IAG’s LEVEL shopping for future fleet

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 28, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: IAG (parent of British Airways, IBERIA, Air Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL) presented the 2017 results Friday. The group’s airlines all had a good 2017 behind them.

LEVEL, the long-haul LCC started from Barcelona in June 2017 with two Airbus A330-200s, performed better than expected. With the market response to LEVEL, IAG’s CEO Willi Walsh sees the LEVEL business plan as confirmed.

The airline will now expand from today’s three A330-200s to at least 15 aircraft by 2022. The A330 is not a given, according to Walsh; the Boeing 787 could also be a good fit.

LEVEL’s expansion

LEVEL was established in record time, to counter Norwegian’s long-range LCC expansion. Within three months of the LEVEL announcement in March 2017, the airline operated from its Barcelona base with flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana , Figure 1. Punta Cana will now be replaced with Boston from next month.

Figure 1. LEVEL 2018 routes from Barcelona and Paris Orly and its fleet plans. Source: IAG.

The LEVEL operation only has the sales and marketing name LEVEL. The aircraft with crews and the Airline Operating Certificate (AOC) all belong to IBERIA. The wet lease setup enabled a quick start for the airline.

LEVEL will expand with flights from Paris Orly to French-speaking destinations like Montreal, Guadeloupe and Martinique from July 2018. From September, New York will be added. The Paris operation will be flown on the AOC of IAG’s OpenSkies airline and with its personnel, using two new A330-200s operating as LEVEL.

OpenSkies, a premium airline, presently flies to New York with three BA-sourced Boeing 757-200s and one 767-300ER. It will end its premium operation by end of summer 2018. All staff will then work for LEVEL. What will happen to OpenSkies’ present aircraft is not clear.

LEVEL fleet

Summer 2018, LEVEL will operate five A330-200s, all with 21 Premium Economy seats and 293 Economy. Walsh sees this expanding to a least 15 aircraft within four years, Figure 1.

IAG now starts the study which fleet LEVEL shall ultimately have. The alternatives are to continue with the Airbus A330 line, then presumably with the A330neo variant when available. But it could also be with Boeing’s 787, said Walsh at the results presentation.

The 787 is more economical to fly than the present A330, but the lower purchasing price and the available A330 crews from IBERIA made the A330 the better choice to start LEVEL. It’s now for IAG to establish what will be the better option long-term.

The LEVEL long-term fleet

The discussion by Walsh around the A330 and 787 as the right aircraft for LEVEL did not include mentioning the A330neo. This can be deliberate. Walsh is known to set the scene for aircraft negotiations with public statements.

For Boeing, it’s a matter of expanding the large 787 fleet BA operates and to stop the A330-800 to reenter the market after Hawaiian’s expected defection.

For Airbus, it’s critical to establish the A330neo within the AIG airlines and to get a major airline to order the A330-800.

69 Comments on “IAG’s LEVEL shopping for future fleet

  1. Thanks for a very informative article, Bjorn. There’s a typo “Ibera” in paragraph 5. If you don’t mind, how does Willie prevent Iberia cannabalization out of Barcelona? And, does Open Skies get replaced with BA on its routes? Lastly, is Boeing’s best shot 12 year leases of “9s”, with “wrapped in” Gold Care packaging? Thanks, MO

    • @MontanaOsprey:
      Sorry, I know your questions are intended for Bjorn but they are interesting and I can’t help to add my own ideas to them.

      “how does Willie prevent Iberia cannabalization out of Barcelona…”
      Possibly by the fact that the bulk of IB’s longhaul ops today is based in MAD and not BCN to begin with. For IAG to capture more BCN longhaul mkt, Level simply present more nonstop options in addition to 1-stop options via MAD(or even LHR) which had been easily matched by LH Group and AFKLM…

      “does Open Skies get replaced with BA on its routes?”
      Fm what I hv read recently, Level will inherit everything OpenSkies currently has in France including AOC per IAG plan.

    • Okay, stand by for the inbound “I’ll never fly on LEVEL’s 787 17 inch seats! Waaaaa!”- complaints and moans.

      It is a guarantee that they are coming…..

  2. The 787-10 looks to fit their operation pretty well if Boeing can deliver fast enough, Airbus can offer the latest A330-300 that I think can do the job almost fully loaded as well.

    • How can a B787-10, a 68m 9abreast aircraft with 400pax in just y+ and y,
      be compared with A 58m 8 abreast 314pax A332 they are operating today?

