Pontifications: Busting the XWB brand; and more about the Boeing-IAG deal

  • Dissecting the British Airways-Boeing MAX deal, part 2

By Scott Hamilton

July 1, 2019, © Leeham News: During the Airbus Innovation Days, and in other forums, officials promoted the idea of a 10-abreast coach-class in the A350 XWB.

Compared with the 10-abreast Boeing 777X, officials said the economics of the A350-1000 are unbeatable (along with other claims).

Boeing claims the 777-9 is 25% more economical on a per-seat basis than the A350-1000.

This is an unfair comparison, of course, because the -9 seats about 40 more passengers than the -1000 at nine abreast. Hence, the push for a 10-abreast A350.

All well and good, except a 10-abreast A350 totally busts the XWB brand built up so carefully since it was launched some 10 years ago.

Xtra Wide Body no more

Simply put, a 10-abreast A350 kills the claim of an Xtra Wide Body airplane.

Airbus always promoted the A350 with 18-inch wide coach seats and a wider aisle than on the 777 and 787. These have seats that are roughly 17.2 inches wide, the same as a Boeing 737.

A 10-abreast A350 will have 16.4 inch wide seats and narrower aisles.

This is narrower than the Embraer ERJ-145 seat (17 inches) or the Bombardier CRJ-900 (16.85-17.17 inches) of American Airlines. It’s narrower than the 17 inches of a Q400 or ATR-72.

Airbus recognizes the issue and wants to figure a way to get the seat to almost 17 inches. But this is still inferior to a regional jet and turboprops.

I find a CRJ (or ERJ) to be uncomfortable on 90 minute flights (or, the Q400 from Portland to Seattle, a block time of 50 minutes).

I can’t imagine being a coach passenger in a 16.4 inch, or even an “almost 17 inch” coach seat for 10-15 hours.

British Airways (IAG) 777X, MAX

British Airways signed an order for 42 Boeing 777Xs Feb. 28.

On the first day of the Paris Air Show, Boeing Global Services inked a deal with BA’s parent, International Airlines Group, to provide services for Boeing and Airbus A320s.

On the second day of the Paris Air Show, IAG signed a Letter of Intent for 200 737 MAXes. This came as a complete surprise to Airbus, which did not get invited to respond to a Request for Proposals, suggesting there was none.

LNA previously outlined what might be involved, and for how much, the IAG MAX LOI evolved and includes.

A Wall Street analyst reminded me of one other possible angle: the 777X deal. He speculated that the MAX LOI may have been negotiated as part of the X order.

It’s possible, but that was months ago.

I’m thinking it more likely Boeing may have repriced the Xs as part of the negotiations for the LOI, providing an added incentive.

It’s also likely Boeing repriced the remaining 12 787s British Air has on order.

Boeing sorely needed a vote of confidence in the MAX. What better time to achieve this than at the Paris Air Show?

At the time of the X order, the Ethiopian Airlines MAX had not gone down—that happened on March 10, 10 days after the X deal.

I think Boeing offered IAG a deal not only on the MAXes, but IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh—being no fool—linked the X and the 787s to the MAX, not the other way around.

But this is just speculation. I don’t know anything about the deal. What I do know is how some past deals have been structured, so this is a logical, possible scenario.

118 Comments on “Pontifications: Busting the XWB brand; and more about the Boeing-IAG deal

  1. Some airlines, incl. Air Caraibes and FrenchBee already fly the A350 with a ten-abreast configuration. I’ve experienced it myself on a 9 hour ORY-FDF flight, and the only justification for it are rather low fares. So in my view, 10-abreast A350s would only be acceptable for certain market segments – just like 9-abreast A330s of Air Asia, Cebu Pacific etc.

    • I think that Airbus should ignore the 777-9’s supposedly good economics, and stick with 9 across. Absolutely nobody likes a 10 across 777. If even a 75 year old 5 foot tall grandmother with a wallet tigher than a parson’s knot (my own dear mother) will fork out for a comfier seat rather than suffer a 10-across 777, then you know that a significant portion of the flying public would quite happily take the ride on the 9-across A350.

    • Possibly on 4 hour flights in SE Asia where the passenger is often smaller. For instance Cebu will be running its A330 between Manilla and Hong Kong. I’ve seen proposals for service trolleys that run on a captive monorail and are narrow enough to get past. These would serve up compact carboard boxed hot or cold meals that are spring loaded to pop up. It’s very basic meal service but such ideas could allow more comfortable 10 abreast seating by making it possible to make the aisle a little narrower. Is anyone in Europe going to buy these aircraft?

    • Oh oh….but the Airbus boosters will certainly chime in here about how, despite all their yapping about the “18in seat and wide cabin in the A350 is way ahead of that torture chamber 17.5 in seat in the 9 abreast 787″, that somehow, in some strange way, Airbus is able to defy physics and that a 10-abreast 16.4” seat in an A350-1000 is “just fine” and perfectly acceptable.

      Can’t wait to see the mental logic leaps of that….which I know are coming.

  2. I agree that a 10-abreast A350 is something that Airbus should not actively be promoting…it sounds like a horrendous prospect. That having been said, Airlines don’t seem to be that interested in Economy passenger comfort: they know very well that passengers are uncomfortable in cramped 3-3-3 B787s, but they still have no qualms about configuring them that way. On the other hand, Airbus sees budget airlines willing to have 3-4-3 seats in an A330 (even narrower than an A350), so — compared to that — a 3-4-3 A350 is relatively roomy.
    They might have some limited regional success with this approach, such as in southeast Asia (where people tend to be somewhat smaller than the average Caucasian).
    I don’t know if Airbus needs to be THAT worried about the 777X, whose order figures aren’t exactly stellar, and which now has GE9x engine problems also. The lion’s share of orders comes from the ME3, all of whom are shaky at the moment; if you take away the ME3 orders, you get an order book similar to that of the A330 NEO. Boeing are considering deferring introduction of the 777-8, because of its paltry (53) order figures.

    • 3-4-3 on a A330 is not possible, 3-3-3 instead of 2-4-2 is bad enough 😉

    • Standard A330 seating is 2-4-2 and the packed seating is 3-3-3. Seat width would be less than 15 inch at 3-4-3.

    • I’m not so sure airlines totally ignore economy comfort. And some of them are responding to customer feedback on the 9-across 787 (which definitely doesn’t live up to the hype). JAL have now got 9-across A350s in service now, apparently because it’s a very comfortable 9-across where their 787s aren’t. It’s a good differentiator for their service in comparison to the competition. Expect ANA to follow suit.

      Also the A380 operators, especially Emirates, have really maxed out the comfort potential of that aircraft. They’ve been doing it long enough that it’s become expected, normal. Taking a backward step in comfort is going to have an impact on sales.

      There’s also the point that A350 is flying (and gaining a reputation for comfort, just like the A380), whilst 777X is still on the ground and might – if the fallout from the MAX certification continues to spread – have real difficulties getting into service. With the ME3 perhaps hesitating over their orders for it, any certification woes may just be the thing that leads them to cancel orders. If so, would Boeing build it anyway?

