Boeing CEO reiterates production targets

Dennis Muilenburg

Denis Muilenburg, CEO of The Boeing Co.

Sept. 15, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The CEO of The Boeing Co. is sticking with current guidance for production rates through the end of the decade despite “hesitation” in wide-body orders.

Dennis Muilenburg, speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes will move up from today’s delivery stream of around 740-750 aircraft to “well over 900.”

Sales improvements needed

Even so, Muilenburg acknowledged that production rates for the 787 and 777 are dependent upon improvements in the current softness in orders. Political unrest and general hesitation is slowing orders.

Through yesterday, Boeing still booked only net eight of the 40-50 777 orders needed to maintain a production rate of seven per month through the transition from the Classic to the new 777X.

The effective delivery rate for the Classic beginning in 2018 will be 5.5/mo, Muilenburg said, reiterating a figure previously stated.

But, he said, failure to achieve the sales targets could mean a downward rate adjustment. Several Wall Street analysts already predict a rate of 4-5/mo vs seven.

Muilenburg also reaffirmed plans to take the 737 MAX rate to 57/mo in 2019. The 787 rate remains at 12. Increasing the rate to 14/mo depends on more sales.

737-10 and NMA/MOM aircraft

Muilenburg said Boeing continues talks with potential customers for the 737-10 and New Mid-range Aircraft (NMA), both of which would have application for the Middle of the Market (MOM) sector.

The 737-10, a concept which has been under study for a year, is a potential stretch of the 737-9. How extensive remains a matter of debate.

The 737-10 is Boeing’s answer to the Airbus A321neo, should it get a green light. This would address the low end of the MOM sector.

The NMA, generally described as a new design, twin-aisle 220-270 passenger aircraft with a range of 4,500nm-5,000nm, would cover the mid- to -upper end of the MOM sector. Boeing defines this sector as above the 737 but below the 787 families.

Muilenburg said Boeing could decide to do nothing at all and compete with its current family of airplanes. He said Boeing could also do either the 737-10 or the NMA, or it could do both.

But there is no rush, he added. The 737-10, which would be a fairly straight-forward derivative of the MAX family, could be ready for service in 2019 or 2020. The NMA, an entirely new design, wouldn’t see an EIS until 2024/25, he said.

296 Comments on “Boeing CEO reiterates production targets

  1. Who was talking $8bill for doing a 737-10 ? This confirms its just a fuselage stretch with existing engines (pinched from Airbus ) and extended main undercarriage ( using a standard shortening to make it fit the existing bay)
    ‘737-10, which would be a fairly straight-forward derivative of the MAX family, could be ready for service in 2019 or 2020’

      • Or we can listen to the CEO of Boeing who says its fairly straightforward and EIS in a few years. You tell me how much updating that involves. ?
        Its clear the $8Bill is off the table for a Max 10, a fairly easy choice as that sort of money isnt available nor viable for this type of derivative.

  2. US buys F 15’s for Israel,I knew American taxpayers wouldn’t let Boeing down.

    • Just surplus inventory from USAF stocks as F15D training versions and are 30 years old

      • If Boeing needs the money new F15s are on the way. For now US taxpayers paid Israel to allow F15s sales to Arab countries. Amazing that they can get away with this,I know, but that’s American politics.

  3. The 737-10 will not be that easy as it will get a new APU, New wings, New nacelles and Engines, new landing gears, new brakes, revised stuctures and systems, revised skin thickness or material to handle bigger loads.

    • Please listen to the CEOs words
      “a window for Boeing to execute a “relatively minor” development programme for a new stretch of the 737 Max – called the 737 Max 10 — in 2019 to 2020, Muilenburg says.”
      The 737 Max 9 ( 42.2m) still isnt as long as the old 707-320 which was 46.5m, so no need for much changes to fuselage skins and extendable undercarriage solves the short legs, and the higher thrust engine from GE is ready now ( and going into service on the A320)
      Boeing has made an art out of getting the most out of its existing designs and that wont change.

      • It would be interesting to hear Alan Mulally’s comments of what new pn’s/systems he expects must get into the -10.
        I expect Boeing to design a new lightweight vertical tail and new sealed off stabilizers that are FBW. So the minor change can be:
        New tail and stabilizers, new APU and revised APU compartment air intake/exhaust, wings with slats&flaps+actuating system, LEAP-1C nacelle&Engines, new MLG and NLG with actuating systems and brakes, maybe Al-Li optimized Fuselage barrells with new doors, latest cockpit standard (777-9) and fine tuned windows/contours to lower cockpit noise and finally MLG doors to fully seal of the landing gear bay to keep it clean. It will be -8a 737-10MAX-LG “LastGen”. It still will not have an Airbus type of cargo handling system but might get full FBW off the 787 to mimic the 787-8 all on a revision of the original 737 Type Certificate.

        • I don’t understand why you think Boeing would essentially build an all new aircraft for a 24-30 seat stretch.
          why a new APU? why a new tail at all? why FBW?

          if they do anything at all it will be a minimum change derivative with levered MLG (no change to nose gear because they already stretched that), reshaped and slightly stronger pylon (actually the only place where I could see advanced materials coming in to play) a few gussets or doublers on the inner wing, wing box and lower wing skin

          potentially they might shave a couple feet off the top of the rudder because of increased leverage, but do they have different tails today between -7, -8 and -9? I bet commonality wins out.

          no Al/Li fuselage, no additional FBW, no new tail, no new cockpit (electronics or shape), no passive or active laminar systems…

          • Boeing does not do “Pylons”. The do engine struts.

            Pylons are dead. Struts are alive. Boeing engine struts are actually quite complex breakaway structures designed to protect the wing and fuel cells. And they are engine specif and not to be taken lightly.

  4. Tell me I am wrong, but there grows an impression on me that Muilenburg is neither the charismatic leader nor the strategic genius that will steer the giant ship Boeing through heavy seas with growing success.
    He appears to be a little too streamlined to me and I really wonder if he will have the guts to make some bold and decisive decisions that are needed now and in the near future.
    I am sure that Boeing has done enough reseach both in market and feasibility regarding the 737-10, but still there is no decision. And the reason is probably because it is not such an easy decision, but one that might cut in every direcion in the end. But in leading a company the captain has to make such decisons, because no decision is the worst one. And here Boeing is loosing crucial time for either making that plane or skip it and put the recources and energy elsewhere.
    From what I can find it appears that Muilenburg has no business experience outside Boeing, plus he is neither a Nelson nor a Fletcher in character. Not good.

        • Actually, I think the 787 is basically a fantastic products, but what hapened with this project from a strategic perspective is that Boeing thought they could push a good chunk of the risk towards the suppliers and expected they will all work their heart and soul to present Boeing with the biggest profits ever and the smoothest sailing.
          Yeah, right, that is exactly how this world turns…

          • “Actually, I think the 787 is basically a fantastic products, ”

            All those phantasms did not produce the necessary step up in performance and/or building efficiency to turn the money spent on the project into a worthwhile expenditure aka “investment”.

      • grubbie

        No it was not, the management setup on it was the flaw. they scattered it far and wide and totally lost control let alone an oversight of the program.

        You never do two major production changes at once, one is guaranteed to fail.

        the tech was solid, the management was beyond abysmal.

        Nothing technically was wrong with it.

        What few really technical issues there were are traced to management screw ups (outsourcing the battery) .

        I can think of only one that was purely a tech fault, that was the electrical bus isolation not working.

          • No, the composites worked fine.

            There were some minor fit issues that are normal for the course of an aircraft (A380 had those in the aluminum part of their wing)

            Fasteners were a huge issue because you had operational all over the globe needing them, but no one managed that common part. Ergo some got them, some did not, hoarding went on as the contract was for produced objects per that entity and not the good of the whole (which would have been handled if it had been done in house)

            The supply chain was outsourced but no one kept an eye on it. It failed and Boeing built teams (I recall 10 or 15) to deal with it.

            Again if done in Evertt, it would have been supervised and they would have handled it.

            Boeing killed their electric/electronics divisions which would have done the battery (or had oversight) List goes on.

            Billions into new facility in Charlotte to beat the union.

            The wing joint was an issue but originally it was good, it was the serious issue with weight gain (too many scattered operations that weight crept in and not kept out which occurs vastly better with in a company as you see who is doing what and can stop them from adding to ensure their part does not fail, each one that does that adds weight)

            Under central management its hard, scattered all over its impossible. Even with teams making rounds, as soon as they are gone they are unsupervised again and you have to check constantly.

            The seriously hard nose section never had an issue as it was done by a group that new what it was doing (Spirit) . they also had been working for and with Boeing a long time and had the relationship to know what was needed. Rest did not. Chance Vought (original fuselage mfg) had a history or problems. Lets hire them to …….

            Fit on tail pieces form Italy were miner issues.

          • Doesn’t really matter who did the struggling, it was still a struggle. Ended up throwing 5planes away

          • With all due respect, I think it does matter.

            It does say Boeing technical development and risk mitigation groups worked and worked very well.

            It tells us there was a solid base there and for what they did.

            It also tells us that it was a management debacle.

            Gudolf has put it the best:

            Just add in that was all management decisions and vast majority of the problems stemmed from that.

            It was not a tech moonshot

            It was a management created black hole.

            If you know where the problem is, you can correct it.

            Unfortunately with management, if they are the problem its someone else’s fault and people are thrown under the bus.

    • Maybe Boeing needs a technocrat. But a technocrat that dares to address issues. I have the impression the companies ownership, stockholders, they way they react, the way senior mngt is held accountable, rewarded, isn’t helping. Too short term too often to be competitive long term.

      If steps forward and announces they will make a 200 seat MoM out of the MAX that beats A321 NEO’s on capacity & range, he has UA and some other with him. Investors will see & support.

      Saying he’s not in a rush & he has to fully understand the situation first and invest in buy backs doesn’t build credibility.

      Maybe he has to replace some of the financial experts (with stock related bonuses/ short term interest only) around him.

      • Many German companies are led by engineers.

        they do quite well with that system.

          • Anything wrong of with a hole in it in the product line?

            Yep, they made an amazing mistake, so did BP (and we can discuss the Exon Valdez in some detail)

            Still at its critical roots VW is fully competitive around the globe.

            Well they don’t sell pickup trucks but they seem to do fine without that (equivalent of the A380 for them? lets not do that?)

        • Such as VW with the world wide diesel fiasco, or Porsche that really screwed up thinking they could buy VW, but ended up being owned by them and now use Audi platforms and engines, such as the Q5.

          Really great examples, TW.

          • Even in this cases – how by the way never got bankrupt like e.g. GM did – they are by no means “failed” companies. VW may struggle in the US but they suceed elswhere.

            And overall there are a lot more technological companies per GDP or per person as in the US of A and most other “developed” countries. So the system could not have been that bad. That doesn’t mean it will be great forever.

          • Andy:

            1. Boeing with a 34 billion dollars program around its financial neck and future options severely impacted.

            2. Penn Central

            3. Prime Mortgage debacle.

            4. Savaging and Loan debacle

            We can go on and on, technically VW is very successful.
            Boeing far less so with some key and severely dated products.

            Boeing went down the toiler when MD bought them out.

            Like Boeing. VW went off the rails, it happens regardless of the system.

            I seldom read anything intelligent from a US CEO, in fact I find them boring and childish for the most part. European CEOs tend to actually know how the widgets work and understand the balance between the good of the whole vs the good of the few.

      • Technocrat ?
        Wells Dennis Muilenburg is your man. Graduate degree in aeronautical engineering as well running the Boeing Defence division or as some still call it McAir in St Louis, where he started his career. Outstanding executive.
        The outsider was his predecessor Jim McNerney who was a Harvard MBA who started at Proctor and Gamble and eventually ran GEs engine division before moving to 3M and then Boeing.

    • I really disagree Gundolf. So far he has shown he is a realist and has steadied a shaky company. One of his first orders of business was labor peace with a new contract. He has also interjected a new policy of under promise and over deliver. He also realigned the range numbers to match more realistic profiles.He finally admitted the 747 is on life support and could die.
      He is no miracle worker or larger than life figure and who knows how he will fare in the long run but so far he has been impressive.
      And do you really think no decision is the worst one when one false move sinking billions of dollars could actually kill or severely wound the company? Getting it right should be first priority rather than being first.

      • Time!
        That’s what it’s about here. You have to get your timing right, and when you are lagging behind, further idling will only worsen your position. This is how I see the 737-10 question.
        All the facts are on the table, and the decision is not really so difficult: Make it, skip it or start a new single isle design. I would decide to skip the 737-10 and go straight for the NSA.

        • Gundolf, what do you think to the MAX marketshare in the next 8 years if Boeing goes for an NSA first available in 2024?

          • What where your expectations on A330 sales when Airbus anounced the A350XWB? Well everybody, including the Airbus people thought it would go down fast, but it didn’t.
            I think the NSA would not only be bigger and quite a bit more expensive than the 737, so Boeing might just keep happily making and selling them.

          • That would be a possible viable strategy.

            RSA but start with the largest model not the mid model.

            Segue into the other models as time went by and customers wanted to make the switch.

            With the doubts on how much the 10 would cost, as well as the ability to make the MMA at the cost they say it needs to be, certainly worth and probably is being explored.

            The real problem though is that there is no current break through tech, they can maybe improve on the A320 what 5%?

            New engines wing etc another 5%.

            Pretty skiny advantage going up against a paid for priced aircraft.

        • @Gundolf

          IMJ, the A320neo series should be competitive through, at least, 2030 – a time frame that may be just about right for the launch of a single aisle having an all new and revolutionary distributed electric propulsion system*. If that were to happen, Boeing would run the risk that their NSA could be suffering the same fate similar to what Douglas experienced with the DC-7 – where an important advance in technology can obsolete the program prematurely.

          *Electrical energy storage: Batteries or fuel cells.

          • Yes, I also think we may have electric planes in 25, 30 years, but that really stretches my imagination to see the 737 holding on until then.
            Smart use of CFRP and maximising single aisle size is the way to go.

