Pontifications: 2018 starts off with a bang

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 29, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This year isn’t even a month old. If the rest of the year continues like January, commercial aviation is in for an exciting year.

The stunning news, of course, was last week’s shocking defeat for The Boeing Co. in its trade complaint over the Bombardier C Series sale to Delta Air Lines.

Nobody I know of thought Boeing would lose. It did, and by a unanimous verdict.

Then there was the order from Emirates Airline for the Airbus A380, saving the airplane from almost certain program termination.

The Boeing 787-10 was certified. The first delivery will be in March.

And Qatar Airways said it will receive the first Airbus A350-1000 next month.

Let’s look at these events.

Boeing’s trade complaint

The shocking defeat Friday has already been scrutinized as much as it can until the redacted decision is released around March 2. Parties get the unredacted version Feb. 9.

Only the lawyers get to see the unabridged version. It will be Boeing’s lawyers who recommend the next course of action to CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Boeing’s statement Friday in the wake of the defeat was defiant. I fully expect Boeing to appeal to the Court of International Trade or NAFTA, but if it doesn’t, I don’t expect this to go away, either.

Although Boeing can’t appeal the US International Trade Commission’s decision to the World Trade Organization, there’s nothing to stop Boeing from asking the US Trade Representative from seeking consultation from the WTO about the C Series subsidies.

Also: just wait for the first CS300 sale to a US carrier in which Boeing offered the 737-7 and loses. Will Boeing file another complaint, this time (unlike in the Delta deal) actually competing an airplane it produces? We’ll see.

In the meantime, Bombardier and Airbus pledge to proceed with the C Series Final Assembly Line in Mobile (AL), a move Boeing claims makes no economic sense.

Emirates A380 order

Tim Clark, COO of Emirates, pressed Airbus for an A380neo. Airbus officials want to do it, but were unwilling on the strength of one order from one airline.

Yet to meet the forthcoming Boeing 777-9 economics when this airplane enters service in 2020, Airbus needs to reengine the airplane. The A380neoPlus improves seat-mile costs but not trip costs (at least not appreciably). The 777-9’s engines will be two generations newer than those on the A380.

Emirates hasn’t selected an engine. The airplanes don’t get delivered until the next decade. Airbus now can tell other potential customers the A380 is no longer on life support.

Press reports already identified British Airways is in talks for a small order. Perpetually, China is identified as a potential customer for more. The Singapore Air Show is early next month—might something be announced there? Or would the Chinese wait for Farnborough or one of their own events?

If BA, China and who knows who else place an order this year, might the A380neo with 787 engines be launched in time to meet the forthcoming 777-9? This is probably too aggressive, but maybe not far behind?

787-10 certification

The last member of the 787 family is now ready for delivery. The first unit goes to Singapore Airlines, but not at the air show, apparently—March has been set for entry into service. (The airplane could be delivered next month, at that, in time for the airline to do its proving runs and so forth.)

The 787-10 is Boeing’s trump card (no pun here) to boost profit margins on the 787 program to recover all those deferred production costs. This is still an uphill challenge.

A350-1000 EIS

With Qatar Airways the first customer and launch operator for the A350-1000, expectations were high Qatar wouldn’t take delivery last month as intended.

People were half-right.

Qatar did accept and pay for the airplane, but issues with its very fancy first class section had to be worked out. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO, told reporters last week the airplane will be flown to Doha for final acceptance next month.

The A350-1000 is going to be a very good airplane. Although Boeing persists in claiming the much heavier (and with slightly fewer passengers) 777-8 is more economical, LNC’s numbers just don’t agree. Also, physics is physics. The heavier airplane with fewer passengers and a metal structure can’t “get there” in an apples-to-apples analysis.

132 Comments on “Pontifications: 2018 starts off with a bang

  1. RE A380, it would seem RR would be the engine supplier, unless GE/PW want to revive their 60-90k lbs offering. In which neither is strong..

    RR can do a new Trent, wether its a “787 engine” (I think aged), a Trent 1700 version or a further development of the XWB using new with new Advance technology. I think neither Airbus or RR will hold back here. (Higher pressure ratios, carbon bigger fans, gear box etc.)


    While people point out relatively low orders for teh A350-1000, I think reading the specs most (incl. Boeing) know this is a lean mean machine, maybe the 321 of the twin aisles for the coming years.

    • Airbus studied the XWB a couple of years ago, and Bregiér said publicly that (paraphrased) ‘it is very clear that there is no business case’.

      I take it that the value of the fuel saved over the life of the aircraft (presumably in the mid tens of millions) is less than the per-plane costs of the development (presumably in the high tens of millions).

      Bregiér did talk of a ‘massive upgrade’ a short while ago, while discussing that the plane will still be produced ten years from now. I interpret that it entails something more than the XWB.

      • I believe that only the Advance3 or better the UltraFan will make a new engine economic for both Airbus and airlines. And Airbus has learned the lesson with the A340 where the geared IAE SuperFan failed in development and the only available fallback option were the CFM56. Cheap, sure, but crippling both the efficiency and performance of the new plane.

        Maybe both Airbus and Emirates are waiting for RR to come up with a new engine, but they will probably not commit to it before it has flown successfully.

        I also think that the door is open for everybody else, but as far as I can tell, neither P&W nor GE is even developing a possible contender.

        • RR 787 Engines and A380:

          The Trent 1000 has been a failure. It never met fuel burn specs, its developed fan issues (not just the corrosion).

          When you replace an entire engine (75%) you have admitted failure.

          They replaced it with the Trent 1000-10, which failed to meet the new fuel burn specs (1%) but the 787-10 is more efficient than estimates so it washed out. Likely to be able to make that up.

          The 10 has an issue with smoking in some segments of operation.

          So the 1000-10 is as close as RR has to a current engine.

          787 GE is 1.5 (?) generations old? It had a fair number of miner issues but seems to perform and vastly more popular than the RR (61% of the market last look)

          To make the A380NEO work, an all new engine.

          That costs big bucks and is there any return or a loss?

          • @TransWorld

            If you cant provide a source for your claims with respect to the Trent 1000-TEN (TSFC etc.), I’d suggest that you stop spreading FUD about it.

