Boeing says Airbus widebody strategy “is a mess,” A330neo “dead on arrival”

A330-800neo. Airbus rendering.

March 9, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The war of words between Airbus and Boeing at the ISTAT conference Feb. 29-March 1 wasn’t confined to which company sold more single-aisle airplanes. Widebody aircraft were involved, too.

A Boeing official on the sidelines of the conference called the Airbus A330neo “dead on arrival.” He says that by the time the 330neo enters service, there will be 1,000 787s and A350s in service and delivery slots will be closer in than they are today.

The airplane is nothing more than a resurrection of the original A350 concept that failed in the marketplace, this official said.

Rather than ask Airbus for what would be a predictable response, LNC asked lessor CIT Aerospace for its assessment. To be sure, CIT is not without vested interest: it was a launch customer for the A330neo and it’s a large customer for the A330ceo. Still, it provides a third-party assessment.

“I think he’s wrong,” said Jeff Knittel of the dead on arrival comment. Knittel is the president of CIT Transportation and International Finance, the parent of CIT

Jeff Knittel, president of CIT Transportation and International Finance. Photo via Google images.

Aerospace. “Our thesis for the 330neo—and as you know, we are a fairly big player in the 330 market in general—is that it is a great airplane. There are more than 100 operators. [This] is terrific in terms of opportunity. Have some of these people migrated to the A350? Have some of these people migrated to the [Boeing] 787? Yes. but there is a market there that says if we just need more fuel efficient airplanes that aren’t necessarily flying seven or eight thousand miles, this is an airplane.” The average stage length for the A330 is 1,800 miles.

“If you think about that, do you want to go out and invest in all that wing, all that structure, to fly 1,800nm? The answer is probably not,” Knittel said during a CIT media breakfast at ISTAT.

“What do you have in the 330neo? One, you get the 14% better fuel efficiency per seat. I think it’s under-appreciated that the wing is changed. It’s not the same wing. It’s a longer wing, it’s a more efficient wing.”

Steve Mason, vice president, Aircraft Evaluation and Strategy, CIT Aerospace, said the A330neo beats the 787 on economics in certain missions.

“The neo is an aircraft we think cannot be beaten across the Atlantic,” he said. “It cannot be beaten in intra-Asian flying. When you think about the capital cost of the aircraft and the savings from the COC [cash operating costs] perspective, it is a very competitive aircraft to the 787 and A350.

“When you think about operating costs of an aircraft, you think about three things. You think about engines, it’s the wing and it’s the weight of the aircraft. The weight of the aircraft has been honed for many, many years now.

“The wing is probably one of the best wings that Airbus ever developed. The engines are on a par with the 787, because they are the 787 engines,” he said.

“The development cost of the aircraft is obviously less for Airbus. This results in their ability to offer a lower capital cost in terms of price to the airlines. All these things combined really give the A330neo a strong foothold in the markets, like Asia and the Trans-Atlantic market,” Mason said.

“When you think of all the airlines that operate the A330 today, about half of them have not ordered any new technology aircraft. You have around 50 operators that have yet to make a decision. Some of them have never ordered new aircraft, but a lot of those guys will.

“All of these things combined set a very good stage for the 330neo going forward,” Mason said.

The Boeing official also has claimed the “Airbus wide body strategy is a mess.”

Knittel, who is also a customer of Boeing, chose his words carefully.

“Each manufacturer has taken a slightly different approach to their wide body strategy. It’s the function of the success and the aging of very specific aircraft.

“If you think about the situation with Boeing, the 767 was the rock-star intermediate twin for a very long time. As it aged, the 330 gained more and more share over time. The 787 was a logical thing to move forward on,” Knittel said.

“So, now where are you with the widebody strategy with Boeing? You have the 787 on the low end. Then you move up into the 777. The -300ER has been very successful. That market has shifted. People are looking forward to the 777X.

At Airbus, Knittel said, “Essentially what you have is a follow-on to the 330[ceo]. And by the way, the 330[ceo] continues to be ordered. Airbus is upping the production rates on the 330. That’s certainly a sign there is interest in the airplane.

“Then you move on to the A330neo. We’ve talked about the logic train on the 330neo and we wouldn’t have bought it if we thought it wouldn’t have held up.

“Then you move into the A350. The A350 by all accounts has performed well. It’s a very competitive airplane. The 787 and A350 are both very good airplanes. Then the question is, where do you go beyond the A350? Is it the A350-1100? How do you bridge that gap between the 350 and 787, and is it worth the effort?

John Plueger, president, Air Lease Corp. Photo via Google images.

John Plueger, president of Air Lease Corp., believes there is a market for the A350-1100. (Although media reports have variously called the stretch the A350-1100, the A350-1000 XL and the A350-8000, Leahy said no name has been settled.)

“There is [a market] because of the 777X,” said Plueger in an interview with LNC at ISTAT. The size of the market? “That’s a tougher one. The whole idea of the A350-1100 is to cast about 40 more seats that the 777-9.”

This came as a surprise; Airbus’ John Leahy, chief operating officer-customers, told LNC the stretched A350-1000 would be the same size as the 777-9, although he added that more passengers could be accommodated depending on the number of classes on the airplane. Plueger said an A350 that is 40 seats larger than the 777-9 would require a new engine.

