Pontifications: A380neo? Try A380TXWB. Dubai Air Show and other Odds and Ends

A380 Trent XWB

Click on image to enlarge. Airbus photo.

Nov. 9, 2015, (c) Leeham Co. Airbus last week launched its A380 flying test bed with the A350-1000’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB 97,000 lb engine placed in the number two position.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the photo was that if Airbus put three more engines on it, you’d have the A380neo. Or maybe call it the A380TXWB. Done and dusted, as they say in England.

Of course I’m being facetious. The engines are too much thrust for the A380. But it’s hard to tell from the picture that the engine is out of place.

This week is the Dubai Air Show. There had been expectations in many quarters that Airbus would launch the A380neo this week, with an order from Emirates Airline, its booster. But it is not to be. Airbus isn’t ready and Emirates earlier said no decision would be forthcoming until next year. Neither would Emirates have its decision on a major twin-aisle order between the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 787-10.

Boeing’s chances to win the twin-jet deal may have taken a turn for the worse. According to a Reuters article, Boeing won’t make any changes to upgrade the 787-10 to overcome concerns of Tim Clark, the president and COO of Emirates, about the 787-10’s performance out of the hot desert environment. LNC had a couple of reports earlier this year about the competition here and here. The latter specifically analyzes the hot climate issue.

We don’t expect much in the way of major orders at the Dubai Air Show. Airbus tamped down expectations and so has Boeing.

Trudeau appears to scotch a CSeries deal

The newly elected premier of Canada, Justin Trudeau, appears to have killed a $2.3bn order for Bombardier, according to The Toronto Globe and Mail.

Justin Trudeau. Photo via Google images.

Porter Airlines placed a conditional order for up to 30 CSeries, conditional on the Toronto, Ontario and federal governments changing policy and allowing commercial jets at the downtown Billy Bishop Airport. Trudeau, who hasn’t even taken office yet, says no.

Weirdly, the federal government is considering a request for $1bn in financial aid to Bombardier.

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

Production wars

We made this forecast in February 2015. Click on image to enlarge.

Way back in the summer of 2013, we predicted production wars were coming between Airbus and Boeing. Airbus has now said it will take A320 production to 60/mo by mid-2019. Boeing, which previously announced its 737 rate would go to 52/mo by 2018, it almost sure to follow.

Suppliers and aerospace analysts predictably worried that supply will exceed demand. But Airbus has all year been showing a chart that its backlog by 2020 exceeds a production rate of 60. Boeing hasn’t shown a similar chart that I’ve seen, but Market Intelligence indicates that Boeing has been losing sales for the lack of production slots. Both companies have backlogs that extend beyond 2020.

Some believe that demand will collapse before Boeing even takes production to 52/mo. Unless there is a major geopolitical event of some kind, or a global depression, I don’t agree. Will there be dips? Sure. But with a backlog as big as it is, I don’t expect an ordinary dip to be meaningful.


76 Comments on “Pontifications: A380neo? Try A380TXWB. Dubai Air Show and other Odds and Ends

  1. A A320 NEO saves ~1 million EUR in fuel cost per year. Not enough to justify a new aircraft if money is scarce. I think the most important question is if airlines will continue to have access to easy and affordable finance. If concerns regarding the long-term value of aircraft grow, lessors will have difficulties getting re-financed. If the bubble pops, the lessor companies and private aircraft funds will be hit hardest. The latter is the preferred way of many airlines to finance their aircraft (sale and lease back).

    • Schorsch, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Accelerated replacement orders have arisen in recent years due to two fundamental factors.

      First access to near free money to companies and lessors alike due to the ridiculously low base rates around the world. This makes financing new aircraft very cheap.

      Second the high fuel price was making the running costs high in relation to the purchase price. A more efficient aircraft could potentially reduce overall cost base by more than 10%.

      We have seen the latter benefit fall in the past couple of years but the fundamental issue is cheap financing. When that goes North then I predict an immediate stalling of aircraft orders and mass cancellations amongst the more flaky airlines.

      In summary this unprecedented sales boom will stall at some stage but given all governments are wedded to free money and the promotion of economic growth it could continue for some time yet. As we all know the longer it takes the harder the landing :-). I am changing my name to ‘voiceofdoom’

  2. I just want to clarify that the new Liberal Party Prime Minister of Canada – Justin Trudeau – has not killed the $2.3 Billion C Series order from Porter.

    Local Toronto Liberal MP (member of Parliament) – Adam Vaughan – has been a long time opponent of expanding the Toronto Island Airport and allowing the introduction of “jets”. On election night Vaughan proclaimed that expansion of the Island Airport – and hence introduction of jets – was “officially dead”.