            As I’ve already indicated, An A380neo re-engined with four Trent 7000 engines + the A380plus wing enhancements would lead to a roughly 10 percent reduction in block fuel burn for the A388. That’s about the same as the reduction in block fuel burn for the A330neo over that of the A330ceo.

          • OV-99: I have to see if I can find the other link. Two figures were discuses. The 1000-10 is 3% more efficient and missed its target by 1%.

            This one discusses under 1%.

            “Trent 1000-TEN has not delivered quite the fuel burn performance Rolls promised, however, and Whittington awaited a new software package to recoup the less than 1-percent deficiency by mid-year.”

            I may be wrong at times, but I don’t make things up.

          • From MRO Network

            “Rolls in early August petitioned the FAA for a temporary exemption from smoke-emission limits, informing the FAA that it could not meet smoke-emission levels “at some thrust settings.””

          • @TransWorld

            It’s a gross exaggeration to say that the Trent 1000 has been a failure. There’s no need, therefore, to leap on the high horse of indignation and ride off into the arena to tilt at crisis exaggeration and scare-mongering.

            Of course, if Airbus were to choose a near-term A380neo solution, they couldn’t use the bleedless “787 engines.” — they’d go for the Trent 7000.

            Noe, a rushed design leads to poor design and has a direct relationship to the number of testing issues encountered. They both lead to production issues, which are much more expensive to fix.

            Neither engine on the 787 met spec. The primary reason for this was Boeing’s decision to launch the 787 on a ridiculous and abbreviated four year development period,; forcing RR and GE to design, develop and fly the engines in just three years from the launch of the 787 programme. The primary responsibility for the 787 engines issues lies IMO with Boeing, and not the engine OEMs

            In contrast to the 787, the first flight of the highly successful Trent XWB-84 for the A350-900 occurred some five and a half years after the launch of the A350XWB programme.

            BTW, here’s that link that you failed to provide: http://www.mro-network.com/engines-engine-systems/issues-newest-engines-provide-early-mro-proving-opportunities

            Longer-term, Rolls is integrating new technology, some gleaned from the Trent 1000 and some from the Trent XWB, into the model’s next iteration, the Trent 1000 Ten. The engine’s primary target is a 3% reduction in specific fuel consumption (SFC). The Trent 1000 has seen two sets of improvements, Package B and Package C, targeting SFC and the higher thrust ratings needed for the Boeing 787-9. The 1000 Ten, which Rolls says has only about 25% parts commonality with the Trent 1000 Package C, features a further thrust increase for the 787-10 but is available on any 787 model.

            The first Trent 1000 Ten-powered 787s are slated to enter service later this year, and early-build engines will require at least some in-service modifications. Rolls in early August petitioned the FAA for a temporary exemption from smoke-emission limits, informing the FAA that it could not meet smoke-emission levels “at some thrust settings.” The OEM notes that it meets the smoke-number standards “at the four landing and takeoff operating mode points,” meaning there is no effect on airport-vicinity air quality. It asked the FAA for an exemption through 2019 to develop a design change and modification plan for in-service engines.

            Customers that chose GE’s GEnx-1B to power their 787s have not escaped in-service headaches. Last year, operators completed mandatory fan-case modifications to keep fan blades from rubbing when the powerplants ingest ice or other debris. The changes, recommended by GE, required grinding down abradable material that runs along the shroud inside the fan stator casing assembly, in front of the fan blades. The modification was needed on some 330 GEnx Performance Improvement Package (PIP) -2 configuration engines flying on 787-8s and -9s.

          • not a failure.

            But definitely a limited design. further layers of lipstick will just be blown away.

            What I do wonder is why these Trent100Mk1 issues come up now and not much earlier in its lifetime. ( do we see fallout from engines longer in use or recent production?)

          • Don’t want to change the subject but if you must do an old 70’s SWOT analysis for the NMA/797 a threat is the engine/s on which a lot of the NMA advances depends.

            Behind every good man (aircraft) is a good wife (engine). You need reliability, low maintenance and within limits consumption.

          • I’m in big agreement. The GE engine has been much better than the RR , and I’m inclined to think RR intentionally didn’t put their max effort into the 787 engine, as witnessed by all the problems that engine has. Because , meanwhile, RR’s Trent XWB has been performing basically flawlessly since introduction, while Trent 1000s either blew up on the test stand or have caused airline to park 787s because the engines are crap.

            Seems as if the market understands this with GE gathering the majority of the 787 market

          • GE And RR have been doing a duet of misses around the Dreamliner.
            Material issues coming and going you find on both engines.
            Both appear to be rushed designs.
            Mostly in the last 6 month you see Trent issues boiling up
            which you kindly redefine as having always existed.

            afaics there are more people around boost RR issues than there are GE antifans busy. Humor: talk about AF380 with busted engine ( GP7200) instantly drifted over to bashing RR. strange, strange. or is it astrotufing ;-?

          • Thanks for bringing that up, wanted to stay out of it.

            For info, the XWB weighs only ~500kg’s more than the GP7200 and actually have an 6″ smaller fan than the GP7200, so weight and drag balances end of the day not miles apart.

          • @TransWorld @neutron73

            Nobody is denying the corrosion and cracking of turbine blades on Trent-1000 engines. In fact, RR announced in 2016 that they would replace turbine blades early on all Trent 1000s.

            As I’ve already pointed out though, neither the Trent-1000 nor the GEnx-1B/2B originally met specifications – and the GEnx has had its share of issues, as well. For example, GE and Boeing had to introduce new engine control software to counter core icing following several incidents of power loss in GEnx-powered 747-8s and 787s.

            Again, it’s important to note that both the Trent-1000 and GEnx-1A engines were rushed through the design process, leading to the engine production issues seen since the EIS of the 787 — a much more expensive undertaking to fix than if the designs had been more mature to begin with – particularly the case with RR and the Trent-1000.

            Of course, it’s easy to forget that almost all turbofan engines have had their share of teething problems. Eventually, though, such teething problems have been sorted out, but it’s a reminder that aircraft development is always fraught with risks.