“I have to tell you, the 777X is so far out there, it’s [first available delivery slot] is 2022,” Plueger said. “Fuel prices are low. You haven’t seen a whole lot of market activity or announcements on that. We talk to airlines a lot, large and small, especially the big guys on these big twins. We don’t see a lot of discussion on either the 777X or the A350-1000. The vast majority of the discussions for us has been on the 787-9/10 and not about the 777-9X.”

156 Comments on “Boeing says Airbus widebody strategy “is a mess,” A330neo “dead on arrival”

  1. Well, the Boeing official probably knows too well that desperate affairs typically require desperate measures.

  2. The Boeing chap is really not worth listening to, I think we place too much emphasis on the more extreme comments made by OEMs. On the flip side a vEry interesting perspective from these two guys. Okay no one is without bias but these guys have far less chips bet on a specific OEM

    One thing in the favour of the A330 is that transition from CEO to NEO appears to have been managed well. We are down to fine tuning the production rate to 6 or 7 going forward with the NEO and the bridge is resolved.

    Looking at the 777 transition to X there is a very real sense that Boeing will be ramping down only to ramp up. As has been mentioned a number of times on this forum the FCF of Boeing is going to take a significant hit. Maybe there is an Iran strategy that I am not aware of but with a shortfall in the hundreds it will be difficult to place that many at anything more than fire sale prices.

    So the a350 1100 has 440 seats in normal configuration? I don’t buy that, it forces the need for an engine that doesn’t presently exist, the existing frame weight is sufficiently low to compete on CASM with 777X-9

  3. Did Plueger indicate when he does expect “market activity or announcements” on the 777X? 5 years before 1st available slot? 4? 3?

  4. Agree with Mr. Knittel comment, I think A330neo will be a great plane. Airbus played the same successful approach which used to replace B757-200 by introducing A321neo and gain so far around 90% of the market for that particular type.
    Boeing in this regard is quite a big looser. still struggling to maintain B777-300 production level and lost the market of B737 -900 to her rival

    • I think the biggest mistake was to kill off a340, a330 is like everybody suggesting worse version of a350, if a380 is too big and a330/350 too small redesigned a340 (300/600) would be good way to compete with 777x however Boeing should look at their 747-8i shambles which died before first flight and 737max dead to a321neo before slashing airbus

      • Concur that the 340 is a great aircraft, but the cost of converting design to a twin engine would be prohibitive. In fact, it would be similar to starting from scratch.
        I’m assuming you mean that – if you meant advancing the four engine design then you would have a very quiet showroom at Airbus.
        I don’t know why there are so many 330 bashers out there. It’s a lovely reliable and save wide body. I don’t know why everyone wants to be packed in 10 abreast on the larger alts when you can have a nice row of 8 sitting comfortably. I’ve always found the business cabin to be spacious too.
        It might not be made out of composites but it’s dam near as efficient, got slightly larger new windows and a better wing. Also the airlines don’t need to pay a fortune for a full new project.
        Totally agree on Boing shutting its mouth and looking closer to home. They better start worrying about orders for 321XLR. Lessers will be happy to take it!… extra tanks always hold value better.

  5. I have always suspected that any upgrade to the A350-1000 is as much about engines as about capacity. Specifically about the decision to keep the fan diameter of the 1000 model to the same as the 900 model. This presumably gives away a few percentage points of engine efficiency, which is a problem if the A350-1000 is competing with the 777X on grounds of overall efficiency. So Rolls Royce comes out with an engine with a bigger fan and other improvements for the A350-1000. That plane will now have more payload/range than it needs for most missions. So Airbus can create a stretched 8000 variant that trades range for capacity.

    The enhanced A350-1000 will match the 777-9 for payload and range, while the A350-8000 will almost match the 777- 9 for capacity. Both A350 planes will be more efficient. I can see the A350 overturning the 777’s dominance in this part of the market.

    • @FF

      Are you suggesting a A350-1000 mark 3 with a completely new or revised engine? Sort of a350-1000neo? Very interesting, I agree re your further comments in terms of efficiency

      • The 1000 engine isn’t the same as the 900 one, since they increased the core but didn’t resize the fan to match. That decision was presumably taken to derisk the 1000 project, as it would entail a bigger nacelle and probably wing work. I have seen comments from both Airbus and Boeing on the consequent compromise on efficiency. My speculation is that they will sort out the fan size on this iteration.

        Or to put it another way, if a NEO gets triggered by a 10% improvement in SFC they are already 3-4% of the way there just by resizing the fan. Another 5% comes from incremental improvements in engine technology since the Trent XWB was released.

        We’ll see.

        • @FF

          Well aware of the differences betwixt and between 84 and 97. So you are suggesting RR will go the route of a larger fan. It must be a rational response as I never understood the restriction (to the size that fits in a b747 freighter apparently).

          What I was getting at was the iteration 3 idea. This development addresses the fundamental problem associated with the XWB-97, but they already have this working on a wing and will be hanging them on a A350-1000 by late summer. As I understand it you are expecting them to effectively replace this engine almost before it has carried a fare carrying passenger. A great idea but unlikely unless the compromises are insurmountable

          • It would create an orphan of the current 1000 should AIRBUS enlarge the fan. It’s a trade-off between respect for your current customers and more sales. I see a two step thought process: number 1: make the motor more capable on the A350-1000; number 2: we can have a larger plane and a decent range – the A350-8000.

            It’s a challenge to comment and not use lower case I’s. Virus?

          • Drat! Fell down on the last word. Maybe Comments suffer from Malware.