    • @Claes:
      “The 787-10 looks to fit their operation pretty well if Boeing can deliver fast enough…”
      I fail to see it that way regardless of 787 production rate/availability because:
      1. Level’s biz model currently hinges on feeding 332 gauge per flight.
      2. 332 is practically same gauge as 788(or 338).
      3. 78J is TWO sizes up fm a 788 – about 37.5% jump in seat count…more drastic than upgauging fm a 772ER to a 779 in 1 step.

      If Level, with the help of Vueling, throw all of its future longhaul traffic growth to connect @ BCN base, 78J may make sense. However, it’s pretty clear IAG intend to spread Level bases(and therefore longhaul traffic distribution) across Europe(a la Norwegian) with Orly online this summer and Rome likely will be next along with more frequencies/routes @ BCN. Demand per flight will remain more or less similar even though total traffic growth rate may be amazing. As a result, Level can’t really upgauge far if any at all. They may be able to largely upgauge to 789/339 3~4yrs fm now(again, a la Norwegian) but I wouldn’t be surprised if Level choose to remain @ 788/338 gauge instead if increasingly direct confrontation with Norwegian, Eurowings, Joon, etc. prove to be too severe.

      “Airbus can offer the latest A330-300…”
      Which is practically same gauge as 789 and only 1 gauge up fm 332. Though my gut feeling is that both Airbus and IAG will focus on 339(or even 338 fm Airbus perspective) for Level instead due to greater payload/range than 333 in equal cabin density….

      “…I think can do the job almost fully loaded as well.”
      In LCC density level, Eastern U.S.-Europe likely ok @ full pax. Western U.S.-Europe is likely out of bound even for 333 @ 242t MTOW.

      • We will see how they select low price/comfort ratio for their customers. My bet is on price as they have full service flights thru their mother companies and want as many seats for low operating cost as possible.

        SAS flies A330-300E fully loaded from STO/CPH to the US West Coast.

        • Mate, this is not how airline business is working.
          In fact, you don’t by more seat tha you can fill.

          Also intresting you mention it, but HEL is closer to LA than BCN.

        • @Claes:
          “SAS flies A330-300E fully loaded from STO/CPH to the US West Coast.”
          IMHO, anyone with a basic understanding of how cabin density affects payload/range won’t even try to extrapolate a SK 333 can do “STO/CPH to the US West Coast” and therefore a Level 333 in LCC confg can also do the same/similar:
          A) 333 in SK config carries no more than 266seats but has a usable cabin floor area roughly 22% LARGER than a 332 in Level fleet.
          B) 332 in Level fleet carries @ least 314seats in a cabin roughly 18% SMALLER than a 333 in SK fleet.
          C) Given that seatcount on a 332 in Level’s config is already way beyond Airbus nominal(246seats or 27.6% denser), it’s reasonable to expect a 333 hypothetically in Level config will be similarly dense probably @ around 370seats(23.3% denser than Airbus nominal)….that’s 100 more pax than SK inside the same aircraft type with the same cabin dimension. If we assume only 130kg(probably optimistic) per pax+bag in a LD3+seat+lav+galley+cabin crew, we’re talking about 13t diff in payload weight vs a “fully loaded” 333 in SK fleet.
          D) Even with the same fuel load on the same airplane, the more pax U take on, the shorter the distance U can reach.
          E) Limited by MTOW, the more pax U take on, the less fuel U can load which further reduce the max distance U can reach than D).

  3. Why not start acquiring 2nd hand 10yo a330’s, this must suerly be way cheaper than buying new 787’s, weighing up the cost of older yet much cheaper ac against the more fuel efficient yet far costlier boeing?
    Mr walsh has also recently talked of acquiring 2nd hand a380’s, there could also be a business case there on popular destinations if he thinks he can fill them!

    • @jj:
      “Why not start acquiring 2nd hand 10yo a330’s, this must suerly be way cheaper than buying new 787’s”
      Similarly, it’ll also “suerly be way cheaper than buying new” 330Neo.

      Fm what i hv observed throughout the short history of the longhaul LCC mkt, buying used frames to chase low CapEx is not always the answer for longhaul LCCs. Typically, longhaul LCCs acquire+deploy used frames @ their birth and during the initial ‘test marketing’ phase….to explore whether longhaul LCC op model is econ viable or not. Older longhaul LCC brands such as JQ(332->788) and Scoot(772->788/789) hv gone thru this phase while newer ones such as WestJet(763ER->789) are going thru it. Norwegian longhaul is a rare case going straight to new frame @ its birth while 2 types of longhaul LCCs seem to stick with used frames with no apparent plan to transition to new build:
      A) Financially weak ones like Air Transat.
      B) Longhaul LCCs owned by large FSC parents which used them to dispose older longhaul frames such as JinAir(Get 777 fm KE), Rouge(Get 767 fm AC), Eurowings(Get 330/340 fm LH Group), Spoon(Get 330 fm AFKLM), etc. Majority of these are still fully owned by the parents.