  3. I think 10 abreast A350 is a niche market as per Cebu.

    I’m more interested in Qantas. What are Boeing and Airbus going to do to make their airplanes do 10,000nm with a significant payload?

    With regard to IAG, it was clear they got the 777X very, very cheap. Airbus couldn’t even sell secondhand A380s, even though IAG made clear they wanted them. Also seat counts offers some of the story. I think it’s 325 seats for the 777X and 335 seats for their A350-1000s.

    If IAG have got even further reductions from Boeing, then business is business. The issue for Boeing is Emirates and others. Emirates are renegotiating their 777Xs. Others will follow. The same is/will happen to the 787.

    As it stands, Boeing make nothing out of their widebodies. That’s now becoming less than nothing. With their cash cow – the 737 – grounded, what next!

    For IAG, why not. Business is business!

  4. Speaking of the -1000 xwb (and even the -900), is there a consensus as to why it’s so slow selling? It would appear to a stellar performer, but seems to lag behind the 787/777 sales.

    No slots?

    With regard to 10-abreast on the a350, I’m not a fan, but I do think a ‘basic/dense economy’ cabin will be a thing of the future – in essence a U/LCC cabin at the rear of network carriers aircraft – behind a regular economy section – behind a premium economy section – behind biz, where you get what you pay for (knowingly), service in that cabin can easier to manage (Buy-on-board, no blankets, no headphones, IFE at a price etc.).

    I’m still awaiting the arrival of all these award winning staggered economy seats to enable better use of space while maintaining seat and aisle widths. So much carving of sidewalls, and reducing arm rests when newer style seat configurations/orientations are still absent. Is it a ‘too risky’ issue, regulations issue?

    • The introduction into service of the B777 was mid 1995, the introduction into service of the B787 was late 2011 , the introduction into service of the A350 was early 2015, the introduction into service of the A330-900(neo) was late 2018. Essentially the B787 is running 4 years ahead of the A350 and 7 years of the A330neo. Early B787 were overweight and its said that it performed no better than an A330ceo and Airbus still sold plenty of ceo. A350 orders are at 893 versus 1440 for the B787. Given the B787 4 year extra time in sales that’s not unexpected. A330neo sales are at 234 but I think about 32 were added at the Paris airshow by Virgin, Delta and Cebu.

    • Sherlock,

      We already see some airlines with a range of economy/coach seating.
      Virgin Atlantic for example already have Economy Light, Economy Classic, and Economy Delight.

      https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/on-the-flight/cabin-and-seats/economy-cabin-and-seats.html

      So I am sure at some point we’ll see aircraft with a 3-4-3 section at the back of the aircraft with a 3-3-3 just ahead, possibly with some extra legroom on a further 3-3-3 section moving towards the nose of the aircraft.

  5. The Boeing Global Services deal is the real eye opener, it would make sense if they took over all IAG maintenance facilities, and instead of ‘paying’ a large sum for that privledge , they offered humoungous discounts on new Boeing planes. That’s where the no other bids arrangement occurred it wasn’t really a deal to buy new planes, but a deal to buy out the maintenance facilities

    Remember Boeing is reputed to have existing ‘wont be beaten’ pricing deals with other airlines. This sort of services contract deal gets around that

    • The complete service approach – outsourcing – has happened in other industries, but has largely failed to deliver. The computer services industry being a prime example.

      IAG need to be careful. It’s a blue chip company. It’s brand is important for it represents a quality of service

      • Well, they used to be a blue chip company, but not anymore, at least not in my experience.

        Given the choice between Lufthansa (when they’re not striking), Emirates, Singapore, Qantas, ANA, JAL, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, BA are always very last on my list these days. I finally stopped using BA after a delayed flight to Japan on a very tatty 777 that was appallingly dirty. If they can’t be bothered to look after their own aircraft, why should I let them look after me?

        For me, them buying 777X and MAX has consigned them to the don’t-even-look category, even though they’ve not actually got those aircraft yet.

        • Wow I am shocked, you are so very even handed in your views, no crusade against Boeing at all!

          • I agree, even though I am firmly in the A camp as well.

            You should probably always take it with a grain of salt when reading from people who exhibit constantly partisan opinions. Unless you wish to remain in your echo chamber…

          • Will Huang, Bernardo

            A great American president said: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”

            Nobody is enjoying it. The pressure is necessary. They need to own up, man up.

            According to FlightGlobal, Southwest are now saying end of October, at best

    • BA did it before when they launched the GE90 engine and GE took over their engine shop. Now Boeing want to do the same with components and aircraft heavy maintenance it sounds like (so IAG will be like Norwegian)

      • Norwegian will be the next brand in IAG stable……. Id say within 18 months

        • Yes, this summer will be decisive for Norwegian as they need a pile of cash to survive this Winter. They can always issue $1trillion in shares for the Norwegian oil fund to pick up and buy time (not being part of EU helps…) to show constant profitability like IAG..

        • The world is ruled by those with long lines of credit to a chartered bank that borrows at the reserve rate. If those guys trust you they can give you billions.

        • MAXgate hit hard Norwegian, but if you buy cheap the cheapest you get cheap the cheapest – it’s a bad long time strategy.

          Southwest, Ryanair, Norwegian – didn’t they saw how the things have were going in Boeing during 787 development? Didn’t they though it over that – from one hand Boeing claimed that they “didn’t want to make a new generation of 737” , then suddenly changed to “of course will make MAX” , and from the other hand they delivered it to a market in “a half of normal time” (these are a little simplifications but describes well circumstances) – something wrong is going on?

          Imho, with 787 model, Boeing started to produce poorly/cheaply made aircrafts, loose his brand. Maybe just in a few years A will be first, C second anb B third, close to S ? They just don’t want to put the money on the table witch is needed to develop an aircraft. They estimated that thanks to their “genius plan” 787 development will only cost 5 bln $, a complete new plane, it’s ridiculous & arrogant.

  6. If I was flying economy/coach and the choice was between flying in an ‘almost 17 inch’ seat long haul or not flying at all, it would be not flying every time.

    I find it insane and business incompetent that any airline serving markets where passengers are bigger could even contemplate doing this.

  7. Don’t focus to much on seatwidth (=seatpan, seatcusion) in isolation. Manufacturers have been making the armrests narrower, from the 2 inch it used to be..

    Also making aisles narrower, really degrades comfort for aisle passengers, they get bumped all the time, specially by troleys & at night.

    If you introduce .5 inch armrest maybe you can offer “18 inch seatwidth”on a 777 or A350 10 abreast, but it is marketing nonsense. Your shoulders and your neighbour don’t shrink.

    A better measure is to have cabin width at shoulder height, divided by the number of seats. Other measurements are a rewarding toolbox for marketing perception management.

    10 Abreast on a A350 or 777 is real bad in reality. The ones promoting seatwidth in isolation are complicit /or wide-eyed at best.

  8. Boeing-IAG overdone the 200 MAX LoI, so this LoI doesn’t seem serious. If they were announced 50 units, or even 100 units, that would be plausible, but 200 MAX in a few years stretch from now? It simply doesn’t compute even in a whole IAG fleet, which is not so old, and will not grow so much in a few years span, and they even didn’t ask Airbus for counteroffer. Boeing desperately needed a publicity bomb to confront Airbus, and they bought it from AIG, but imho it blew up near theirs feet, they overcooked it so that it’s unbelievable.