    • I’m sure RR has it all in mind inc. the new A350-8000. RR is not new to these outputs,way back when the 8015 was around with 110,000 lb thrust and that was for the old 777! So as I say ,RR have already got the A350-1000 on a test bed aircraft and has been running for at least a year or more. I love American aircraft and their engines please dont all sneer at the Europeans-you’ll have the Chinese to contend with soon!

    • As far as I know at this present time, Rolls Royce have decided to keep theFan of the 97 the same as the 84,as to the A350-8000 that is still in abeyance.

  6. I wonder how happy Boeing deep down is with the way things are progressing. The 787-9 seems a champion and sales are accordingly.

    But how about the 787-8, 787-10, 777-8 and 747-8i? Airlines aren’t stumbelling over each other ordering. They seem too compromised on weight-range.

    Maybe Boeings views on the market contain too many assumptions that are supported only in their Chicago HQ.

    I provisionally added the A350-8000 to my overview. Feel free to form your own opinion on winning strategies..

    • To be fair they aren’t stumbling over themselves to order the A380, 330neo, A350-800 and the A350-1000 (which only has 18 more orders than the 787-10). Also I wouldn’t exactly call 435 orders for the 787-8 something to denigrate either, it’s doing better than all the aforementioned Airbus models.

      • In the last 8 years cancellations/conversions have dominated the 787-8 order book. ( Last hickUP was the -3 termination?)

        Since the A333 gained capability/range beyond some “trigger level” the A332 demand turned lackluster too.

        ( Still wonder how many 787 would have been ordered in scope of a realistic pretext. i.e. “drug free” realistic advances, realistic timeline and realistic production cost assumptions.)

        • The 787-8 seems to have the same fuel capacity as the 787-9 but less range. If that means that it uses more fuel per trip of the same length despite being a smaller plane, then it is not competitive. It seems that sales prices and production costs of the 787-8 are not favourable for Boeing, explaining why the emphasis on the 787-9 is improving their chance of recovering their development costs.

          • The 788 has significantly less MTOW.
            Range is cut by not enough fuel loadable and not by limited tankage.

  7. It is a shame that the public voice of Boeing lacks the quality of its products!

    • Exactly.
      What comes out of Chicago pales in comparison to what comes out of Washington state.

      • Thats ridiculous. Chicago is just a head office. Seattle is still where Boeing Commercial Airplanes group is centered- overall that state has about half of all Boeing employees. Its a huge business.
        Chicago/Illinois with just 700 employees in the state, most of whom would be working on company wide activities , eg treasury or finance.

        • I think you missed the point of what TNR is saying while also making his point.

          The engineers based in Washington State do a phenomenal job while the suits in Chicago seem to be more hit and miss…

  8. Does anybody know what airlines have migrated to the 787 since the A330 NEO was launched? I can think of one 787 customer, Delta, going to the A330 NEO.

  9. The A330neo will probably sell at least 400 and get back the return on investment. Like the 767, better comfort in coach with wider seats and a preferrred layout is a benefit. A350-1000 with a 4 or 5 meter stretch and reduced range could be next.

  10. I love and adore Boeing. And have for a number of years. As I do Airbus, as well.

    However, I find comments like these by this employee extremely unprofessional and cringe-worthy.

    In my opinion, Airbus has the stronger overall offering across both narrow- and wide body aircraft.

    The A319neo is as irrelevant in today’s market as the B737-max 7.

    The A320neo is almost on par with the B737-max 8, with the edge, I believe, in favour of the max 8…

    The A321neo vs. The B737-max 9… well… yeah… no comment 😉

    I feel that the A338/A339/A359 can be grouped together when comparisons are being made with the B787 family. With that in mind, although Airbus are lagging behind slightly (or a lot…), they still manage to offer a wildly competitive option to airlines.

    The A350-1000 is selling very slow but I believe that it is an aircraft age and replacement schedule issue, nothing more. Once the replacement cycle of A340-600/B777-300ER starts in full swing, we should see an uptick in sales of this wonderful aircraft.

    The B777-300ER is still the Godfather of aviation right now! I have my doubts on whether or not the B777-9 will be able to achieve the depth and scope of the B777-300ER order and delivery book… I wish the B777-9 was slightly longer…

    The hypothetical A350-1000XL (I prefer this name) will, in my opinion, only work if it is a simple stretch and doesn’t try to do everything it really has no reason to do. Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, just ask the A330-300.

    The A380 is an aircraft that was on time for some airlines and too early for others. In time, if Airbus is able to keep the production line running, it WILL begin to sell in the numbers that Airbus hopes to achieve.

    To conclude, the B747-8 (I more than F) is essentially dead… unfortunately. I really love that aircraft. An icon, not only of aviation, but also modern technology and engineering in general.

    • Quite agree Muhammad Kaloo, its silly to get into “mines better than yours” childish attitude considering both manufacturers are made up of parts and suppliers world wide which also bring their tech. know how to both. Airbus has factories in the States and uses many American companies together with British, German,Spanish and French inputs. Boeing has NASA and GE together with Japanese and Canadian inputs. Both companies are world beaters but it all boils down to what suits the customer, with both Boeing and Airbus suffering the downside of customer choice as regards interiors. We should be glad that we all support each other, cant say the same for the up and coming third producer-China.

  11. Airbus didn’t and probably will not messed up the development of the A330NEO like Boeing did with the 787. Boeing will perhaps not even recover its deferred production cost of 32 billion with the current accounting block of 1,300 units.

    Airbus will certainly recover its money even if the A330NEO is not a huge success. A few hundred orders will be sufficient.