            Now, the main issue here, though, was that @TransWorld claimed that the Trent-1000 is a failure. That claim was what I took issue with.

            @TransWorld said upthread that; “RR 787 Engines and A380: The Trent 1000 has been a failure. It never met fuel burn specs, its developed fan issues (not just the corrosion)……to make the A380NEO work, an all new engine. That costs big bucks and is there any return or a loss?”

            Since the Trent 1000 is bleedless, however, it obviously can’t be used on the A380. Furthermore, why ignore the existance of the Trent 7000 which is an all new engine? Using that engine on an A380neo won’t cost big bucks. Hence, all this talk about the Trent 1000 is really quite irrelevant to an A380neo, which BTW was the issue at hand.

          • @Uwe

            Since RR is now the de facto widebody engine supplier for Airbus, it’s really not that surprising to see all this bashing of RR engines……

          • OV-099:

            I gather you don’t work in the wold of machinery. I do and have for far longer than I want to think about.

            What you call bashing is a simple mechanical fact.

            The reality is, when you come out with an engine, and then you superseded it a few years latter with 75% new parts, you have admitted that your engine was never going to meet specification let alone be able to amp up.

            GE issue with icing is not a failure per sey, its a fault of a certain design configuration. Parts did not fail, engine did meet its specification, it ran into an environmental issue that no one saw coming.

            Much like RR ran into with the icing up of the fuel cooler in the 777. It was not expected and no one would predict it from design and experience. Much like GE, a simple software change and you avoid most if not all of it.

            The Trent 1000 was the US version of the GM 350 Diesel. Failure is the only word for it.

            You don’t spend another billion or two + working up a new engine if the old one can be fixed.

            Obviously they needed to do a major start over.

            RR has been suffering from losses and I simply am not impressed with their performance. One out of the 4 engine they have done has gone well (so far)

            The Trent 1000-10 we have to see how it goes.

    • See the XWB’s ~1T heavier than the T900’s and fan diameter 2″ more.

      Was just wondering about the upside of having the same basic engine on the 350’s and 380’s?

      • Only if they are optimized

        We saw what happened on the A340 with non optimized engines.

      • The Trent 7000 is lighter than the Trent 900. Due to the 4″ smaller fan diameter, you would have less nacelle drag as well

        Four 78,000lbs of thrust Trent 7000 would be sufficient for a 596 metric tonne MTOW A380neo.

        Instead of the A350, think A330neo. The upside of having the same basic engine on the A330neo and A380neo is that the higher thrust rated engines on the A388neo could later be transferred to the A330neo in order to extend the service life of the engines (i.e. lower thrust rating on the A330neo). Of course, there are no thrust reversers on the A380’s outer engines, so they would have to be modified for use on the A330neo.

        • Agreed if you can get it to work out timing wise as well as market wise.

          Still have to deal with non optimized engine trades offs.

          If one set of the A380 engine has thrust reversers then the A330 should not be an issue.

        • OV-099:
          I also see T7000 as the most likely candidate fm RR for a 380Neo if go ahead….certainly more than TXWB:
          1. It’s very close to commercial EIS….certainly within this yr onboard the 339. A few yrs to eradicate any bugs b4 380Neo’s turn.
          2. Significantly lighter than TXWB.
          3. More appropriate total thrust for 380….less than 3% increase. If use XWB-84 or similar variant x4, total thrust would be 336k…far more than today’s 280k.
          4. Not exactly an old design even when compared with TXWB because it’s derived fm T1000TEN which is basically a T1000 with some new stuff fm TXWB and certified not that long ago.
          5. Help RR tremendously re T7000 production scale because realistically, engines sales fm 330Neo won’t be anywhere as good as those fm 787 and 350 in the coming yrs.
          6. It’s econ non-sense for RR(already in deep water lately in this regard) to burn more $ for an engine custom-designed(e.g. another XWB variant that’s not just a de-rate but with diff hardwares) only for 380.

          Folks who claim T1000TEN(and T7000 by extension) now missing its fuel burn target(though less than 1% shortfall and likely recoverable later) is missing a far bigger point:
          Engine for 380Neo does NOT need to hv the lowest SFC among all engine designs for widebodies today(including upto 77x).

          It just need to be significantly better than T900 but it does not hv to match GE9x in order to get 380Neo a lower fuel burn per seat than 779. This is because of 380’s inherent seat count superiority over 779(even the hypothetical 777-10x). I suspect in comparable cabin density, the oldest 380Ceo is within 1~2% less fuel efficient per seat than the best a 779 can muster. A T7000 can easily get way more than that 1~2% diff over a T900.

          • AB has the luxury of the XWB been on the wing of the 380 and now the T7000 testing on 339. They an RR will have a wealth information.

            The T7000 on the 380 will have weight and drag advantages as well as T7000 project payback implications.

            An XWB have higher thrust options, broader commonality with the 350’s and an updated XWB-EP in the pipeline.

  2. I cannot imagine that Airbus wants to use the 787 engines for the A380neo. I think they would wait at least until the Ultra from RR is available. Then Qantas can have a plane that can fly 300-400 passengers nonstop from SYD and MEL to LHR and anywhere else.

    • Christoph: Still have to justify an entirely new engine for a program that has to be highly successful to make it pay.

      • This whole Qantas MEL/SYD-LHR direct thing for me is a bit silly and seems the OEM’s are falling for it.

        You burn a lot of fuel carrying fuel, two crews (if not more), food and drinks, space needed to store and dispose of that, etc.

        You could fly that route with almost any aircraft with one stop somewhere in between. And where do those pax actually go to, not all London?

        • Qantas wants to fly to the US East Coast as well.
          SYD-JFK is 16000 km and SYD-LHR is 170o0 km.

          • @Anton

            One reason to avoid US airports is that, unlike many other countries, the United States does not allow sterile transit, which means that for any stop in the US, you have to pass through Customs and Immigration. This policy applies to all landings:

            – Transferring – get off one plane and onto another without leaving the airport.

            – At an intermediate airport – for example, flying from Tokyo to Rio and the plane touches down in New York City.

            – Your plane just stops for fuel – for example, some Asia-Canada over-the-pole flights refuel in Alaska.</blockquote).