      Another characteristics of B type LCCs is that all of them can easily access large scale MRO infrastructure specifically for their used frames already established(and probably amortized) by their FSC parents a long time ago.

      Level does not seem to fit the B type LCC mode well. It can continue to get some used 330s fm IB thru common parent IAG but that fleet(Many of them are leased, not owned by IB) and its MRO infrastructure scale is not that large so Level may still end up having to partly rely on vendors/sources outside IAG.

      In a nutshell, LCC regardless of long or short haul hinges on fleet utilization rate +dispatch reliability to help achieve low cost. Used frame, while easy on CapEx, is unfriendly to utilization rate +dispatch reliability.

      Few LCCs can afford a used frame sitting on the tarmac or in a hangar for wks out of ops, let alone upto a mth per yr typical to maintain 10yrs+ old frames….and we hv not even accounted for unscheduled fixes. Unless an LCC hv cheap access to a huge MRO army, it will naturally transition to new build frames after its birth/mkt test phase.

      • Thank you flx, that explains a fair bit, but air lingus also operates a330’s and this would be a better fit around the whole fleet in general, and if they where to upscale then the a350 would be a fair bet as ib, ba an al all have them on order.

      • Using old frames when starting up is a conservative way of launching operations and in most cases is a band aid fix in order to be sure the Business plan works. Norwegian’s case of buying new frames shows committment for the Business plan to lower the costs of operations from the beginning. Anyone venturing into low cost long haul will eventually have to go for new frames to survive any competition that may arise.

        Norwegian is vulnerable at this stage as the strategy is to grow the fleet as much as possible and be first mover in markets but this could easily falter if someone came along and competed head-to-head on certain routes and lowered fares with higher aircraft capacity to absorb short term losses. The question is, who’s got the deep pockets to launch this strategy to undermine Norwegian, an opportunity to halt their growth?

    • JJ@: A new 787 will offer more than just fuel savings, less maintenance, less need for upgrading interiors. Also what happens when fuel spikes up? Do we really think fuel prices will stay this low? Oil is one of the most volatile commodities. In ten years the 787 will be ten years newer than the used A330. What will a 20 year old A330 be worth? Just the price of a plane is only part of the equation.

      • …and How old are the 737’s, now 50 years, in 20 years it will be 70 years.

        • @Anton:
          “How old are the 737’s, now 50 years…”
          steve was talking about airframe age(or built age) while U are talking about age of the basic platform design.

          A 320Neo delivered yesterday fm the Hamburg /Toulouse /Tianjin /Alabama line yesterday is 1 day old today despite the fact that its basic platform design was certified+EIS 30yrs ago in 1988.

          Jumping to conclusion to defend X and attack Y as usual…

          • Hello Anton and FLX,

            Regarding: “…and How old are the 737’s, now 50 years, in 20 years it will be 70 years.”

            I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in the US the 737 series 100 through 500 are now gone from major airline service as of last year, when Southwest retired its last 737-300. The oldest 737’s now in major airline service are 737 NG’s (series 600 to 900). The first and thus oldest NG is a 737-700 that entered service with Southwest in December 1997, thus the oldest 737 in service with a major airline in the US is 20 years and a few months old.

            Regarding: “steve was talking about airframe age (or built age) while U are talking about age of the basic platform design.”

            Here are the asking prices for those 737s currently listed for sale at Global Plane Search for which an asking price was listed. Price depends not only on chronological age, but also on model (NGs are worth more than Classics which are worth more than series 100 and 200 – notice the price difference between the 1999 737-700 and the 1999 737-800), and time left before required overhauls or maximum numbers of cycles or hours are reached.

            2016 737-800: $52,500,000
            2007 737-800: $35,000,000
            2002 737-800: $14,000,000
            1999 737-800: $13,500,000
            1999 737-300: $3,900,000
            1998 737-500: $3,900,000
            1996 737-500: $2,400,000
            1994 737-3L9: $3,000,000
            1992 737-500: $3,250,000
            1992 737-400: $1,900,000
            1991 737-500: $6,000,000
            1991 737-500: $535,467
            1989 737-300F: $3,400,000
            1988 737-382: $4,700,000
            1982 737-200A: $1,995,000

      • The fuel burn per seat mile for an A339 could turn out to be within 5% of the 789. The 330NEO’s has an upgraded cabin, if you buy AB its included in the price, with Boeing cabin fit is an additional cost.