          • With respect to the launch of an all new NSA, Boeing might well be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they don’t, their single aisle market share will IMJ continue to wither on the vine. If Boeing launched the NSA tomorrow, it would probably not EIS until the mid 2020s. If Boeing were to launch it by the end of the decade, EIS would be in the late 202s – assuming a 10 year long gestation period. So, If Airbus were to EIS a new NSR (New Short Range) – having a distributed electric propulsion system – by the mid 2030s, Boeing could run the risk of the NSA facing a threat of premature termination.

    • Hey…Boeing is never going to be led by the quality of men such as Louis Gallois, Jean Pierson or Tom Enders. Forget about it. Instead, Boeing will be lead by “plausibility in a suit”: thoroughly unexceptional men whose ideas are the investor-palatable manure that fertilizes long-term failure. Men who are the product of a system that specializes in the crafting of mediocrity.

      • I am in the wait and see mode on Mullenburg.

        Something to keep in mind, unlike Mullaly with Ford who had a “save the company no matter what” Boeing is not there (yet)

        He operates within the limitations of the possible, ie he has to persuade.

        Not that he didn’t take the job, that his choice and I don’t feel sorry for him, but transformational figures come along with all is lost, not when its still limping along.

        • As I understand it Ford saw he had problems which he couldn’t solve and pretty much placed the company in Mullaly’s hands, so I suspect Mullaly had a free hand as long as creditors went along. Mullenburg has to deal with a board which is committed to the same policies as have been in place for the last 15 years. What he actually thinks or is trying to do we might never know.

          • Spot on.

            Ford Moranged gthe entire company assets to the tune of 20 billion to get the cap citor to recov er.

            If they had fialed they would have been gone.

            Desperate moves for desperate times.

            Boeing still has the capability to pull themselves out of it short of that. But they have to be willing to go all in and stop stock buybacks and share holder return until they get themselves balanced again.

            Probbly not going to happen.

    • Muilenburg’s only claim to fame is that of a cost cutter. I fear he is going to cut deep enough to hit an artery, and bleed the company out.

  5. Of course one option not mentioned is that Boeing could push the entry of the 777x up a few months (there already a rumor they have pushed it up a month)> If they push up delivery 5-6 months they could eliminate the gap. Aggressive I know but they were conservative with the MAX and bet they are being just as conservative with the 777X.
    I think they are going try very hard to move it’s introduction up as it beats unloading classics at cost just to keep the line running.

    • It could conveniently arrive just as the moribund large WB/VLA sector starts stirring and will be subsequently be seen as a move of genius. It is not as though that market is exactly humming at the moment.

        • @TransWorld

          The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) predicted as early as November of last year that SQ would not renew the leases for their first A380s. One should also keep in mind that the production certification with the finalised production standard wiring started with MSN 026 and onwards. The aircraft that SQ will be handing back to the lessor next year is MSN 003. In short, Airbus delivered 20 “terrible teen” A380s – including two prototypes to Emirates (MSNs 007 and 009).

          SIA in 2012 placed a follow-up order for five A380s, which are due to be delivered in 2017 and 2018. SIA intends for them to replace the A380s coming off lease rather than to be for growth. These SIA A380s were some of the first off the production line and, as would be expected for early models, do not have the efficiency and programme lessons learned from aircraft delivered later. SIA does not believe even handsome lease discounts makes this A380 cohort viable to operate.

        • So they take on some brand new models. Its probably a financial/ funding issue plus you replace Ln 1 with the improved lighter version

          • OV-99:

            What it says is there will be 5 more used A380 on the market.

            The current 6 MA (latter build) have not moved yet either.

            SA must be getting a great deal to pick up the new ones and not buy out MAs.

            All of which drives down the new market price for an A380 which in turn means more losses.

          • Saw a rumour or maybe a comment here that an unidentified Chinese airline was negotiating for the MA ones. BA are supposed to be in the hunt for used aircraft as well but I doubt they want the SQ ones as the owner (lease company) has already said he doesn’t want to sell, only lease out again. It will be interesting to see what actually happens.

  6. Last time Boeing made a huge bet, the 787, it did not go nearly as planned. I’ll take a stab and say at the end this cost them 30-40B$ net, most of which they carry still on their books. The fact the company could absorb that is, to me, still an amazing testimony to its financial structure, health at the time, legacy duopoly ‘rent’, and how the market looks at Boeing.

    Internal C-levels who live through this, and who must still pay the bills, also know what this does to the balance sheet(s), internal morale, rank and file, suppliers, etc… not even talking about the pundits :-). And then, there is still stirring up the normal day execution. A large company is a living eco-system. Not a military unit.

    Most C-level make at most really 1-3 key decisions within a 5-10 years span. One can’t bet one’s company every year.

    And in this case, they (he) still need to pay the bills, including how our system works (i.e, WallStreet — good, bad, or indifferent).

    Give him some time. And remember, given the acceleration of information flow in our world today, all suppliers collaborate/compete with each other. One’s initial leg up won’t last long as the other side will know within ‘minutes’. So… hard to gain a lasting advantage. The existing platforms were defined years ago. Can’t create new ones on a dime.

    • “The fact the company could absorb that [787 debacle] is, to me, still an amazing testimony to its financial structure, health at the time, legacy duopoly ‘rent’, and how the market looks at Boeing.”

      Boeing were lucky that this fiasco unfolded at a time when they were benefiting from a flurry of new orders for the 777 and 737, both highly lucrative programmes. And the company is still surfing on this wave of prosperity which has no precedent in Boeing’s history. We can speak here of a favourable convergence, which allowed them to go through this difficult period and emerge relatively unscathed. The exact opposite is happening today because in my view Boeing is now heading towards a period of unfavourable convergence: The prognostic remains unclear concerning the ailing 787; the immensely successful 777 is going through a major transition period that leaves many observers perplexed; and the venerable 737 is now on the defensive and could become a victim of its own success if it refuses to renew itself.

  7. 737-10 in three years? That’s quick, but I guess the major lead time is engines.

    I think most of the allure of the A321 is higher capacity. There may be a bigger need for a new mid capacity aircraft rather than new mid range. Boeing can use the Leap and Pure Power GTF on a 100t to 105t clean sheet. Moving around a Soutwest 738 is slow as molasses. Twin aisle is the way to go. If Boeing builds a new single aisle, they will never recoup their costs against pricing pressure from the A321. They need to do something different and better.

    • Ted, if they do a twin aisle MoM, the A32NEo is still there in new variants/PiPs. By 2024 Airbus will have delivered the 1300 so far + 8 years of production : ~ 2400 = 3700. Game over.

      It seems they are finally waking up to that reality. Maybe 6 years too late, when the writing was already on the wall.

      • While Andys comments didn’t really go anywhere, they have got me thinking. It’s probable that only Boeing has really accurate numbers at this time and they are still testing. Small percentages could make quite a lot of difference. As the Max is already maxed out and has very little scope for tweaking, maybe Boeing are only now getting into a position to make an informed decision on the way forward.

        • Testing the waters is exactly what they are doing to my mind. Scott says that turning the B737 into an A321NEO competitor is out of the question expense wise, so the idea is floated of a B737-10 with same fuselage, wings etc just higher standing and with bigger engines. Or B737-10 with just a longer fuselage, or, or, or.

          It sounds like DM is floating all the ideas that he thinks the board might approve seeing if any of them get a big enough bite.

  8. I think it’s too easy to get sucked into the soap opera of the A320 line and the 737 line. As others have mentioned, the 737, in its current form, could use a slew of improvements to better compete with the A321. But let’s not lose focus. The 737 is 60 years old and still holds it’s own against the A320. While Airbus enjoys this sales success of the A320/1 NEO, as most things, nothing lasts forever.

    An advantage, if any, that Boeing has is that the more Airbus NEO sales are made it makes a counter maneuver much more difficult because in the event they counter Boeing with a NEO Plus XL 2.2, customers within a reasonable time line to receive their NEO would for sure ask the NEO Plus XL 2.2 It would not be an easy task to do Performance improvement packages nor different variations of the originals. Things don’t snap on and off. The Airbus supply chain is already strained with the A350. Who knows if it spills over. This is same reason why selling the 77W has become so difficult. Why buy a 77W when you can get the 777-9/8 a bit later on?

    A twin aisle does not solve fuel burn and seating issues. Ryanair, EasyJet, Southwest Airlines don’t operate twin aisles because turnaround times are important. Solving the MLG riddle, adding aerodynamic improvements, stretching the fuselage and increasing the thrust would make a great 737-10.

    • Either 737/8 has a little bit on the neo or Boeing is bluffing, NSA launch 2018.Unless there’s something about the availability equation that I don’t understand.

    • The 737-100 first flew nearly 50 years ago. Since then its had new engines -twice, a completely new wing, improved flight controls. Its not your ‘grandmothers Buick’ anymore. Its lighter and has better range than its equivalent competitor which incidentally first flew 30 years ago so is no spring chicken either.
      cell phone designs may have a useful life of 5 years, but until Cseries comes out as a 180 seat CS500 ( not very likely) or they start licence production of the Irkut MC21 ( Yak 242) Boeing and Airbus are going to stick with their popular and well liked ‘old’ models.

      • In the UK we talk about triggers broom, had it 20years only 5new heads and 2 new handles. I was looking at the early model specifications yesterday, it’s got no business to be flying across the Atlantic!
        I might of nailed my colours to the mast a bit there, but there’s lots of tweaks and pips Airbus can do, p&w have already promised a few percent.Boeing claim that their wingtips are 1.8%better, logically that means Airbus has room for improvement.
        Advances in production techniques are going to be important in the desicion as well.

        • Not sure I want to cross the Atlantic on a broom, ha ha. More to the point the fuselage is old, saves weight but has other limitations, like width, hard to change without going whole hog, so to speak. They should have jacked her up when they did the wings.

  9. I don’t know who’s looking at the 737-10, United and any 737 operators with a network of long runways.

    One big 737 customer is Southwest. Can the -10 be built to take off from Midway? Can the A321 take off from Midway? A 200 to 250 seater with shorter field performance may require a 40m wing from Boeing or Airbus.

      • My thought exactly though I put it somewhat different.

        SW not interested right now in the 900/9, but its a logical move up if they are (AK airlines has)

        Its not an A321 but they seem to think they don’t need one.

        that can change to but for now they have a place to.

    • I remember that the ceo for DY said that they’d be interested in the 737-10 if Boeing brought it to market.

      • I think it’s safe to assume that Boeing has put a proposal for a minimalistic 737-10 on the table in talks with their most important customers and will have received a lukewarm response because of a performance that falls clearly short of the A321.
        But maybe they have also shown a “serious” 737-10 with all the goodies and high performance, more expensive than the A321LR, but still offering less passenger comfort and cargo capability.
        If you’d be running an airline, would you buy either one? Well, I’d tell them to leave me in peace until they have a serious draft for a modern single aisle.

        • Why would the performance of a ‘minor change Max 10’ fall short of an A321 ? The overall weight of the 737 is less than its Airbus competitors, the likely engine will be the same leap A as used on the A321, and it wont need a special LR version.

  10. Keep everything the same just new engines is non-sense for the 737. It’s bigger engines that require the $5B investment the rest is details.

    • No, the engines are there (NEO), miner mods to the pylons.

      Its the wings and wingbox and gear that is huge drivers as well as all the other mods to make it work.

      • TW is correct, the engines are available today, just some mods for the different pylons.
        No need to change wing/wingbox at all, as extendable undercarriages have been around for a long time that will fit in the space available. The only issue is that it changes the spare parts commonality.

  11. We were talking about German engineering. BTW, many countries are banning VW diesels, and rightly so. Some Audi and Porsche diesels are in the lime light also, and Bosch is being questioned. This was not a simple engineering mistake but a fraudulent design done on purpose. This will taint VW and their products for years to come. We have not yet seen the end of it.

  12. I would agree, but times are changing. There are more and more good cars made elsewhere. Most of my cars have been German, including (2) Audi, (2) 911, (1) 928S, (6) Mercedes (300E, E430, CL500, S400, S550, ML350). The 911s were the best cars I’ve ever owned and one of the Audis was the worst. Maintenance costs per mile driven (when it run) were higher than for a 737 per mile flown. That was before the Lemon Law came into effect in the US, or I would have had the dealer buy it back. My current beater is a loaded 2015 S550. I like the 447 hp twin turbo V8 and all options but miss the 911, so I’m looking at Porsches again. Maybe get a 911 for those sunny weekends when there is 0% chance for rain……or maybe dump the S550 and get the 2017 Panamera.

  13. @OV:
    The A380 is the answer to a question nobody asked. Besides, it is ugly to the bone. Airbrush learned nothing from the A340 fiasco, but continued their failing strategy “4 engines 4 whatever is was”. One can already see the end for this monster. Too bad that Euro taxpayers have to swallow all program losses……so much for corporate responsibility.

    • I wasn’t aware of the fact that the A380 was on a beauty contest. Thank you Andy, now I see clear and it dawns on me why the A380 is such an utter desaster. And I’m so sorry too that is broke the neck of the ICON so badly. And of course we better not ask any passengers. I’m sure you will always prefer an economy flight in a 787 over one on the A380. Well, not everybody does, do they?
      And then, oh well, wait a minute, actually,… it appears that the A380 is in fact profitable and is paying for its development costs, which does not seem to be the case with every programm.
      And right, of course, the stupid Airbus people also had it all wrong with the A330/340 project. Stupid design, stupid strategy, very bad sales, and in the end all paid for by the taxpayers. Ahm, only that so far it has earned the taxpayers quite a lot. But hush now, we don’t want to be too realistic here, while we have a chance to troll a bit, right?

      • While I do find the A380 looks unappealing it has nothing to do with its failure or success.

        I do question its profitable and paying for its development cost? nonsense.

        Break even means it is just paying for its CURRENT mfg costs, no ROI.

        Rate is going down and they loose that, it will cost them more to make it than they can sell it for.

        A340 was a creature of the times, Boeing got them with that by getting ETOPs extend for twins (someone will pay the price for that someday, we can only hope it is a successful ditching and it may not be a Boeing that does it)
        note: I do know of one 747 that tried to do mid ocean as well, fuel management issue, they had fuel, pulling out of wrong tanks and did not figure it out, the good news was they still had one engine going when they touched down (it then quit)

        • I guess most follows of Leeham will be familiar with Ben Sandlilands Plane Talking. Here is his recent comments concerning the introduction of their A380 to Christchurch NZ.

