wing thickness (t/c) on the A380 wing (i.e. outboard of the inner engines), compares “favourably” to the 787 wing – it’s 0.087. In contrast, on the 787, the t/c of the wing at the thickness break is 0.094 and 0.088 at the tip.

            Now, I’m not talking about just adding two 7.8m long wing tip extensions to the A380 wing, without doing anything to the wing itself. The “new” 95m wing would have to be span-wise re-optimised, at least outboard of the inner engines. A slight increase in relative thickness in t/c outboard of the inner engines, would enable the 95m wing to have about the same relative outer wing thickness as that of the current 79.75m wing – and greater t/c will increase Cl. That could be done by re-profiling the wing skins on the outer wing and a re-tapering of the spars outboard of the outer engines – i.e. slightly increasing the thickness of the spars, span-wise, from the outer engines to the where the folding wing mechanism would be located on the “new” wing (at about 39.7m from the aircraft centre-line). The outboard wing (of the 95m wing) could also feature a slight change in twist. Again, this is going to require a full re-optimisation in order to at least maintain the elliptical lift distribution of the current wing.

            As for the last link, please do take a look at figures 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 (Skin thickness distributions for the conventional composite and CNT-based composite designs). In fig 7, for example, the advantage of aerostructural design optimisation over sequential optimisation is quite clear (i.e. metallic sequential vs. metallic Pareto). Also, in fig 11, what’s most interesting is the wing cover thickness for metallic, composite and carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers. NB: β = 0 corresponds to a MTOW (TOGW) minimisation, β = 1 corresponds to a fuel burn minimisation, and intermediate values represent a compromise between these two objectives.

            The use of more advanced materials enabled reductions in both objectives, resulting in a movement of the Pareto front towards the origin. The minimum fuel burn composite wing reduced the fuel burn by 7.7% when compared to the corresponding metallic wing, and the minimum TOGW composite wing reduced the TOGW by 8.4%. The corresponding gains for the CNT composite versus the conventional composite wing were more modest: 5.2 and 5.6%, respectively. This seems to be mostly due to the minimum structural thickness constraint, which was active for a large portion of the CNT wing. Since we use the same minimum thickness as the conventional composite, this minimum value requires further investigation.

            The A380NG with a 95m wingspan would probably use CFRP and not CNT. The latter could be viable, though, IMJ if EIS of an A380NG would be around 2025. What is clear though, is that the combination of 95m span of an evolved A380 wing, CFRP/CNT wings and engines that are 5 percent more efficient than the GE9X and 15 percent more efficient than the current A380 engines (e.g. same TSFC as RR UltraFan engines), would lead to an A380-800NG having at least 30 percent lower trip fuel burn than the current A380-800 – and I’m not even talking about a stretch. 🙂

          • @OVB-099

            Ok I agree with the 30% fuel reduction claim if what you propose is possible. When I have ideas like this I enjoy being challenged, so that’s the spirit in which I intend my remarks (you’d probably guess)…

            -At 95m, you’re taking a ~40,000 OEW hit – you can still be 30% more fuel efficient with that hit at 11 AR. But, as the paper points out, there’s a tradeoff between fuel efficiency and capital cost. This A380NG would cost ~10% more to manufacture between higher empty weight and higher weight per pound (CFRP).

            -You’re going to have a problem with the join between the CFRP outer wing boxes and the aluminum high lift devices. This is why Boeing is staying with an Al centre wing box on 777X. This would create both a weight penalty and capital cost penalty. I didn’t factor that in my model.

            -MLW for the A380NG is going to increase, which will increase fees and may require stronger landing gear.

            -To recover even a low (~$2bn) initial investment, Airbus needs to sell this plane for at least 15% more than CEO, probably 20%. At 20% capital cost delta and -30% fuel delta, DOC delta is still only -5%.

            -perhaps you can add -DOC delta by taking a lower MTOW, leading to smaller engines and lower capital and maintenance cost.

            -I don’t believe the paper’s claims, btw, that their optimization methodology would yield such great results. A and B are pretty sophisticated and aren’t leaving billions on the table for associate professors to notice. I’m sure they use what amounts to a functional Pareto methodology – weighing customer preference for fuel burn versus capital cost improvements.

          • @Eric

            Mainly using the square cube law to predict increased structural weight of the wing does not lead to a realistic weight estimate. I’ve already been talking about slightly increasing t/c along the lengthened chord of the outer wing, creating a slightly deeper, structural box – in order to strengthen the wing. BTW, increasing size also confers some advantage in the Reynolds number, which will lead to less drag per square meter of area.