  12. I think the a330neo has a great future, and could yet address a widebody MOM market – if one was deemed necessary – a310 fuselage.. New ‘shrink’ of the wing… Adjusted tail and all other system left the same.

    The -8000 idea of more seats/less range makes total sense as the non-gulf carriers have frequently complained about the over-engineered ULRs designed specifically for the gulf. Boeing have those orders… So Airbus can now market to the remainder. Not necessary… But better to have it in the line-up than not.

    Looking forward to Farnborough ?

  13. For the 777-9 Boeing added a entirely new bigger wing, new low rated engines, landing gear. While stretching the cabin just 2.6m / 2.5 rows to 76.5m.

    You do not have to be an expert to see Boeing is hiding an ultimate 777 under the table. 120 Klbs GE engines, l= 79.8 m, 3/4 rows more. Airbus are experts so little reason to wait with an ultimate A350 for EK, SQ, BA and the likes.

    • I’m of the opinion 777X is as long as it feasibly can be. There is something in undercarriage/wing/whatever that restricts the size to what it is and to go longer would increase the cost dramatically. Maybe the rotation angle would be horrible, maybe the length would suffer A340-600 problems.

      • The 777X landing gear and wing have little to do with the existing 777 landing gear and angles / rotation clearance. The 777x landing gear comes not even the same supplier, it’s a blank sheet design by Héroux-Devtek, currently under development. The likelihood of Boeing specifying a new landing without future growth potential is small.

        • That depends on how much the MTOW for the new triple bogie MLG can go beyond 352 tonnes. It will probably be having a slightly bigger wheel spread in order to, potentially, take more loading. In contrast, the MTOW of the A350-1000 – with a triple bogie MLG – is 308 tonnes. The MTOW of a possible stretched A350-8000 is reported to be “slightly” more than 319 tonnes.

    • Wow! That would be a great aircraft! I can see an aircraft like a B777-10 being a great idea in the second half of next decade.

      You have wonderful ideas, Keesje.

    • This seems like a good idea to me (a civilian). Probably more interest in this than 778. Could also be done with little/no thrust/mass increase with less range, or done both ways.

      But longer term, 2030?, a new composite wing box and fuselage, +/- 8″ wider than current 779 with a 787 like nose and by then upgraded engines (geared superfans?). Then you have an all new (done in two steps) giant twin with greater comfort 10 abreast than 77x or (arguably) than 9 abreast 35x.

  14. Speaking from the viewpoint of an Air Canada customer, I can say that my wife and I prefer to fly in their older 2-4-2 A330 rather than in their spanking-new 3-3-3 B787.

    Apart from the 0.5 added seat width on the A330, it’s uncanny how often, while travelling as a couple, the third seat is filled with a 250-pound immovable object.

    • I’m with you. The fuselage cross section of all airbus aircraft are just sized better, and the 2-4-2 is great for moving about and small/large groups.

      Long may it live ?

    • I would even pass up the A350 in favour of the 2-4-2 arrangement in the A330.

    • Yeah that almost 2 extra cm per armrest sure beats fresh air, higher pressure and humidity and bigger windows on the 787.

      • Yes Geo, it does, windows don’t matter, humidity is a slight improvement, the pressurisation is good (one reason why the A380 is such a great trip). But at the end of the day more personal space is paramount. Be it width or pitch I want more space for my buck. The b787 is designed for 8 abreast, the b777 is designed for 9 abreast. Going 9 and 10 abreast respectively damages their chances of ever being comfortable. Even our dear friend Randy was forced to concede that (after a lot of guff)

        • Actually windows might not matter to you but they matter to alot of people and I will gladly trade that tiny extra sliver of armrest (which will probably be lost to the neighbor’s oozing arm fat) for the aforementioned raft of other advantages.

          • Horses for courses, narrow seats and narrow aisles make the whole process of flying even more of a chore than it already is. I choose aisle always, normally inside aisle in the vai hope of a free middle seat to my side. The number of times the trolley / other passengers hit you is the key determinant in the happiness/ grumpiness quotient. You get all of the benefits on the a380, space, quiet, big aisles, pressurisation etc etc. that is why people’s actively route on them and not on 777/787.

          • Right. I’m sure small windows is the chief complaint among passengers these days while seat space is at the absolute bottom of the list.

          • Yeah I’m sure people fall down and thank the Gods for that 2 cms of armrest they get to split with their neighbor!

        • Sowerbob – a 9 abreast 787 is even worse when you have a middle seat and attempt to eat with cutlery in both hands – not elegant. I give the poor sod in middle seat some room by eating with outside arm only. Otherwise we will both be bumping elbows. Only problem with this plan is if you are in aisle and you get the dreaded food trolley giving your shoulder a whats what.
          A 9 abreast 787 is devil’s spawn.

          • I can live with a narrow seat, I hate lack of leg room and I am not that tall.

          • I’m 6’0″ but I’m blessed (or cursed) with the legs of a shorter guy. I can’t run fast but at least lack of leg room doesn’t bother me that much. 🙂

          • hehe.
            I find I am a perfect fit in Japanese “Kei” type cars. ( though I am significantly more heavy set than what their seating was designed for.)

    • Fully agree with you! I live in South Africa, and chosen between Etihad and Qatar when travelling around (medium haul) just so I can get to go on the A330. I travel with my wife, so having the two seats next to the window to ourselves is just plain awesome!

  15. Pure Boeing nonsense. Sad

    While I continue to see it in smaller numbers than others its a nice niche and will suit some operators to a T and then some.

