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Boeing: No Market For A380, A Stupid Decision?  
User currently offlineUnited777 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1657 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5250 times:

Do you think Boeing's decision to think there is no market for the A380 and it's too big was a mistake on the company. Do you think the Boeing Company is surprised on how many orders the A380 has received for the super jumbo when the 747-400ER only has one customer. Isn't the A380F a huge threat for the 747-400ERF also!

Boeing did say at the Paris Air Show it is still looking a 747-800. Is it too late for Boeing to make a larger 747 and attract airlines? Will the A380 be a new monoloply in super jumbo market jut like the 747 was 30 years.

In my opinion I think Boeing should have made a bigger strech 747 and they would have received order for some of it's best customer that did order the A380 such as Singapore Airlines and now Korean Air and Malaysian airlines.

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

Who knows?

I highly doubt any USA-based carrier will ever buy the A380 (or, at the very least, not for a very long time) but both UA and NW would undoubtedly be interested in a larger B744…


User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5181 times:

What people seem to forget is that the 747 is based on 30 year old technology. While she is still a very fine aircraft, she is getting overpowered by newer and larger technology. Just think, Grandma can't live forever and eventually Granddaughter has to take her place. The A380 is based on 21st century technology. Even if Boeing builds a 747-800, it still will not beat the A380.

User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5162 times:

What people seem to forget is that the 747 is based on 30 year old technology.

I understand where you're coming from, but you can't use that argument alone to write the 747's obituary. If that logic were the case, then one could argue that (to use an example) that the Ford Mustang has no future because it is "based" on 38 year old technology (I believe that '65 was the year it came out).

But the thing is that with improved aerodynamics, engines, emmission control, ergonomics, and so on and so forth, a 2003 Ford Mustang is as modern of a car as any other, even though it is derived from the original 1965 version.

The same school of thought can be applied towards airplanes. Why COULDN'T a 747 with super critical redesigned wings, updated avionics, seats, engines, PTV's et.al be considered "modern"?

And if you REALLY want to split hairs, we can say that every single plane out there today, from the CRJ to the A380 is based on 100 year old technology? After all, it all started out with wings, a tail, engine(s), and a fuselage, namely the Wright Flyer.



User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5157 times:

Well said Matt D. I stand corrected.

User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16862 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5149 times:

The Boeing 747-400 is not 30 years old, the first one (I believe to NWA) was delivered in '88 or '89.




Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineScottb From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6752 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5148 times:

Boeing *did* float the idea of a stretched 747 to its existing 747 customers as an alternative to the A380 -- no one was willing to commit to launching the program, though.

In all honesty, it made no sense for Boeing to get into the market for airliners larger than the 747-400 once Airbus committed to the A380 program; the only way this would be a mistake for them is if Airbus were to manage to sell 1000 A380's in the next 15-20 years. If the market size were for 500 A380-class airliners, and Boeing and Airbus were to split the market evenly at 250 airframes apiece, both would struggle to simply make back their development costs, let alone a profit. Moreover, this doesn't even take into consideration the fact that competition between the two for orders would drive the price down and make the economics even poorer for both companies. In the 1970's, Boeing was fortunate to NOT have been competing with McDonnell-Douglas (DC-10), Lockheed (L-1011), and Airbus (A300) in the 250-300 seat market. MDD ended up being crippled by the bruising competition, Lockheed exited the passenger airliner business afterwards, and Airbus had its government teat to support it. The 747 certainly would not have been the phenomenal success and cash cow it was for Boeing had there been an aircraft of comparable size and performance as a competitor.

Most market segments of the global industry are unable to sustain two truly viable competitors; the A340 limps forward though the 777 is the more viable competitor in its size/performance range, while the A330 has weakened the 767. Only the sheer size of the 120-180 seat market provides enough business for Boeing and Airbus to both be successful with their respective products.

I agree that it is extremely unlikely that any U.S.-based passenger carrier will be ordering or operating A380's in the next 10-15 years unless they receive them for free. Frequency of flights is important enough to American travelers that they will be unwilling to sacrifice convenience (not to mention the unpleasantness of having to wait in a departure lounge or baggage claim area with 500 other people). And on trans-Pacific routes, smaller long-range aircraft, coupled with increases in demand in certain markets AND the emergence of alternate connecting hubs like ICN will lead to a reduction in the importance of NRT and HKG as *connecting* hubs (though both will, of course, remain important destinations in their own rights).

And after the financial bloodbaths caused by the Asian economic flu, 9/11, war in Iraq, and SARS, I do wonder exactly how willing U.S. carriers will be to risk the possibility of having A380's which would have to sit idle or be severely underutilized for months at a time. No one ever went bankrupt by offering too few seats for sale on a route.


User currently offlineWidebody From Ireland, joined Aug 2000, 1152 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5065 times:

ScottB,

Agree with you except for the point re. recuperation of costs. Let's say there is a demand for 500 aircraft and the share between the two manufacturers was 250 each. While the 250 mark is what is being mentioned as the Airbus breakeven region for the A380, I'm guessing its more in the region of 300-400. For Boeing however, a hybrid 747, depending on how far Boeing would have been prepared to go, would more than likely have had a breakeven of less than 100. This figure of course depends on how much development cost is pumped in by Boeing, but from where I can see it, Boeing missed a big opportunity to maintain the 747's strength, improve it, and deal Airbus a severe kick in the balls......instead, we now see Airbus gradually breaking its way into many airlines......

Rgds,
WB.


User currently offlineCaptaingomes From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 6413 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5033 times:

Matt D, that's a very poor analogy! The current Mustang has only one thing in common with the original, and that is the name. Everything on the current Mustang is different, from the engine to the suspension, body, interior, safety systems, you name it. The current 747-400 has a lot in common with the original 747, and therefore is an old design, and cannot compete with a clean sheet of paper.