        ..and Airlines buying A330’s can market its comfortable 18″ seats and 2-4-2 layout (only 2 middle seats), all adds up to the value of an aircraft.

  4. “The airline will now expand from today’s three A330-200s to at least 15 aircraft by 2022.”
    Whenever I hear that fleet size targeted by IAG/Level 4yrs fm now, I couldn’t help to recall Norwegian is already @ 787 x24 today. Even WestJet without a rich+powerful parent like IAG will hv 787 x10 in fleet for longhaul LCC ops by 2021 in comparison.

    If Norwegian’s longhaul venture won’t be busted(as widely speculated due to its alarming debt level) by 2022, its 787 fleet size will grow to become nearly 3x larger than Level’s 2022 fleet plan per Norwegian’s firm order backlog.

    Is Willie Walsh still acting too conservative amid this tsunami of longhaul LCC revolution?

    • it’s rather that Norwegian is that agressiv.

      Look at Finnair, also a nice ramp up with A350.

      It’s not said Norwegian will survive it’s own growth.
      They are just a small crisis away from bankcrupcy.

  5. My feeling is Willie is sending a message to Airbus… We’re happy to stay with the a330… Now…. Make us an offer to keep us.

    Perfect airline for the neo… Neo is a perfect airliner for LCC. Capex/Range/MRO/Efficiency.

    Airbus… You need this!!! Make it happen.

      • Haha. I think IAG (and Delta actually) have been/still are soaking up good deals for established ceo aircraft that have comparable capacity/ranges to newgen at very favourable prices, while newer LCCs are taking more expensive ‘newgen’ airframes and in doing so risking their survival. Filling seats and making money are not the same thing. Debt must be serviced along with the planes.

        Fingers crossed for an a330neo win… I’m a fan… And IAG would help its image.

  6. OT but “Close”: Would the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund be willing to “step up” and pour some capital into Norwegian? Somewhere there’s a partner I believe. Hmm, alternatively, what if it was a Chinese a/c lessor?

    • Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund would likely find much more profitable ventures than a high risk LCC. Anyway the name Norwegian covers an airline registered in Ireland, I think its like Norwegian Cruise line , not (now )having much connection to Norway.

      • Ah, the parent organization is headquartered in Norway, and the Norwegian Air Shuttle sub is Norwegian. And, it apparently has a 40% market share of air traffic at Oslo. It’s probably up there with Norse Hydro, and Statoil on name recognition. Any Norwegians or Europeans want to amplify?

  7. If Hawaiian really do defect to Boeing, would it be possible to extract very favourable launch pricing from Airbus for the A330-800Neo I wonder ? 15 solid orders with options for 15 more could be a good fit for Level at the right price.

    Will airlines be put off buying an orphan aircraft ? I wonder just how much commonality there is between the 800, and 900. It may be that the orphan tag is less of an issue than it’s made out to be.

    • It seems that Airbus makes more money delivering A330ceo’s than switch over to A330neo’s partly fault of RR engine pricing/availability so I think Airbus only will get aggresive on the A330neo when A330ceo sales drops too much. RR is busy increaseing production of the T1000-TEN right now and the T7000 are in its way.
      If Airbus manages to constantly make the A330ceo a more durable and economic MoM aircraft as the A330Re and they are built on the same production line as the neo they get into the Boeing 737 situation of why kill a money maker for something better but less profitable.
      If Aibus had another A330 FAL in HAM the situation might have been more of an in-house competition, now it looks like the A330ceo will still be produced after the last commercial 787-8 leaves the production lines.

  8. Is Boeing actually succeeding in ‘closing’ business with their Global Fleet Care (formerly Gold Care) extended services offerings? I assume it’s a revenue play for current airlines mostly (and BA bought into it back in 2015 for 787’s), but it would be interesting to see if it helps them ‘win over’ key businesses as well.

    Getting the crew scheduling, analytics, logistics, and route planning into an organization such as IAG would seem like a bigger goal than merely placing 15 787’s with Level. What would differentiate the offer, truly, from Airbus’ though? Boeing committed to Gatewick I think after Monarch died for goldcare service in Europe, no doubt to focus support on British Airways.


  9. I don’t see Level going for either aircraft. OK the A330 might be the right fit for the current route network and as a start-up but they will need an advantage over Norwegian as they grow over the next few years. I see the A350 as their game changer as there will no doubt be long range routes to South America and Asia that the A330 will not be suited and operating the B787 just doesn’t give them enough of an advantage over Norwegian. The current fleet is perfect for slowing down Norwegian expansion but long term they will need larger and more efficient aircraft than the A330/B787.