            Source: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Avoiding_travel_through_the_United_States

            So, no – Qantas wants to avoid re-fueling in the US altogether.

          • Interesting, was not aware of clearing customs for purposes of refueling in the US.

            Also not sure what the demand will be for direct flights to NY. In my own mind rather have larger or higher frequencies flights to say LAX and let pax get connections to wherever they want to be.

            From my own experience I find flights longer than 14 hours not fun anymore, I guess everyone have their own tolerance levels.

        • It is true that you carry alot of fuel for a Ultra long range flight. The other side is that these optimized very big jets are costly to cycle. If you half the number of cycles you save alot on maintenance cost on Engines, structures, landing gears, etc. You burn a good amount of fuel for an additional T-O and climb. In the future you might fly automatic with no one in cockpit until top of decent when the pilots need to wake up and enter the cockpit monitoring the decent and landing. A few % of Cruise SFC makes a big difference on the fuel fraction of the TOW. It might be the next generation of winde body Engine after the GE9X, RR TXWB-97 that makes the scale tip over for non stop flights globally with GEnY, RR Ultrafan Engines in 15-20 years time.

  3. It would be very interesting to see a comparison of a A380neo with either Trent XWB or Ultrafan against the B777-9. Thought the plan was to hold on as long as possible to take advantage of the Ultrafan. Does the suggested usage of something comtemporary (TEN, XWB) suggest confidence in the economics against the -9, or does it suggest a certain urgency and desperation? All the A380neo needs is folding wingtips and we have two old ladies fighting it out for supremacy with a bit of wing work, new engines and a tidied up cabin. Should be fun.

  4. Assuming a launch by the time of the Farnbourough Air Show, IMJ Airbus could EIS an A380neo powered by Trent-7000 engines by mid 2021. In addition to the A380plus wing modifications — i.e. wing camber height increase between Ribs 18 and 30, outer wing retwist and upper belly fairing optimisation** — you’d have close to a 10 percent reduction in block fuel consumption (4 – 4.5 percent from the “plus” and 5.5 – 6 percent from the T7000).

    Max thrust for the Trent 7000 should quite easily be increased to equal that of the Trent 1000-TEN which is rated at up to 78,000lbs of thrust. Interestingly, the MTOW of the discontinued A380-800F was supposed to be 590 metric tonnes and it required a thrust level of 76,000lbs of thrust ( x4). IMJ, the max range for a 590 metric tonnes A380neo, therefore, should be in excess of 9500nm and it should be able to fly SYD-LHR non-stop with a viable payload.

    ** https://travel.watch.impress.co.jp/img/trw/docs/1066/893/html/08.jpg.html

    • Sounds great. How much would it cost to develope?
      Would that make sense over a 100-200 production run?

      • I’d reckon about a €1 billion for an A380-800neo and €2.5 billion for both an A380-800neo and A380-900neo.

        A 596-tonne A380-800neo would have a range of about 10,000nm.

        A 12-frame stretched (7.62m), 596-tonne A380-900neo would have a range of about 8000nm.

        IMO, an A380-900neo would have a significantly greater market appeal than the current A380-800ceo.

        IMJ, Airbus would launch such a programme if they’d gather enough interest from customers other than Emirates. Tim Clark and Emirates is already on record saying that they’d order 200 A380neo aircraft.

        • That ignores the issue of having to fill an even larger aircraft when its proven its limited to some routes that you can.

          Trying to makeup a loss on a leg with an aircraft that uses as much fuel as the A380 is a challenge at best.

          • @TransWorld

            An Emirates A380-900neo would have a three class capacity in excess of 650 seats. Block fuel burn would, in fact, be lower than EK’s current three-class, 517-seat A388s.

          • @TransWorld

            The point here is that an A389neo would have lower fuel consumption than the current A388ceo. It would also only have marginally higher production costs.

            Whereas an A388 doesn’t replace two 77Ws, an A380-900 would essentially be the equivalent of two 77Ws stacked on top of each other.

            So, not only would an A389 be more suitable to replace two closely scheduled departing large twins, but it would also be able to better compete, with the likes of Norwegian and AirAsiaX, for the customers who are searching for the lowest possible price.

            Hence, A389neo operators could conceivably have 400 standard economy seats (10 breast) and 200 budget economy seats (11 abreast) on the A389 main deck — while having the same seat width as that of the 777X at 10 abreast. 😉

            The main deck would be oufitted in the optimised cabin layout based on the “cabin enablers” of the A380plus.

            In short, the 200 budget economy seats would essentially be for free, giving an A389neo operator more leeway to set minimum prices for the new budget economy class.

            As reported by Skift, Emirates is considering creating a “budget economy” cabin that will “feature” narrower seats and fewer perks. Even in its economy cabin, Emirates is known for offering passengers a superior product. The airline’s president Tim Clark said that it’s considering the option in order to satisfy its more frugal customers who are looking to pay as little as possible to get from Point A to Point B.

            What can customers expect? Clark said that if the budget economy option were added, it would be available on its A380 aircraft. While the pitch on each seat wouldn’t change — even for budget economy passengers — Clark said that the seat width would. The carrier would squeeze an 11th seat per row on its A380s, allowing for the same seat pitch, but reduced width. Note that this budget economy cabin isn’t the same as a basic economy fare. With this, you wouldn’t be getting reduced amenities with a different fare class, but instead, a different product entirely.


          • For me the bottom line is that an airline operating an A380 has more cabin flexibility than “typical” twins and therefore generate more $ per fuel unit burned.

            Fuel burned per seat mile and income generated per ton of fuel burned are two different things.

          • Or in my case, while it has a logical thought to it, we have seen that a big bulk load from a A380 has limited application.

            Its not saying none, but the facts bear it out, limited. Emirates is an outlier, the other two ME have not gone in for the full scoop that Emirates has. In that Qatar and Etihad are more like Singapore, BA, AF.

            So having seen one prediction fail (financially in sales) the argument then comes up that its too soon.

            What the rest of the sales have shown is that frequency beats bulk.

            What looks wasted on one route, is a boon on another.

            While far from a route analyst, it looks to me that flexibility is the key factor. Frequency may be a factor.