    Like The 787-10, it takes advantage of an existing airframe and squeezes profits out of it. Smart work.

    I am surprised (shocked maybe) at the short state lengths.

    Flips back to why the 787-3 did not sell.

    • Based on the average A330 route stage length, I am surprised that the B787-3 did not sell…

      • it sold. But it would not have been efficient beyond the special needs customers in Japan. ( and to what ends anyway? Buildings and site work are much cheaper than airplanes!
        Boeing additionally had neither the time nor the money.
        They even dumped the wing extensions for the 789.
        A step that now hampers the model a bit ( together seemingly with other hard limites.)

        • I remember the Japanese carriers orders for the type. I should have been more clear – I am surprised that it did not sell better.

          I was not aware that the B787-9 should have had a (slightly?) modified wing compared to the -8… Would you mind elaborating more on that?

          Boeing line-up in general, as per the graphic provided by Keesje, does seem more compromised and not as diverse as the one offered by Airbus. (Again, I am not bashing Boeing. I am a major fan of their work.)

          • Hi Muhammad! I have enjoyed your comments. Per the lineup Scott pointed out he had the 777-8 in the wrong place which kinds of cast a different light.
            Of course one can say it’s not diverse enough or as Leahy called Boeing’s lineup a “Dog’s breakfast”!
            Really it comes down to whether a derivative will make a return on it’s investment.Case in point the a321LR which has seen little sales but will probably recoup it’s minimal investment but it’s not always an easy call.

          • Hi Geo. Thank you for your kind words…

            I believe that the only real star players in Boeing future lineup are the 737-max 8, 787-9, 777-9 and whatever 777 freighter derivative replaces the current 777F…

            The 787-8 is not a bad aircraft. It is just not the type of aircraft that sells well after a stretched sibling is either brought to market (see 767-200, 777-200/ER, A340-200, etc.) or improved upon (see A330-200 vs. -300, etc.)

            I seem to have forgotten where I was going with this train of thought… haha.

            Anyhoo, back on topic though, the A330-800 will not sell as well as the A330-200 hundred did and that is understandable.

            The A330-900, I believe, has a very long and profitable life ahead of it.

          • The A350-1000 is 4 meters longer than the 777-8..

  16. “Rather than ask Airbus for what would be a predictable response, LNC asked lessor CIT Aerospace for its assessment.”

    The next line should have mentioned that CIT is only slightly less invested than Airbus in the 330NEO propaganda. After all, they are the launch customer and have to find airlines to lease these aircraft to.

    • They are not singing the A330neo’s praises because they purchased it and need to find homes for them but rather, they bought it because they believe that the praises they sing are legitimate.

    • WTF?!?

      The next line mentions exactly that:

      “Rather than ask Airbus for what would be a predictable response, LNC asked lessor CIT Aerospace for its assessment. To be sure, CIT is not without vested interest: it was a launch customer for the A330neo and it’s a large customer for the A330ceo.”

      What article did you read?

    • Oh wow…

      So a customer’s opinion on a particular aircraft is nothing more than another propaganda piece if they have that on order? And does this extend to Boeing customers as well or is it just an Airbus only thing?

    • Irrelevant, CIT is a customer not an OEM. They buy what they expect to make money off and if they had doubts about the A330NEO they would just have bought B787s.

      • @MartinA: CIT has ordered the 787. The viability of an OEM and its product line is relevant to a lessor. If the OEM is shaky and at risk of staying in business, lessors are reluctant to order from them. If a product is good but doesn’t have a good customer base, lessors aren’t likely to order the planes.

      • 787s and A350 are still slot constrained, the A330neo is partially a response to widebody demand exceeding supply.

        It is easy to see the A330neo’s appeal. Its 9/10ths an A350 at 7/10th the price.

        I think the A330neo will live a life similar to the 757. It will be eclipsed by the A350/787 after a relatively short product run (less than a decade +/- the lifespan of a dog). Once either the 787 or A350 get a hold of their program costs, they can price the A330neo out of the market and both OEMs have the incentive to put downward pressure on their price because of the other.

        The A330neo will fly well beyond its competitors and every A330ceo (because a neo will always be better than a ceo; the base neo price is very reasonable; there are still A300s, A310s, and A330ceos in the sky that need replacing; so the best bang for the low cost buck will always be a neo). For a lessor, this airplane will be a great value.

        Otherwise it will do its job in the product lineup and make money.

        Airbus widebody strategy has been less than ideal though, but I think Airbus is moving towards a workable product alignment. You don’t want to put your products in direct competition with each other because it makes it more difficult to break even on both products. There is a reason why cell phone manufacturers don’t sell the last and latest models at the same time and why car companies discontinue the former model before selling the next one. Yet the A330neo and A350 occupy the same ground.

        The A350-1000’s development costs over and on top of the -900s push the program recoupment costs to the right; plus the stillborn -800 had lots of engineering effort sunk into it before it was abandoned. Airbus has managed public opinion more, (and benefited from the 787 mess–Airbus looks much more competent in comparison), but you really don’t want to redesign your product or change your fundamental market focus after you’re cutting metal. Again, less than ideal.

        A mess though? That’s a matter of perspective. I doubt that Boeing flaks would need to bash Airbus’ product focus if Boeing had executed on the 787 better; had burned through more of the backlog; and had more slots to sell. The 787 program has been its own mess.