  10. Consolidating around a fleet of A332/8’s will appear to be the logic, uncomplicated and seamless decision. If IAG wants to change to 787’s they must do it quickly. Transferring of 788’s from British Airways crossed my mind (9+3).

    The MTOW of the 338/9 is 242T, 5% less than the 789. Was wondering what (if any) the benefits will be if AB offers a shorter range (6500Nm) 338 with MTOW of ~230T that could be used with de-rated to 67Klb engines if so selected, especially for medium range LCC’s on airport fees (MTOW)?

    • Many of us expect the A330Re to evolve further into a thru MoM aircraft doing 5-7 cycles/day in the US, EU, India, Indonesia and China. It will improve the MRO revenue for the 3 engine types powering it especailly for PWA that might need the revenue when other programs have some minor hickups.

      • Not sure I understand the MoM’ster concept if one of the defining constructs is an ability to do 5-7 cycles per day.

        Surely a high volume low cost SA would be a better bet?

        MoM = range, range, range.

        An ability to have a range of 4-6K NMs without being a 125T OEW HD TA lard bucket?

      • Where are you coming up with 5 to 7 cycles per day? Average daily stage length for a twin’s got to average three hours minimum (unless your in Japan, lol), 3 cycles @3 hours= 9 hours; plus 1 1/2 hour initial, plus 2x 2 hours downtime for cleaning, fuel, preflight, pax and baggage loading, and unloading=5 1/2 hours. Total time with 3 cycles: 15 1/2 hours. Starting time: 7 AM, 15 1/2 hours later, it’s 10:30 PM. I think you’re realistically about “maxed out” on time. You possibly could run a one way, “red eye”, but you don’t see many of those. And, if you’re doing a true North American transcontinental (NY—LA), you’re probably doing 2 cycles on an “out and back”.

        • Re-cycling times are NB, you can see BAC is already pushing that when you read comments from airline executives re the NMA (and I agree).

          But in reality how much time is spending in the taxi queues waiting for take off, circling to land, that last 2 or 3 pax to board, or taking off luggage from non-boarding pax? Time to prepare the cabin for boarding favours the twin-aisles.

          The Transatlantic seems to be heading for an oversupply situation. The European medium-long haul LCC that’s going to survive is these that conquer the Eastern destinations? Therefore 789/339’s could come into play?

          • Maybe I’m too US centric. I do think there’s several US routes that MIGHT get to 4 cycles a day: NYC—CHI, NYC—MIA/FLL, CHI—DAL/HOU, SEA/PDX—SFO/OAK/SJC for examples, but I think you’re agreeing with me—that with ground turnaround needs—the idea of 5 or more cycles a day is pretty much manufacturer/lessors’ “marketing fluff”.

  11. It would be interesting to know how big the savings in maintainace and avalibilty are from carbon airframes.

  12. IAG have been clear. The 787 doesn’t compare to the A330ceo on cost of ownership never mind the A330neo. So there isn’t any point in comparing the 787 to the A330neo.

    LNC now claim that the 787 can be produced at the cost of $80-90 million. If true, then it has a chance with LEVEL for its about the cost of a A330neo. The A330neo is comparable in performance to the 787. If anything it favours the A330neo

  13. @Anton:
    “United looking at the 330-800, could be interesting?!”
    Man, U are really funny.

    After commenting/justifying just a brief moment ago why Level should be “Consolidating around a fleet of A332/8’s will appear to be the logic, uncomplicated and seamless decision.”, U then turnaround 180 degree to defeat “the logic” of your own and declare UA looking @ 338 is interesting….

    UA nor its CO half-predecessor hv never operated nor maintained any 330 family. In contrast, UA hv a whole bunch of 787s, fleet size is still increasing and in fact already operate 788 for yrs.

    So pls explain which type joining UA fleet will be “uncomplicated and seamless decision” as U declared that logic earlier: 338 or 788?

    Your comments lose credibility when U switch your logic to suit your pro-Airbus agenda/promotion so rapidly….@ least wait a bit till we forget what U said earlier.

    • Have a look at the link, a FlightGlobal article. If HA wants to get 789’s that’s fine, is US airlines then forbidden to look at the 338? How long has BAC been cooking the NMA pot but there is nothing on the table to eat yet.

      With IAG we talk about a small LCC, UAL it is a totally different ball game


      • With IAG I meant LEVEL if you didn’t follow. The 338 definitely not perfect, but has roughly the same OEW as the 788 but can carry 15-20 pax more the same distance plus.