            According to Airbus, they achieved a 22 percent reduction in the wing root bending moment through multi-disciplinary working in aerodynamics, loads, structures and systems. The re-optimized 95m wing on an A380NG would obviously undergo the same treatment.

            Source: Page 50

            Now, I’m not saying that the re-optimised wing could also achieve a full 22 percent reduction in the wing root bending moment over the current wing. However, in order just to illustrate what a 22 percent reduction in the bending moment would lead to; instead of having a bending load increase of 95^2/80^2 = 1.41 – on the 95m wing; the bending loads would be reduced by – 0.78 x 1.41 = 1.1.

            As for calculating the increase in structural weight, we’d want to “convert” the current metal wing into either a CFRP or a CNT wing platform, before increasing span. The outer wing box weighs about 40 tonnes. The centre wing box has a weight of 11.3 tonnes. It’s already 40 percent composite by weight – so, we wouldn’t change much, or anything there (NB: A350 centre wing box CFRP content around 50 percent)

            Let’s assume that, weight-wise, the bending material upper-surface/lower-surface is around 75 percent of the primary structure: ¾ x 40 = 30 tonnes. Being relatively conservative, weight reduction would be 25 percent on the CFRP wing and 35 percent on the CNT wing. The conductivity of carbon nanotubes is not taken into consideration. CNT conductivity would help provide protection against lightning strikes – and at the same time further reducing weight compared to the copper mesh used on the 787 and A350. Therefore, outer wing (40 tonnes x 2) + centre wing box (11.3 tonnes) = 91 tonnes. Then, we have the CFRP-wing which would providea 25 percent weight reduction per wing; or 7.5 tonnes. The CNT-wing would have a 35 percent weight reduction tonne reduction per wing weight; or 10.5 tonnes.

            Thus, the CFRP 80m wing-box would have a weight of : 90 – (7.5 x 2) = 75 tonnes, and the CNT 80 m wing-box: 90 – 10.5 x 2 = 69 tonnes. Now, the weight increase of the 95m CFRP/CNT wing over the “converted” 80m CFRP/CNT wing, are: CFRP 95m wing – 75 tonnes x (95^3/80^3) = 125 tonnes; CNT 95m wing – 69 x (95^3/80^3) = 115. 5 tonnes. So, when you base the calculation solely on the square-cube law, the increase in wing structural weight is 35 tonnes for the CFRP wing and 25 tonnes for the CNT wing.

            Now, if the bending load moment were to be reduced to 1.1; or 1.05^2 x (moment-load-of-the-current-wing) – thanks to a 22 percent reduction in load through multi-disciplinary working in aerodynamics, loads, structures and systems – the increased structural weight for the 95m CFRP/CNT-wings would be reduced to: (1.05^3 x 75) tonnes and (1.05^3 x 69) tonnes; or a total of 86.8 tonnes for the 95m CFRP-wing and 79.9 tonnes for the CNT-wing.

            As for costs, the primary driver to reduce costs of composites in primary structure will be through the increased use of automation.


            Quote: “You’re going to have a problem with the join between the CFRP outer wing boxes and the aluminum high lift devices.”

            I’m not sure what you mean about that. In fact, the leading and trailing edge on the outer wing (i.e. outboard of the inner engines), are not made from aluminium. Also, the leading and trailing edges of the high-lift system on the composite A350-wings, are attached to the machined aluminium trailing edge wing ribs.


            As for pricing, an 85m long A380-1000 (-/1100) which would equal 2 x 777-9X in size, but which would have a massively lower fuel consumption, should IMO be priced accordingly – at least, $650 million.

            As for the paper in question; once again please do take a look at Figure 11: Skin thickness distributions for the conventional composite and CNT-based composite designs. Look at the panel thickness (mm) for the metallic, composite and CNT wings. The CFRP panel thickness is slightly greater than for the metallic wing, but the panel thickness of the CNT is dramatically lower.

            Here are two A380-related articles from Flight International from 2003 and 2005. Quite a lot of information on wing-design reasoning.



  14. You’re almost forced into not believing anything Airbus says regarding the A380. JL says they have buyers for the ex Skymark A380’s. Etc. Personally I think that they’re still in stung mode from the rejection of UA and now TK.

    • It would seem that way. I think Airbus are in a bind with the A380. You have one very keen – and important – customer. You have a few “take it or leave it” customers. The rest are completely uninterested. So there’s a bit of a case for doing something, but not that compelling. If Turkish or UA were to say, not interested in the A380 as is, but could be in the NEO – that might change the conversation.