    Since election night some significant things have happened. Adam Vaughan was not appointed to sit in Cabinet (he is a “back bencher”). The decision about allowing jets will now fall with the new Transportation Minister – Marc Garneau. Garneau is a former Astronaut and a Montreal member of Parliament. Of course Montreal is home to Bombardier! The Liberal Party did way better than expected in Quebec gaining 40 seats in Parliament. I cannot imagine them taken action that would hurt the province of Quebec’s most important employer.

    After being sworn in as Minister of Transport Marc Garneau gave an interview and was asked about expansion of the Island Airport. You can see the interview at the below link (beginning at 3:30). It is clear from Garneau’s comments that the Porter C Series proposal is far from dead!


      The clip regarding Island Airport expansion begins at 3:20 Prior to this Transport Minister Garneau is asked about providing financial assistance to Bombardier which he does not rule out.

      • Have they done a test flight into this airport just to show the remarkable quietness ?
        Would it be likely that Air Canada would have to order the Cseries as well to compete with Porter ? They still have 25 E jets they are left with in the recent deal with new orders with Boeing. They dont seem to be wanted but offloading will hit the book values.

        • I don’t believe they can even do a flight test at YTZ because of the jet ban.

          Of course, proving that the CSeries is quieter than the Q400s now being used is irrelevant. The anti-airport nutters in downtown Toronto won’t be satisfied until the airport is gone for good.

          • Mayor Daly sent in the bulldozers to Chicago’s waterfront Meigs Field, even while some planes were still parked overnight !
            But they had road access while Toronto’s airfield is an island

          • Yes, but Mayor Tory is actually supportive of the island airport expansion. It’s the federal representative who’s against it, and he doesn’t have much real influence.

            As someone who lives in a regional centre and has to fly into Toronto to get anywhere else, I strongly support the expansion. Porter’s service is also great compared to Air Canada’s regional arm.

            Incidentally, there was a CS100 at YQT on Sunday when I passed through, and I get to watch it take off from the terminal. It’s a beautiful plane, and incredibly silent compared to the Q400 I flew in on. You couldn’t even hear the engines from inside the terminal. Very impressive!

        • When the C Series was presented to the Toronto media, a couple of months ago, there was a comparative flyby of the Q400 and CS100 at Downsview airport.

          The CS100 also made a low pass over Billy Bishop Airport.

          Hear it landing at Downsview:


          For the No Jets opponents, it’s no longer about noise. The C Series is quieter than the Q400. They are against any further development of Billy Bishop Airport.

        • Air Canada has said in the past that if Porter operates CSeries from Billy Bishop they would do likewise.

          As for demonstrating how quiet the CS-100 is – Porter and Bombardier passed up a golden opportunity this past summer. The Canadian National Airshow is held on the Toronto waterfront at the end of August for four days. Bombardier should have participated in the airshow but they didn’t. As noted by Bernard below they did a fly past over Billy Bishop last month but it was not advertised in advanced.

          • I think the issue for the residents is that jet service will lead to a big increase in flight numbers. I dont know the runway limitations ( the actual rated distance , not the paved length from Wikipedia), but optimal service by C series requires extra runway length, so you could be able to reach destinations on Canada’s west coast ?
            Then there is still the access issues for passengers and baggage, there is supposed to be a pedestrian tunnel open in 2015? to supplant the ferry.

  3. I think this was one of the undisclosed orders, so no new net orders.

    • Perception is King again 🙁 A good part of the press voluntarily takes a blind eye, paid for by a good seat & catering at the pavilion, overseeing the crowd. Skipping the context isn’t lying.

      Opinion leaders like Scott, Bjorn and Jon O. are taken more seriously, you can’t embed them.

      • Actually the article you linked to stated…
        “While Boeing Co. appeared to break the order drought with a deal to supply 75 of its 737 single-aisle airliners to India’s Jet Airways India Ltd., it emerged that the $8 billion contract had been on the U.S. manufacturer’s books for the best part of two years, with the buyer undisclosed.”

        Maybe they updated the article after you posted.

        • The article was retitled and re-written under same link! Apparently somebody checked it out or got questions! Next he/she lashes out on Airbus, instead of calling out the ones that nicked her/him. 😀 😀

  4. Regarding the Trent xwb97 on-board the A380…. I thought the same. Here’s a NEO… and i searched the trust of the 900 etc.

    Would the Trent xwb84 for the a350-900 or the trent 7000 for the a330neo kinda sort the job out to a large degree.