      • @Anton:
        “Have a look at the link, a FlightGlobal article”
        U believe U are the only 1 who read related news fm flightglobal.com and therefore need to remind others here to do it?

        “…is US airlines then forbidden to look at the 338?”
        Why forbidden? It’s absurd to even imagine it, let alone raising such childish question here.

        “How long has BAC been cooking the NMA pot…”
        Roughly as long as Airbus had been cooking the 380Neo, 350-2000 or 321Neo++ pots….

        “there is nothing on the table to eat yet.”
        Classic ‘kettle calling the pot black’ style argument fm U….

        “With IAG we talk about a small LCC,”
        With Level, we are talking about a corp parent which is 1 of the 3 largest airline groups ever existed in Europe.

        Hard to imagine even if Level just need a single-engine Cessna for pilot training, they can get it without going thru IAG…..let alone a 332, 338 or 788. As far as fleet planning+scale is concerned, Level is IAG or vice versa.

        “…UAL it is a totally different ball game”
        As far as fleet planning+scale is concerned, UAL and IAG are totally in the same ball game.

        In fact, their widebody fleet plan similarities are pretty striking such as both ordered 78J and @ almost the same time despite still not that many 78J customers around and both already hv a bunch of 359/35K on order.

        Keep trying to deny your conflicting logics re how to arrive @ fleet decision.

        • Good morning FLX, according to Wikipedia (if its correct) the following figures;

          A338 with 248 pax on an 8600Km mission will burn 5.45 Kg/km,
          B788 with 243 pax on an 8600Km mission burns 5.38 Kg/km.

          Other relevant facts;
          A338 typical seating 257 (Max 406), OEW 122T (?), MTOW 242T, 72Klb engines, range 7500Nm,
          B787 typical seating 243 (Max 359), OEW 120T, MTOW 228T, 64 Klb engines, range 7360Nm.

          Then seating;
          A338, 2-4-2, with 18″ seats,
          B788, 3-3-3 with 17.0-17.5″ seats.

          Conclusion, the A338 does not deserve to be the “orphan” it is a the moment.


          • @Anton:
            “according to Wikipedia (if its correct)”
            Good luck with that…especially re easily manipulated/skewed data like fuel consumption.

            “A338 with 248 pax on an 8600Km mission will burn 5.45 Kg/km,
            B788 with 243 pax on an 8600Km mission burns 5.38 Kg/km.”
            This must be the 5th or 6th times I explained the problem of the above figures to U on this website which U seem to be determined to disregard /forget and relentlessly continue to use in whatever your arguments:
            a) U still honestly believe 248 pax on a 338 is in similar cabin+seat config definition and weight assumptions as 243 pax on a 788?
            b) 8,600km implies @ least 9hrs sector duration. Where do u think they install the cabin crew bunks on a 338 vs a 788?
            c) Do U honestly believe a 338 and a 788 hv similar Rev$ cargo space or cargo Rev$ is irrelevant for 9hrs+ sectors?
            d) What do U think will happen to their diff in fuel burn after 8,600km?

            I warned U multiple times these fuel burn data on wiki are apple vs orange comparisons.

            “Other relevant facts;”
            Facts become useless when selecting them @ random and when such facts are based on widely differing technical assumptions/definitions for measurement.

            Ignoring the above simply turn any comment into an Airbus or Boeing PR/Mkting article by someone who are not even Airbus or Boeing employee.

          • Agree, but where are published data to compare aircraft on similar missions for the “man on the street”?

            I think its important for AB to certify the 338 to get real world performance figures and not just predictions. In the not to distant future results from the 339 and T7000’s should start filtering through.

          • U still hv not explained how your contradiction for IAG(for Level) and UA to justify 338 in fleet – Which is a more important rationale?
            A) Fleet commonality /simplicity
            B) Most efficient /optimal for the mission /purpose

          • For an LCC that’s seemingly looking at 15-30 aircraft one aircraft type is just logic. As I said, if LEVEL wants to change to 787’s they must do it quickly and get rid of the 332’s.

            To be honest, I don’t fully understand the LEVEL story, Iberia and now BA will offer basic economy fares on long haul, Aer Lingus is aggressively pursuing low cost Transatlantic flights. Air Europa is dominant to South America.

            Maybe LEVEL will put IAG in a position to react in the event Norwegian catches a speed wobble?

    • I think there could be good interest in the 797 by airlines. But maybe realities are starting to dawn on airlines. Optimistically assume certification by 2025, if there are an initial backlog of say 500 aircraft, if you are number 300, when will you get that aircraft?

      In 4-5 years from now AB could deliver an A322 (and/or 321+ ULR) if launched during the next year, you could potentially get an A338 next year.