  17. Only a month ago Boeing notified its workers that serious cost cutting is on the way because among others the A330NEO in putting serious pricing pressure on the 787.
    What changed since then and it turned from threat to dead?
    The A330NEO must be some pretty powerful zombie if it is causing such harm to Boeing.

    • It was the A321 that Boeing cited as competition (coincidentally the only Airbus plane that Boeing does not claim to have a competing model), not the A330neo (at least to my knowledge).

      Layoff notices have always been, and always will be, pure spin.

  18. If the rotation angle isn’t too shallow, Airbus should build the A330-1000neo. Especially if the average stage length is only 1,800nm. No need to upgrade MTOW or engines to do that. Delta, LH, Hawaiian?

  19. Does the A330-300 and A330-900 have better field/take-off performance than the B787-10?

    • IMU all comparable Airbus models have better field/take-off performance than their Boeing complements. ( afaics even the “unlifting” A340 with its quad of hairdryers )

      A basic layout/design decision.

  20. Would be good to get some 330neo comments from other lessors who might not be as vested as CIT. Are their views representative of the industry?
    How will the 350-1000/-8000 have 40 more seats than a 779? I can’t work this out unless they are cramming in a 10-abr charter configuration or comparing a 2-class regional v 3-class long-haul configurations(not apples v apples).

    • In the end, for the last 10 years, Airbus recorded 2,182 gross widebody sales vs 2,205 for Boeing, excluding freighters. Including freighters, Airbus sold 2289 widebodies to Boeing’s 2343. Doesn’t sound like Airbus’ widebody program is a mess with these sales figures.

      • Not that I agree with Boeing’s view of Airbus’s WB portfolio, but I’d be a little sceptical of relying just on past historic figures to assess the widebody situation at present and the immediate future, given how we have new products coming online and old ones making their way out, availability and timing factors.

      • The only ones that I think are smoke and mirrors are Air Asia X. Other than that its a pretty good record and certainly anything but a mess.

        Quite a bunch of A330 on order then kept sloughing off to the NEO until they all were shifted to the NEO.

        Next move is to start shifting NEO to A350s. I guess they would work their way up to A380s before they fell off the edge of the order world.

        In the scheme of things its a small bunch, it is one of key Airline demand drivers for the A330NEO and with suspect orders it will be interesting to see how it does.

      • Scott, your numbers don’t seem right. If you are including freighters, Airbus has sold like 42 A330 freighters, while Boeing has sold 160 777F….alone. Add in 747-8F and 767F, the delta between the two manufacturers should grow much larger than your post.

        No way.

    • how long would a 440 seat A350 have to be??….is it possible?

      • Could be shorter than expected.
        Elsewhere someone floated the idea that Airbus could think of moving more infrastructure ( toilets, galley, provisioning, … ) into the hold. ( A further A350 stretch would expand hold space beyond useable.) Maybe even PAX seating below the main deck?

        Personally I’d go for lifting the bubble and introducing
        an upper deck by expanding the fuselage : “return of the Conni”! 🙂

        • A lot to be said for the Lufthansa set up, apart from space considerations, using what is now often worthless cargo space anyway, putting the washbasins outside the toilets stops people spending forever in them having an impromptu shower and make-up retouching.

          On the other hand if the “8000” got AirAsia-X’s 10 wide seating you wouldn’t need to stretch it very much to have 440 in 4 class. OEM figures can be pretty slippery to get a hold of some time, though Airbus haven’t generally quoted this configuration they have been talking more about it lately, inc plans to twist the seats a bit sideways to get 16.8″ a la 777.

  21. This site is killing posts. Dropping random letters everywhere.

    • Alphabet check:
      All the letters were there when I typed them.

      • Check Scott’s post. And TransWorld’s. And I did spell check. All the time.

      • The lower case 9th letter of the alphabet does not appear under any post. That seems to be the problem.

      • The lower case I’s are In the emaIled copy but the sIte does not show them. I’d assume thIs Is a WordPress problem

    • No idea but it is having “i”‘s for lunch
      for me spell check is a browser function.

      see how thIs comes out?

  22. Can I buy a vovel?I already thought I missed a new trend of making the writing in this blog a little faster!

    Thnk yu vry mch!

      • Thîs ìs not funny at all.

        That įs what happens īn case you don’t pay you license fee to Apple for the letter between “h” and “j”.

        • US political censorship, no missing letters in the names Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, but try H#llary Cl#nton, Bern#e Sanders, Marco Rub#o or Kat#sh.

          • I can buy that. Complete political censorship; only hard-right political views allowed!!! 😉

            Conspiracy. You see, if you eliminate all the “i”s, then no one can see that they are taking away our internets. And what’s next, huh? No “i”Phones, no “i”ntelligent talk, no Andro”i”d! Conspiracy!

    • I agree. They do not do ULH flights the way the ME3 do. The ones they do fly will be best operated by the A350-900LR or with an intermediate stop like they operate today.

      • Last year SIngapore AIrlInes reserved 7 A350-900LR’s for TranspacIfIc operatIons from 2018.

  23. It will be interesting to see how much Airbus’ MoM, the A321NEO, will tempt network airlines to sell premium seats into their competitor networks, do new spokes, add frequencies. Or protect their customer base loyalty.

    AA, BA do so with their A321’s, Delta is next.
    BA Clubworld on A321

    Lots of 6-7 hour flights are flown by 767s, A330 and 787-8s. Opening up new destinations / preserving them becomes more affordable; narrowbody vs widebody costs.