    By that I mean… make the a380neo ‘better’ by using existing technology but perhaps not ‘totally’ optimized – remembering the low volume sales for the a380.

    Advantages, beyond the obvious ROI on not developing a whole new engine, would be commonality across the a330neo/a380neo or a350/a380neo, allowing for easier swaps and spares, as well as cross selling advantages for Airbus. RR would be a happy bunny if it can leverage existing engines and add them onto a new product.

    Disadvantage: not a fully optimized improvement but then again… what is ‘fully optimized’. there are always trade-offs.

    Improve some aerodynamics and wing-tip treatments, and then await the RR-Ultra engines in the later 2020s. Strip out the interior and truly look at the floor space as it’s a350’d in styling.

    I think Airbus should wait for a significant jump in engine tech before doing a true ‘neo and stretch’, and see where the market is then. Emirates should be good with that… right?

  5. Why would Airbus want to put TXWB under the wing of the A380? Wouldn’t the Trent 7000 be much better suited: lighter and better suited thrust.

    • The Trent 7000 is a little bit too “weak” for the A380NEO especially if a stretched version is considered. The Trent 7000 is about 70 000lbf thrust while the Trent 900 is about 80 000lbf thrust.

  6. As for the A380NEO, no market for the frame makes the business case past EK worth any engine being installed on any variant. Now, when the world see 60 per month of 737s and A320s any A380 will become important. No way all of those frames can fly into to today’s netowork with major conjestion. At some point the 737s, 787, 777ER, 777-8, 777-9, A320, A330NEOs, and A350-9, and A350-1000, and A350-1100s will make an A380 worth considering.

    No way the 737 could be losing sales because of lack of slots? No customer would EVERY want that OLD dateed frame? Say it is not so Scott? Guess you’re just reporting the facts?

    • I think there is pretty room for the A350/777X before that a A380 will be worth considering. The A350/777X are much more convenient and don’t require airport upgrading like a A380.

    • It does seem odd that Airbus is not full up and then some and Boeing with fewer sales doesn’t have slots.

      There some tricky math in here someplace!

  7. The most interesting – and perhaps significant – 380 news was for the Emirates “high density but still comfortable” 600 plus seater. The airline found a satisfying alternative to the questionable Airbus method of increasing economy seating, one more suited to most long-distance routes.

    • The new configuation replaced First and a part of K by xxx economy seats. Same pitches, seats etc. Some seem to think something significant happened. Not. Simply remixing the class seatcounts for better revenue in some markets.

  8. With all the discussion about the A380 NEO. I think there are two things, really, to say about A380 marketing:

    1. Any NEO program will be funded (or not) entirely by Emirates. Other airlines will probably order it, but only Emirates is likely to pre-order enough copies to make the numbers stack up. Emirates funding for NEO’ed planes and engines may come from other airplane models, eg A350’s with RR engines – possibly explaining Emirate’s delay on the choice of that category of plane.

    2. The A380 only works if you love the size.You want to be as ruthless on maximizing space as you would with any other plane, such as the 777. Stuff as many passengers as you can into it and undercut everyone else on price. It would only take two or three airlines to do that and the A380’s fortunes would be transformed, as other airlines scramble to compete. Unfortunately for Airbus only Emirates so far has partly cottoned onto this idea. For the same reason the A380 needs to be stretched. You could get an extra 100 seats on it, essentially for free

    • Malaysia says they can’t fill their up enough to make money

      Offering more seats sure would not help that issue!

      • That’s why i believe an A380 enhanced is better. How this version will look like.
        1.Wider cabin by 9 inches to accomodate to accomodate 11 abreast more comfortably
        2.Engine alliance and rolls royce could give an upgrade of 2.5 and 2.7 percent respectively
        3. Adding winglets and replacing the wing stringers spars and cover with CFRP would save about 1.5 tonnes
        4.Weight increase to 590-600 tonnes

        • Steve,

          I am amazed, blithely making the cabin 9 inches wider, all new wing, what’s not to like.

          Can you say all new airplane ? sure you can.

          they can’t sell the one they have and ….. hnmmm

          • With the wing changes i propose are the same aibus did on the a330neo minus the retwist flap 1 optimisation and upper belly fairing. For the cabin it is the same thing boeing has done on the 777X

      • As well as loving the size of the A380, the trick is not to worry about frequency. Run the A380 only as often as you can fill it up. Here’s how it works:

        Imagine two airlines, A and B competing on a route. Each of them runs one 777 a day on the route. Business class is the main profit center for both airlines. Business class passengers like frequency.