            In other words, the ability to use a small aircraft on another route, or availability to shift it around is far more valuable than a very large aircraft that can only operate on fixed single route pairs.

  5. Using the Trent1700 for the A380neo that has a bit smaller fan diameter than the T900 is a good starting point, the Trent XWB is too Heavy. If RR have “industralized” the ALPS parts production they could go onto a Trent1900 developped from the Trent1700/1000-TEN.
    If this solution is cost effective the ALPS can be introduced onto the T1700 and T1000-TEN as well that share similar fan sections today.
    BA might think this is a good solution and order the A380neo as well as Emirates. It would maybe need another Asian Customer like SQ, ANA for Asia to US and Qantas might transfer its delayed orders to the neo for Sydney or Perth to London routes. By Farnborough we will see.

  6. With the CS300 couldn’t Bombardier simply ensure that it has sold a small number of the model to a single Canadian carrier and a single UK carrier at a price at least as low as it could conceivably go in the USA in order to mitigate against any claims through this process?

    Interesting seeing you talk about the Trent 7000 (I’m guessing you mean this or a minor development of it, rather than the 1000) for the 380’neo’. Seems to fit with the chatter about MoM being the entry design RR is now targeting for Ultrafan.

    • The CS300 case is quite simple. Airbus will produce this type in the US for US airlines.

      Then some well paid lawyers will try to figure out what does make an aircraft an US aircraft.

    • Yes, the Trent1700 was the old name for the first A350 iteration. The Trent7000 is the A330neo Engine developed from the Trent1000-TEN.
      The RR ALPS demo Engine was a modified Trent1000. the T900 har a 116″ fan and the T1000 a 112″ fan. So doing 2″ longer ALPS fan blades with Composite fan containment case and optimized LPT is a reasonable investment for a A380neo Trent9000 or Trent1900 depending on Tim Clarks naming preference and order size.

      • C300: As noted this has not been adjudicated.

        Boeing insists that the Mahala assembly line does not change anything.

        Delta may just takes its C100s before it opens that can of worms.

        As someone noted, its going to be interesting and long protracted and much like the Boeing WTO thing, nothign ever happens and Boeing proceeds to do even worse than Free Launch Aid.

        In the end I can see Boeing suing itself

        • Remember the CS100 duties had been levied when the decision to partner the program with Airbus and build a new FAL occurred. So a Judge or Commission ‘could be persuaded’ that the new FAL was to get around the decision on the duties.
          A CS300 with US assembly would be in the initial offer where Boeing missed out with a rival 737-7 so pretty hard to argue the FAL is to get around duties that dont exist.

        • The Mahala assembly line? So now AB’s moving the CSeries FAL to India? Please explain how that helps!

          • Call it the mother of all typo”s?

            dukefurl: I think you are missing the key aspect.

            There are multiple aspects at dispute or discussion.

            1. The ruling was not about an FAL (never adjudicated) it purely was on dumping and that was the C100.
            (and I don’t know what entitity rules on that aspect), AP might have that.

            2. The C300 was not sold in the US so it stands alone still.

            3. FAL ruling (by someone)

            Clearly the C300 does intrude on the 737-7 (realistically for sale on the -7 or not they are the same market size)

            A new case and BBD/AB would respond correctly (I would think)
            More accurate Airbus.

            I think it winds up how stupid is Boeing?

            Legally there are all sorts of things still flying around.

        • “C300: As noted this has not been adjudicated.”

          The ruling was not aimed at any specific model or other. The complaint was, I believe, aimed at “100-150 seat aircraft imported from Canada”.

          If, for example, DL ordered CS300s with 150 seats, IMHO it’s covered by this ruling.

          • The ruling was that a specific model would be assesed the penalty and that was the CS-100

    • Woody, I agree with your understand of the CS300s “home” pricing requirement.

      BBD can use the Air Canada CS300 selling price as a bench mark. I have no reasons to believe that AC did not get a good price; there are pretty clever negotiators too.

      The Mobile FAL will go ahead anyways for many reasons. Once a competent/trained workforce is established, the FAL will probably be more cost effective than what we find in the Seattle, Montreal, Toronto and Toulouse areas.

      Furthermore, Mobile will greatly diminish the protectionist “dirty tricks mood” of our dear southern “ally”…

      • Also, this is not a zero-sum game. I’d expect a CS500 launch in due course. That would IMJ help to dramatically increase the order intake. Hence, the production output in Montreal and Mobile could easily exceed 25 units per month (i.e. 12-13 units per month from both assembly lines.

        • Hmm. So your point is the Montreal unions will…just roll over, and play dead? LOL

          • OV-99: Planned was 90-120 a year.

            I have not seen any projections since the FAL in Alabama move.

          • Actually, one union is already requesting BBD to scrap the Mobile plan… I wish them good luck. If they don’t see the protectionism trend south of border…

          • Or can’t see that the FLA in Alabama assures the future of the FLA in Montreal (and the program) .

            Unions don’t need to shoot them selves in the foot though they seem to do so at times.

          • @MontanaOsprey

            An Airbus final assembly line (FAL) accounts for about 5-6 percent of the total value of an aircraft. I’d expect that it’s about the same for a CSeries FAL. Airbus has four A32X assembly lines in Hamburg and one each in Toulouse, Tianjin and Mobile. Taking into account the the massive single aisle Airbus dominance in the Indian market, I’d expect that Airbus would set up a FAL in India too, within a decade. Hence, with Airbus in control of the CSeries, you’d be looking at a much larger production output than what would have been the case with Bombardier solely in control. Also, with a dramatically increased production output, I’m sure the unions at Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services would be more than pleased.


      • Also I suspect Bombardier been play for time on current orders and the current FAL production anyway(convenient P&W engine delays). They probably found the entire cost structure doesn’t work too well given low volume, high labor, much stronger than the expected price competition. Airbus/Mobile solves many many of their problems(including removing 1 competitor from the market). Boeing did them (but also the A&B duopoly) a favor of sorts by giving them the cover to do all these without political backlash.

        • “a favor of sorts by giving them the cover to do all these without political backlash” Good point here.