        • My apologies, I did not read the full opening statement and missed both the Turkish issuance as well as the MOM.

          note to self: read the whole thing before replaying.

          It does make an interesting note that frequency seems to be far more important than larger aircraft.

          Does not bode well for A380 sales

          • What I deducted from the interview was that the new airport in Istanbul is going to have a total of 6 runways and 165 gates, at its max. Talk about going all in!!! Also was that the TK CEO needed 2000 flights per day, 800 more than what TK flies right now. With around 170 aircraft on order right now, it sounds ambitious but doable.

            By TK dismissing the A380, I could possibly see room for a 779 order in the future since the closest thing to a 748 and the A380 is the 779 and they were already interested in a widebody purchase.

  15. I think the big question in Boeing headquaters is not if there is a MoM market or feasible technology, but if they can ignore the MAX/NEO situation. Just sales totals hide a lot.

    Engineers came up with the SonicCruiser but ended up with the carbon 330. Later on the NSA was ready for launch and they ended up with the MAX. Maybe this time Boeing looks at a MoM but ends up with a carbon A321..


    • I seriously doubt that the Sonic Cruiser evolved into the 787 since the Sonic Cruiser had rear mounted engines and canards near the cockpit. For the record, when the Sonic Cruiser was scrapped, it technology was implemented into the 787, which was more of a conventional design.

      I won’t even touch the “Carbon 330”, unless your reference is to the very 1st version of the A350, non XWB.

      The situation going on with MAX and the NEO is that the A320 NEO is a tad less efficient than the MAX-8 but the A321 NEO is miles ahead of the MAX -9.

      “Just sales totals hide a lot.” But the NEO has more sales than the MAX so it’s almost like who’s hiding what? An even better question is who’s on first??

      The NSA was the next product launch until AA forced it’s hand with its blockbuster NB order which was comprised of both NEO and MAX models.

      “Maybe this time Boeing looks at a MoM but ends up with a carbon A321..”

      While the design of the MOM will NOT be that of the Sonic Cruiser, it also won’t mimic the A321 NEO. With a backlog so large, Airbus is committed to the program for a while. With the guessing of the A380 NEO, A320 NEO Engine Delays, A330 NEO design/production, A400m software issues and the A350 ramp up, Airbus will be busy for the foreseeable future. In no way is that an indictment that they can’t produce a MOM product but it’d be hard. Equally both OEM’s have large projects going on so it goes both ways.

      (And please, no pictures of A322’s, A323’s A324’s or any other make believe aircraft) Thanks = :~)

      • “AA forced” is a feel good fairytale. It is Airbus who forced Boeing into 737 Max. They were about to lose the whole American order to the NEO and in panick mode “sold” AA a plane that was not even launched and lacked definitive specs at the time. One only wonders what AA paid for such a plane…

        • Incorrect. Airbus launched the NEO in Nov 2010. AA made the split order order in January 2013. Yes Boeing, out of haste brought forth a max plane that was premature and had little to no specs but they launched it out of fear of losing such a large order. Airbus already made tons of headway (sales) in between THE NEO and MAX launch. Approximately 2 years worth.

        • @Strato
          “They were about to lose the whole American order to the NEO and in panick mode “sold” AA a plane that was not even launched and lacked definitive specs at the time.

          That’s it basically.

          November 30, 2011
          American signed commitments for 260 Airbus A320 jets and 200 of Boeing’s 737s this summer to refresh its aging fleet. Among them were the A320neo and the 737 MAX.

          The Airbus deal is a firm order, as is Boeing’s contract for 100 of its current 737s, while the agreement for the 737 MAX is provisional. The deal hadn’t been completed because Boeing is still finalizing adjustments to the plane, which requires structural changes because its engines will be larger than those on the current 737.


      • “The situation going on with MAX and the NEO is that the A320 NEO is a tad less efficient than the MAX-8 but the A321 NEO is miles ahead of the MAX -9.”

        The A320ceo is a tad less efficient than the B737-800, and only if the airline sells all those extra seats. Even then, its marginal.

        Will a P&W A320ceo be more efficient in both trip costs and CASM than the B737-8max? Right now, who knows? Probably nobody.

        Boeing needs to be careful it doesn’t become marginalised in the narrowbody sector around the 2020-2025 timeframe between the A320 on one side and the CS300/CS500 (/CS700?) on the other.

        Particularly if there is an order bubble right now that doesn’t so much burst as deflate a bit.