          “The truth is that if you made an A380 as miserable inside for economy class as a 787 it would carry more than 700 passengers, and burn less fuel per ****ock per kilometre anyhow.
          And if you are going buy a share in the jet by flying in a premium seat, at least on the A380 there is a bar, and you can stand up and walk around, and even get a shower, for really big bucks, or something like a spare million Qantas points that will otherwise expire unused when you die trying to redeem them anyhow.

          The gnawing issue for airlines that haven’t any, or even enough, A380s, is that people are getting bigger while the seats are getting smaller in just about every other type of airliner (including in Emirates’ world’s largest fleet of 777s) and their numbers multiply at seemingly biblical rates.

          New Zealand is a gloriously attractive destination, and a big roomy jet is an appropriate way, short of a private ocean going cruiser or an owner’s suite on a cargo ship, of making the long journeys there and back in a civilised manner.
          Sooner or later, restoring the comfort levels that Air New Zealand for one used to be noted for, . . . . . . . “

          • Agreed with it all, how long it lasts or if they can fill it to make it work is the $64 questions(s)

            I am interested in seeing how the smaller destinations work.

            Its not what the A380 was supposed to be for, but then again, things often take their own path.

            Emirates seems to think they can make money at current densities.

            Oddly you would think 777 would be true as well

            Put more pax in and the economics improve, but can you get that many people at a single time on a single flight?

            Have to see.

    • @Andy

      Hubris kills businesses; humility saves them. It may seem as if both you and Boeing have long since been be suffering from hubris fever – e.g. Boeing at the PAS in 2011: The neo is only catching up with our 737NG; Boeing’s Mike Bair at ISTAT 2012: Boeing is on “a march to put Airbus out of business in the twin aisle space”; Andy: “I have much more experience and knowledge than those using so-called proprietary methods” and “I have been often told by those who really know the subject that my knowledge and grasp of issues in my area of expertise is extraordinary”.

      With this amount of hubris from Boeing and “Boeingpeople” – and I’ve barely scratched the surface – combined with a long record of underestimating the competition, one might conclude that it’s only a matter of time before Boeing has to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

      As for the A380: FWIW, the airlines that signalled that they were interested in the A3XX early on, apparently told Airbus “to make it really big”. Also, Emirates seems to be really happy about the aircraft as they are basically killing the competition with their economy of scale usage of the A380.

      As for the A340: The A340-300 is essentially a 4-engined version of the A330-300. Both aircraft were designed to have more than 90 percent commonality. Due to delays etc., the 747-8 programme may, in fact, have cost more to develop than the A340-500/-600. Also, it’s qustionable if Boeing will manage to deliver more 748s than Airbus did with the A345/A346. Since the latter aircraft were produced sharing most of the A330 production infrastructure – compared to the 747s unique production infrastructure that has zero commonality with other Boeing programmes – any reasonably objective observer would probably conclude that the 747-8 programme is the greater fiasco.

      As for the “Euro taxpayers” supposedly having to swallow all programme losses; frankly, I’m surprised that someone like you who have often “been told by those who really know the subject that your knowledge and grasp of issues in your area of expertise is extraordinary“, is oblivious to the fact that the Reimbursable Launch Investment (RLI) loans granted to Airbus from the governments of France, Germany, Spain and the UK has to be fully paid back after 17 years regardless of programme success.

      • I have to agree.

        I thought they had got over it but then we heard how they had airbus boxed in.

        I guess they did not talk to their own engineers.

        Uhh boss, put new engines on the A320 and the A330 and we are in deep doggy do do.

      • Saying the 340 is less of a fiasco compare to the 747-8 is to damn with faint praise. Sort of like being the leper with the most fingers…

        • @Geo

          You’re right. I should have said “much less of a fiasco” or “not much of a fiasco at all when compared to the 747-8“. Again, once the A340-500 and A340-600 entered into service, it didn’t matter much to Airbus if they manufactured A332s/A333s or A345s/A346s or if the output of the latter aircraft were reduced to less than one per month. Once the production of the A340-500/-600 had stopped, even the advanced third generation “in jig” wing panel automated assembly system for the A340-500/-600 wings were converted in order to build A330 wings instead of A340-500/-600 wings.

          So, where you have essentially the same airplane with the A330/A340, due to a huge amount of commonality in aircraft structure/systems and production infrastructure, the 747-8 is a stand-alone programme. In contrast to the A345/A346 where a reduction in output to less than one per month were relatively inconsequential for Airbus – although less so for unique A345/A346 suppliers like RR etc. – Boeing is stuck with a massive 747 production infrastructure that cannot be leveraged elsewhere in the company.

          • Yeah, that’s putting a tuxedo on a goat.
            The 500/600 cost $2.9 billion for all of a 131 sales.They could have simply made the new equipment for the 330 without wasting money developing the 500-600
            It’s good for them it wasn’t as bad as a mistake than the 747-8 but it was still a mistake.

          • The -500/-600 forced Boeing and GE to spend money on the -300ER _and_ work towards extending ETOPS further. ( visibly with much success but at cost.)

            And I don’t think the 777-300ER was “cheap”.

  14. @bilbo:

    Fully agree. The 737 is a work horse and not a hangar queen or a toy for mechanics to play with.

  15. @Grubbie

    I did not start on cars so don’t blame me. I just responded to a statement.

  16. The 777X is a great plane, the narrow customer base disappointing sales over the last few years are because the airlines don’t understand. Or because Airbus steeply discounted of course. Or something else unfair.

    • Some would say A350-8000 muddying the waters. Others would add Wall Street crashing the World, or political influence peddlers allowing median wages to crash to the point where nobody can afford to fly even in the cheep seats. Take your pick.

    • Hmm I believe you are wrong. The FAA forgot to block the 350 as it’s a servant of Boeing. Lets not even talk about their dastardly fishy accounting or how military welfare keeps them afloat. Yep, something like that!

  17. The earliest you can get the 777X is 2023. It has been on the market for 3 years. It has 306 plus 10 orders. The A 350-1000 has been on the market for 10 years with half the order of the 777X. Enough said.

    • The 777X reminds me of the A380 in that a majority of the orders come from a single airline, and it happens to be the same airline.

      The numbers I have indicate that a total of 193 A350-1000 have been sold, but only 53 777-8. Because it is my understanding that the A350-1000 was designed to compete with the 777-8. But if you insist on comparing it with the 777-9X it goes like this: 193 A350-1000 and 253 777-9X. Not much of a difference in terms of aircraft sold but a huge difference in terms of the number of customers to whom they were sold. Yet, the A350-1000 is still competitive enough with the 777-9. It may not carry as many passengers but it has superior range.

      You say that the A350-1000 has been on the market for 10 years. I don’t understand why you say this. The A350-1000 has not made its first flight yet and will not enter service before the second half of 2017. I agree that the 777-9x is a formidable aircraft. But why don’t you recognize that the A350-1000 is an equally formidable aircraft? It may not be as big as the 777-9 but it is certainly more advanced. The 777X is not based on a new platform like the A350 XWB is, and its basic design dates back to the early nineties.

      That being said, it is still too early to properly access the situation and the widebody market is anemic at the moment. When both aircraft will be in service we should have a better idea. At this point I would say the 777X is a good bet but I am becoming increasingly skeptical. I think the A350XWB has more potential because it is based on a clean-sheet design. The 777X is a commendable effort and Boeing probably did the right thing under the present circumstances when the timing was not favourable for a clean-sheet design of this magnitude.

      Daveo, are you sure you said enough?

    • *Daveo

      You’re comparing the A350-1000 with two aircraft; the 777-8 and the 777-9. As of today, there are 195 firm orders for the A350-1000, 53 firm orders for the 777-8 and 253 firm orders for the 777-9. So, its either 195/253=77% or 195/53=368%. If you want to compare sales of the 777-8/-9 with the A350, I’d suggest that you include the A350-900 as well.

      • These aircraft (350 series and original 777 series) were both conceived as 9 abreast economy. As such the 777 being 10″ wider inside is the more comfortable (roomy) aircraft. Then the 777 became a tight 10 abreast. The only way a 77W could compete with 350-1000 would be with the additional seats gained by going to 10 abreast. All else being equal (they are very close in length) the 77w should carry about 25-30 more pax based on the number of economy rows.

        The pax numbers I read are much closer. Airbus seems to be doing a better packaging or layout job with their fuselages (door number and placement, lavs, galleys etc. which allows them to carry the same number of pax with less gross floor area.

        Range and cargo capacity issues aside, the (potential) 350-1100 and 777-9 (again very close in length) would seem to be in the same relationship. At the same length the 777-9 should carry 30 or so more pax because it is 10 abreast economy (It is supposed to be 14″ wider inside than 350 series so a smaller penalty for going 10 abreast).

        Is AB still making up (some of?) the difference with better packaging. Does someone know the details of this. What are the actual cabin lengths (cockpit bulkhead to rear pressure dome), door, lav and galley layouts etc.)

        Re sales numbers: it IS the 777-8 and A 350-1000 that are close in pax capacity. 777-8 is the niche aircraft (ULR) and as such will sell (a lot) fewer than 350-1000. 777-9 and (potential) 10 is where the sales volume will be. How much and their effect on A-380 remains to be seen.

        • “All else being equal (they are very close in length) the 77w should carry about 25-30 more pax based on the number of economy rows.”

          This “all else being equal” should also include the weight and cargo capacity. The 777-9X has both more weight and more cargo space. If a given airline needs the extra capacity in terms of passengers and cargo then the 777X becomes a very interesting proposition indeed. Otherwise the A350-1000 might be the better choice if one needs more range, especially when considered as a member of an extended family of aircraft; i.e., 900/1000/1100. That is why I consider them both viable products. But it’s up to the market to decide which one is most needed at this time. Oil prices could play a more important role than they do today if they were to go up significantly. What I have difficulty with is to properly assess the difference in capacity between the two. Although I agree that the 777 is a little too heavy, I am not entirely convinced that it is too big. There is still no clear winner at this point.

          • I forgot to mention that the decisive factor is whether a given airline will elect or not to add this additional row of seats and squeeze its passengers like many reputable airlines do today with the Classic.

      • My following comment does not agree with Andy but appears to.

        I think many on the Airbus side are quite well balanced.

        Some on the Boeing side not so much.

          • @geo

            You are often a true believer but I feel you also have a considerable degree of objectivity in what you say. A perspective is fine, often interesting, unseeing bias and extreme bigotry are not, from either camp

  18. Agreed, but it is the last big one standing and it sounds like Scott has thoughts on that.

    A350-1000 is the next one.

    May be room for two up there, will see.

  19. @TransWorld

    The problem for Boeing is that two major issues are unfolding simultaneously. One concerns their portfolio of products; i.e., 737, 777 and 787. Compared to Airbus there is clearly a lack of long-term planning here. Boeing having been in reactive mode ever since Airbus has been competing with them. The other is the deteriorating environment. I am not talking of Global Warming here but of the Little Ice Age that is setting in right now in commercial aviation in general and the widebody sector in particular. Each of these circumstances could be dealt with by Boeing if they occurred separately. But the way I see the situation is that Boeing may find itself in a much more difficult market at the very time it needs a maximum of resources to renew itself.

    • This was intended as a reply to the following quote:

      “Boeing still has the capability to pull themselves out of it short of that. But they have to be willing to go all in and stop stock buybacks and share holder return until they get themselves balanced again.”

      • Normand:

        I think a more balanced view is this goes back and forth.

        Airbus was in the pits with the A330 Rev A debacle.

        Boeing took them by surprise with the 787 and they failed to respond. Deer in the headlights, not helped by all the people that said they had to create and ann new Aircraft (oddly that seems to have worked out)

        Only Boeing totally screw up of the management execution saved their bacon, 787 was so severely delays as a result it left them a chance to recover.

        I do agree the current managing has maximized the product line and options they have doing a very good job of equaling Boeing or in the case of the A321, totally wipping the floor with them.

        • You forget that following the A380 fiasco Airbus management changed. That’s a reaction.

        • “Airbus was in the pits with the A330 Rev A debacle. Boeing took them by surprise with the 787 and they failed to respond. Deer in the headlights, not helped by all the people that said they had to create and ann new Aircraft (oddly that seems to have worked out).”

          This is one of the most beautiful stories of commercial aviation. Airbus was indeed going nowhere with the A350 Mk 1. There is nothing wrong with that. It happened to Boeing with the original 777. But the way Airbus reacted to the “insults” they were receiving from all sides is truly remarkable. The pressure was on them to offer something better than this and they came back with something immensely better, which was a totally new concept and an extremely bold one. No one expected that. This is why I think the A350 XWB should be called The Trickster.*

          The Trickster is akin to the Joker in a deck of cards. And if commercial aviation can be compared to a giant Poker Game, when Airbus put on the table a Joker called the A350 XWB, it would be fair to say that Boeing never saw it coming.

          *Wikipedia: In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a character in a story (god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphisation), which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour.

          • Hi Normand, there is a parallel here, if Boeing had allowed the A330CEO to live, in some way, and so to speak, the B777 would still have had clean air to fly in. By killing the A330 completely, as it appeared to be at the time, Airbus went and killed the 777 Classic. A bit like why Airbus doesn’t do the A320.5, don’t you think?

          • @MartinA

            Are you suggesting we should just stop and accept the current position? I feel that the WB carve up A333/B773ER was unsatisfactory to both parties. It has cost them a lot of money to get to a new ‘unsatisfactory’ position. What you are suggesting is tantamount to collusion and uncompetitive. I don’t doubt it makes financial sense. Is it possible that the fuel price was a key driver? A significant saving could be offered.

          • Sowerbob: Kind of so, you don’t think that doesn’t happen all the time, wink wink nod nod?


            My take on the A330/350 continues to be different.

            They had like 3 or 4 Revs of the A330 before they gave up.

            Then because they had not got the tech in place to do what Boeing did (spun fuselages) they created a composite structure the mimics the standard ones and put slabs on it.