          Also, while Montreal/Mirabel aerospace workers are extremely competent/well trained and sufficiently productive (with what, 75% of the salaries found in Seattle/Toulouse?), I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the machinists union.

          There are very clever, militant and extremely powerfull. They’ve been logical (ie win – win agreements, less work to rule etc) for last few years, but lets say that was not allways the case. They have the power to vaporize a program business case in milliseconds.

          A Mobile FAL should keep everyone honest.

          • @TransWorld

            Agree, the same logic should definitely apply to Boeing’s Charleston FAL.

      • EME: It does not matter what BBD/Airbus sells C Series in Canada.

        What matters is what it sells for in the US.

        If Boeing gets on the wagon again and protests, its what it sold to Delta, United or XX for that counts.

  7. The Trent 1700 could work, although not as new as the GE9X, it is still one generation newer than the Trent 900.

    The XWB engine is too large, 72 klbs is needed, perhaps also less if plans for the -900 are scrapped and some aero cleanup is made.

    But how about two XWB’s and two PW1133’s in an unholy RR-PW mash-up 😉 Note: I am being only half-serious here…

    That said, AB needs an existing platform due to timing and dev cost issues. Can anyone think of another option than the T1700 that does not involve the cost and dev time for a new engine?

    • I kind of like it. You never have all 4 engines out of service for the same reason!

  8. How big is the RR Ultrafan supposed to be?
    MoM size is new to me. I thought it would be bigger.

    I was wondering if a new technology, as RR claims would bet such a high ETOPS rating at its beginning. If not, a 4-hauler would be the ideal first application. That would mean that the A380 would be the first plane to receive the Ultrafan.

    If the new turbine just delivers a little more thrust than the current ones a simple stretch to a 380-900neo would probably be the easiest thing to do, instead of having a 380-800neo, that could fly around half of the world but would still struggle with the 777-9 in terms of seat/mile costs.

    • Ultra fan design is capable of over 100K thrust.

      You would assume that you can scale down as much as needed but that is not always true.

      P&W I gather will go to sun gears for a larger version as the gears they have don’t scale up.

      Still depends on a market.

        • They are the most amazing monkey motion short of a Sumitomo Cylcloidal reducer, look it up, kind of twists the mind but it is a way to get a lot of torque in a drive system in an efficnet package.

  9. B787-9 = 135T OEW of BA’s finest – – trading range for real estate and sardine class economy real estate at that.

    Has a touch of the B757-3 about it.

      • The 135T looks 359 like, I haven’t seen an OEW for the 78K yet, that for the 789 is ~128/9T.

        • Another AB option to the 78K question is the 330-1000 that comes up now and then. A 4-5 row (30-40pax) stretch of the 330-900 with 251T MTOW and 76Klb engines, range around 5500-6000Nm and offered at a lucrative price may just interest several airlines.

        • Actually what i wanted to do is satirize the A359 so MUCH heavier than 789 mantra we hear so often.

        • Apologies all round.

          B787-10 = 135T OEW of BA’s finest.
          No official figure available so educated estimate.
          The -9 model is 129T OEW / Wiki standard data.

          Not a huge payload fraction 135T OEW / 254T MTOW.
          A350-9 seems to have an advantage.
          140/145T OEW / 280T MTOW.
          Plus much longer legs.

          • Along similar lines, haven’t seen OEW’s for the 339 but the 330-300 is around 121/2T (6/7)T lighter than the 789.

            An 330-1000 stretched to 787-10 seat capacity likely to be 5T (?) lighter than a 78K, so the AB products not these “heavy dogs” people wants to make it out to be just due to the 787’s CFRP image and marketing.

            Airbus have actually some very interesting options available to compete with 787-10. I don’t think spending money on changing the rear bulk head to add a row or two of seats to give but a crappy rear galley and toilets with structural questions is the right one.

            With an 350Plus (-“950”) there are many permutations and combinations that could result in a range of very nice aircraft with 340/50seats. From medium haul (5500-6000Nm) with 79Klb engines (359 wing/bogeys) to ultra long haul (9000+Nm) with 97Klb engines with 35K wing/bogeys.

  10. I’d love to see an a380neo with the ‘best-of-now’ added if there is indeed the possibility of a 10% fuel burn reduction [new winglets -4%, refinements/twist -1%, engines – 5%] just to put the possible development to bed for a while… and get more customers engaged. The negative a380 spiel is getting too much airtime I think – and needs to be replaced with positives.

    The Trent 7000/1000-ten does seem to be the best-of-now, right size, right trust area. Would it [adapted] reduce fuel-burn by 5+% do you guys think – a little more?

    Cabin enablers are ‘optional’ and airlines can pick and choose… but bringing the cabin into the AirSpace styling would be nice also.

    • Fergal: I think those of us who assess it low are realistic.

      Optimistic gets you bad programs. Lot of bucks spent on A380 and 787 for difference reasons that did not pan out with the optimistic outlook.

      There has to be a market for it to succeed. Thinking there is one does not do it.

      • This is bit tongue in the cheek but thing Boeing was very happy when EK ordered those A380’s.

        That will keep Airbus busy with something they won’t make money on instead of developing something else?

      • @TransWorld

        If “those of us” include @TransWorld, could you please provide some real analysis to the forum instead of the blabbering.

          • Roger, we can disagree but lets keep it above the table.

            You don’t like my analysis and that is fair enough .

            I don’t agree with yours, also fair.

            If we get down to mud slinging then we have gone way off track.

  11. See the B787-10 as areal threat to Airbus, will be interesting to see their response.

    You can’t chop and change aircraft for every airlines needs but a relatively simple option is to stretch the 359 by ~3.5m which will give it seating of around 350.

    An 359Plus with MTOW of ~270T and XWB84-EP engines range should be around 7000Nm? This aircraft will have the edge on the 78K in seat capacity and range.

    It could potentially cannibalize some 359 and 35K orders but definitely be a serious competitor to the 78K and be the right aircraft for those that were weighing options between the 787-10 and 777-8.

    With the 35K’s wing and 6 wheel bogeys this could become an interesting platform for a future freighter to replace 777F’s?

    • What is your intention with the A35k wing and (heavy) 6 wheel bogie for a light 270t MTOW aircraft?