      The clock is unfortunately starting to tick for the 757’s and 767’s, two excellent aircraft

      • @Anton:
        “assume certification by 2025, if there are an initial backlog of say 500 aircraft, if you are number 300, when will you get that aircraft?”
        1. 787 production rate is already @ 12/mth for yrs so logically, we wouldn’t expect 797 will be targeted below 144/yr after initial ramp-up.
        2. Avg annual rate during ramp-up will likely be only 50% of the target rate for the 1st 2yrs.
        3. So for 2025-26, total output across 2yrs will likely be only around 150.
        4. If your 1st slot is LN300, your 1st delivery will likely occur End2027.
        5. Luckily by industry history and especially for widebody, customers typically prefer deliveries not in immediate sequence i.e an order for 5 frames is rarely delivered as LN300, 301….till 304. Therefore, your 1st delivery still has a good chance to be in the LN100-200 range if even 20 customers ordered and then get their 1st 797 before yours.

        “In 4-5 years from now AB could deliver an A322 (and/or 321+ ULR) if launched during the next year”
        It could, if existing 320Neo family customers are willing to convert their orders to 322Neo or similar. 320Neo family production, regardless of variant, is essentially sold out until 2024~25….once again thx partly to PW1000G supply chain issue delaying ramp-up.

        “you could potentially get an A338 next year.”
        Or a 788 1yr after that in 2020 when 787 ramp-up to 14/mth is fully matured.

        I still maintain that the 338 and 788 are equally as good or as bad a replacement for any 767.

        • Personally I don’t think UAL will go for the 338 except if BAC stops 788 production. They could however go for 2nd hand 332’s that will get them through to the 797’s. Was actually wondering why AB is not offering current 332CEO operators good “trade-ins” on their 332’s for buying 388’s?

          Think its more a strategy to get Boeing to do the 767 Revive, or getting rock bottom prices for 788’s, or get early slots on the 797?

          As you said correctly, AB has been hitting the 321+/322 drum also for a long time, their approach of waiting with an NMA launch could backfire, except if they also have a smaller twin aisle in the works, or if the 322 is actually an NSA?

          • I found only 8 orders in 2017 for the 787-8, of wich 2 are for ElAl and 6 unidentified customers.

            From all we’ve learned and discussed here at Leeham, the -8 is more expensive in production than the -9.

            Not sure if Boeing is working on this, but if not, the 787-8 won’t be sold in significant numbers any more.

          • Getting the feeling that BAC is more worried about the 338 than the 339? The 338 should have better sector costs and at least similar range as the 789. An 339 has less range and possibly slightly higher sector and seat mile costs than the 789.

            If the 788 fades away the 338 will be in its own territory when it comes to seat capacity and range. An 248-251T MTOW 338 will have more range than the 789.

            Again one of my hypothetical irrational thoughts (in hind sight) is that the 330NEO should have been a single model (330-“850”) in size between the 338 and -9 with ~275 pax and range of 7500-8000Nm with ~251T MTOW.

            The 332/3 CEO’s could then have stayed in production scavenging cabin, wing and other updates (excluding engines) from the NEO program?

  14. @Gundolf:
    “Currently the A330-200 or -800 are the only planes that make a proper replacement for the 767”
    Mysteriously, “A330-200”, as U claimed, isn’t on that slide prepared by UA per your link at all while the 788, somehow omitted by U, is….right across the 767 and sitting above the 338.

    Intentional addition /omission against what UA is actually presenting or simply your typo?

    “I’m dying to see the concept of the 797.”
    1-2 conceptual illustrations hv been released by Boeing(and obviously can be googled) since the Paris show last yr.

    • True, United will most probably not buy any -200, but other still may.

      797 concept: I don’t mean PowerPoint or paper planes, but the Concept or maybe better Draft or 3D-model Boeing will present to their customers, including engine and prices.

      • I often eluded to an A330-200″NCW” (New Cabin and Wing of the NEO) using CEO’s.

        It will most likely require engine pylon modifications to the NEO’s wing (?) and certification but could be an option for airlines such as LEVEL, EuroWings, and airlines from the East.

      • @Gundolf:
        “United will most probably not buy any -200 but other still may.”
        If so, why dragged a UA presentation slide re 767 replacement options into your comment?

        I can’t see how ‘parking’ the 332 nex to a UA slide which said nothing about 332 will make your argument stronger about its sales prospects…..

        • @FLX: I wasn’t developing an argument about sales prospects, just trying to establish the logic that the A330 is the only plane in production that is able to take over from the 767 without limitations in range, freight or PAX count. For all I know the 787-8 is not for sale any more and the 797 not yet.