            Where I was wrong was that it would weight more and just look cool. It appears to have succeeded.

            I would say Airbus lucked into something that worked out of desperation.

            Kudos to them for doing so.

            Sometimes luck also plays a part.

          • “Sometimes luck also plays a part.”

            How lame. US corps can have super achievements or bad luck while everybody else has to live on well deserved failures and a bit of good luck.

            Revaluate your position and ceed that Airbus had the knowhow what would go well with CFRP and what not. IMU you’ll never see a “duh obvious wound barrelsection!” for cylindrical items again.

          • @Martin

            Interesting parallell. There is a lot more strategy in commercial aviation than we might think. Not to launch, or to prevent your opponent from launching, is almost as important as launching a new product. And one can be as effective as the other. It’s called strategy. Not the kind of strategy we see in American football, but the kind of strategy we would see in a game of chess.

            But to get back to what you say in your post, correct me if I am wrong, but when you talked about killing the A330ceo you probably meant killing the A350 Mk1, didn’t you? I think Boeing’s worst “enemy” was Steven Udvar-Házy when he started bashing the Mk1. Had he kept his mouth shut the 777 would probably still have no competitor today. But UH’s campaign was so effective that Airbus were forced to get back to the drawing board. But no one expected them to come back with a larger fuselage. This was an incredibly bold move. And the way I saw it at the time, extremely risky.

            Like Boeing has been doing for a long time, I had apparently underestimated Airbus’ capabilities. I have still not completely recovered from this, and the chance that Boeing itself will ever recover is slim.

          • Norman:
            “I think Boeing’s worst “enemy” was Steven Udvar-Házy when he started bashing the Mk1. Had he kept his mouth shut the 777 would probably still have no competitor today.”

            No chess players and lack of vision.
            IMU he did do Boeing’s bidding ( what gains? no idea ) just like the massive bashfest kicked off towards the A380 which seems to still be effective.
            The winning facction at Airbus in their reaction produced a sleeper project. Superficially targetting the 787 and taken up by Boeing on this the -800 could be deemed a decoy. Showing significant but apparently easy MTOW increases and “unlimited” tankage
            seem to indicate that the target was set a big higher than the 787 all the time.

  20. @Gundolf:

    It is a well known observation in aeronautical engineering that well designed airplanes also look good. The A340 looks like a brick. Looking at the sales stats, nobody would argue that the A340 was a disaster and the A380 is not much better. It will fold long before development costs have been paid off and the Euro tax payers will haev to swallow the losses. TS.

    • What’s wrong with A340 looks wise?great looking plane IMHO.
      With the A380 the problem is how much needs to be invested in the mk 2 version. Can’t wait to see what Scott has to say, favourite subject on these pages

      • Andy: First that’s nonsense.

        Secondly the A340 is the pretties aircraft short of the 747-8F in the world (I would put the DC-8 Stretch up there as well. )

        Boeing still clobbered Douglas with the 707 because Douglas was slow to react.

    • @andy

      The A340-2/300 is/was IMHO a seriously good looker. The 5/600 less so. Re the A380 I think you find the 80m box has a lot to answer for but in flight they have a majesty that comes with size and that great wing. Perhaps you have not had the opportunity to see the A380 in action as it has limited destinations in the states. I get the distinct feeling that good looks for you come with a Boeing badge on the nose.

      When inside the space in both these aircraft is substantially better than 9 across 787 and 10 across 777

  21. @OV-099

    I’m basing my comments on actual sales statistics and market reception. The A340 was a 4-engine gas guzzler with high operating costs. The A340-200 was probably the highest seatmile cost airplane developed in modern times. Despite a desperation in model mix (-200, -300, -500 and -600), not that many were sold and the fiasco is no longer in production. I can only guess why Airbus did the A340. They probably did not know how to design a long range twin, or did not know how to implement enough ETOPS, or maybe engine manufacturers refused to develop suitable engines. The A350 is another strange animal. In desperation to stay in the widebody market, the first A350 was a warmed up A330 which was not well received by potential customers sending Airbus back to the drawing board to come up with the so-called A350XWB, setting the program back a few years and blowing the development budget and break-even point. You are correct that there are a few airlines that operate the A380, the flying brick. But not many, and one can already see the end. When the A380 is finished like the A340, the development costs have not been paid back and there is no more cash coming in from the A380. So the money has to come from other programs or Airbus’ bankruptcy proceedings at 10 cents to the Euro. It is remarkable irresponsibility to use taxpayers’ money for projects like the A380, but I can see why that happened.

    • @Andy

      Again, the A340-200/-300 was developed with more than 90 percent commonality with the A330-300. Apparently, the original A330/A340 programme cost less than one third of what it cost Boeing to develop the 777 (i.e. the 777 reportedly blew its budget by 100 percent), and it didn’t matter much to Airbus – from a manufacturing point of view – whether they were producing A330s or A340s, as they are essentially the same airplane. In fact, the 747-8 has much less in common with the 747-100 than what’s the case with the A330 and A340.

      Interestingly, Boeing responded to the A330/A340 by attacking the A340 only – believing, apparently, that the 767 could take care of the A330. With the 767-400ER DOA, Boeing had to respond to the A330s market lead. However, was the A330 – developed together with the A340 at a bargain cost compared to the 777 – so good, that the management at Boeing had to yet again bet the company on an all new programme – only this time, an inherently flawed one. Now, it may seem as if Airbus has long since found a gem in its A330. While Boeing let the 777-200ER wither on the vine – apparently due to the self-congratulatory rush of “winning” over the A340 – the A330-300’s range development ultimately killed the 777-200ER off. Also, it remains to be seen if the 787 programme with $30 billion in deferred production costs, can manage to compete with the A330neo on price – i.e. A330neo; an ultra cheap development compared to the 787. As for the A340; perhaps it was merely a “decoy”, tricking Boeing to respond with an all out attack on the A340, and not the A330. Boeing may have been unable to see the forest for the trees – namely that it was the A330 and not the A340 that was the long term threat. What is a fact though, is that the monetary resources that Boeing has spent over the years in order to try to compete with the relatively cheaply developed A330, is mind-boggling.

      As for the highly successful A350, it may look once again that Boeing has been seriously underestimating Airbus.

      Bob Whittington, former chief engineer on the 777 programme, now vice president/chief project engineer on the 787 programme: Internal to the programme we call it WGA – World’s Greatest Airplane.

      Once again, one can see this demonstration of a self-congratulatory rush (from 2012) of telling oneself that the 777 is the best aircraft in the world – while seemingly being oblivious to the competitive threat lurking on the horizon.

      • I believe you forget he A340’s biggest achievement. As I recall the A340 wing mods are re-used on the A330-MRTT, which prevented Boeing from milking the USAF to fund future airliner development.

    • Hold on Andy. The A340 was kippered by ETOPS but it was conceived in a pre ETOPS era, it could be argued that Boeing needed to lobby hard to ensure that ETOPS allowed the B777 not to be caught in a A330/340 pincer. The B747 has suffered similarly as the B744 (similar era to A340) lost out to its slightly smaller brother B777

      It was Airbus that predominantly pioneered ETOPS type routing when they sold aircraft in Asia to operators who used them on ETOPS type routing without the same limitations elsewhere.

      Have you read about how RLI works for Airbus? I think not, it would not be consistent with your view of the world and therefore you ignored it. I find your comments extremely opinionated and lacking in depth or understanding.

    • I am relaxed, I have Bailys on the rocks, other than the A321, finest product ever to come out of Europe (well I like the Passat a lot to)

      You do need to learn how to post. A number of comments and you don’t quote or reply under.

      And apples and oranges makes a very good fruit salad by the way.

  22. @OV-099

    Check the sales numbers, then we talk. The reason A340 was developed at all was that the A330 was/is range deficient, while the 767 and 777 were true long range airplanes.

    Please provide a link that does an unbiased comparison of the development costs of the 777 and the A330/340 adjusted to same year dollars and adjusted for cost of living differences. .

    Of course the 747-100 and 747-8i have less parts commonality than the A330/340 that were developed at the same time. I bet the A350XWB has zero parts commonlity with the A330/340. Maybe the joystick has the same part number.

    • @Andy

      If you want to compare sales numbers, why don’t we look at the combined A330ceo/A330neo/A340 sales vs. 777/777X sales.

      Through August 31, 2016, Airbus has sold (firm orders) 1451 A330ceo aircraft, 184 A330neo aircraft and 377 A340s. That’s a total of 2012 A330s/A340s.

      Through August 31, 2016 Boeing has sold (firm orders) 1587 units of the 777 “classics” and 306 units of the 777X. That’s a total of 1893 firm orders for the 777/777X.

      Any reasonably objective observer would therefore probably conclude that the A330/A340 programme is the most successful wide-body programme in history (i.e. first WB programme to pass the 2000 order mark).

      As for links that provide an unbiased comparison of the development costs of the 777 and the A330/A340 – in then year dollars (i.e. “early 1990s for the 777 and 1991 for the A330/A340) – I’ve got one for the A330/A340 (i.e from Flight International) and one for the 777 (i.e. from Bloomberg that was looking at Boeing’s “secret”). BTW, the Bloomberg article also looked at how Boeing had long since taken full advantage of the unusual accounting system used by the American aerospace industry.

      First link:

      2,500km design range. “We could, like Boeing, have developed a very long-range twin,” says Ziegler, “but it would have had poor short-range performance.” This, he claims, is what will
      happen to Boeing on the medium-range “A-market” 777 “…where in terms of weight per seat, they’re paying for too much wing, a heavy landing gear and a structural reserve; where we are able, with a common wing and fuselage, to build a twin with a maximum take-off weight of 223t for the fully developed aircraft, and a quad that carries 30t more than that”. Whatever the sales outcome, developing the A340 has cost considerably less than it would have to develop it on its own. Together, the A330 and A340 will cost $3.5 billion to develop, with growth versions of both costing an additional $500 million- $700 million. “There was a debate within Airbus,” reveals Pierson. “Some people said we should launch a twin, others a quad. Finally, the engineers promised that they could do both aircraft with a common airframe for half a billion less than if they were done separately. I said…let’s go!” Pierson launched the A330 and A340 against significant opposition from within Airbus. “It was a big fight,” he recalls. “I defended the engineering point of view because it made sense. But that was not obvious to the partners four years ago.” He was also sure about the market. “When people open our market analysis in ten years time, they will see how right we were…that we’ll sell 800 aircraft of both types: one third of them A340s, the rest A330s. If you look at the ratio today, it’s 40/60. That’s not far off.”

      2nd link:

      The 1997 assembly-line meltdown afflicted every type of plane Boeing made. But it created a particular problem for the prestigious 777 line, according to former Boeing employees. To understand why, it’s necessary to look closely at the unusual accounting system used by the aerospace industry. The program-accounting method was developed by Boeing and others in the industry in the 1960s to deal with a central problem: most of the costs of creating a new plane are incurred in its early years, while revenues roll in during later years.
      To smooth out costs and revenues, aerospace companies are allowed to average them over the entire duration of an airplane “program”–usually defined as an initial production run of 400 aircraft. They do this by establishing a projected profit margin up front–say, 10% for the entire line. This number, which is continuously updated, is based on Boeing’s estimates of the average costs and revenues over the remainder of the program. Every quarter, the “profit” the company reports is based on these projected averages, rather than its actual costs or revenues. The whole system is built on faith that aerospace companies can come up with accurate long-term forecasts. To a degree unmatched in nearly any other industry, aerospace companies’ disclosures are based on their own private estimates. In this way, companies such as Boeing can absorb the ups and downs that characterize the industry.

      But that comes at a considerable price: little transparency for investors. “The problem with program accounting is that it is virtually impossible to audit,” says Lynn E. Turner, former chief accountant at the SEC and now director of the Center for Quality Financial Reporting at Colorado State University. “No one really knows whether the company will produce as many planes as [are] needed to recover the costs.”

      To mitigate this problem, the rules require companies to take an immediate charge as soon as they have evidence that a line’s long-term profit margin will disappear–or, in industry lingo, that the program will be in a “forward-loss” position. And that’s just what appears to have been happening to the 777 line in early 1997. Launched with great fanfare in the early 1990s, it had a development budget of $5 billion to $7 billion for initial design, production tooling, and flight-testing. By 1995, it had quietly overrun this budget by nearly 100%, according to two former high-ranking Boeing managers.

      The prospect of a forward loss in the 777 was galling to Boeing, since it was the newest model–the plane that boasted the most advanced technology, that was to drive the company’s performance in the next decade, and that carried Condit’s reputation. Downgrading the 777’s forecast would have been not only an embarrassment but also a threat to the merger. So it was bad news when, in its 1996 audit, Deloitte said the “low gross margin” projected for the current block of 777 aircraft risked a decline in “cost performance that would place the program in a forward-loss position.”

      • @ OV-099

        I alway knew that the A330 and A340 were almost identical aircraft. I have even been told that whether a particular aircraft will turn out to be an A330 or A340 is decided very late in production and the process is not much different than customizing an aircraft for a client. On the other hand I had always viewed the A340-500/600 as entirely different beasts. They are indeed very different although they retain the same fuselage. But is this not what the Boeing 777X is in relation to the 777 Classic? That is a new wing on the stretched fuselage of an existing model? I had never seen it that way before. So you are right to compare the A330/340 programme as whole with the 777 Classic/777X.

        Although the 777 Classic had a slow start (like the A321) which lasted for at least ten years, it eventually became very successful after Boeing fine tuned the design. I just wonder if the 777X will be as successful because the 777-300ER had no direct competitor. Or perhaps I should say the A350-500/600 did not offer adequate competition, to put it mildly. But if I am becoming increasingly skeptical about the long term success of the 777X it is because this time around the competition is very stiff. As an alternative to the 777X the A350 XWB offers exceptional performances that are simply out of reach for the 777X because its impressive fuselage is simply too heavy. Too heavy because it is outdated and makes little use of modern material. So it’s only a question of time before the A350 XWB, which has not yet reached maturity, will pass it for good.