  24. What happened to the comments? I have never seen that sort of stuff before (my attempt at a comment w/o lower-case “I”s. It messes w/ my head, please make that stop!

    • Oh gosh… Qatar Airways just gets on my nerves… sorry, but that is just how I feel.

      They are very much a “me too!” airline. Trying to emulate Emirates. Going for Emirates level brawn but sadly without Emirates level brains.

      They could not take delivery/operate those A380 because it is not the right aircraft for them. Not because of the price of oil!

      The best aircraft for them would be the A330neo, instead of those ±150 A350, A380 and 777X they operate and have on order.

      Go back to the basics, operate an airline that is inherently respectful instead of one that tries to convince us that it is…

      #QRscrapallyourwidebodyordersandordertheA330neo… 🙂

  25. What is the useful real world range of the A330-800 and A330-900 respectively?

    By “useful real world” I mean with ±90% pax load factor and bags, winds and whatever cargo it can load after taking the aforementioned into account.

    • Check this
      and this
      Its always useful to check this site before asking questions

      maximum passenger range- presumable without extra cargo is 6200nm and 7450nm (330-800) respectively
      Winds etc vary by route and season, sometimes one day to the next.

  26. And a perspective on the MOM

    I don’t buy the resources. Early aircraft design is not the same as the mid and final work. Different resources.

    I can see a decision based on not enough market or not enough interest. 737 is done, 777 is moved to mid and latter design, there are the early rough out designers to start.

    Better the cheap 737 solution than to sit and do nothing. Otherwise as the 737-9 does not offer what the A321 does, the big movers are going to add that to their fleet leaving no place for a Boeing solution.

    737-10 should also include a GTF option contrary to GE. Get the next generation design not the current and you would have a LEAP up!

  27. Well, Tim Clark agrees with the headline of this topic. He wants a 380neo and doesn’t think Airbus should be pursuing larger 350 versions. Why hasn’t Plueger been called out on his assertion that the 350-1100/-8000 would have 40 more seats than a 779? This is plainly false. I suspect there will be no 380neo ever(not just delayed) and Airbus are scurrying around to come up with another option- varying larger versions of the 350.

    • I don’t see why they can’t do both an A380neo and a new derivative of the A350. Before the end of this decade they would have put the A320neo, A330neo families and A350-900/-1000 into service. I feel they have a shot. They just need to take it.

      • I think a lack of a candidate engine. It wouldn’t be cost effective to design an engine just for the the A380, so out world’s have to piggy back another program. There isn’t anything planned right now.

        • The Advantage for the A380 is that the thrust requirement is at the low end of the RR Trent XWB series or 787 sized engines.

          Airbus seems to skip the Advantage in favor of the Ultra.

      • Yes, but you’re referring just to development and launch into service. Ramping up production to deliver on the backlog is not of the same order.

    • @longreach

      Perhaps Mr. Plueger meant “40 seats more” than the A350-1000 (Scott?) – or, perhaps he was referring to a further stretched, 85 metre long A350-9000 version? 😉

      • Plueger said 40 more seats than the 777-9; I asked him when I heard him the first time, to be sure I had not mis-heard.

        • I am also surprised by the “40 seats more” comment… I assumed it was a mistake in the article and thought it would be corrected. I guess not…

          That would be a ridiculously long A350… and I worry that it will start to exhibit the problems that plagued the A340-600. However, I guess I am not educated enough in aeronautical engineering to make a judgement.

          • There is no need for leeway for interpretation if you have leeham for interpretation ?

    • TC just wants Airbus to build the only thing he will buy from them and is not much interested in anything else in the Airbus WB lineup. Whether or not Airbus’s WB strategy is a success is not of concern to him.

      • Are you sure he is still not interested in the A359, I understood that the b781 did not have the hot performance he wanted. I thought this order was at least in the balance and based on the many comments veering slightly towards Airbus

        • Well, according to Bloomberg’s latest news, EK is also evaluating the 789 and the 7810 against the A350. Why 789 too now? Can it fill in where the 7810 can’t?

          • That is interesting news. I feel that a combo of the 787-9/-10 could work very very well for them.

            But then again, you could get just the A350-900 to fill the same gap in the fleet.

      • The proposed 8000 might be a killer aircraft for TC’s competition. That’s a good reason to want to kill it. One of EK’s strengths as far as I am concerned is its ability to specify to OEMs design parameters which suit EK, all because they order so big it is hard to ignore them. Then it leaves the competition paying for payload/range they don’t want, LHs 777-X complaint.

        • I agree that the A350-8000 could cause heartache for EK.

          But I don’t necessarily agree about the Emiratisation of aircraft, as it has been called.

          Boeing just tried to make the 777-9 a bigger and better 777-300ER. The mods the made allowed that and apparently the stretch was necessary to compete with the A350-1000. Also, LH jumped on that pretty early. So, either they did so to stop a hypothetical Emiratisation or they bought it because said Emiratisation happened already and it was still a relevant aircraft for them.

          I think the 787-10 vs A350-900 debates that go on, proves just how much of a difference flexibility, brought by better payload/range, makes to an airline fleet plan.

          • It is possible that LH will replace some A340 with 777X. LH offers some high-destinations in South America.