  16. I get exercised about the continued need to compare sales of one model to a competitor. Yes they must compete but it is always going to be the case that some of the product lines will be at the end of their lifecycle, it is the OEMs task to ensure they are are always bringing in new models at the introductory phase.

    Does Boeing have to worry about relative sales of MAX to NEO? In my opinion no, Boeing will be focusing on the very healthy unit profits in a market they could only have dreamed of 10 years ago. Their concern must be the time slot 2020-2030 where their position could potentially erode due to competition (ms21, cseries,c919) and the world economy which could cut either way.

    If they bet on the MAX being ‘good enough’they could easily be proven correct and this would allow a significant delay in development helping cash flow, to fully amortise the line costs and the potential to hit the a320 with a true and significantly better product. Sufficiently significant to be a compelling choice in spite of substantially higher CAPEX per unit

    • Sowerbox:

      You are missing out on a key aspect, is Boeing getting the price they want and need for the 737MAX?

      I don’t think so. THey had to cut prices to get back into the game and that costs the.

      So for that line of aircraft they are not getting what Airbus is for the A320s, let alone A321.

      Across the product line it should be a split for Boeing on the upper end but they compromised hugely to get 787 sales at bargain prices (you know its low when tour companies buy your aircraft) A lot of cheap commitments and Qantas may take them up on those they have.

      So, between the stock buy back shill thing and not getting return on 787 for foreseeable future as well as the 777 production losses Boeing is going to be hurting. At some point the piper gets paid, you cant run the shell game forever.

      They won’t go down the tubes as it were but at some point its going to be messy financially .

      • Transworld

        I am not privy to the pricing but have not picked up any major indication of discount pricing for the MAX beyond the normal discounts that both OEMs are forced into to clinch the deal. I bow to your wider knowledge on that.

        At the same time they must still be generating substantial cash from each unit shipped. I fully agree that they are haemorraghing cash on the dream (sic) liner but generating solid cash and profit on the triple 7.

        I was focusing on the uncertainty regarding 2020 onwards and based on robust demand it may make sense to accept that the MAX will be sufficient to hold up an end whilst money is being spent on other projects.

        Can you substantiate a320 vs 8 discounts as I understood the 8 was hitting the sweet point. The MAX is not a winner but is also not necessarily a loser if the backlogs we see continue into the medium term, a big if


        • I don’t have links, maybe Scott can weigh in, they lost some key customers (or split orders) and then they started getting some back.

          Reports came out from people that operated both types (current mfg) that the fuel use was so close that it was fractions of a percent one day and the other way the next and a wash (Boeing claimed they were many percentage points better)

          Boeing touted their customer base of which Airbus took away or split.

          Boeing had to make a lot more changes on the 737MAX to keep it even close to competitive vs the A32NEO and those all cost.

          So from what I read and what it looks like Boeing is no longer in the drivers seat on pricing and having to scramble to maintain.

          Ditto on the 777 as they try to fill the order books those discounts kick in.

          Its not so much the 737MAX is a looser, but overall if you have to discount and it cost a lot more to make the aircraft you make less money.

          I think that’s reflected in the short term financial shenanigans they are using to maintain stock prices.

          I think BCA is making the best of a really bad set of decisions made for them by Chicago.

          The mistake is not this next generation, it was made after the 300/400/500 when they should have come out with an all new aircraft with two engine choices instead of the 700/800/900

  17. “Does Boeing have to worry about relative sales of MAX to NEO? In my opinion no”

    Where’s the pop-corn.. http://www.pdxlight.com/neomax.htm
    – To many undisclosed MAX customers for too long
    – No cargo / pallet capability
    – No A321 competitor
    – No 737-700 sales
    – Engines limited in efficiency by aircraft dimensions (BPR).
    – No engine choice
    – Some new technology on board, and some very old too.

    Boeing can build great aircraft, but unfortunately lately they seem to have developed a preference for discovering market developments the hard way.

    McNerney, Feb 2011.
    “We’re not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias … is to move to a newer airplane, an all-new airplane, at the end of the decade, beginning of the next decade. It’s our judgment that our customers will wait for us.”

    Poor judgement, they just didn’t listen to DL, AA, SW.

    • Was the MAX a brilliant strategic business move? Yes.
      Will the NEO have a longer future than the MAX? Yes.
      What is the shelf life of the MAX before Boeing needs to deliver a new single aisle? That is debatable, somewhere between 12 and 18 years, depending on how engines and unknown unknowns play out.