        My impression is that a number of operators will prefer the 777-9X to the A350 XWB, in any variant, simply because it offers higher cargo capacity. But how many operators would absolutely want this capability and would be willing to sacrifice fuel burn to get it? The way I see the present situation is that one particular customer wants just that and is ordering the 777X in large quantities. But is this not like having all your eggs in the same basket? Not that I anticipate this basket to fall on the ground anytime soon, but it’s not a vey big basket. Boeing has bet a lot of money on the 777X and although development costs will not be as considerable as they would have been with a clean-sheet design, it is still a very costly programme and would require to sell a very large number of aircraft to generate a decent ROI. So the stakes are very high and I believe we are about to assist to the greatest dog fight in history.

        • I think we can add with a great deal of fairness that the A300/310/330 and 340 are derivatives (latter of course major changes.)

          So add the A300/310 numbers into the A330/340 total, I am all in on that.

          I think the 787 will surpass it, but for now, A300 series is the the reigning champ!

          In a way its a compliment to the original engineer but also an example of how amazingly well you can extend aircraft life (new wings and engine more important then new fuselages)

          737 problem is not that it is updated, its the original setup was so low (for good reasons) it can not be adapted readily.

          • Actually I think it’s pretty unfair to lump the 300/310 with 330/340 even if they share fuselages Nobody finds it fair to compare the 320 with the 737 lumping the legacies in with the NG.
            Besides what are you comparing them on? Sales, well the 300 has a little 22 year advantage.

          • @TransWorld

            The point here is not that the A330/A340 might be considered to be derivatives of the original A300 – which is true – but that the A330 and A340 is essentially the same airplane; manufactured in the same production infrastructure and on the same final assembly line.

          • So how do we rate the 777X?

            Same fuselage, rest different,? But its also longer may be different material (still have not heard on that) .

            So I am happy to put the A300 series into one basket and yes I did know about the A330 and A340, I do follow this pretty closely.

        • Currently cargo is shrinking and going from freighters to belly. It makes belly cargo considerations well worth while but I wonder about the future if this trend keeps going. One can see a possible future where air cargo is no more than a filler once pax and bags are loaded and of no use or interest in its own right, and of no consideration when you buy an aircraft. I keep thinking that putting toilets in the hold might become more common in that type of future, indeed I’m surprised Airbus haven’t already done it with the A330R offering.

          • I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Do you mean that the cargo market is shrinking or is it the size of the cargo itself that is shrinking?

            There is no doubt that overall cargo is slowing down around the world because the economy is itself slowing down. But I think this is having more short-term impact on freighters than belly cargo because the former relies strictly on this business and has no alternative; i,e., no passengers. I am sure cargo will pick up again in the future, and when this happens some airlines may prefer the larger cargo capacity offered by the 777. I just don’t know how big this market is, or will be.

            I am starting to feel that the 777 might become some sort of a niche aircraft that will be attractive for some specific missions with a few operators that would need an aircraft this size and with this kind of capacity. I hope I am wrong, otherwise Boeing would never see a decent ROI for this programme.

          • In the currently contracting cargo market belly cargo is becoming more important as operators look to ditch freighters. In a way 777-X is killing Boeing’s chances of selling more 777Fs and 748Fs. BUT if something like increasing protectionism in the EU and US was to keep pushing trade down that might change. I can see airfreight going down in Europe-America and Asia-American trade, these are straight routes for cargo vessels, but not Asia-Europe. But that is for now, so what I am trying to say is the future is very unclear right now and anything could happen, but if cargo goes down the equation for the 777-X will change dramatically. I think it is the lack of a sea option for fast cargo that is the trigger for the ME3s love affair with the aircraft, its not so hot on other routes and if something happens to Asian-European trade it won’t be good for her.

            So how to use the big belly of wide bodies if cargo goes down? Easier for NB operators, of course, and they are growing every day.

        • @Normand Hamel

          AFAIK, the 777X is the first jet powered aircraft – single aisle or widebody – where the engine to fuselage centreline has been changed from the original version (i.e. it’s 1.0 m (3.3 ft) further outboard on the 777X than on the 777-200/-200ER/-200LR/-200F/-300/-300ER). Even the 737 MAX has the same engine to fuselage distance as the 737-100.

          Have a nice weekend! 🙂

          • I’ve wondered about that.
            Looks like the 777X wing extension is to a part in the center wing box / wing interface.
            Have to look at how infrastructure like flaps and stuff move. On the other hand it _is_ a new wing. All degrees of design freedom available.
            What they will have to match on is the center wing box which is said to carry over (but strengthened?) from the -300ER.

            Hmm, if the higher OEW sits mostly in the wings it will reduce loading of the CWB.

            It will be very interesting to see the final 777X design emerge.

          • It’s my understanding that the centre wing box geometry will essentially remain the same, but that the area that is extended is located between the outer/centre wing-box joint and the pylon-engine attachment location.

            As you say though, it’s an all new (composite) wing – having a whole different leading/trailing edge.

  23. A350-1000 has been on the market for sale for 10 years and 193 orders to show for it. 777X has been on the market for 34 months and we have 306 orders.

    • Why are you comparing the A350-1000 to both the 777-8 and 777-9? Are you doing this in bad faith or do you have a particular reason that we should know about? Let me guess. Perhaps you came to realize that the A350-1000 is actually competing with both even though it was intend to compete only with the 777-8. To remain consistent we should perhaps compare the 777-8 to the A350 XWB. That would give us 810 A350 XWB versus 53 777-8. The ratio would then be 15:1 in favour of the A350 XWB. I am not making those numbers, only using them the way you do. I am just trying to be honest here, and I invite you to do the same.

    • Quite sure Emirates will have a “get out of jail free” card on the 777X contract just as they did on their A350 deal.

      • When Emirates gets out of jail the 777X will receive its death sentence. That’s the problem with having all your eggs in the same basket. Like I have said before the 777X reminds me of the A380. Both received very large orders but with a limited number of customers. And this is never a good sign. Bombardier always said that they would prefer to have small orders coming from a variety of customers and this is quite easy to understand. Large orders from a few high profile customers are sometime necessary to attract other customers, but I have not seen it happen on the A380 nor the 777X.

  24. Nice play with numbers. The A340 is the second biggest fiasco. The first one is the A380.

    And what was the ACTUAL development cost of the A330/A340, if I may ask?

    • Interestingly, the quad version of the A330-300 sold about as many copies as that of the 767-200/-200ER. The slightly stretched ULR quad-version of the A330-300 and the super-stretched quad-version of the A330, still have more sales than the 747-8F and 747-8I.

      Again, the development costs for the A330/A340 was $3.5 billion (1991 dollar value). Do you have a reading comprehension problem?


      Whatever the sales outcome, developing the A340 has cost considerably less than it would have to develop it on its own. Together, the A330 and A340 will cost S3.5 billion to develop, with growth versions of both costing an additional $500 million- $700 million. “There was a debate within Airbus,” reveals Pierson. “Some people said we should launch a twin, others a quad. Finally, the engineers promised that they could do both aircraft with a common airframe for half a billion less than if they were done separately. I said…let’s go!”

  25. @Hamel:

    How many years has Airbus been trying to peddle the A380 vs how long time has the 777X been offered? The A380 is at the end of the line while the 777X is just beginning.

  26. Hamel I thought the 777x was a response to the a350-1000. the a350-1000 was conceive to challenge the 777w at the lower end and Boeing respond with the 777x. check your fact and see how long Airbus sold the first A350-1000. the 777X was not even offer yet.

  27. You will also have to count the entire 787 because that was the plane the A350 was challenging.

  28. Ok, I say the A380 is down for the count, the A350-1000 is a bit wobbly but still in there, the 777X looks good for now but its early rounds and the opponent (reality) can throw a heck of a haymaker.

    While I am concerned about 777-9 Emirates concentration, I also feel the A350-1000 is not selling that well.

    It also may be an aspect of the timing when things started getting shaky.

  29. @ Daveo

    If you want to address me by my last name could you please write Mister Hamel, it would definitely be more polite. Otherwise just call me Normand and it will be fine.

    As for your comment I would say that you are basically correct. But the 777 Classic is more than 20 years old now and is nearing the end of production. The C Series aircraft was launched at Farnborough in 1998 as the BRJ-X and only entered service this summer, 18 years later. When exactly an aircraft was first offered is irrelevant unless someone is trying to find something wrong with an outstanding product like the A350 XWB. To find something wrong with this aircraft is indeed a difficult task and I have never heard anyone coming out with a compelling argument against it.

    We have to remember that the 777 was going nowhere for more than ten years until Boeing made the necessary corrections and came out with a superb aircraft that was just perfect for the day. But we are in 2016 and things have changed. Today the A350-1000 is directly competing with the 777-8. But the way things are at the moment it is also competing indirectly with the 777-9. Not because of its size or its range but because of its superior economics. It is a much more advanced aircraft than the 777X and is on par with the 787.

    That being said, I think I see your point now. Of course one can view the A350-900 as a challenger to the 787 and the A350-1000 as a challenger to the 777X. If that is your point I agree with you. Actually this reflects what has always been my view of the situation. When the A350 XWB was launched it was made larger than the A350 Mark 1 specifically for that purpose. I thought at the time that this was a risky proposition, like if Airbus were trying to do too much with one airplane. As time passed I started to realize that it was perhaps Airbus’ best coup ever. For today the 787 finds itself squeezed between the A350-900 and the A330neo, while the 777-8 has de facto been made obsolete by the A350-1000. The 777-9 is in a much more favourable position because it is larger that the A350-1000. But the latter can offer better economics and will attract many orders that would otherwise have gone the 777-9. And if need be Airbus has an A350-1100 in reserve. If the 777-9 turns out to be the success that I think it can be then Airbus will have no other choice but to launch the A350-1100.

    But the 777-9 might not be as popular as I originally thought it would be. I must admit that I remain ambivalent about this. I still think the A350-9 will be an exceptional aircraft, but the question is this: What does the market need most right now? A bigger aircraft with a large cargo capacity, or a really modern twin à la 787 that can go very far while carrying more passengers? No one can answer this at the moment because the market is cooling down. So the jury is still out, and for a while I am afraid.

    There is no doubt im my mind that 777-9 is too heavy. But is it the right size like the 777-300ER was in its day, or is it too big? Will there be as many carriers that will find it perfectly sized for their needs? Will there be many carriers willing to trade in some economics in favour of a larger cargo capacity? I just don’t know and I cannot answer any of these questions with any degree of certainty. All I know is that whether one chooses the 777-9 or the A350-1000, they are both fantastic aircraft.

    • Hi Normand, I see B777-9 vs A350-1000 as a potential replay of B747-8i vs B777-300ER, similar CASM but one is easier to fill. We know how that ended.

        • Normand:

          I would say the 777-200 was doing fine, it just was not a hit, much like the A300/310

          Then the change to long range and a big hit. A330/340 (200 and 300 except flipped)

          Now we will see.

          Like the A330, the 777 is on its 3rd generation of changes, keep ticking.

      • Sir Grubbie, I understand that this is a joke, but perhaps it was a mockery intended for me. I don’t really know and I need your help to give it proper meaning. And even if it was a mockery I would have no problem with that. I just need to understand and I hope you will shine some light here for me.

        In the French speaking part of the world where I live it is extremely impolite to address someone by his last name. And I don’t understand why Scott Hamilton signs all his comments using his last name only. I have never seen anyone do this in French and it would not be well received to sign anything using one’s last name only. To be addressed by one’s last name only is perceived as a lack of respect, unless it is preceded by the word mister in French, which is monsieur.

        That being said, I am very much confused about the usage of the word mister in English and I normally use it the way I understand it in French. But I am afraid it may have a different meaning or a different impact in English. I love the English language and I consider myself an anglophile.

        Hopefully you will understand my struggle. I need someone to explain to me what is considered appropriate in English. But please, anyone reading this, don’t ever call me Hamel.

        Amicably, Normand Hamel

        • I don’t understand why Scott Hamilton signs all his comments using his last name only. I have never seen anyone do this in French and it would not be well received to sign anything using one’s last name only.

          Not at all uncommon in USA. It’s also my own tendency to be brief.


        • Mocking /houmous, bit of both, no offence intended. I had assumed English was your first language, you can’t tell otherwise.
          The rules for addressing people are very subtle but addressing someone in person by their surname is almost always wrong.If you did it in the wrong tone of voice to a high Court judge you might be in trouble, but otherwise not too big a deal. People normally insist on being called Mr as a joke or when they think that you have disrespected their position in life. Sir is only really for people who have actually been knighted in the UK ! Police usually call you sir and sometimes shop assistants, etc but most people think it’s a bit creepy or unnecessary these days. Basically similar, but obviously a bit more sensitive in French. Useful thing to know for us Anglos.

          • Normand:

            I agree with you, for whatever reasons, the emotional reaction is being called by your last name is a bit of an attempt to be superior and a tad insulating, that school yard pushing and shoving sort of thing.

            While not intentional I solved that with a one name tag!

            Happy to call you Normand and regardless of disagreements, I find your responses worth reading.

            However, Scott is only brief when he signs his name, his pontifications on the other hand (grin)

    • From the second-last paragraph: “I still think the A350-9 will be an exceptional aircraft.”

      This should read “I still think the 777-9 will be an exceptional aircraft.” Both will be anyway.

      • I always thought the A350 was a mistake. Trying to split the difference?

        At least for the 900 its worked. 1000 is a work in progress.

        777X. the 8 is adjunct at best, the 9 and or 10, takes the place of 747 and A380. Decent market for 1

        A350-1000 is not quite there, maybe won’t be.

        Almost looks to create mixed fleets.

    • Keeje: I think the design was fine, engine choice on the A340 was a bust.

      I would say it was Airbus not reading the T leaves and the move Boeing made to super long range ETOPs was the wave of the future with twins (short of a really good engine choice or new engine for the A340 making it competitive) . retiring them may slow down now.

      Oddly Airbus started the ETOPs war with the A300 in Asia, I actually flew one of the early ones back in the early 80s out there.

      I can tell you I was one nervous traveler as it was Taiwan to Philippines and far more water than I liked or was used to with only two engines!

      That said it was warm and calm.