  28. I wanted to look into more about those quoted ‘average stage length’- using and choosing the ‘shorter range’ A330-300 there were around 180 planes in the air.
    My numbers based on time of flight comes out thus.
    11hours+ 6%
    9-11 hours 22%
    8-9hrs 22%
    5-8hrs 28%
    3-5hrs 17%
    under 3 hrs 5%

    My figures give roughly 50% of the A330-300 in the air ( at the time I checked) with a flight time of over 8 hours and only 5% under 3 hours.
    Typical short stages are Toronto-Montreal or charlotte Philadelphia or Istanbul -Tehran

    Even Checking the A330-200 with 175 in the air only a small % are on stages under 3 hours.
    This idea of large numbers of A330s on short stage length flights doesnt stack up

    • Typical LAX-JKF distance is 4000km or 2200nm and flight time is say 5 1/2 hours ( varies of course)
      So looking at 5 1/2 hours flight time, we have under 25% of A330-300

    • WTF, someone actually checks a statement, what a disrespect for the speaker 😉 Anyway taking the average of China domestic and TATL A330s seems a questionable base for far reaching general conclusions.

    • I agree @dukeofurl, the figure of 1800nm seems too low.

      The only places I can see that happening are intra-asia, domestic Australia and between the middle east and indian subcontinent. All other flights operated by the A330 must be longer…

      • Most intra- Australia A330s do transcontinental flights with some doing shorter 1 -2 hrs on other routes. The shorter routes are the home of the single aisle- thats in spite of Sydney Melbourne being in the top 10 most trafficed routes.
        I wasnt trying to show someone wrong, just what were these 2-4 hr flights that the A330 was mostly used for.

        Had another check just now , quite a lot of intra -asian traffic with maybe 12% now under 3 hrs, up from 5% and with 280 planes in the air so that means 12% is a higher absolute number
        Must be daytime in Asia and night in North America and Europe

    • IMU one would have to adjust the numbers for flights per day.
      We know about average utilization ( ~50%).
      In a simplistic approximation you would have to weight the data by inverse flight duration to show the resultant number of legs flown per day. ( 50% “in the air” time is one 11 hour flight per day but 4 3 hour flights per day. even more for shorter flights. ( correction for no/less nighttime activity required.)

      This would raise the curve for the lower distances flown.

      • Yes. Shorter flights allow more rotations. But that means just looking at stage length is a flawed approach, its RSK that pays for the plane, and the longer sectors require a larger fleet

  29. The A330-900 and the 787-9 are basically the same plane, same size engine and wing. The 787 has the added bonus of nine across, so a 1/8 more capacity for the same trip cost. Versus, the A330, with a lower purchase price, and more comfort, which provides advantage to the airlines who buy it because their customers choose the A330.

      • There must be something to “more comfort” when the “Press MX busybodies” appear over tasked with subduing expressed displeasure with “9 across on a 787”.

        IMU Airbus negatives and Boeing positives invariably get quite a bit of “leg up” in the press while the complements on each side are held in the shadows.

      • I guess the middle is the middle whether it’s 4 or 3, but the 2 on the side is way more relaxing than 3 next to the window.

      • @Geo

        I don’t think you will find there is much of a debate. There are a couple of what I take to be Boeing sponsored pieces on the net that attempt to make it a debate but if you look at the forums there is one way traffic, the b787 was designed for a spacious 8 across in economy and at 9 it is cramped. Cramped in seating but also in aisle space. This will not change. I am certainly not saying flying in a A330 at 8 is nirvana but it is a material improvement, more spacious, in 2s rather than 3s, it works better on every level. Also Airbus generally have quieter aircraft, definitely in terms of a330 vs b777. I have not detected a noise issue with the b787 on my limited acquaintance but it does has thinner walling

  30. 99% of the world measures distance in km, so why does the metric majority use America’s out dated miles?

    • I am sorry, I tried, I am on board with a full metric conversion but the stuck in the mud US is not. I failed badly.

      What, one of two countries in the entire world and last I recall is was some very tiny country.

      Never let it be said that the US can’t be phenomenally stupid.

    • I don’t believe it’s a matter of “stupidity” at all. Personally I find it no problem to switch between and convert between the systems at will.Lots of people find it a system more relateable to everyday life.
      But as for miles, if you are referring to “nautical miles” or knots it has hung around because one nautical mile equals (roughly) one minute of arc in latitude so makes reading an aeronautical chart more handy.

    • The use of nautical miles and therefore the use of knots is appropriate for maritime and aero use.

      Also the use of “feet” for aircraft height is OK because it is a barometric height and not true height above sea level.

    • Because a nautical mile is a one degree of latitude and unless you want to re-design the world……

      There was an attempt at a metric positioning system but it didn’t take off.

      • That imho is less of interest.

        It is more about US dominance in international flying in a defining/formative phase. ( Soviet Union used to do SI units just like most of Europe till the end of WWII.)

        The other one is that you have clearly distinct units for height and distance. compare to 12km? up, down, ahead?

      • A nautical mile is one minute.

        The length of a minute of arc measured along a meridian (north-south distance).

        The problems with reading different articles in miles is that many times they don’t write if it is nautical or statute miles.

        In aviation we should always use nautical miles and nothing else.

  31. And on an interesting note this is one of the longest threads I remember and the only one that matches an A380 thread!

  32. Airlines are sick of 787….there are so many problems….so many times they are grounded … they can earn profit if it is grounded most of the times….boeing , just for d sake of saving money has given d parts contract to componies which have never made aircraft parts…boeing has to do something before it crashes…they have to stop sellimg this crap…on d other hand a350 is flyimg smoth not a single problem… This shows diff between europen and american

  33. Pingback: Top 10 Leeham News stories of 2016 - Leeham News and Comment

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