      Even if containers are available, as archaic as loose bags seem to be, that still seems to be the most efficient method. Will something better, faster, or automated be used in ten years, or still people stacking bags in the cargo hold?

      • “Was the MAX a brilliant strategic business move? Yes.”

        No, it was a reaction to others in the market. Essentially Boeing didn’t have a choice in 2011.

        “What is the shelf life of the MAX before Boeing needs to deliver a new single aisle? That is debatable, somewhere between 12 and 18 years”

        Good question. I’d say by 2025 Boeing will have to either have launched or be in the final preparations for a new single aisle launch.

        Their competitors are better in pretty much all areas. If Airbus decide to plug the A319 and A320 up 1 to nominal capacities of 140 and 160 (2-class) then the entire 737max line is competitively dead. Airbus may decide to do this early 2020s when production slots are becoming available and performance becomes even more important (slot availability being less of an issue).

        “Will something better, faster, or automated be used in ten years, or still people stacking bags in the cargo hold?”

        You are forgetting about non passenger related cargo.

  18. I think what Bergier says about the MOM is ironic seeing as that is the same sort of issue with the A380.

    The A321LR is not a true 757 replacement either. Good slot yes, but again nibbling at the edges.

    But it really revolves around what could Boeing do with an all new fuselage and wing in the single aisle as far as efficiency gain? (with two engine choices). And that seems to be the need not the so called MOM

    And frankly I don’t see any break through technologies that changes between now and whenever (other than out of auto clave curing) so….

    • The next big technology in (commercial) aerospace is Carbon NanoFibre infused resin for composites.

      Does wonders for crack growth resistance, manufacturability due to more isotropic CTE, reduction in impact damage sensitivity (delams) and marginal improvements in Fty/Ftu.

      [Its already seeing uses in the military scene, so expect it next decade.]

      • What is isotropic CTE?Also if you don’t mind answering, why is infusion so grea? I know autoclaves are expensive, but it doesn’t seem that much in the overall scheme of things

  19. I think Airbus will announce an A320 production bump soon, Mobile will come on line and w’ll see The PW powered A321NEO roll-out. NB Marketshare can go over 60% next week.

    An NSA can’t wait for 2030, as Boeing hopes/ says. Reducing options and timeschedules in Chicago.

  20. That’s the thing. I can’t see the LR being the show stopper it’s marketed to be. Airbus is going to pride themselves with the LR and the NEO as the savior to the 320 and the 737 until the very end, shunning a new nsa project. By doing so this leaves Boeing a window to create the MOM. Thing is the market wants beyond that(737/320). What’s left after the MAXS and the NEOS of the world show their age?? Let’s not dismiss the fact that before there was a max, there was a nsa brewing, AA just couldn’t wait for it.

    • Let’s assume the A320 holds out 5-10 yrs longer then the MAX and pick it up from there. It ain’t so unrealistic.

  21. What is the “Middle of the Market” (MoM) aircraft?
    Where is the middle of the market? 15 B787 for $200 million or 50 B737 $100 million?

    So the center of the market is more to the smaller aircraft than to the bigger. A 757 replacement aircraft is nowhere near any big market. It will always be a niche aircraft.

    A real MoM aircraft for Boeing would be a 737 replacement with more range due to better engines and wings. Folding wing tips would be nice for the ultra long range version to still fit inside category C.

    “Middle of the Market” aircraft is a feel good designation for a future aircraft to ease the stock market at a time Boeing has no real answer to Airbus for the A321.

    The term MoM is not so new: http://www.occonnect.com/eltoro/archives/arch1.cgi?noframes%3Bread=43214

    I guess there will always be a gap between single aisle at 6 abreast and twin aisle with at least 8 or 9 abreast. For 7 abreast just one seat is added for one aisle. At 8 abreast you gain 2 seats for an additional aisle and LD3.

  22. Very interesting comments here.Despite the efforts of the enthusiastic Lego builders,the A380 is a dead man walking isn’t it?As a European taxpayer and aviation enthusiast it pains me to come to this conclusion.A few PIPs ,maybe a mild re-engine and a last reorder for emirates and a few for others. The only other alternative is a massive rebuild and I don’t think the market is coming in its direction fast enough.Airbus already has plenty on its plate over the next 15 years A350-1100,A320&A330 replacements.Apart from the development pipeline already being fairly full it would be a huge risk.Yes,my thinking has shifted owing to the collective comments of the Leehamer’s and I hope to be proved wrong in about 10years time.

  23. Stop press!
    Airbus management seems make its decisions after reading the collective wisdom of Leehamnews too! Probably just a coincidence………

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