      • “Keesje: I think the design was fine, engine choice on the A340 was a bust.”

        The final engine choice was forced on Airbus.
        The initial decission was for the geared “SuperFan”.
        the retraction of the engine offer lead to CFM 56 C engines on the A340 and a significant enlargement of the projected wing for the family. IMU the ups and downs appear to be a wash. The larger wings buoyed the A330 into the present.

  30. @OV-099
    This link opened, thanks. There is nothing wrong with the browser in my brand new laptop with Win 10. Looks like Airbus had not figured out how to make a long range airplane design economical at shorter ranges. Boeing did that by offering the basic design at different thrust ratings, MTOWs, price levels.

    Regarding your 90% commonality claim for the A330/340 — the A340-500 and -600 are quite different animals that cost extra to develop, test and certify, they did not have any 90% commonality with the lesser airplanes and did not sell well at all. Would not surprise if the overall contribution of these two turkeys to the program was negative.

    • Does that really matter? Its the overall programme that counts. Always going to make the odd misstep, even Boeing. I think even Airbus was surprised how right they got the A330,they had to ramp production back up.

    • @Andy

      Ok, so we have now established the facts that the original A330/A340 was developed a bargain cost compared to the 777 and that the combined A330/A340 programme is the most successful wide-body programme in history.

      Now, if you’d read the entire piece, you’d probably have figured out by now that the A330/A340 wing was optimised for the A330 – i.e. very high aspect ratio, low wing-loading etc. (NB: the A330neo wing has a higher aspect ratio than the 787 wing – pretty impressive, isn’t it?). Because of how Airbus optimised the A330/A340 airframe around the A330-300, it’s not difficult to understand why the A330-900 will be highly competitive with the 787-9. If Airbus would increase the MTOW of the A330-900 from 242 metric tonnes to around 253 metric tonnes, IMJ it would about the same payload/range capability as the 787-9. Not only can the pricing be significantly lower, but if it’s as capable as the 787-9, I can’t see how the latter will be able to garner many more orders.

      Now, the A340 could, in fact, be regarded merely as a bonus – you know, Airbus’ first long range aircraft developed on a shoestring; or developed for basically nothing. Yet, Boeing responded with an all out attack on the A340 that cost somewhere between $10 billion and $14 billion to develop (1991 dollar value) – or between $17.5 billion and $25 billion in today’s dollar value.

      However great the 777 turned out to be, Boeing still did not have an answer to the A330. Also, as the capabilities of A330-300 were increasingly improved, it seemingly ended up killing the 777-200ER – the second most successful member of the 777 family. Perhaps a few reasonably objective observers would conclude that Boeing’s response to the A330 has been nothing but a disaster. Again, I’ll quote from the link that you’re now able to open:

      “We could, like Boeing, have developed a very long-range twin,” says Ziegler, “but it would have had poor short-range performance.” This, he claims, is what will happen to Boeing on the medium-range “A-market” 777 “…where in terms of weight per seat, they’re paying for too much wing, a heavy landing gear and a structural reserve; where we are able, with a common wing and fuselage, to build a twin with a maximum take-off weight of 223t for the fully developed aircraft, and a quad that carries 30t more than that”.

      As for the A340-500/-600; I’ve never claimed that they have more than 90 percent commonality with the A330-300. However, the A345/A346 has a lot more in common with the A330-300 than the 747-8 has in common with the 747-400 – and the added “bonus” for the A345/A346, from the point of view of the OEM – vis-à-vis the 747-8 – is that the former was manufactured in the same production infrastructure as the A330; a massive advantage.

      “About 70% by structural weight is new. In many respects, though, we could state almost all of the airplane is new, as we have heavier gauge materials that have similar construction as the 747-400,” says Dickinson. “We strove for a lot of commonality in general, though, as it is a huge advantage to us for our installed fleet. You see that with a lot of our systems, where we’ve tried to keep it common.”

      Even though Airbus delivered only 131 A345s/A346s, they should have paid back most, if not all of the development cost of $2.8 billion (i.e. 2002 dollar value), when you take into account after-sales, parts and services as well. It’s interesting to note that what is barely mentioned by the critics of the A346, is the early downward pricing pressure from the A346 on the 777-300ER. Without the A346, Boeing could have charged higher prices for the 77W. Reportedly, in late 2004, Boeing started employing aggressive sales tactics when Scott Carson replaced Toby Bright as head of airplane sales. It was well known in the industry that the 777-300ER was a very expensive airplane; even after discounts were subtracted. BTW, these aggressive sales tactics carried over into the 787 programme as well. For example, in December 2005 the 787 beat out the original A350 to win the coveted Qantas competition – and apparently, Qantas/Jetstar reportedly only had to pay $65.7 million for their 787-8s (NB: 2005 dollar value).

  31. @OV-099

    I don’t have a problem understanding what Pierson said. He said “WILL cost”, which is not the same as ” DID cost”. I’m looking for actual costs. Airbus is known for cost overruns.

    To compare 767-200 sales with A340-200/-300/-500/-600 is a testament to how poorly the A340 family sold.

    • @Andy

      The A340-300’s first flight occurred on October 25, 1991 – some 4 months after the Pierson quote was published. I’m quite sure Pierson/Airbus had a pretty good idea, by that time, on how much the A330/A340 programme would actually cost.

      “To compare 767-200 sales with A340-200/-300/-500/-600 is a testament to how poorly the A340 family sold”

      Again, is there something wrong with tour reading comprehension? I compared sales of the A340-200/-300 – not including the A345/A346 – with the 767-200/-200ER.

      If you want to compare A345/A346 sales with Boeing products – let’s look at the 777-300 vs. the A340-600, since the latter was, in fact, a response to the former (i.e. the 777-300ER was not in existence when Airbus launched the A345/A346 programme): A total of 60 sales/deliveries for the 777-300 and 97 sales/deliveries for the A346.

      We could also compare the low sales of the A340-500 with, say, that of the 767-400ER – a relatively expensive, dead-end stretch of the 767-300ER: 34 sales/deliveries for the A340-500 and 38 sales/deliveries for the 767-400ER.

      Now, the point here is that the A330 and A340 is essentially the same airplane; manufactured in the same production infrastructure and on the same final assembly line. It may look as if you’re having a hard time grasping that fact. Is that because you’re stuck in a not-invented here type of Boeing-centric universe?

  32. @Andy
    Long thin planes tend to look nicer to my eyes, but as Bjorn has pointed out, once you get past a certain ratio it becomes structurally inefficient. Maybe it’s because it’s a twin but the 777/9/10 is beginning to look a bit wrong in the same way as the CRJ 1000.I’m not enough of an expert to say with certainty, but I believe that that favourable ratio is much greater when using composites and composites are a much greater benefit on larger aircraft.
    This is why I think that the A350 8000 is going to be the one in the sweetest spot. Maybe there are other factors like cargo, new engines and the comfort /passenger ratio. Things are moving on with composites as well, I have no idea easy to recertitfy changes in materials and the stack. There must be tens of thousands of small incremental improvements,as well. Things like the amount of glue,trimming etc.787 seems to be in a nice space for the same reasons and the airlines seem to prefer the half sized too small /just “right” approach at the moment.

  33. @Geo:

    Careful now. Of the 747 program, of which the 747-8 is the latest version, 1500+ have been ordered and delivered. It is still in production.

    The next biggest fiasco in commercial airplane programs in modern times is the A340, which is no longer in production, being the turkey it was,
    and only sold 377 airplanes. Total.

    The biggest fiasco is an enlarged A340, aka the A380, one of the ugliest airplanes ever built.

  34. Other huge disadvantages of the A380 include extremely long lines at airport check-in counters and long enplaning/deplaning times. Enough reasons to avoid this monster.

    • I wonder about that as well, but I haven’t been on one yet, have you? Efficiency wise I would imagine that it’s similar,takes twice as long instead of doing it twice, any experts out there?

      • Here they open up one _or_ more check in counters depending on volume expected.
        ( HAM forex does not even have bespoke counters.
        there are ~ a dozen basically unbranded counters that
        are manned ( femaled 🙂 depending on whose planes are to fly/board next. following Andy’s cue that kind of efficient fix probably is another dumb idea 🙂

    • Andy,

      “Other huge disadvantages of the A380 include extremely long lines at airport check-in counters” ???

      They don’t have internet in your country?

      When I’ve flown A380 there were three bridges, fastest widebody boarding/deplaning I’ve had. I guess there are some backwoods where they only have two.

      • Apprently its US style ‘blocking’ that retricts someone like Emirates to a max number of counters. You would think for international carriers there would be a ‘bank’ of say 40 generic counters, so whether you used 4 or 15 depended on the flights you were serving and the only signage comes from an overhead screen that could be changed to any airlines logo.

  35. Geo:

    Fully agree. There is something to be said about air cooled 911s at full song when the orchestra is made up of intake sound, cooling fan and exhaust sound.

    Oooops, off-topic, sorry.

  36. @TW;

    Especially the diesel Passat. The A321 we can forget totally. You know the saying about those who copy nobody and nobody copies them? You know wh0 that applies to?

  37. Grubbie:

    I avoid the A380 and will never fly on it. I’ve had enough of the low and slow A330/340 and try to avoid those as much as possible. The problem with monsters like the A380 is that, although airports have made changes to reduce the negative impacts, it does not make economic sense to fully meet the capacity requirements at check-in counters and gates, simply because there is no general requirement for it. When 500-600 pax show up at about the same time the counters are overloaded which also delays other passengers. Gate areas overflow and there is barely standing room. Another negative is baggage carousels at destination airports which are not designed for 7-800 bags arriving in one shot and the wait for luggage becomes unacceptably long. It can be bad as is, and the A380 just makes it worse.

    When I have nothing else to do, which never happens, I’ll check the turn times of the A380. Would not surprise if the turn times are excessive and contribute to the inability to make a roundtrip within 24 hours on some key routes.

    • @Andy

      Could you please have the courtesy to respond by using the REPLY button. You may not be a troll, but you’re acting like one.

  38. @OV-099:
    I’m not assuming that Pierson knew what he was talking about. That is your assumption. The A340 family sold only 377 airplanes and was shut down in 2012 due to lack of demand, despite desperate attempts by Airbus with the A340-500 and -600.

    The 767 has delivered about 1100 airplanes and is still in production. So are the 777 and 747, which all are testaments to Boeing’s excellent understanding of long range markets and understanding of successful airplane designs. The same can not be said about Airbus.

    If the A340 family had not been the fiasco it was it would still be in production. Obviously, Airbus did not understand market requirements and did not spend enough on the development of this A330/340 combination where the commonality is much less than 90% if you include turkeys like the A330-200 and the A340-500 and -600. Airbus learned nothing from the A340 fiasco “4-engines 4 whatever it was” strategy and repeated it with the A380, but as long as taxpayers swallow the waste of money, I guess that is OK.

    • @Andy

      Again, why can’t you have the courtesy to respond to my comment by clicking on the REPLY button. This is getting annoying. If you’re not changing your modus operandi in this blog, people might begin to think that you are just here for trolling purposes.

      Quote:”I’m not assuming that Pierson knew what he was talking about. That is your assumption.”

      This is getting ridiculous. Are you living in a cocoon, or what?

      Again, from the link that you’re now, apparently able to open:

      “There was a debate within Airbus,” reveals Pierson. “Some people said we should launch a twin, others a quad. Finally, the engineers promised that they could do both aircraft with a common airframe for half a billion less than if they were done separately. I said…let’s go!” Pierson launched the A330 and A340 against significant opposition from within Airbus. “It was a big fight,” he recalls. “I defended the engineering point of view because it made sense. But that was not obvious to the partners four years ago.” He was also sure about the market. “When people open our market analysis in ten years time, they will see how right we were…that we’ll sell 800 aircraft of both types: one third of them A340s, the rest A330s. If you look at the ratio today, it’s 40/60. That’s not far off.”

      So, Pierson predicted that one third of 800 A330/A340 sales – over 10 years – would be A340-200s/300s. That would seem to give his prediction a 92% accuracy rate.

    • Andy, are you an Eliza Bot ?

      “.. Despite desperate attempts by Airbus with the A340-500 and -600. ”

      Desperation everywhere. Obviously.
      What level of desperation can we assume from a company that has grown to 50% market share displacing “The Best of the Best of the Best” ( cue MiB 🙂
      Any numbers around what Boeing and GE spent on the -300ER

      • Uwe, sure you are being obtuse, the reason for the 50% market share is due to subsidy, political interference, socialism and plain unfairness. Airbus has no right to be in such a position. Facts….

  39. Andy, I don’t understand your anger towards Airbus products. I can tell you’ve never flown a A380. It has 4 wide aisles, mostly 2 wide boarding doors, and airport counters to match the passenger numbers.
    Maybe the 737-7, 737-9, 747-8, 757-300, 767-200/-400ER, 777-200, 77-300, 777-8, 787-3, Sonic Cruiser, 787-8 weren’t blockbusters either. But their development brought in economies of scale, knowledge and / or kept competitors in control. Nobody says they were poor designs.

  40. This is a reply to “seriously” via using the “reply” button inside the received eMail.

  41. @Keesje

    I’m only reacting to the unbalanced, biased and hateful comments from Airbus fanatics. Probably based on feelings of inadequacy and jealousy which is not that unusual in that part of the world. Been there and seen that with own eyes. The A380 is partly a result of that — they had to “prove” something even if it will be a financial disaster. The biggest airplane was still built by the Russians — a handful of An-225s.

    • I’ve spoken to dozens of people on both sides for yrs.

      Never noticed any jealousy or inadequacy with the Boeing folks nor with the Airbus guys.

      Leeham is a truly international forum. If you write down an opinion based on personal preferences / believes rather than facts, you get stronger responds than more national oriented forums.

    • @Andy

      I’m only reacting to the unbalanced, biased and hateful comments from Airbus fanatics

      Change out the words “hateful” with the word “disparaging” and “Airbus fanatics” with “Boeing fanatic” – and suddenly, it sounds a lot like how you’ve been responding lately.

    • “I sincerely hope [he] is not representative of Boeing, a company I have always considered in high esteem.”