    From other hand it’s quite “funny” to hear W. Walsh saying that they don’t want to rely on one airplane manufacturer only, when they are moving towards exactly this solution with Boeing – 200s 737 MAX, and 787s and 777s, and the most important exclusive MRO partnership with Boeing.

  9. Scott, have you or Bjorn analysed the reality of the “Boeing claims the 777-9 is 25% more economical on a per-seat basis than the A350-1000.” statement ?

    As the 777-9 appears to be a great deal heavier than the A350-1000, does the lower weight of the AB model negate to any degree the 40 extra passengers of the 777-9 ?

    I.e. should AB even be considering a 10 abreast A350 ? Do they really need to consider this option ?

    I would love to see an independent real-world apples to apples comparison.

    • An~4.5m stretched A350-1000 (+25-40 seats) with a range of 7.0-7.5K-Nm and Ultrafans will compete with the 777-9.

      The 35K competes directly with the 777-8.

      • I understand with the A380 now history, AB are far more likely to look at a stretch of the A350 when they do the NEO.

        I’m just interested in a real comparison between 777-9, and 35K both fully loaded with pax over a similar range. The price difference, lower weight, and lower thrust engines all seem to point to the fact that the 35K would offer very good economics.

        I can’t see how BA can claim 25% more economical on a per-seat basis, so would like to see an objective comparison.

        • Boeing can claim anything they’d like. They could also, claim, for example, that MCAS 1.0 was a perfectly safe design. Oh wait, they still do claim that, they’re just trying to make an already safe design even safer.

          Is it true? Of course not.

        • JakDak

          An overly simplified way of comparison is by looking at the engine’s thrust.
          The A350-1000 engine thrust is 97 klbf and the B777-9 is 105 klbf. GE claimed that the GE9X engine has 5% better TSFC compared to the Trent XWB. If you do the math, you will find that the B777-9 still have a slightly higher fuel consumption per trip compared to the A350-1000. Divide that by their respective capacities and you’ll find that B777-9 will indeed have close to 10% better economics per seat as claimed by Boeing’s earlier presentations.

          Now plug in the derated figure of 93 klbf and you will find that the new figure is roughly 22%, which is much closer but still shy of the 25% as claimed. However this is also not an apple to apple comparison as the derated B777-9 will have a lower MTOW, range & payload compared to the default configuration. Likewise if Boeing can derate their aircraft, Airbus also have the options to derate theirs too.

          • Oh dear. The 777-9 carries 12% more passengers than the AB350-1000 and the dry weight is 16% more. So a claim of derating the engine to get lower is a tad facetious.

          • Normally lower thrust and everything else the same just means a longer runway for takeoff, but the bigger wing negates that for the 777X.
            Dont worry too much about exact ratios of thrust to empty weight etc at this level

        • Here’s a wild option Airbus might also pursue; they might do a fattened A350 (call it something else, perhaps A360?).

          Their carbon fibre manufacturing process doesn’t need large machines like Boeing does. Airbus make CF panels and then assemble them into fuselage barrals. That means that Airbus can fairly easily swap over to a new design without having to invest large sums in new plant.

          So I think that’s a real option. A fatter A350, the same in all other regards, ought to be fairly easy to design, certify and build at a low risk. These days the bulk of certification is surely all systems, with the flight characteristics having been easily sorted out in the wind tunnel and CFD model beforehand.

          So if all those systems are, essentially, unchanged, how hard can it be? Was not the A350 programme as sweet as it was because a lot of the systems were carried over from A380?

          Is that totally crazy?

          • Given that Boeing still has the same fuselage for the 737 it seems it is a VERY BIG deal to change the fuselage. I got the impression, before you want to change the fuselage, you can adjust anything else. Even getting a new wing (747-8, 777X) is preferred over a tiny change on the fuselage.

          • Matthew,

            A fatter A350 is unnecessary, if you follow AP_Robert link on the 1st July, you’ll see it’s a little more complicated, but actually quite easy for AB to resolve.

            Either discount the A350 more aggressively, or stretch it to add 40 to 45 more pax. Stretching would be relatively easy to do, and to certify.

            AB may well do it, it’s just a matter of the size of the market for aircraft carrying north of 400 pax. Does it make sense commercially ? Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.

            It appears that AB is already planning a NEO, if they got the timing right, a stretch would provide a very competitive aircraft.

        • It’s wild optimism that the 777X is 25% better than the A350. It’s now been stated that the 319 tonne MTOW will do 8700 nm. That is the same as the 777-8 (8690) and 14.6% further than the 777-9. (7525 nm) In each case the MTOW weight is 32.5 tonnes less. The numbers are Wiki numbers.

          Unfortunately we don’t know the fuel load for the 777X. It’s 165000 litres for the A350-1000, the maximum fuel load available. Airbus may increase this to meet the needs of Qantas

          The maximum fuel load for the 777X is 198000 litres (Wiki). Neither version of the 777X can carry that with a full load of passengers. So we don’t know the fuel load for the ranges. But I can’t see it being less than 165000 litres with an MTOW 32.5 tonnes greater than the A350-1000

          Simply doesn’t work for me

    • Airbus have proved that the A350 is between 25-30% better than the 777 Classic.

      It is some statement to suggest that the 777X is a further 25% better. That’s means the 777X is 55+% better than the 777 Classic

      • Not at all for the math.
        In case of an A350 burns 0.7 times amount of fuel per seat or whatever than a 777 and 777X burns 0.75 compared A350, 777X burns 0.525 times compared to 777 or 47,5 %.

        50% better and the next generation again 50% better won’t result in no fuel burn.

        • Say 777-300, A350-1000 and 777-8 with same number of passengers.

          A 777-300 can fly 1000 nm. The A350-1000 is 25% better, that’s 1250 nm. The 7778 is 25% better, that’s 1562.5 nm

    • We have analyzed, which for now remains within our company. However, the obvious fallacy in Boeing’s argument is the 777-9 seats nominally 425 pax to the A350-1000 365 pax. Of course it will be more economical on a per-seat basis. But clearly the argument is nonsense since the two airplanes are not comparable.
      The -1000 puts is to an apples-to-apples basis and the -1000 is more economical because it is lighter.

      • Thank you Scott.

        I can see an argument for a 777-9 when you have to replace 747 or 380s purely because there are routes that require a large amount of pax per plane due to slot constraints, but other than that I would expect the more economical aircraft to gain in the long run.

        • I think if you took your pampered economy passengers off A380s and crammed them into 777x at 10 across, you’ll find that you’ve got far fewer passengers, and not just because there’s fewer seats…

    • There was one on this site quite some time ago.
      “paper 779X” vs “A3510 before the wing twist change” afair.
      A 7779X ~~1% advantage was shown.

      • Now that AB is no longer going to make the A380, it looks like if they would just stretch the A350 to add 40 pax or so, and give BA like discounts, the 777-X would have really serious competition.