          In my business thinking “near term” means the next 1-2 years, max 3. The 797 wont be available then, so I actually see the UAL presentation as flawed, even with the (?).

          • @Gundolf:
            ” just trying to establish the logic that the A330 is the only plane in production that is able to take over from the 767 without…”
            Which is a flawed argument fm start due to 787.

            Pick any 330 variant and there’s always an equivalent sized 787 variant equally good or bad as that 330 variant for replacing 767.

            “For all I know the 787-8 is not for sale any more..”
            Then U may wish to know more. Both BA and JL placed top-up orders for 788 within the past 12mths. Think about it for a moment – both could hv ordered the more attractive 789 instead but didn’t.

            Total quantity for these new 788 orders are tiny in the grand scheme of things but still far better than zero which has been the sales result of 338 for the past 3yrs.

            “In my business thinking “near term” means the next 1-2 years, max 3”
            Then your “business thinking” does not align at all with the norm of heavy industry especially ultra complex+intensively regulated ones like aerospace.

            Your timeline possibly align closer with the smartphone/tablet industry or consumer electronics in general. e.g. U don’t need a license fm an industry regulator just to build+test a Samsung prototype but U do for an Airbus prototype.

            “I actually see the UAL presentation as flawed,”
            Classic armchair CEO style comment.

            Of course and as usual, most folks here can build a far more sensible 767 fleet replacement plan(preferably with many Airbus types and no Boeing types) presentation for UAL than those mgmt professionals actually employed by and make a living @ UAL…..

          • FLX I know this is kindergarten, fairy tale stuff, but one of AB’s biggest mistakes could have been not developing the 350-800?

            If they did that they could have developed an 332/3X along the lines of the 777X with smaller CAT-D wing and respective ranges of ~6000Nm and 5000Nm with 250/290 seats and be in the upper end of the “NMA Game”.

            End of the day as long as airlines have choices to select aircraft suitable for their needs.

          • @FLX: I’m in fact running a company, and not from an armchair. I’ve also been consulting companies for many years on strategic questions, often about product line development in tough competition situations.

            Near-term-replacement: The 767 from UAL are really quite old now and some will need to be replaced over the next couple years. In this context near term really means this, and not near-term-product-development, which in fact would mean something like 5-7 years.

            We will see if Boeing accepts any new (large) orders for the 787-8. UAL alone has 35 x 767 that need to be replaced. I don’t think so.

            I’m a strong advocate for all-CFRP planes, maybe because that’s what my company is producing (CFRP-products) and I certainly hope that the 797 will be a really clever plane. If they can figure it out really nice I’m sure airlines will be ready to keep their 767’s flying or use any other possible stopgap to hold out until they can have it.

          • Hi Gundolf, seems you the right guy for this question.

            How long before TPC (Thermoplastic Composites- I think) becomes a reality for aircraft such as an 320 replacement?

          • @Anton: Thermoplastics as well as RTM (dry woven fibers, resin injected) are not yet ready to be applied to really big parts like panels of barrels for passenger planes, which is why everybody sticks to prepregs up to now. But in theory both technologies may become feasible given a big enough R&D budget and the will to invest in a new production facility. It will also take several years to smooth out the production so you can produce large series efficiently.

            The 797 is probably just the right plane to apply such a new technology, which is one reason why I’m really curious to it’s presentation.

          • Thanks Gundolf. Guess it will in the short-medium term have applications such as in large drones, etc.

  15. The niche of the 330NEO’s might just be with an A330-1000 that’s mentioned now and then. A stretch of an aircraft generally the more efficient, this will make optimum use of the 330’s relatively heavy structure and wing.

    With the NMA/MoM discussions highlighting requirements for shorter range twin aisle aircraft this might just be aircraft that could “rescue” the 330NEO and also compete with the 78J?

    1)10/11 panel (~6m) stretch of 339, ~70m long,
    2)~340 pax, significant increase in LD3 capacity,
    3) OEW <130T,
    4) MTOW 248T,
    5) 76 Klb T7000's,
    6) A340-like 3rd rear bogey (MLW+)?
    7) ~5500Nm range,

    Transatlantic, Inter Asia, Far East and China, ME to Europe and Asia/China/Far East/Africa (London to Delhi 3700 Nm, Hong Kong to Tokyo 1600Nm, Doha to Berlin 2400Nm, examples). Hub-hub orientated that could become more important in the event of higher fuel prices.

    Airlines such as Cathy, Turkish, Qatar might just have a hard look at such an aircraft.

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