      I don’t think he was. The competition between Boeing and Airbus is no different than the competition between the Boston Bruins and the Canadiens of Montréal. When they are on the ice they want to rip each other’s head off. But in the summer they amicably play golf with each other. So I am convinced that most Boeing engineers have a deep admiration for Airbus and most of its products. They recognize on both sides how difficult it is to come up with the right design at the right time. Especially when the Board is in the way. And guys like John Leahy have a lot more respect for the “enemy” than their sometimes wild statements may erroneously make us believe. It’s just a show. And at that the Americans have always been outstanding.

  42. YES, seriously. Seems like Leeham’s blog site is not working.

    This is a reply to OV-099.

  43. @OV-099:

    I’m USING THE REPLY BUTTON. Tell Leeham that their blog has a problem.

    While you are at it, also tell Airbus to spend more money on airplane development to avoid fiascoes like the A340 and the A380. You get what you pay for, you know. By not investing enough in own products and development will result in the same fate as that of McDD, unless the taxpayers foot the bill of course.

    • @Andy

      As Uwe pointed out, use the Reply button inside the page.

      As for the A340 and A380; I’d be much more concerned with the deferred production costs for the 787 if I were you. They are a serious liability that might sink the company.

      The A340 has long since been paid for and a large chunk of the A380 development costs has already been paid for by Airbus’ free cash flows. By 2017/2018 the RLI loans will also have been repaid. Also, Airbus has not deferred the production costs for the A380.

    • How does the cost structure for the 787 and 747-8 projects fit into your competitive evaluation?

  44. To Russell and Everyone else:

    I fully appreciate your frustration the way this blog is working. Looks like Leeham’s website is malfunctioning or is discriminating against commentators who do not always agree with Airbus fanatics.

    I’m using the REPLY button at the bottom of the e-mail I get from Leeham with replies to my inputs.

    • @Andy

      Looks like Leeham’s website is malfunctioning or is discriminating against commentators who do not always agree with Airbus fanatics.

      That sounds a lot like the wacky moon landing conspiracy theories. ROTFL!

  45. @Keesje,

    Especially from those who have no clue what they are talking about.

    Quite a few in Europe were flag waving like crazy when Airbus launched the A380, including the mass market press and airline people I know. The airline people I know no longer have high opinions about the A380 and will not touch it with a 10 foot pole. That airplane has the highest trip costs of any commercial transport and the highest business risk.

    • Highest trip costs -very unsurprising for the plane with most passengers. No-one buying and cost a lot to build are the things to concentrate on. Not sure about the risk, I get the feeling that in the event of a nasty downturn Emirates might just fill their seats with passengers from other airlines

      • EK are already filling their aircraft with pax from other airlines, at least where I came from originally.

        • At both

          An interesting perspective on risk, the EK domination will simply get more extreme when we have a downturn. I see that possibility. Wherever you fly the connection is Dubai. What a depressing thought

          • EK and the other ME3 carriers will founder when the area turns into a conflict/war zone.
            This is less likely at the moment but not impossible.

            The moment SA and Iran are allowed to clash safe operations are impossible.

    • @Andy

      Quite a few in Europe were flag waving like crazy when Airbus launched the A380.

      Perhaps a few politicians, but not industry insiders – AFAIK. BTW, what kind of flag were they supposedly waving?

      Now, any A380 “flag-waving” that may have occurred was nothing in comparison to the buy-American crowd and the Boeing stooges that were protesting vehemently when NG/EADS were being awarded the KC-X contract in 2008 – and continued to do so for the next 3 years until Boeing had finally won the contract – never seen anything like it. Highly ironic, though, that the KC-46 seems to have been a pyrrhic victory due to Airbus deciding to stay in the competition to the very end.

      • EU flag of course, although not us in the UK we’re leaving. It’s much harder to be patriotic about a multinational project and very few of the general public in the EU or US are aware of just how much American kit is on-board an Airbus

        • England and Wales may leave but not the whole UK 😉 They will have to play by the same rules in the future like Switzerland without a vote.

          • I think you will find that Scotland will come kicking and screaming with everyone else. Current polls suggest secession from the union is less likely than before. Cold comfort

        • @sowerbob

          If they stay in the union (UK) they leave the union (EU). If they leave the union (UK) they stay in the union (EU).

  46. @OV-099

    I’m using the REPLY button in the e-mail I get from Leeham. Are you suggesting something different?

    I would not worry about the 787 program at all because Boeing’s cashflows are much greater than Airbus’. Fully agree that the 787 program should have been managed differently, but I know why things went the way they did. Let’s just say that those who were responsible for it no longer are at the Company.

    • @Andy

      Respond from the webpage directly, not from the e-mails that you receive from Is that so hard to do?

      I would not worry about the 787 program at all because Boeing’s cashflows are much greater than Airbus’.

      Much greater, eh?

      Boeing’s numbers look much better under programme accounting than under unit cost accounting. In fact, Boeing’s earnings would be pretty lousy if they were accrued under unit cost accounting. Hence, Airbus’s commercial aircraft profit margins exceed Boeing’s when using unit-cost accounting.

      Airbus Profit Edge

      Airbus’s commercial aircraft profit margins exceed Boeing’s when using unit-cost accounting. Airbus has had troubles of its own, notably on its A380 superjumbo, but it was obliged to book those costs as they were incurred. Boeing shares are cheaper than those of Airbus, trading at about 14 times trailing earnings compared to Airbus’s 16.5 times. Until the 787 proves beyond doubt that it will recover all that cash, it’s hard to see why that discount should narrow. Program accounting may have outlived its usefulness.

  47. @OV-099:

    Tell the hateful Airbus fanatics to tone it down. I have never seen so much hate thrown at Boeing as in this so-called blog. But seeing who are doing it does not surprise me.

    • @Andy

      Perhaps, the problem here is that you’re confusing realism with “hateful”. Think about it. 😉

  48. Everyone:

    I’ve let this line of commentary proceed because in general I don’t like to play censor. Andy is a former Boeing employee and is entitled to his bias. Other commenters have their bias in favor of Airbus. I get that.

    Both side have engaged in a spirited debate, but it has reached the point where I need to tell everyone to tone it down.

    The topics in the post itself are derived from Muilenburg’s talk at the Morgan Stanley conference. Nothing was said about the A340 or the A380. In fact, Airbus wasn’t mentioned at all.

    The issues were about Boeing’s production forecasts, cash flow, the 737-10 and the Middle of the Market airplanes. It’s time to return to the topics in the post. How about some conversation about the merits of the MAX 10 and MOM aircraft and whether production forecasts are (in the opinion of readers) realistic or sustainable? Given Andy’s employment and job history at Boeing, his thoughts on these topics might be interesting and bring an “insiders” perspective, if you will. Thoughts and/or responses from others can make this for a spirited discussion. But I also warn everyone to be respectful.

    If the line of commenting continues along the recent strain, I will shut down comments on this post.


    • I fully agree we must respect the knowledge and experience some senior members bring in here and other on forums. Andy will probably become one of them.

      Having a strong preference for is also no problem. As said, many have.

      Throwing in unsubstantiated disqualifications just for the sake of it provocates & ruins the admosphere.

  49. @Uwe:

    I have no concern at all for the 787. Agree that poor decisions were made early on but I know why they happened. Those decisionmakers are no longer at Boeing. The production and product now meet or exceed expectations with 450+ airplanes in operation and much more to come. The 787 is the most technically advanced and most efficient commercial transport on this planet and will remain so for years to come and I bet that we have not seen all of the model mix yet.

    Regarding the 747….in my opinion, the 777 started to impact the 747 demand, especially with the addition of the -300ER version. The latest iteration, the 747-8 was justified partly by the freighter version. Unfortunately, freighter demand has flattened for the time being. Boeing has been writing off development costs against earnings which have not had much impact on the market value of the company, considering that the 747-8 development cost is a small slice of the pie. In total, the 747 program has sold 1500+ airplanes which is a huge success by any measure. Besides, it is a beautiful airplane and very easy to fly.

    As Airbus has so well demonstrated the market for large 4-engine airplanes is extremely limited, despite generous discounts. The reason of course is high trip costs, high breakeven payload requirements, limited application, and high business risk. With much more efficient twins coming on the market, such as the 777X, the demand for large 4 engine airplanes will be even less, production rates will be lower pushing program breakeven to the right primarily due to lower utilization of fixed assets and accumulated interest. It is possible to slow the production rate so much that program breakeven ie never obtained. A product with such a limited demand as the A380 will not attract investments from third parties, such as engine manufacturers, for improved engines unless there is another airplane that can use the same engines. A freighter version of the A380 is also out of the question. When the A380 program folds there will be plenty of information for business school case studies of disaster projects.

    • You should not look so much at the engine count. An A380 with just 2 engines would have the same problems.

      The problem for the 777-9X will also be the pax amount and the big belly to be filled with additional freight. The 777-8X will be sold worse than the A340.

      • Until an engine can be scaled up at no cost I think the largest aircraft will be four engines for the foreseeable future. I can’t see a business case to design a new 130klb or thereabouts engine when the proven market is only abt 300 airframes or 600 engines. A quad like the A380 can use nearly the same 70-80klb engines the small widebody market like the B787 and A330 use. 300 airframes x 4 is 1200, based on an engine which might well sell another 3000 to 5000 units on A330 or B787 derivatives means a 4-6000 engine market minimum. I much more viable proposition than a VLA specific engine can get.

        • The codicil to this is if downsizing makes the 777-X into the large plane of the future GE might find that they have spent a lot of money developing an engine with no other application and only 700 sales. At least T-900 is backed up by a lot of T-700/800/1000/7000/TEN/XWB sales, not to mention is a derivative of the 211 to start with.

      • “The problem for the 777-9X will also be the pax amount and the big belly to be filled with additional freight.”

        Initially I saw this as an advantage for the 777-9. But today I am not so sure. Perhaps I am influenced by the current economic downturn, I don’t really know. I can’t decide at the moment and I will let the market do this for me. Because whatever we may say or think it’s always up to the market de determine their own requirements at any given time. And those requirements may change over time, along with the offering. The secret, if there is one, is the be there with the right product at the right time. But like anything associated with time it requires a bit of planning. Unfortunately the objectives of long-term planning and the imperatives of quarterly reporting are often at odd with each other. That is what I witness at Boeing today.

  50. 200 +!All I can say until Mondays pontificating is that the A380 really didn’t seem such a bad idea at the time,Boeing had a good think about it, and the voices of doubt only started to be loud at it’s delayed EIS.
    NSA -having thought about it a bit more,I’m sticking with 2018 approx launch. Start with 757/321 size, 2 wings, by the time all the variants are done, including technical developments along the way and the vast production chain is replaced we’ll be well into the late 2020s. Can’t see the Max hanging on any longer than that.
    MOM, how much can Boeing tackle at once?

  51. Hihi.

    Russian “Tsar” and the German “Kaiser” are derivatives of roman “Caesar” ( emperor ) instantiated via the cognomen of Gaius Julius _Caesar_ .
    Lets see what the future brings -)

  52. @TransWorld

    “I think many on the Airbus side are quite well balanced. Some on the Boeing side not so much.”

    This is a remarkable comment coming from an American. I often disagree with what you say but, as I said before, you are capable of some of the more balanced viewpoint on this side of the Atlantic. And when need be you can be critical towards any manufacturer.

    Personally I am pro-American and pro-European. But I am neither a European nor an American. So I like to consider myself neutral. And like you I have noticed that generally speaking the Europeans offer a more balanced viewpoint. Except perhaps for one particular individual coming from Germany who must be very annoying and provocative for any American who would want to read him. I find the rest of the European crowd to be more factual. In fact all they want is respect from the American crowd, to put it bluntly. But on the other side of the Atlantic there seems to be little admiration for Airbus.

    I have noticed something else. It often takes only one individual to change the atmosphere completely in any given thread: insults, provocations, insinuations, stereotypes, false truths, etc. When this happens members of the Other Side have no choice but to defend themselves. And inevitably there is escalation. When this happens the originator should be stopped before reaching the point where the entire thread has to be shut down. Why should the group have to pay for one nasty individual? The policy of LNC is to stop an individual only for personnel attacks. I would like to suggest, if I am allowed, to also stop an individual when he obviously is on the war path with another tribe.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Hamilton for his wonderful blogue. It doesn’t come any better than this.

    • The other side have no choice but to defend themselves -yes they do. Be gentle, steer in another direction or shut up. There has been some fairly pointless shouting by quite a few of us. 200, is that the first time?

    • It often takes only one individual to change the atmosphere completely in any given thread: insults, provocations, insinuations, stereotypes, false truths, etc. When this happens members of the Other Side have no choice but to defend themselves. And inevitably there is escalation. When this happens the originator should be stopped before reaching the point where the entire thread has to be shut down. Why should the group have to pay for one nasty individual? The policy of LNC is to stop an individual only for personnel attacks. I would like to suggest, if I am allowed, to also stop an individual when he obviously is on the war path with another tribe.

      The problem referred to here has been handled.


    • “.. Except perhaps for one particular individual coming from Germany who must be very annoying and provocative for any American who would want to read him. ..”

      Thank you 🙂

    • “Except perhaps for one particular individual coming from Germany who must be very annoying and provocative …”

      I will love many US people and things made or designed there even with Mr. Trump as president.

      • I hope you didn’t think I had you in mind when I wrote this. Far from it. You are actually one of my favourite posters and I look forward reading any new post with your name on it. I have a profound admiration for Germany and its people.

        The individual I had in mind has already come forward and has thanked me for the exposure. My two cents psychology tells me he relishes being annoying. I recognize there a certain sense of humour, but I can understand that for an American it must be unbearable at times. And that’s the problem, because it reflects on the whole European community, and because of a single individual the American crowd may feel ostracized.

        • “.. but I can understand that for an American it must be unbearable at times. ”

          If that individual lacks the introspective capabilities to see the reflection in the mirror ..

          • We all do. That’s the nature of the ego. It’s normal for a big and powerful country that dominates the world with its technology and culture to have some citizens with over inflated egos. They are proud and rightfully so. But they must recognize the contributions of others as well. If that is what ticks you you are not alone. But sometimes we have to accept situations that we cannot change, and it is unnecessary, even destructive, to add fuel to the fire. Especially when a particular ego is ablaze, like we have witnessed recently.