        Airline A substitutes a stretched, efficiently packed A380 NEO for their 777. As it has almost twice as many seats, they run it every other day. CASM costs are about 30% less than the 777.

        Airline A starts with economy class passengers and offers a discount, not of 30%, but say 15%. Economy passengers are price sensitive and don’t care about frequency. Airline A gets almost all the economy passengers on that route. With the higher margins (they are keeping the other 15%), economy now becomes the main profit center for Airline A.

        Airline A could leave the bulk of the business class passengers to Airline B, but it doesn’t want to. Margins on business class are high enough that Airline A could offer a 40-50% discount over Airline B. Business class passengers are not price sensitive, but getting their flight at half price would be enough to make quite a lot of them stop worrying about frequency. Business class seats are cheap enough on Airline A that it can get people who would otherwise fly economy to upgrade.

        Airline A has destroyed Airline B on that route, thanks to its use of the A380. Airlines are conservative beasts. They have all stuck to the business model that they know to make work: airplanes that are no bigger than they need be, run on frequency with business class as the profit center. The moment a couple of of airlines move to a model of airplanes that are built to move the most people possible, as efficiently as possible, with economy as the profit center, their current business model will no longer compete. Only Emirates is somewhat following that model.

        That’s why I say the A380 is the disruptive technology that hasn’t disrupted yet.

    • I dunno on 2.

      I’ve been to a few international airports watching the 600 strong line of people trying to check their suitcases all at the same time, overflowing gate areas and swamping baggage claim and customs.

      I have no interest in saving $50 flying NY-LA if it means being involved in that kind of goat rope. gimme a 737 or A320 all day every day.

  9. Interesting info on a larger A350-1000 derivative.

    Is it me, or is Boeing sales chief John Wojick sticking his head in the sand?

    John Wojick: “How can their ‘clean-sheet’ airplane compete with the most successful wide body ever.”

    Hmm, didn’t we see this kind of hubris at the Paris Air Show in 2011, when Boeing managers apparently tried to convince themselves (and others) that the A320NEO “was only catching up to their 737NG”.

    More hubris from John Wojick: “Our airplanes fly higher, faster and further and do it more efficiently … and that will be true for the 777-9 versus anything they develop.”

    Hmm, does the 777 and 787 fly higher and faster than the A350? I thought that the 777 typically cruise at Mach 0.84, while the cruising airspeed for both the 787 and A350 is Mach 0.85. Also, the 747-8 might cruise slightly faster than the A380, but the latter reaches cruising altitude much faster, and flies further.

    AIRSHOW-Airbus eyes decision soon on bigger A350 jet

    Airbus sales chief John Leahy told Reuters the European planemaker planned to decide within “a couple of months” whether there was a market for an addition to its A350 family of long-range planes capable of leapfrogging the 406-seat 777-9, the first member of the 777X family to be developed.

    Leahy was speaking at the Dubai Airshow where delegates were attempting to gauge Airbus’s response after Boeing launched its 777X with record orders at the previous 2013 event.

    Airbus’s largest twin-engined model now is the 369-seat A350-100, which was designed to oust the 365-seat Boeing 777-300ER from a lucrative spot in the market.

    Asked in an interview whether Airbus would make a bigger A350, Leahy said: “We don’t know yet. If I had to bet, the larger part of the market will stay around the A350-1000 or 777-300ER size category.

    “I think in the next couple of months we will know if we want to do something.”

    Airbus is not yet offering a specific design to airlines, but anything that it does decide to build would go beyond a mere defensive response to the 777X, he said.

    “It would be sitting right on top of them with similar range and payload and substantially lower seat-mile costs,” he said, referring to a key barometer for jetliner efficiency.

    “But before putting our resources into that, we have got to determine if that is a big enough market. If the market (for) 40-50 more seats is large enough, we don’t necessarily want to give that whole thing to Boeing.”

    He said any new plane would have “double-digit better” operating costs per seat than Boeing’s in percentage terms.

    “How can their ‘clean-sheet’ airplane compete with the most successful wide body ever,” said Boeing sales chief John Wojick.

    “Our airplanes fly higher, faster and further and do it more efficiently … and that will be true for the 777-9 versus anything they develop,” he told Reuters in an interview.

    Boeing has more than 300 orders for 777X jets.

    Its launch was widely seen as clipping the wings of the A350, which was partly aimed at ending a monopoly enjoyed by Boeing at the very top end of the twin-engine jetliner market.

    Industry sources have said Airbus is studying adding a jet with more than 400 seats that would be powered by the next generation of Rolls-Royce engines.

    However, in a sign that any new plane would need to be carefully marketed to avoid upstaging the existing A350-1000, Leahy denied reports it would be called ‘A350-1100’.