        Add a NEO option to an A350XWB-1100 (40 pax stretch), and there would be serious problems for BA with the 777-X. They migh force BA into doing the 777-10

  10. There are some new developments in staggered seating concepts that seems to have been overlooked by both Scott Hamilton and commenters alike. 😉

    The cabin width of the A350 is 221 inches — leaving 220 inches for seats and aisles. The new staggered and side-slip seats by Molon Labe Seating increases the width of the centre seat, in a six and nine abreast configuration, by 3 inches.

    The width of the A350 cabin is 221 inches –leaving 220 inches for seats and aisles. Thus, an increase in the width to 21 inches on the centre seat in a 9 abreast configuration in the economy class on the A350, would seem to indicate that it would be possible to put 10 abreast economy seats on the A350 with 17 inch wide seat-bottoms, 2 inch wide armrests and two 16.5 wide aisles. In contrast, the current 777 at 10 abreast has ten 17 inch wide seat bottoms, 2 inch wide armrests and 17 inch wide aisles (i.e. total width of 230 inches on the 777NG and 234 inches on the 777X). Hence, the “effective” cabin width of the A350 — when using the the new staggered and side-slip seats by Molon Labe Seating — would only be one inch less than the current 777NG.

    Perhaps, some modifications to the side wall on the A350 would enable a slight increase in width by a couple of inches, which would make 10 abreast A350s at least as “comfortable” as the current 777NG at 10 abreast — using conventional seating.

    https://www.airlineseats.biz/

    https://livefromalounge.boardingarea.com/2019/02/19/qatar-airways-staggered-economy-seats-a321neos/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=257&v=p6PJkemF4H8

    https://www.airlineseats.biz/for-passengers

    https://www.airlineseats.biz/s2-long-haul-economy

    • molon labe? is that actually the name of the business? they named their business after the motto of the Alt-Right Gun Nut crowd?

      crazy world we live in.

      • Perhaps it’s a reference to Leonidas and the Spartans

        • it literally means “come and take take them”

          yes, it was supposedly said by leonidas, but it has been the motto of the alt-right (aka white racists in america) and gun nuts for decades.

          what “come and take them” has to do with making airline seats is beyond me.

          also I’m not sure I would want my airline seat brand synonymous with “spartan” i.e. cheap/cramped….

          • Spartan:

            Cut all the nonsense out and a flexible core with a hard edge.

            Or in today’s parlance , a lean mean fighting machine.

    • A very interesting concept….more $$ for the middle seat, no doubt. it is time for the government’s to clamp down on the cramming of the airline’s customers into their a/c.

    • Not new, Thomson promoted it many years ago. I remember a test 20 ars ago.You need more pitch to get in/ out, killing the advantage..

  11. I think IAG decision to sign a LOI was a very politcal one.

    Boeing are really in the corner at this stage and BA wants a competitive marketplace to buy their aircraft longer term. Boeing being kicked around the place at le Bourget wouldn’t help.

    No discounts on NEO’s or A350s at this stage. BA probably send in RFQ for 60+40 A321NEO’s and a got an offer they would refuse in a second, if they had a good alternative. They are late to the table & now grumpy .. like on the A380.

  12. I’ve not heard of Boeing offering their Component Services Program outside the 737 and 777 before. Is BA the first customer to get this? Could this be the start of an A320 CSP effort in general from Boeing? How does the CSP compare with any offering from Airbus or a 3rd party?

  13. JakDak

    An overly simplified way of comparison is by looking at the engine’s thrust.
    The A350-1000 engine thrust is 97 klbf and the B777-9 is 105 klbf. GE claimed that the GE9X engine has 5% better TSFC compared to the Trent XWB. If you do the math, you will find that the B777-9 still have a slightly higher fuel consumption per trip compared to the A350-1000. Divide that by their respective capacities and you’ll find that B777-9 will indeed have close to 10% better economics per seat as claimed by Boeing’s earlier presentations.

    Now plug in the derated figure of 93 klbf and you will find that the new figure is roughly 22%, which is much closer but still shy of the 25% as claimed. However this is also not an apple to apple comparison as the derated B777-9 will have a lower MTOW, range & payload compared to the default configuration. Likewise if Boeing can derate their aircraft, Airbus also have the options to derate theirs too.

  14. Mr Phillip why will a plane that is 85% of 777x have more seat.

  15. OV-99 how are you going to justify your numbers when 220-234 is 14” difference.

  16. And all of the extra weight of the 777X has no impact? I do not understand .

  17. There’s nothing to justify as it’s self-explanatory — that is, if you’d bothered to look at the links.

    Now you do the maths.

    At 9 abreast the A350 can provide for — using this new seating concept — a 3 inch wider middle seat at 9 abreast (i.e. 21 inches wide middle seat bottoms and 18 inch wide window and aisle seat bottoms). *

    At 10 abreast the A350 can provide for — using this new seating concept — either 6 seats with a seat bottom width of 16 inches and 4 seats with a seat bottom width of 18.5 inches, or 10 seats with seat bottom widths of 17 inches — i.e. ((6×16)+(4×18.5)) = 10 x 17.*

    * 2 inch wide armrests and 17 inch wide aisles in all configurations.

    Of course, the 777X at 10 abreast would obviously become significantly more comfortable in economy than the A350, if configured using this new seating concept in economy. However, that’s not really the issue here.

    The point is that the A350 can be brought up to the current economy class standard of the current 777 at 10 abreast by using this new concept of staggered economy class seats.

    BTW, Tim Clark has talked about introducing a “budget economy class”. It would appear as if the A350 at 10 abreast, using these staggered seats would be able to match the requirements for a relatively comfortable “budget” economy class. Likewise, the A350 at 9 abreast — with 21 inch wide middle seat bottoms — would offer an improved “regular” economy class configuration by taking full advantage of this new staggered seating concept.

    • That was Tim Clark talking about ‘budget economy’ as just a service and baggage differential .
      Its used by other long haul carriers to have the search engines come up with lowest fare – ie no meal, only carry on, no entertainment. Once they go to book on the airline website thats when they offer normal economy features – for extra charge.

      • @Dukeofurl

        Not really.

        Tim Clark talked about “slicing” economy class into three or four sections, all with different amenities and prices.

        Thus, an 80 metre long, UltaFan-powered A350-2000 would enable Emirates to offer a premium economy section at 8 abreast, a regular economy section at 9 abreast and a budget economy section at 10 abreast — i.e. by using the latest staggered economy seat designs.

        Clark acknowledged Emirates is generally considered a premium carrier, but said it faces the same issues as many others. Often, travelers go to a search engine, choose their origin and destination, and look for the lowest base fares. “The gaming going on at the moment in these booking engines is affecting what we do,” Clark said.

        Emirates recently started addressing the issue by adding fees on cheap fares, including a new charge implemented last year for advance seat assignments. And on Wednesday, Clark said Emirates could start selling fares that do not include free checked bags.

        But Emirates is thinking bigger, Clark said, asking how it can give frugal customers prices they demand and still make money. One option, Clark said, is to slice economy class into three or four sections, all with different amenities and prices. Now, Emirates has one economy class section — a one-size-fits-all product.