      • For the 359Plus the 359 wing and 4 wheel bogies.

        35K wing and 6 wheel bogies an option for a freighter?

          • All Composite fuselage may be too optimized for passengers to be converted to heavy deck loads of a freighter. ( let alone the big forward fuselage door)
            Theres been absolutely no talk of a 787 freighter and I assume the same goes for an A350 freighter version.
            The composite wing but Al fuselage 777X will be much more likely

          • I am a non-technical guy but the CFRP issue crossed my mind for a freighter. But read (Nov?) LH expressing interest in a 359 freighter.

            Maybe a reason BA wants to keep the 767 alive? An A330-300/900F could land up fitting between the 777F and 767F and actually do well.

      • @Uwe:
        “What is your intention with the A35k wing and (heavy) 6 wheel bogie for a light 270t MTOW aircraft?”
        Don’t worry too much. His proposed design features and design objectives often contradict with each other.

        • If you read carefully would have realized that the 359 stretch (3.5m) for medium haul could use the current 359 wing and 4 wheel bogies.

          MTOW lower (270T) than the 359ULR (280T) with 84Klb engines due to increase in wetted area (drag), range should be around 6500-7000Nm?

          An even lower MTOW (255T) possible with de-rated 79Klb engines. Range 5000-5500Nm (?) which could do most Transatlatic routes, Inter-Asia, etc.

    • There might be a market for the “original” A350-1000, with A350-900 wing, A350-1000 fuselage, 4 wheel boogies and a derated Trent XWB-97 that I feel is more modern and cheaper to operate/repair, it can inherit the A350-800 unused name. It will be a bigger and maybe better 787-10, so maybe its name should be A350-10.

    • @Anton:
      “B787-10 as areal threat to Airbus,”
      When Airbus sold 66 frames to AirAsiaX and 25 frames to DL(plus cancelled all 787 x18 in firm backlog), was the 339 a threat to Boeing too? Face it, threats happen all the time in this industry and go both ways.

      “will be interesting to see their response.”
      We’ve already seen that “response” launched within 14mths after 78J, did 1st flight last yr and scheduled for cert+EIS this summer. It even uses an engine largely similar to the 78J. If that’s not a “response”, what else do we call that thing fm Airbus that has 94% nominal seat count and launched only a yr after the 78J?

      Unless of course U don’t like that response to 78J because it does not follow the approach and therefore not a good enough response by Airbus.

      Luckily, key decision making process in the commercial aerospace industry does not always follow kindergarten playground toy ownership dynamics……

      • The 787-10 uses the same GE engine for all versions.

        RR has come out with a new engine (Ten) to install on all future RR powered 787s.

        Norwegian is going to replace their -9s with the new Ten, the -8s will stick with the new and improved Trent 1000.

  12. I think the Boeing 777-9 will be similar in size to the A380, main deck. Specially is 11 abreast 18 inch is introduced.


    In comparable lay-out I think the capacity difference between 777-9 and A380 (>40%) is to large to overcome for most airlines. “frequency” is the magic trick on long haul Asian operations into big western hubs.

    For RR investing in the best engine for a A380 isn’t a seperate business case. E.g. Advance 3 technology used would be used on a 787 Mark II UltraFan Trent engine later on in the decade.


    • – IF 11 abreast 18 inch is introduced.
      – “frequency” is NOT the magic trick on long haul Asian operations into big western hubs.

      an edit button would be great 😉

      • keesje: You beat me to it, kind of a revers GE/786/747 line up.

        That would indeed create a better market.

        At issue becomes the sunk costs in the original Trent 1000 and then the new Trent 100-10 just to be replaced by another engine.

        That would be more on a skyline of 20 years from now when the 787 becomes a candidate for an NEO (though it sort of got it with the 1000-10)

        RR has struggled with engines for a while now. The Trent 900 while reliable was beat out by the GP engine (until TK did politics ) the upgrade was reported to having issues that looks to be swept under the run for now.

        The 1000 was a bust and replaced by the 1000-10 (and have to see how that goes)

        The A330 engine is very delayed.

        Can they afford to launch another new one?

  13. Re BA buying more A380s there was an interesting article a few weeks back in the Daily Telegraph (UK newspaper), using OAG data, showing an almost 15% year on year decline in transatlantic A380 departures.

        • Its just great press when you can make a big deal.

          All 787 hickups for a while were the same.

        • I don’t see it that way. It may be that routes have changed such that utilisation rates trans Atlantic have not declined in line with departure numbers but absent that data departure numbers seems a valid proxy. Indicating that for the Trans Atlantic market specifically (nothing global or general), the A380 is losing operator preference to other types such as the 787.

        • I disliked the way it came to be.

          I also dislike what Boeing is doing with their massive tax breaks which is no different.

          I never believed there was the market Airbus said there was, said market for VLA now has morphed in the PR world to an A330 packed full.

          I think it was a ego project that then the spin started to justify it.

          I think full disclsoure should be in affect for launch aid and what the numbers presented are.

          I also believe in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny!

          • “I also believe in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny!”

            And their wordy child, the Furby ;-?
            I wouldn’t want to know about the direct/indirect PR outlay ringing up on the Boeing side “invested” in negative Meme creation to the “benefit” of Airbus.

    • British Airways doesnt use the A380 on its New York, Washington Chicago or Atlanta flights. Only to Miami for European winter and back to 747s in summer.
      It uses a mix of 747 and 777 aircraft for multiple daily departures. What is it going to up-gauge from the 747 to ?

      The A380s for BA mostly go to US West Coast

  14. 18inches at 11 a rest is only possible with a 1.5 inch armrests. That is the reason Airbus wanted to raise the floor level at the window belt area .Airlines did not like that.

  15. If, as Peter Bellew (at the time with MAS) said to FG: “I have watched each of our first three A380s go through detailed C-checks in-house and the quality of construction of these aircraft is incredible. I believe they will still be flying around the world in 50 years’ time… .”, and given that most probably the cost of design and certification of the reengining will be the cost drivers for Airbus, I wonder if they could strike a deal with Emirates to convert most of its existing fleet to a near-neo standard. While not as prestigious as selling new frames, it would be a deal that AB could make money with, while at the same time ensure a ROI for developing an upgrade that makes new A380s attractive again, while avoiding having to compete with used frames from Emirates.