    “There is nothing called the A350-1100 and I wouldn’t call anything the 1100,” he said.


    • Addendum

      IMJ, this next Airbus aircraft – a direct competitor to the 777-9 – would likely be called the A360.

      The 777-9, apparently, is going to have an empty weight some 30 metric tonnes higher than the A350-1000 – or up to one extra tonne per passenger, or more than half the weight of the A350-1000 wing. This is IMJ the 777-9’s achilles heel. Airbus has 30 tonnes to “play with” and they’ve talked previously about about 450 seats – presumably in 3 classes. 450 seats in three classes would mean an overall fuselage length of 85m overall length – or 18 frames (x 0.635m) longer than the A350-1000, and a cabin area some 65m2 larger (i.e. 18 x 0.635 x 5.6). An A350-derived fuselage that would be 18 frames longer would have about 25m2 larger cabin area than the 777-9 and 20m2 less cabin area than the 747-8I. Of course, an 18 frame longer fuselage would need an all new and larger wing – in order to not only match the 777-9 in payload/range, but to outperform its as well – or as John Leahy said in the Reuters story: “It would be sitting right on top of them with similar range and payload and substantially lower seat-mile costs,” he said, referring to a key barometer for jetliner efficiency.

      IMJ, 30 tonnes will buy you a longer fuselage and an all new 748-sized wing (i.e. slightly bigger wing area than the 748 and larger wing span). In comparison, the 757-200 has slightly larger fuselage fineness ratio than the A350-1000, while the 757-300 has a slightly larger fineness ratio than what would be the case for an 85m long A360-1000X. Looking, therefore at the empty weight ratio between the 757-300 and 757-200 – where the wing was more or less identical on both frames – the 753 has about 12 percent higher OEW. If the fuselage on an 85m long A360-1000X would weigh 12 percent more than the fuselage on the A350-1000, we’d be talking about some 8-9 tonnes extra. That gives Airbus 20 tonnes, or so, to “play” with for an all new wing (i.e. the MLG would be retained from the A350-1000).

      I’d also assume that the new wing would have at least 10m longer wing span than the A350-1000 and that it would incorporate a downward wing-fold along the lines of this new Airbus patent, in order to maintain Category E standards (i.e. 65m span):


      Finally, and before anybody start complaining about the 85m length, one should first note that Boeing back in the late 1990s planned to exceed the 80m box, by 5m with the 747-600X – and second, that Dubai Airports is building a new airport that will have 400 wide body aircraft contact stands, when it’s finished – 200 stands each for Code E (777) and Code F (A380) aircraft, and with box dimensions of 65m x 85m and 85m x 85m, respectively.

      • “The 777-9, apparently, is going to have an empty weight some 30 metric tonnes higher than the A350-1000 – or up to one extra tonne per passenger, or more than half the weight of the A350-1000 wing.”

        I didn’t realize that the 777-9, or the A350-1000 for that matter, only carried 30 passengers:-)

        • Yeah, I could have phrased it differently:

          ….or up to one tonne of extra weight for each additional passenger carried…..


      • Is the downward fold because its inherently more failsafe? Or to avoid Boeing Ip problems? Obviously it restricts length and the ability to use too much curve at the wingtip

        • It’s all explained in the patent. Obviously more failsafe than the Boeing patent and it allows for much simpler actuation and locking devices than the Boeing method which has to work against gravity.

          The ground clearance on the outer portion of the A350 wing is about 7m. Subtract, say, 1.5 meter for ground clearance and you’ve got two 5,5m long wing extensions. Interestingly, the wing tip device may take a number of forms – according to the invention. Hence, it could take the form as that of the current A350 wing tip – namely an upwardly extending winglet (i.e. in the flight configuration), or even fitted with a large sharklet if the winglet would be further folded beyond 90 degrees – by, say, 150 degrees – in order to further increase the effective aspect ratio calculation.

          It may look, therefore, as large wing for an A360 (i.e. not A350-1100!) would be able to have wing tip devices that could be up to 4 times as large (i.e. in area) as the one that’s going on the wing of the 777X, while having much lighter actuation and locking devices that would be required for a 777X-style folding raked wing tip.

          During flight, with the wing tip device in the flight configuration, the bending moment generated about the hinge line is preferably reacted against the abutment surface of the wing. Thus, the bending moment is preferably not taken by an actuator or locking mechanism but is instead taken up by the primary wing structure.

          Since the wing is swept, the hinge line is thus at an angle to the direction of flight. The wing tip device therefore presents a larger frontal area when it is on the ground configuration than when it is in the flight configuration.