        Perhaps, Clark said, Emirates will have tiers like “economy plus,” — a version of premium economy — followed by “normal economy,” followed by “budget economy.”

        Customers in budget economy probably would still get free meals, Clark said, but might pay for other extras, including luggage and advance seat assignments. A budget customer seeking a better experience — or one who brought more luggage than expected — might trade up to “normal economy” before the flight, he said.

        “I’ve got to find sections in the airplane, which we could almost curtain off, that have their own restrooms and galleys unique for the product,” Clark said. “And they’ll have a set of crew dealing with them.”

        Clark said budget economy, if implemented, likely would have similar seat pitch to economy class today, because even thrifty passengers value legroom. But he said width is less important to frugal customers, and noted it’s now possible to squeeze in an 11th seat per row on new A380s.

        “If you do go for a budget, you want to create the appearance of sameness, even though it’s not,” Clark said. “The trick is to get the seat design right. You get the ergonomics right, and make it slightly smaller and nobody notices the difference.”

        The budget product, he said, might help Emirates attract customers who do not fly it because it might be slightly more expensive than the competition. He said he suspects they would prefer a budget version of Emirates over some other airlines.

        https://skift.com/2017/09/08/emirates-considers-adding-a-budget-economy-section-with-extra-narrow-seats-for-frugal-customers/

        • I saw that link, and paraphrased it.
          Nothing about an A350 with 10 across seating. ….you made that up

          • We get it, Clark said, Clark said ….

          • @Dukeofurl

            Well, you didn’t bother to quote Clark fully — i.e. slimmer seats in a possible budget economy layout at 11 abreast on the A380, than the regular economy class at 10 abreast.

            BTW, an Emirates fleet of A350-2000 –powered by UltraFan engines — is IMJ a distinct possibility post 2025. Thus, nothing was “made up”. What I indicated was just that an A350-2000 would seem to suit Emirates.

            Clark said budget economy, if implemented, likely would have similar seat pitch to economy class today, because even thrifty passengers value legroom. But he said width is less important to frugal customers, and noted it’s now possible to squeeze in an 11th seat per row on new A380s.

            “If you do go for a budget, you want to create the appearance of sameness, even though it’s not,” Clark said. “The trick is to get the seat design right. You get the ergonomics right, and make it slightly smaller and nobody notices the difference.”

    • Addendum

      This comment (of mine) was in response to the posting by @bilbo upthread.

  18. Does “branding” globally really carry the overbearing weight it is assigned in US culture?
    Around here people buy products with desired properties not “brands”.

    Smart and A-Class didn’t bust the Mercedes brand. It opened a new segment ( for Mercedes ). but using shitty electronics had quite the impact over the full product range. apparently fixed now.

    • Should watch the Clarkson version of Top Gear. They do like giving Merc a good kicking because of quality!

  19. “I’m thinking it more likely Boeing may have repriced the Xs as part of the negotiations for the LOI, providing an added incentive.
    It’s also likely Boeing repriced the remaining 12 787s British Air has on order.”

    This approach solves a few problems with just giving a big discount on the MAX order. IAG gets the discount it wants but because some of the discount is transferred to other previously ordered aircraft:

    1. The price of the MAX can stay above the domestic pricing arranged with US airlines. That weakens any accusation of dumping.
    2. The price of the MAX can stay above any MFN pricing Boeing may have with US airlines and means they will not have to cut a check to those airlines.

  20. Whadya expect from murketing types?
    😉

    (I’ve worked with some pros, most are muddlers in the middle, some of those stray into the bottom sleaze because they don’t understand principles.

  21. I’m not so sure if IAG is a good example, as Brexit is throwing it’s shades and politics always play a role in aviation.

    While I do see the B779 makes a lot of sense when you have LHR as your hub and a B744 fleet close to retirement, I don’t see any sense in the Max order, with all IAG airlines on Airbus and already some Neos in fleet.
    Welsh and his crew are playing it hard.
    The B777x order is 18 fix and 24 options.
    They have 18 A35K on order.
    34 B744 are leaving.
    You can bet BA / IAG is taking a close look at the numbers, and then will decide if the add more A350 or B777x.
    The B787 is the workhorse at BA now, I’c curious what will happen with the A330 sucessor at Iberia and Aer Lingus – this should be A330neo vs. more A359 vs. B787.

    For the Max order, it’s just a LOI, not a fix order.
    Discount is rumored south of 65%, linked up with other benefits.
    Operation wise it doesn’t make any sense – single fleet Airbus, some Neos already in fleet and LCC model, so adding another type just increases complexity without gain.
    Boeing needed a sign and a big name as trust booster for the Max, IAG was one of the few big players not yet ordered their new generation of SA fleet –
    you can bet what a decent situation it was for Welsh to bargain.

    Still it’s a LOI and not yet an order. I see chances Welsh asking Airbus to match, knowing what a weired situation it would be to run LCC like Vueling with A320, A321neo and B737max.

    • Hello Sash,

      Re: ” ..single fleet Airbus, some Neos already in fleet and LCC model, so adding another type just increases complexity without gain.”

      According to the excerpt below from the 6-26-19 FlightGlobal article at the link after the excerpt, Willie Walsh has said that a major reason for IAG’s MAX deal was to AVOID having a single type short haul fleet, which in his view was “unhealthy”.

      “IAG’s letter of intent to take 200 Boeing 737 Max jets will help prevent it from becoming a captive customer of Airbus’s when it comes to the short-haul fleet, in the view of chief executive Willie Walsh.

      During a webcasted panel session at the ACI Europe annual congress in the Cypriot city of Limassol on 26 June, Walsh noted that there had been “concern” within the airline group for some time that it was becoming too reliant on the European airframer.

      “That’s unhealthy,” says Walsh.”

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/737-max-deal-saves-iag-from-being-airbus-captive-459324/

      Re: “Operation wise it doesn’t make any sense…”

      According to the following excerpt from the same FlightGlobal article that I referenced above, Willie Walsh disagrees, and thinks that IAG is now large enough to efficiently operate two large sub-fleets of shorthaul aircraft.

      “IAG weighed up a Boeing narrowbody order in 2012, but decided not to proceed because of the cost of changing to a different narrowbody type at the time, he recalls.

      Seven years on, he says, IAG has the capacity to operate across networks with different aircraft sub-types, making the Max deal feasible.”

      Perhaps Mr. Walsh sees the Delta or American Airlines fleets as being a better model for IAG than the Southwest or Ryan fleets? For a global airline, unlike Southwest or Ryan, it will never be the case that they can cover their whole network of short, medium, long, and very long routes, with just one aircraft type, so they must be able to manage multiple fleets in order to survive. That may be more expensive than serving a narrower slice of route types with one aircraft type ala Southwest, but isn’t the whole point of a big network carrier that they just don’t serve a narrow slice of routes? There are many cites of 50,000 in the US where you have to drive hundreds of miles to board an LCC flight, but can drive dozens of miles and board a network carrier flight to their hub, and then connect at the hub to hundreds of cities around the globe, near and far.