          • Just some comments on myself. I do not find myself a typical American, biases and prejudices yes, but well founded ones I think.

            I do like seeing the other sides view. Often that gives me food for thought and has changed my take a lot (I used to be all in for Boeing, but then I thought Boeing was worth being all in for, the huge Tax Breaks and Mcninearny with his anti worker and corporate welfare take changed my mind totally)

            I have come to admire Airbus to a degree. I like an organization that maximizes their resources like they have.

            If I have an angst its what I feel is the European failure to both recognize the benefits they have gained from the US military shield as well as the failure to provide for their own defense.

          • “If I have an angst its what I feel is the European failure to both recognize the benefits they have gained from the US military shield as well as the failure to provide for their own defense.”

            At the core of all current militarized conflicts sits US “Ministry of Power Projection and War” military spending .
            With a gun in your hand every problem can be shot at. But they invariably do not go away but resurrect 2 sizes larger later. This is called blowback.
            We don’t benefit from the US military “shield” we suffer heavily from it.

  53. @Scott Hamilton

    “It’s also my own tendency to be brief.”

    I hope I don’t annoy you too much with my exceedingly long posts! 🙂

  54. “Muilenburg said Boeing could decide to do nothing at all and compete with its current family of airplanes.”

    I think that would be a big and risky decision with serious fall-out.

    • If that strategy means an NSA which EISs in about 6 to 8 years I would call it a good idea. I suggest sitting on the hands isn’t an option.

      • @MartinA

        You have been consistent in your view re NSA for a while. I just feel that Muilenburg and team do not have sufficient personal reputation to push through such a programme against the headwinds of investors. As CEO and given the probably relatively short tenure of his post he may be inclined to push the decision to the right. The 737 has been declared dead too many times to be counted out and I foresee a MAX 10 with the MLG and engines that they should have equipped the MAX with from the beginning

        • Thats really the crux of it, get beat up until…….

          Or do something that may or may not pay out and which do something is it, big revamp of the minimal thing.

          and can they do the minimal thing?

          Stay tuned.

        • @Sowerbob

          “I just feel that Muilenburg and team do not have sufficient personal reputation to push through such a programme against the headwinds of investors”

          In a nutshell, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I can only wish.

  55. @Andy

    “The 787 is the most technically advanced and most efficient commercial transport on this planet and will remain so for years to come”

    Can you back this up with facts. I would love to see the 787, A350 and C series compared.

    ” In total, the 747 program has sold 1500+ airplanes which is a huge success by any measure. Besides, it is a beautiful airplane and very easy to fly”

    Beautiful has nothing to do with it and it depends on the eyes who look at it. For me it looks like a hunchback. Some like the mother some the daughter.

    • I don’t think there is any doubt the 787 is the most technically advanced.

      It uses very little bleed air and is close to all electric as well as about all composite as an aircraft can get.

      I don’t know if many realize how huge a change the almost all electric is. Probably the wave of the future for new aircraft.

      Is it better? I am an old pneumatic guy (bleed air by another name) and I like pneumatics.

      It is running 20% efficient over comparable sized aircraft and the operators seem pretty happy with that (start up issues aside, those look to have been corrected for the most part)

      New engines coming out from RR and GE will make that more efficient.

      I don’t know its the most efficient but I understand its pretty close.

      • @TW

        I can see why said that re the 787. I do however have reservations because the technology you are talking about doesn’t seem to translate into any new designs eg MAX or 777x. So the barrels are IMHO unlikely to see the light of day again and the electrical architecture will progressively be adopted but not in an aggressive fashion. So what is cutting edge that will carry over? Laminar flow tail is full of bugs (literally) maybe the wing design? A lot of the B787 is likely to be a design dead end, very nice but impractical for future MOM/NSA

  56. @TransWorld

    “I always thought the A350 was a mistake.”

    That is what I thought myself when the project was initiated. I saw the A350 XWB as an airplane that wanted to be too many thing at once. I was afraid Airbus might fail completely and considered the whole project extremely risky. But I have since changed my mind, just like I am now changing my mind about the 777X.

    What I didn’t see at the time is that the A330 still had a long life to live and it didn’t make sense to make another airplane based on the original A300 fuselage, which by the way had been very well-thought-out back then. So it was now time to think outside of the box, and in this case the box was the fuselage. That gave us the wonderful A350 XWB, which was everything the A350 Mk1 was not.

    In order to give a concrete meaning to my view at the time, I came up with the image of someone trying to kill two birds with one stone. It can be done for sure, but you better aim right. What I did not see initially is that Airbus might eventually also end up killing one particular bird with two stones. Now that I have got you totally confused let me explain this bird and stone concept (nothing to do with the birds and the bees concept). Be prepared for the unexpected.

    The way I saw the A350 XWB is that it had been sent on a double mission by Airbus. First, to block the progression of the Dreamliner. Second, to compromise the business case of the Triple Seven. My greatest fear was that it might end up being squeezed between the two. What I didn’t see at the time, but I am sure Airbus saw it from day one, is that it would be the 787 that would end up being squeezed between the A330ceo/neo and the A350 XWB. When I realized that I came up with the concept of one bird being hit by two stones; i.e., the 787 run over by two Airbus.

    • I think that’s a bit of a runaway that the squeeze would take place.

      I think its evolved with the threat and the fact that the A350-800 was a bust.

      A330-800NEO is also a bust we may never see (Hawaii takes the 900 in the end I guess as they like the A330 and not the A350)

      No arguing the 787-3 was a bust but it looked like a logical part of the mix at the time.

      so it goes, as we had in the old Mad Magazine, spy vs spy vs spy, or offer, counter, offer counter, and away it goes probably with too danged many models out there now.

  57. Scott: This has gotten more comments than even the A380!

    Is it a record? (relatively new comer to the blog)

  58. I think most major components used on modern aircraft come from the same manufacturers. The newer the more advanced.

    • Ahh but you forget the old steam system used on the A350 (bleed air). Nothing new or technically improved about that!

      Not that its a bad thing, I hate to see pneumatics go, but they now look at me and its, what is your problem ?

      Ease of trouble shooting is it, easy to test, easy to determine its failed, low cost components but that holds no merit.

  59. A330neo is only viable with the 787 due to the lower pricing. If it sells at the same price as a 787 there is no business case. It will work until 2021-2023 then Boeing will price against it agresively.

  60. @Sowerbob

    “The reason for the [Airbus] 50% market share is due to subsidy, political interference, socialism and plain unfairness. Airbus has no right to be in such a position.”

    – Rolls-Royce has no right to be in such a position because it has been saved from bankruptcy by the UK government.

    – Lockheed has no right to be in such a position because it has been saved from bankruptcy by the US government.

    – Boeing has no right to be in such a position because it has been on military welfare for nearly one hundred years.

    – Elon Musk has no right to be in the position to go to Mars because SpaceX is financed by NASA.

    – My good friend Sowerbob has no right to be in the position to make comments on Leeham News because the Internet was created by the US government and the World Wide Web was invented at CERN, which is financed by European governments, including a substantial contribution from the US Department of Energy.

    – The Human Species have no right to be here because we are destroying this beautiful planet. 🙁

    • Normand:

      while most of the comments are pretty good, Boeing being on Military Welfare is more than a bit much.

      As much as I detest what Boeing has become from the post MD merger (takeover is more like it) Boeing, Lockheed, Northrou Gruman etc all return prodcuts that were asked for.

      Whiel there is an exahgne of tech between the two side, the US Military to the best of my knowledge has never created a program so that the civilian side could benefit.

      spin offs are one thing, direct subsidy is another.

      We can discuss how flawed the US (and others) procurement systems are is, right products for the right job (A10 debate being a big one and using the F-35 as a strafer is about as absurd as I can think of)

    • Perhaps my sarcasm was not sufficient for you in that comment (sir) Normand. I was having a private joke with Uwe. If you read this these email trails long enough there are standard responses that have to be made to certain comments.

      • This reassures me. For until then I had a high opinion of you. 🙂

        Indeed, I had completely missed the sarcasm. That’s because this kind of statement, when they are meant, can upset me very much because they contain a high degree of hypocrisy; i.e., what’s acceptable for me, like for instance military welfare, is not acceptable for you, like for instance repayable loans. In French we use the expression “deux poids, deux mesures” to define this phenomenon. In other words two identical things are measured differently. So military welfare and long-term tax abatements are perfectly acceptable even though the government never sees its money back; but reimbursable loans that are fully paid back most of the time are considered a form of socialism, if not communism. The irony is that the whole capitalist system is based on reimbursable loans for God’s sake!

        You can be proud of yourself Sowerbob because you have now gotten me upset for the rest of day. 🙂

  61. “Boeing being on Military Welfare is more than a bit much.”

    When we study Boeing’s history one of the first thing we learn is that Boeing’s first contracts came from the military. Without them Boeing would have quickly disappeared like so many others. That was a long time before WW2. But after the war Boeing, like the other aerospace manufacturers across the country, benefited from the secret military mission named Paper Clip that was sent to Germany and which brought back advanced German technologies that Boeing put to good use on the B-47, which led to the B-52, which led to the KC-135, which led to the Dash-80, which led to the 707. And the rest is history. Would you like me to continue destroying the hypocrisy surrounding Boeing or did you have enough? By the way I have no problem at all with everything I have exposed above. It all sounds perfectly normal to me. Whether the money comes from the Department of National Defense or the Department of Energy makes no difference. It still comes from the government. And once again I have no problem with that. Long live Boeing, on military welfare or on its own.

  62. Boeing has undoubtedly benefited from the vast wealth the US accumulated during the second world war and then spent on a ridiculously large bomber programme. It’s success is also a result of absolute brilliance.

    • “It’s success is also a result of absolute brilliance.”

      Sir Grubbie, with all due respect, I think you have just stated the obvious. 🙂

    • More seriously, all the major aircraft manufacturers in the US had access to the informations provided by Paper Clip. Why did Boeing benefit more from it? Because during the war they had built, at great expense, the most advanced wind tunnel in the world; while its competitors like North American and Douglas only had part-time access to an inferior installation at Caltech. Another example is a military financed design concept for a large cargo airplane. Boeing was then competing with a number of other manufacturers and lost the competition to Lockheed. That gave us the beautiful Galaxy C-5A. But this episode brought the best in Boeing. They retained their original study and transformed it into the fabulous 747. This was an incredibly gutsy move that turned out to be remarkably well executed. It nearly brought the company down mind you, but that’s another story.

      Clearly, genius was at work at Boeing during this exhilarating period. But some twenty years later something truly odd happened. One morning, in August 1997, Seattle woke up to the news that the heart and soul of Boeing had been stolen. It was never found.

      • What made it for Boeing and broke it for others was not access to research tools ( that was ancillary for moving forwards later ) but people that were bright and pre-educated enough to understand the implications of the (thoretical and foundational) research work made available.

        Something like “least Dunning Kruger” distance?
        ( were distance sizes “lack of topic knowledge” and resultant certainty of worthlessness 🙂

  63. Take notes on this:

    There will be no 737 max 10. Too little, to late, too much money for a limited protection run.

    There will be an NSA, single isle. Double lobe Al fuselage, just like 757, composite wing.

    There will be a MAX-7 plus

    777x will be 1+years late

    Boeing will continue to try to rid itself of older workers with a combo of incentives and pension buyouts.

    Boeing will continue it’s attack on it’s unionized workforce, demanding further takeaways via contract extensions. The NSA will be the carrot, and the unions and the State will both cave.

    Remember who said it.

    • “There will be no 737 max 10. Too little, to late, too much money for a limited protection run.”

      – No big surprise there.

      “There will be an NSA, single isle. Double lobe Al fuselage, just like 757, composite wing.”

      – That is inevitable. I expect the NSA to be a six-abreast version of the C Series and that is exactly what you defined here.

      “There will be a MAX-7 plus.”

      – I don’t believe that.

      “777x will be 1+years late.”

      – No surprise there. I expected that.

      You gorget to talk about the MoM. One would think that if you are in the knowing you would let us know what is going on with this stupid project.

      • “There will be a MAX-7 plus.”

        – I don’t believe that.

        Isn’t the MAX 7 1/2 reality already?
        ( Boeing said they will dump the exisitng -700 “chassis” and offer a simple shrink of the -MAX8 as MAX7. Heavier than the original but a bit more range …_ and this is the decisive factor_ a massive reduction in bespoke parts for type not much asked for.

        • I have serious doubt Boeing will make the MAX 7.5 despite what they say. I don’t see a requirement for this aircraft. If it was a new design it might be an interesting proposition, but the 737 is a tired aircraft and no one would want it in any other size than the MAX 8. The 737 cannot be effectively shortened nor can it be effectively stretched, it can only be scrapped.

          • Can they just dump the -7 ?

            afaics not ( that would leave just one NB type against three from Airbus.. just for appearance alone they can’t drop the -7.)
            But the current 7 is expensive to manufacture in view of limited demand.
            Ergo the 7 1/2 is a must ( and cheap as it comes at the cost of a guy with a hacksaw 🙂

          • Whether Boeing still offers the -7 and the -9 along with the -8 in its 737 portfolio makes no difference. For the reality is this: The 737-8 is the only viable member of the family. That makes it de facto an orphan. And that’s not good for business, and for sure Boeing will find out in the coming years why I am saying this. NSA does not stand for Not Spending Anymore.

  64. @Raoul

    “Boeing engine struts are actually quite complex breakaway structures designed to protect the wing and fuel cells. And they are engine specif and not to be taken lightly.”

    That is the exact definition of a pylon. On any modern commercial aircraft the pylon/strut is designed that way. It’s part of the certification process for all commercial aircraft. As far as I know there is no difference between a pylon and a strut, except for the name. Boeing had serious problems with its original strut design and after the crash of an El Al 747F into an apartment building in Amsterdam Boeing had to redesign the pylon attachement on all its aircraft.

  65. Surely, this column’s broken the site record for the most number of comments! How about pushing it over 300!

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