          For take-off, the wing tip device is first configured in the ground configuration. The Aircraft then commences the take-off run. There’s no lock on the wing tip device in this configuration, and the hinge is sufficiently free-moving to allowing the wing tip device to rotate from the ground configuration towards the flight configuration by virtue of the drag acting on the device. As the speed of the aircraft increases and the device rotates upwardly, the drag decreases but the device begins to generate sufficient lift to assist in moving itself to the flight configuration. The actuator is also used to assist in this movement, until the wing tip device reaches the flight configuration. At that point, the lock is engaged to prevent the wing tip device falling back down under negative-g flight conditions.

          For landing the process is reversed. Namely the Lock is disengaged (for example at the same time the landing gear is deployed). As the angle of attack of the aircraft decreases as the nose is brought down, the lift/drag forces on the wing tip device decreases to the point that gravity overcomes it and the tip returns to the ground configuration. In this scenario it is not actually necessary to use the actuator at all.

          • OK I didn’t download it properly,now I see.however you have done a much better job of explaining it

          • So the wing extension is down and snaps up and rips the end of the wing off?

            Hmmm, and I believe gravity helps the 777-X deploy its extension down, which is the more important deploying as you aren’t taking off without it.

            Some and some it seems to me

        • @TransWorld

          For your information, the wing bending-moment is zero at the wing-tip and maximum at the root. 😉

          The bending moment generated about the hinge line during flight is reacted against the abutment surface of the (fixed) wing box.

          The Airbus patent is simple and works with nature – not against it. Lift/drag vs. gravity. During flight, the bending moment generated about the hinge line is not taken by an actuator or locking mechanism but is instead taken up by the primary wing structure.


          • @TransWorld

            Naval aircraft – typically the ones that require folding wings – have movable surfaces on the folded wing tips, since essentially half the wing is folded up. They also have low ground clearance, so it’s pretty obvious why you wouldn’t want to fold a wing down on a carrier deck.

            There’s a reason why military-type folding wings have not found much traction on the civilian side. First, they require heavy actuators and locking mechanisms for wing deployment and to ensure a secure lock while in flight. 2nd, due to the aerodynamic lift forces acting upon the wing in the direction towards the wing tip’s folded position, there’s always the risk of the wing tip folding upwards. 3rd, these highly maintenance-prone devices are obviously acceptable for jet fighter operations on carriers – where airframe hours are at most, a few hundred hours per year – but not for civilian airliners having 10 – 20 times the number of airframe hours per year. Therefore, the experience with folding wings from naval aviation will have little, or no bearing on the future of civil aviation, due to the fact that folded wings on naval aircraft incorporate control surfaces and that they have the cumbersome and heavy actuators and locking mechanism.

            Now, the 777X cannot compete with the A350-1000 if its wings were restricted to < 65 m in span. Therefore, it will be the first large civil airliner to use folding wing tips in order to remain a Category E aircraft when it's parked and while taxiing (i.e. Category E wingspan < 65 m).

            I’m not sure, though, if the relatively skimpy folding wing tips on the 777X demonstrates what’s possible. For example, assuming that the folded raked wing tip on the 777X is a perfect triangle – a folded 777X-type wingtip that’s double in length and chord will have 4 times the area – and consequently, it will be much heavier and require much more robust actuators and locking mechanisms. The folded wing tips on the 777X measures 3.75m in length (i.e. an increase from 3.4m as originally envisaged)*. Now, the ground clearance on the outer wing on the A350 is 7 m. Assuming that an A360X would have higher aspect ratio wings than the 777X, folded wing tips on the former could have a length of at least 6m* and be up to 4 times larger (in area) than the folding wing tip on the 777X – and they wouldn't be required to have as robust actuators and locking mechanisms than what's required on the much smaller foldable wing tips on the 777X. Also, the aircraft would only become a Category F aircraft during take-off and not during taxiing, which is the case with the 777X.

            *Assuming at least one meter of ground clearance required for the Airbus patented downward folding wing tip.

          • I seem to remember another Airbus patent that would take the gulling working on the A380 wing to extremes.
            Essentially the wing curving downward all the way to the outer end that would under flight loads stretch up and extend linearly/slightly upturned.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the wing the most complicated part of an aircraft to design? That’s why fuselage stretches and new engines are relatively easy to do because the wing is largely unchanged.

      It seems to me that an A360 with a new wing would be far more expensive and complicated to pull off than a stretched A350-1100.