      The following list of aircraft in service (thus I have excluded MAX’s) are from Wikipedia

      The Southwest narrow body fleet model.
      737-700: 513
      737-800: 207
      Total of above aircraft = 720

      The American narrow body fleet model.
      A319-100: 129
      A320-200: 48
      A321-200: 219
      A321 neo: 5
      737-800: 304
      757-200: 34
      TOTAL of above aircraft = 739.

      The Delta narrow body fleet model.
      A220-100: 18
      A319-100: 57
      A320-200: 62
      A321-200: 83
      717-200: 91
      737-700: 10
      737-800: 77
      737-900ER: 130
      757-200: 111
      757-300: 16
      MD-88: 75
      MD-90: 34
      TOTAL of above aircraft: 764

      • W. Walsh said that to sell the press “justification” of strange & untrustworthy 200 MAX LoI, so I wouldn’t give a credit to these words. In my opinion it was a Boeing – AIG publicity gig – numbers don’t compute and circumstances don’t support it as a real 200 MAX deal.

      • I just realized that I left a few dozen soon to be gone aircraft out of American’s narrow body fleet as follows.

        E190: 20
        MD-82: 1
        MD-83: 27

        Adding these aircraft brings American’s narrow body fleet total to 787 aircraft.

        United Airlines also has a mix of Airbus and Boeing narrow body aircraft. Although it hasn’t ordered new narrow body aircraft from Airbus recently, it has been adding used A319’s and A320’s to its fleet, including 4 A320-200’s on order from Vueling.

        United in service narrow body fleet (thus MAX’s excluded) according to Wikipedia.

        A319-100: 72
        A320-200: 99
        737-700: 40
        737-800: 141
        737-900ER: 148
        757-200: 56
        757-300: 21
        TOTAL aircraft: 577

        • With only 737 MAX’es on order it appears that UAL is heading to be an 737 (MAX) only operator when it comes to SA, could this bite them end of the day?

          AA has a balanced 737M/A321N order book while DAL has no MAX’es on order, believe UAL could however stand front in the row when it comes to “797” orders?

          • Hello Anton,

            Re: “With only 737 MAX’es on order it appears that UAL is heading to be an 737 (MAX) only operator when it comes to SA, could this bite them end of the day?”

            You are right that United has not ordered any new build Airbus narrow body aircraft recently; however, it has recently been active in the market for used A319’s and A320’s. According to the Wikipedia United Airlines fleet page, United has 34 used A319-100’s on order (14 from China Southern and 20 from EasyJet), and 4 used A320-200’s on order (from Vueling). While Delta seems to have lost interest in purchasing used aircraft, United over the last year or two has made several large used aircraft purchases (it also bought 3 used 767’s from Hawaiian).

          • Thanks, AP. In response to your comments below. UAL will be operating ~210 A319/320CEO’s when their “orders” for 2nd hand aircraft are fulfilled. They also operate ~180 B737-700/800’s.

            These will need replacement at some stage, the 737M-8 could possibly do the trick for at least half of these 400 aircraft but there is still a requirement for a substantial number of aircraft with less than the ~175 (?) seats of the MAX8.

            For engine “commonality” (CFM-LEAP) and LD3-45’s the A320N could come into play, especially if UAL gets some 321XLR’s. But I won’t be surprized if we could see a significant order for A220-300’s/(-500?) from them.

          • Hello Anton,

            UAL’s present MAX aircraft in fleet (but not alas, in service), and on order according to Wikipedia.

            Model/Delivered/On Order
            737-8: 0/20
            737-9: 14/21
            737-10: 0/100

            I suspect that UAL will stay with MAX’s for 737-800/8 and larger seating capacities. Seating capacity of United’s current 737-800’s is 166. UAL’s 737-9’s have been being delivered with 179 seats, same as its 737-900ER’s. In contrast, American has been taking delivery of 737-8’s with 172 seats, up from the 160 seats which with its 737-800’s had been being delivered. Sadly, American’s 737-800’s are now being converted to the 172 seat configuration. At Delta, at least so far, the 737-800 is a 160 seat aircraft. United’s A320-200’s have 150 seats.

            Average UAL narrow body fleet ages as of 7-1-19 according to planespotters.net

            757-200 (142 to 169 seats – premium configs): 23.2 years
            A320-200 (150 seats): 21.0 years
            737-700 (126 seats): 20.3 years
            A319-300 (128 seats): 17. 9 years
            757-300 (234 seats): 16.9 years
            737-800 (166 seats): 15.4 years
            737-900ER (179 seats): 7.5 years
            737-9 (179 seats): 0.8 years

            https://www.planespotters.net/airline/United-Airlines

            I would expect that many of United’s older 757-200’s will be replaced by 737-10’s, especially those now doing premium transcon flights. Next up for replacement, if the oldest fleets get replaced first, would be A320-200’s and 737-700’s.

        • The good old apel and oranges comparison…..

          IAG has about 100 SA planes in each its’ airlines.

          The 200 Max are a replacement for almost all SA jets not yet ordered replacement for. You can’t expect lot of growth in IAGs SA fleets, as competition is hard and FS in Europe still burn money on SA in competition with FR, Easyjet, Wizz, Norwegian and Co.
          It’s not the US, hard to imagine, but US companies fell it often.

          Overall, Vueling is the only brand with growth path on SA ahead.
          Thus the order is weired, how many Airlines did switch from A320 to Max?
          When everybody is going the other way round?

      • wow, didn’t realize Delta still had that many DC-9s in service (91 717s, 75 MD-88s and 34 MD-90s, total of 200….)

        gotta believe A220-300/500s are the perfect replacement for the vast majority of those…

        • Hello bilbo,

          Re: “wow, didn’t realize Delta still had that many DC-9s in service (91 717s, 75 MD-88s and 34 MD-90s, total of 200….)

          gotta believe A220-300/500s are the perfect replacement for the vast majority of those…”

          MD-88 and MD-90 retirements have been in full swing for a year or two and their primary replacement aircraft were ordered many years ago. Many of the replacement aircraft are already in service, having replaced already retired MD-88’s and MD-90’s. Since Delta is up-gauging its domestic fleet, the primary replacement aircraft selected for 149 seat MD-88’s and 158 seat MD-90’s were larger aircraft, namely 180 seat 737-900ER’s and 191 seat A321-200’s, and certainly not any aircraft smaller than a MD-88 or MD-90, such as a 130 seat A220-300.

          See the excerpt below from Delta’s Q3 2018 earnings call. See the link after the excerpt for a transcript of the call.

          “Our fleet transformation is still in the middle innings and will continue into the mid-2020s. As Glen mentioned, no carrier has as much opportunity to benefit from upgauging as Delta over the next 5 to 10 years. Airbus A220 deliveries start this quarter with entry into service in early 2019, primarily replacing high-cost 50-seat regional jets, the aircraft least preferred by our customers. A321 and Boeing 737-900s are replacing the MD-88 fleet through 2020, providing a nearly 15% improvement in seat cost while also upgauging the fleet with a much better product for our customers. Then beginning in 2020, we start the next phase in our journey as we replace our older narrowbodies with larger new engine technology A321s resulting in even greater efficiencies than the classics. Our One Delta initiative is founded on the idea that better cross-company collaboration drives better cost efficiency.”

          https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2018/10/11/delta-air-lines-inc-dal-q3-2018-earnings-conferenc.aspx

          Delta’s narrow body fleet on 7-3-18 and today (7-5-19) according to Wikipedia and the Wikipedia history pages.