    • Something I pondered also. 747s are still flying. The first batch of a380s were returned to lessors likely due to being overweight and ‘first tranche’ models… But what value can/could be added easily to current/future frames

      The Trent 900 looks like it’s a relatively ‘light’ engine though compared to the T7000/TXWB… A tonne each… So my brain can’t do the ‘better/worse’ math 🤔

      • Well they re-engine the KC135 (CFM) and they are looking to re-engine the B-52 (various though settling on using existing pylons now and 8 each)

        Why does Emirates want to retire A380s though?

        Kind of a head scratcher that its like they have to but if they are still good then you refurbish them and keep goiong.

        • Airforce large transports and bombers might only fly 500 hours per year. Many commercial planes do that in a month or two

          • The only one of those 3 I have numbers for are the tankers, that is around 800 a year (average, over a large fleet) .

            I don’t know what the numbers are for the transports, they are kept busy and they are supplemented a lot by CRAF

            B-52 has been around for a long time and they used to be a group airborne full time.

            If you have references to those hours I would be interested.

          • This is from GAO from back in 2003 and says the KC-135 fleet averages 435 hrs. Its out of date but the timing was likely a peak during the Iraq/Afgahnistan wars
            Cant see the extra resources for crew/maintenance being available for double that in the recent period.[ A lot of heavy maintenance is replacing skins and other major parts]
            Of course the average means some planes (20%)are doing less than 200 hr/yr and others (8%) doing 700+.
            5% are doing no hrs. ( according to another GAO report from around 2002)

          • One tanker aircraft is nearly done: KC-10.
            Not due to the need for a big tanker but due to the need of a capable and less expensive cargo aircraft.

            C-17 and C-5 are useful for outsized cargo like tanks or helicopters but expensive to maintain and very thirsty. KC-135 has a mediocre cargo capability.

            That was the reason why the US Air Force was so delighted by the A330MRTT: 50 % more cargo capacity than the other contender.

            As I had to hear on many occasions KC-X is a KC-135 replacement! I always wondered why B-29 was followed by such different aircraft like B-52 or B-2? Have tankers no options for change?

  16. There is one engine nobody seems to talk about. That is the Trent advanced.
    It is the XWB core with a changed work load regarding high pressure and intermediate pressure units. The intermediate pressure compressor does less work and the high pressure compressor does more work. I guess that will lead to a lighter smaller core.


    The advanced demonstrator is ready


    Meanwhile the carbon fiber fan is tested in front of a T1000 on a 747 test airplane.

    There will be one engine, size still to be determined, looking for a frame to use it on, end of this decade.

    • Depends if/when the market needs a really big aircraft but the 380 will only come to its rightful place/design as an 380-900. Turbofan engines could give it very competitive seat mile costs.

      • From what I can gather, whats happened is RR has realized that GTF is the future and the advanced is now just the core for the Ultra.

        To come out with an advanced just to supersede it a few years latter with the Ultra is a waste and potentiality fatal.

        All this assumes it all works as its supposed to.

        The XWB has done well it seems, the other recent offerings not so much.

        • Touch wood the XWB84 looks good so far, the XWB97 apparently quiet different in some technical aspects, lets see.

          • Agreed. My mind is getting twisted around with all the various of Trent 1000-Ten , 900, 7000, XWB.

            Arn’t there some more rivers in the GB for RR to use?

            Creeks even?

  17. Alabama Final Assembly Line: Makes no sense.

    And where does that leave Charleston?

    Whats good for the goose is good for the gander

  18. On Bombardier great victory,
    I like the following…
    ”It is refreshing to see regulators utilize logic in their decision processes. The ITC was correct in its first ruling on dumping, as by the letter of the law, Bombardier did dump its product. But the ITC was also correct in its second ruling of “no harm – no foul” after reviewing Boeing’s strong market position and Bombardier’s assembly line plans for the US. The ITC rulings are a perfect compromise and a win-win for the industry.” https://www.airinsight.com/the-international-trade-commission-reached-a-perfect-compromise/

    • In other words: “A dump is a dump, but you need a dump that’s a bump!” Rather poetic, if I say so myself.

      • Uhh yes.

        But the original ruling also found there was a product that could be dumped on.

        That was in error, though the lack of the submitals by BBD that were required maybe was the bigger part.

        They then went on a binge but did not seem to supply what was required despite allowance to do so.

        AP might have some insight on why you would not make it up given the chance as just the failure to submit that paper work kills your case and the then ridiculous levy.

        Harley Davidson got a mere 25% in their case (year 1 progressing down and I believe at year 3 they wavered the rest as they were recovered and then some. )

        • Well one theory is that the initial purpose of the Boeing file was to force Bombardier to divulge in the most nit-picking detail possible hard facts on both the production and financing of its product. Bombardier was obviously utterly unwilling to do so.

          • From what I read, the Commerce department will take estimates as they realize that an aircraft into new production is a moving target and that you don’t get the same result on the 1st one that you do on the 50th.

            I am willing to bet that Boeing or Airbus can estimate withing 5% of what the costs are.

            That is one reason the 10% lower on the KC program was such a stunner.

            So I don’t buy it and estimates are allowed as long as they are in line with other information and I believe that cross references Boeing data as well.

  19. “I sure hope the clueless investors who have Boeing stock cash out before the world finally realizes on Monday when the market opens that what everyone …”

    Zero impact.
    Everything is Good (TM).
    ( sorry for the disappointment.)
    Now the interesting question is why does it have no impact?
    Air Berlin is no more so B can’t rumor a fake sale now 🙂

  20. “The heavier airplane with fewer passengers and a metal structure can’t “get there” in an apples-to-apples analysis.”

    Umm, Scott – “everything else being equal”, like aerodynamics and any benefit to revenue from wider seats.

    Gotta include the Gala and Gravesteins, not just the Delicious and Granny Smith flavours.

  21. To what degree could an engine be modified with upgrade kits, without taking on the risk for aircraft certification work?

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