  10. At the moment Airbus and Boeing are slaughtering the opposition by selling their products very cheaply owing to the development costs being covered by decades of production. Surely, when the time comes to replace them the price will have to rise dramatically. Guess who they’ll come running to for investment funds? European governments have made a mistake taking their feet off the throat of Airbus with a320 launch aid,at least until the a380 is paid for. Boeing demonstrates with the 787 the price of taking technology beyond what the DOD has already paid for.C series is going to need massively more government help than has been put up so far.

    • Isn’t this the reason why we have ‘no more moon shots’ talk from both sides. There is a desperate urge to tap the cash cows and make some real money. Unfortunately they both have medium term issues to resolve where substantial investment is necessary. Either they do the ‘bandaid’ solution (NEO etc) or they bite the bullet and develop a wholly new capability (380, 787). Looking at the cost of these programmes 380-20bn, 787-40bn, 350-15bn they will need state aid.

      Eventually getting to your point, Airbus should be still contributing on the a320 as the risk borne by government should be rewarded with upside (320/330/350) to balance the downside (300/340/380). At the same time the massive tax benefits accruing to Boeing are a travesty of justice to Seattle residents

  11. “How can their ‘clean-sheet’ airplane compete with the most successful wide body ever,” said Boeing sales chief John Wojick. “Our airplanes fly higher, faster and further and do it more efficiently … and that will be true for the 777-9 versus anything they develop,” he told Reuters in an interview.”

    Airbus is not the one that has to react, having captured the huge 300-350 8000NM segment. The short ranged 787-10 and heavy 777-8 prove little competition to the A350-900 and -1000 so far.

    Telling the press the others have to react, puts you one up. It seems the US press inhales, repeats and doesn’t ask questions.

    Boeing is in damage control mode. By the time the 777X enter service (2020?) the biggest (777) operators already are growing their A350 fleets:

    US: American, United, Delta
    Europe: IAG, AirFrance-KLM, Lufthansa
    ASIA: Singapore, Cathay, JAL
    ME: Qatar, Etihad, (EK soon again?)

    Conner accidentally used “slow orders” and “777x” in one sentence. Apparently a slip of the tongue.


    I wonder when reality will start to sink in.

    • It may look as if Boeing is denial mode once again. Since the last Dubai Air Show they’ve been talking about the 777-9 as the best thing since sliced bread, however compromised that design might be.

      According to Randy T. “a A350-1100 would not pose a threat, because such a move would be something we contemplated early in the 777X development process”.

      So, when JL is saying that “It would be sitting right on top of them with similar range and payload and substantially lower seat-mile costs”, Boeing’s response seems to be a combination of bewilderment and frustration, that this can’t possibly be happening.

  12. With regard to Billy Bishop airport, a recent interview with the new transport minister seems to leave the door open. He mentioned the study is underway and that would be allowed to continue.

  13. is the 777X in a similar position to Airbus original concept A350 which the market seemed to reject? Ironically, if Airbus DID proceed with that plan, I for one think they would have really hurt the 787. Especially if they did the original A350 and then the XWB as a A370. Which is kinda the lineup they are gonna have now.

    • Well the 777x just launched 2 years ago and is over 300 orders so attempts to portray it as a failure appears to be somewhat loosely reasoned. Would Boeing like it to be higher, absolutely but that could be said about a lot of planes.. To compare, the 330neo which launched a year earlier stands at 145 orders. Yet one is being cast as a failure and the other as a roaring success, go figure.
      Also with that said the 350 order book has been a very mixed bag after it’s second year and disappointing compared to the 787 but you don’t hear much worry about it’s outlook nor should you.
      One thing for certain is that a warmed over 330 was not an option for Airbus and they absolutely did the right thing by going clean sheet..with the 350. The 330neo order sheet shows it would have not been the game changers the 787 and the 350 have been.

      • “To compare, the 330neo which launched a year earlier ”

        -> I think the A330NEO was launched in July 2014..

        “Also with that said the 350 order book has been a very mixed bag after it’s second year and disappointing compared to the 787”

        -> Boeing 787 sales have been slow over the last 8 years.

        “One thing for certain is that a warmed over 330 was not an option for Airbus and they absolutely did the right thing by going clean sheet..with the 350.”

        -> The A330 “not even warmed up” but held its own against the Dreammachine pretty well.


        -> Sometimes perceptions win over facts.

        • Indeed. Regardless of which way Boeing try to spin the story, the fact is that Airbus have made huge strides in the large wide-body segment.

          If you look at the older generation, the 777 absolutely kills it with over 1500 orders vs the 377 for the (long out of production and fast-disappearing) A340. Look at the situation now, and it’s 300 orders for the 777X (add another 140 odd for the 787-10) vs 780 for the A350.