          Aircraft:# in fleet 7-3-18/# in fleet 7-3-19/change 7-3-18 to 7-5-19

          A220-100: 0/18/+18
          A319-100: 57/57/0
          A320-200: 62/62/0
          A321-200: 56/83/+27
          717-200: 91/91/0
          737-700: 10/10/0
          737-800: 77/77/0
          737-900ER: 100/130/+30
          757-200: 111/111/0
          757-300: 16/16/0
          MD-88: 103/75/-28
          MD-90: 55/34/-21

          Total additions and retirements 7-3-18 to 7-5-19.
          Total MD-88 and MD-90 retirements: 28 + 21 = 49
          Total A321-200 and 737-900ER additions: 27 + 30 = 57
          A320-100 additions: 18

          Clearly over the last year the only narrow body aircraft that Delta added to its fleet in numbers comparable to MD-88 and MD-90 retirements over the same period, were 737-900ER’s and A321-200’s, as one would expect from the above excerpt from Delta’s 3Q 2018 earnings call.

          Regarding retirements of Delta’s 717’s, the average age of Delta’s 717-200 fleet is 17.8 years. Since Delta typically keeps aircraft for at least 20 to 25 years, I would suspect that it will be something like 5 years before 717-200 retirements start. If retirements go in order of average fleet age, Delta’s A321-200’s with an average age of 23.9 years, will be next to go, likely replaced by some of the A321-200’s and A321 neos that Delta has already ordered. Remember, Delta is up-gauging its domestic fleet, thus replacement aircraft are larger than the aircraft they replace.

          Average fleet ages for Delta’s narrow body fleet as of 7-1-19 according to planespotters.net

          MD-88: 28.6 years
          A320-200: 23.9 years
          757-200: 22.7 years
          MD-90: 22.2 years
          A319-100: 17.9 years
          737-800: 17.9 years
          717-200: 17.8 years
          757-300: 16.5 years
          737-700: 10.5 years
          737-900ER: 2.8 years
          A321-200: 1.5 years
          A220-100: 0.3 years.

          https://www.planespotters.net/airline/Delta-Air-Lines

  22. The A35K vs. B779 comparison isn’t somewhat fair.
    Compare them with same lenght and config, and you get a fair comparison.
    As the one is slighty bigger and wider, it automatically comes down to better economics – if full. Still, pack the A380 as full as possible, beats out any other airliner.

    Boeing stretched from the B77W for a reason, to avoid the A35k as a direct oponent and sit over the top.
    It comes down to the airlines, their yields, their demand and their routes – if they can permanently fill a B779.
    Don’t forget, these 40 extra seats are the 10th seats in the row and make the whole thing uncomfortable.
    Boeing did a good job in designing the B787 fueselage at 8,5 seats and the B777 at 9,5 – just everybody goes for the economics and puts 9 respective 10 in.

    I fly Airbus all day, and I’m one of the few who’s booking his trips to avoid B77W 10 and B787 9 abreast at all cost.

    Airbus issue is they don’t have acess to the GE engine, but i do see another A35K stretch coming.

    Overall, orders show sweet spot is at B789 – A339 -A359. That’s where the battle is fought and won.

    • The good old apel and oranges comparison…..

      IAG has about 100 SA planes in each its’ airlines.

      The 200 Max are a replacement for almost all SA jets not yet ordered replacement for. You can’t expect lot of growth in IAGs SA fleets, as competition is hard and FS in Europe still burn money on SA in competition with FR, Easyjet, Wizz, Norwegian and Co.
      It’s not the US, hard to imagine, but US companies fell it often.

      Overall, Vueling is the only brand with growth path on SA ahead.
      Thus the order is weired, how many Airlines did switch from A320 to Max?
      When everybody is going the other way round?

  23. The 350-425 market is NB and the A35K1/2 can cover a lot of that (in 9-abreast). AB must however look at the future in the 250-300 seat class, much more money/demand there.

    • Agreed. Short haul is upgauging, long haul is downgauging. Both will do medium gaul.

      The regional market will be A220 size. I noted Airbus uped the forecast for the A220 from 4000 to 7000

        • Maybe the A220-300 is doing that as we speak. The -500, as both BA and AB feared, would encroach on the 150 – 160 two-class configured planes.

  24. $100m to the MAX victims from Boeing, I was expecting the compensation to be a tad more expensive than that.

    • Their cup floweth over. Not quite clear why we are to be impressed!

    • Too right, they got screwed by the densification game with regard to the A380 and have now gone the ‘other way’. I feel this os a retrograde step. They know that the A35K has two issues, a sub-optimal engine and a lower aspect ratio wing than the X. So an ultra fan resolves issue 1 and a folder of some description solves the latter. That would drag the A35k and any 2000/8000 out of sight. The issue is how long before they do this? There seems to be a reticence to spend too much in the TA market given the massive expenditure in the past 15 years. Until that point it is a case that to compete they need to keep the margins up on the larger A350 in whatever way they can. I still don’t think the 10 across will be anything more than of minority interest to buyers. I could be wrong

      • Airbus had to do a re-engine of the 787 well before its time.

        RR is not going to be wanting to do another engine (won’t) for the A350 as they havn’t begun to pay for the two they did already.

        At some point you just have to buck up and live with what you have as best you can.

        True for A and B and B is getting a whupping on the MAX as a result of that (though in Boeing case it was pure greee4d not to replace the 737 in the first place, self inflicted).

        • I tend to agree but the Ultrafan gives the possibility of a larger engine with a scope to go 2000/8000. So not so much a re-engine rather a new capability along the lines of b77w. As it stands I think the A350 as a programme is highly competitive and with slots scarce why would Airbus sell them cheap against a bargain basement B77w or B77x where there is a tad more desperation to gain orders

      • I hope you’re wrong. I flew transatlantic on AA 777s at 10 abreast two weeks ago, and I had connecting flights on AA A321s. Guess which one had both more pitch and more seatwidth. The 777 felt nothing short of cramped. Any move would rub shoulders; not a chance to reach the aisle without excuse-mes and your seat neighbours standing up as well.

        I would never ever get on an even more cramped 10-abreast A350, and I find it disgusting that Airbus Marketing are promoting it actively. This ruthless drive for profit is what has dug Boeing into their current hole.

        Imagine the answer when asking them marketing apes in private whether they would take their familiy on holidays on such an airplane in Economy.

        • 10 abrest A350 is a niche, same like 10 abrest B777 (is not wide enough anyway), and should stay as a niche, an alternative to narrow body busy routes is Asia (where people generally tends to be smaller) – EU & US carriers will not gain a client with that approach, au countraire.