          Even if you add in the 787-8 and -9s – and then you’ll have to add in the A330neo – to give Boeing a good lead (1 400 odd vs 930), it still represents a huge loss of market share from the status quo.

          Perhaps they’re just victim of their own success?

          • 1600 A330s ordered so far.

            Some use A330-A340 total because they were launched together, are from the same FAL & 80% identical.

          • That is indeed true – having the A330/340 as a family saved Airbus’ skin there. I just didn’t count them in because then I would have to add in the 767s too (~1100 orders vs ~1400 for the A330ceo).

            This was just to illustrate Boeing’s loss of market share in the large wide-body segment – primarily as a result of the A350-900? Seems like Boeing failed to adequately replace the 777-200ER?
            Yes there is the 787-10, but because of lesser range it appears to be more of a competitor to the A330-900neo rather than the A350.

            I think there’s a gap in Boeing’s long-haul lineup between the 787-9 and the 777-9. These are of course my views as an enthusiast/armchair critic, and I’d welcome any extra info from some people with more industry knowledge!

          • The primary reason to munge A330 and A340 numbers together imho is that producing them was a wash for Airbus. Same production line, same parts ( just hanging 2 heavy or 4 light engines 🙂 ) …
            The summ of frames delivered counts here and less the individual types.

            Boeing in contrast does not produce different types on the same FAL line and the same workforce.

        • “The A330 “not even warmed up” but held its own against the Dreammachine pretty well”

          Then where were the buyers for it?

          That’s reality..

        • https://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=60566

          wonder how they selected data for the 787.
          this looks decidedly different:
          the vast majority of orders were received fot the paper plane version of the Dreamliner. Later orders were limited to type changes and cancel/order combos.
          ( and a 150 items boost when offering the -10.)
          It would be most interesting to know about rebates and conditions applying to the 777x sales.
          Will Jon Ostrower report in 2019 that 777x frames were sold for an average of $109m while we wait for First Flight next Monday 🙂

  14. Would an enhanced version of the A350 with comparable seating and range, but with significantly lower fuel burn make the 777X obsolete?Would Emirates be able to cancel at least part of it´s huge order?How would Lufthansa Management once again explain a very strange business decision?

    A lot of questions coming up in the next couple of months, very exciting times ahead for the occasional aviation lurker!

    • If Airbus stretched the A350-1000 and found room for some more fuel and 105k engines, it still wouldn’t be a 777-9 in terms of payload- range. Question is if it has to be if it can do things the 777-9 cannot.

  15. Interesting too see comments by Bregier of Airbus in this week’s WSJ totally dismissing Richard Anderson of Delta and his amateurish forecasting abilities. “Not only is there no bubble, but the market requires more aircraft” he said.

    That’s what I assumed. But good to hear it from an authority on the source rather than just an airline executive with a fleet of old airplanes.

    • I think Anderson (and NWA part of DL) have a track record for using fleets in the most efficient way & spending the money on what really matters for the passenger.

      Remember Anderson was buying used DC10’s when the rest bought 777s.

      They now have reasonably efficient 717 and MD90 fleets for next to nothing, put in a new cabin & fly the hell out of them with high loadfactors. A formula that seems to work.

      Bregier of Airbus is far from independent, he wants airlines to replace aircraft every 15 yr$!


      • People who have been around the industry a long time will recall the derisive nickname for Northwest and so I would disagree with the statement about NW spending money on what matters most to passengers.

        What has DL/NW done right? Much. Consolidate the industry to get pricing power and eliminate unnecessary hubs. Also, de-facto mergers and JVs with foreign partners. Legally coordinate with what should be competitors. That the competition authorities have gone along with all this is truly a wonder of the modern world. Now DL wants to eliminate the Gulf competition as well.

    • @Carlyle: You will be very interested in our paywall piece on Monday.

  16. There has been many comments about the number of orders for a jet as manifested in Gulf airline orders for the 777x. You have to look at the past history of the Gulf airlines to suggest that, until a delivery is made, you should not count any of their orders as “solid”. There is an arrogance about them – yet the air-framers do dance to their tune.
    The DL comments about very weak residual 777 values are backed up by industry experts and should therefore not be dismissed out of hand. Boeing has based their forecasts on solid current 777 values to build a case for the 2020 X launch. They now need to add additional spin to reassure their investors.
    The case for the A380 NEO has been weakened a bit by the poor profit results from RR- given that they will be largely funding the launch. Fully agree that the 350-1000 engine is way too much power for a quad. Look to the 330NEO instead.

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