        • I guess hoep 10 abreast A350 would be limitted to typical holiday charters. Those are the ones flying 9 abreast A330s and 8 abreast 767s too. I have been avoiding 10 abreast 777 where ossible over the last 5 years. Bypassing carriers like Emirates, KLM, United, Selecting Delta, SQ, MH, even at extra costs.

          KLM is worst. They sell 10 abreast 777 with a few inches pitch as “comfort class”. Elbers should sit there anonimously for 11 hours, with his parents & friends.

          • New seat solutions as Molon shall be used as an upgrade to 9 abrest A350 – seats weights less, same amount of pax, but can be charged more as “premium economy” in 9 abrest instead of 8 abrest. Cramping pax in 10 abrest of A350 or B777 is a bad way for long term business.

        • One thing BA achieved with the 10 abreast B777’s is to make an 787 feel comfortable. End of the day nothing beats the 330’s (8 abreast) for pax comfort in economy with it comes to TA’s after the 767’s.

        • I agree with Pablo. I know the article suggests that Airbus are busting their own brand. I just think they are not excluding themselves from a very small market for very small people.

          Overall, I think the market is going the other way with more and more premium seating. So I think Airbus have the brand right.

          As for the next generation of airplanes from Airbus, 19″ seating will in my view be standard

          • That doesn’t make one iota of sense. We all laud the A350 @ 9 (18) simply because of densification of the B777 from 9 (18.5) to 10(17.0). Airbus has gone the same way as Boeing in making aircraft tighter in recent years

  25. The 777x has 344 orders, of which 235 are for the Middle East 3 carriers, who are re-negotiating & taking lighter A350s too. Boeing themselves are reconsidering the 53 ordered 777-8’s. That 6 years after launch. The 777X program is what it is.

    • I see a some similarity to the A330neo.
      There’s just a better plane around.

      The B789 has shown it’s a great plane for almost any airlines with long haul ops.
      Hard to compete against if your ailse is not optimal (for A330neo just to small for 3-3-3, and still AL, for B777x to heavy and still AL) with the rest of the plane beeing on the same tech.
      A330 neo has about 300 orders now, including Emirates. That’s about the same number as the B777x has, while having a more healthy backlog.
      That’s actually the main issue with the B777x – count the 25 for Etihad out, leaving 310 firm, out of them 210 are with struggeling gulf carrieres Emirates and Qatar.
      Qatar has political issues and is right in between Iran and Saudis.
      Emirates strategy seems to be shattered and rumors are they swap 40 of their B777x orders for B78T.
      First B777 are already up for replacement, and it seems like airlines did order B789 and A359 for instead of the larger A35k and B777x.

  26. The 777-9 is a good 747 replacement but the big market will be the replacement of 77W’s. The 779 could be too big and heavy in most instances, the 35K should be good for many applications. With a now claimed range of 8700Nm the 35K could be more than whats required. An aircraft with effective range of ~7500Nm, MTOW of 305-310T (vs 316T) with engines of 93-95Klb will do in most instances.

    But I see the biggest problem for Airbus is that only RR engines are available. On paper an A350-1000G with an ~95Klb derivate of the GE9X will be a sought after replacement of 77W’s in future?

    • The ME airlines are deploying numerous B77W’s on routes of <5000Nm to Europe, Africa and the East with high density seating. A shorter range A35K or 35K+ with standard 9 abreast will knock the pants of the 779 on such routes.

      The 779's OEW is ~ 26T more than the 35K, that equals 260 pax.

  27. The A350-1000 was launched in 2006 and has now 180 orders.

  28. “I can’t imagine being a coach passenger in a 16.4 inch, or even an “almost 17 inch” coach seat for 10-15 hours.”

    But imagine being petite – huge numbers of people are thin and small.

    An example in the automotive world is the Mazda 5, a clever stretch of the wheelbase from a Mazda 3 gives room for a third row of seats in that small vehicle. At least for short legs, I want the third seat left out so I have legroom in the back seat (and hopefully the front seats will slide back far). Width shouldn’t be a problem as it will fit three thin people side-by-side in that added middle row seat.

    • Hello Keith,

      Re: “Width shouldn’t be a problem as it will fit three thin people side-by-side in that added middle row seat.”

      Actually, for me width is the big, big problem with coach seats that leads me to fly first class on all but the shortest flights. Coach armrests are typically about 2 inches wide, sometimes smaller. This is also about the distance between adjoining seats. Even thin people have arms that are more than 2 inches wide. All coach seats in anything other than a row of single seats will share at least one armrest with an adjoining seat. For those of us who do not have an arm amputation on the side of a shared armrest, and who are anatomically normal and thus have arms coming out the side of our torso, and not out of the middle or our breastbone, the top of our head, or some other place, where are we supposed to put our arms and and shoulders so we will not be rubbing arms or shoulders with adjacent passengers?

      I am no weight lifter, my arms are probably narrower than average for a US male, and my lower arms are about 4 inches wide, while my upper arms about 5 inches wide, i.e. about twice as wide as a coach armrest or the distance to the adjoining seat. I am not slender, with a 42 inch waist, but have never had any problem fitting my bottom comfortably into a 17 inch wide seat cushion; however, I always have problems finding a comfortable place fo rmy arms in coach if there is a passenger next to me; however, thin they may be. For anything more than a 30 minute flight I am not willing to maintain a straight jacket position to avoid rubbing arms or shoulders with the passenger next to me. As far as I am concerned, shrinking armrests and the distance between seats to satisfy people obsessed with seat cushion width, only makes for less comfortable seats. I would rather have narrower seats with wider armrests and more distance to the adjacent seat. On the airlines that I fly, mainline first class seats armrests are at least 6 inches wide (for aircraft such as MD-88’s, MD-90’s and 717’s that have 2-3 seating in coach, first class armrests in 737 and A32X types which have 3-3 seating in coach will typically be a a little wider), more than enough to allow all but the largest passengers to rest their arms comfortably at their sides without rubbing arms and shoulders.

      Te PR photo of a A220-100 cabin at the link below was probably meant to show how spacious the coach cabin was on this aircraft; however, to my eyes it demonstrates that coach on the A220 still has the problem that keeps me flying first class instead of coach. If one looks at the arms of the passengers in the first seat rows visible in the picture, they are rubbing together. The men on the 2 abreast side are by no means large by US standards, yet they are rubbing shoulders and it is clear that the armrest is ridiculously narrower than each mans arms. let alone wide enough to serve as a rest for both of their arms. I do not find it comfortable to have to keep my arms in front of me for more than about 20 minutes. I would consider the man on the 3 abreast side to be about average sized, and the women next to him petite, yet they are rubbing elbows. The man appears to have his arm centered on the so called arm rest, which forces the woman to keep her arms in front of her within the confines of the width of her seat cushion. In my book, if a women next to you is not your wife, relative, girlfriend, or friend, this is definitely not OK. Clearly many people here see things differently, since they spend much time debating the significance of one half to three-quarter inch seat cushion width differences, which to me do nothing to change the bigger problem of armrests and seat spacing that are only half as wide as the arms and shoulders of any non deformed, non malnourished human adult.

      https://www.flyertalk.com/articles/delta-swiss-air-to-operate-new-c-series-aircraft.html

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