And no, the current Mustang is not as modern as any car on the road today, even if it has nothing in common with the original.



"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
User currently offlineERJ135 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 680 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4958 times:

There are many answers to the hypothetical and the what if and the But if only question, however we will never really know because it won't happen.
Did Boeing do the right thing? The answer is probably yes because what ever the market turns out to be for the super jumbo, it will only be enough for one player, Boeing had an offer, however it was Airbus that found favor with the airlines.
The 744ER is not in competition with the A380, it's just a little more range on the 744 which is useful for some airlines that need the extra.
Airlines buying the A380 are doing so because they perceive the 744 as being too small for their needs. After all if you operated a route with near constant full loads in a 744 you would be looking for something bigger because you can use it.

I can't honestly say what I think Boeing should have done in response but my personal preference would have been to graft a 764 as the upper deck of a 747. Add new tech wings and the latest engines and you get a 650 seater!
However what do I know?



I remember when the DC-3 was new!
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4961 times:

It's a losing game for Boeing. Airbus only needs to pay back the EU loans on the A380 development if the program makes a profit. If Boeing gets into the Supersize segment and causes competition to make it unprofitable, Boeing will have to pay its R&D and Airbus will not (Airbus will sell A380s for cheaper, citing competition, but the lower prices will be low enough that they can get out of repaying the loans. It's predatory, and could even drive Boeing out of business.)

Charles


User currently offlineSailorOrion From Germany, joined Feb 2001, 2058 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4878 times:

MattD:

Yeah, but the Wright flyer was a canard configuration, so the Sonic Cruiser would actually be "older" than those planes flying today Big grin

SailorOrion


User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4878 times:

"No Market For A380, A Stupid Statement from Boeing?"

Well, with 120+ orders and 70+ options almost 2 years before its maiden flight, the A380 could even become the very first wide body plane to break even before its first delivery!

Not bad given the current situation: SARS, war in Iraq & Afghanistan, 9/11, economical crisis, Asian economical collapse, ....

[Edited 2003-06-19 11:20:50]

User currently offlineN754pr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4856 times:

Boeing have no idea what they are doing, how many versions of the 747 have the talked about and never done anything with?

ONLY when Airbus said they are looking at a large aircraft did Boeing talk of the same, when Airbus delayed the A3XX..... so did Boeing!! Then Airbus talked again of a large double deck aircraft and Boeing came up with the -500/-600..... again to be cancelled.

It now looks as if they have waited too long and I wonder if there is a market for TWO large airliners of 550 seats plus?


User currently offlineArtsyman From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4745 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4800 times:

Boeing did NOT say there was no market for the 380, they said that it wasn't a big enough market to justify the effort. I have no doubt some airlines will have a use for it, but they will need to run it round the clock and sell it pretty full. If there is more of a downturn or another terror attack with aircraft, the A380 will die as airlines will have no flexibility with that plane. It needs to fly pretty much full (as do the rest of planes) in order to make money for them

User currently offlineAerosol From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 558 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4764 times:

It is no stupid decision from my point of view. There is no market for two manufacturers in this segment. If both companies would decide to produce none of the two companies would reach break even. When Boeing offered a 747 strech in the beginning they tried too. Airbus had a major strategic advantage through the government loans which reduced the risk of a financial disaster even if Boeing offered its product. For Boeing this was then a lost battle. The announcement of the Sonic Cruiser was a strategic failure because the speed advantage did not represent the benefit to justify the cost of operating the airline (and it was really only a marginal speed advantage).
In my Opinion the 7e7 is the best answer to the A380 because Airbus can not offer a counterpart. Both manufacturers will have higher profit margins in their segment. The only thing is that Boeing has lost a lot of prestige because they lost their quasi monopoly of offering the largest commercial airliner, which is traumatic for some members here. In 10-20 years maybe the situation will change, Airbus will come with a new plane for the 7e7 segment and Boeing will come with a plane bigger than the A380, but that is of course just speculation.
The death of Boeing would be if the 7e7 will not be existent, because then the only superior aircraft is the 777, which has kind of competition by the 330/340 program. The 737/320 market is to competitive for huge profit margins.
The 7e7 replaces a330/a300/10/757/767 and if it is, what it seems it will be a major success (though I think it looks is ugly).


User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4710 times:

One plane fits all? Come on... over the last few days I have seen hundreds of post all praising the B7E7 as THE plane with which Boeing will fight back on ALL fronts at once....

If we may believe Boeing, the B7E7 has to fulfill 3 aims:
1) To replace the aging B757 and B767 which already would be a very difficult task for a single plane, seen the huge differences in use, size and range of these 2 older Boeing workhorses.
2) The B7E7 must not only be a top player in the medium density medium to long haul business, it must also substitute a good alternative for both the A300 and A310, 2 pure short to medium haul high density planes, something the B757 (absolutely not high density) nor B767 (certainly not short haul) are.
3) And on top of all this the B7E7 should also be a very efficient extremely long range plane, outperforming the A330????

With one single plane, right? Embarrassment

Ever heard of a medium to high density short to medium to long haul airplane?

IF the B7E7 makes it any further than some artistic impressions (let's say the day they get all technical specifications right and call it the B787) Boeing will have dropped al least 2 of the 3 target areas from above.... which is not wrong to do, but means they will still be nowhere basically in the fight with Airbus.
Cos which one are they going to go for?
The B757/B767 replacement? Probably the most safe choice of the 3, but will this help them to increase market share again? Replacing your own planes is not really very ambitions.
Aiming on the A300/A310? The B7E7 will be ready by when????
targeting the A330 then? Well, in that case the B7E7 is already pretty much ready to go within the next 2 years or so.... It will be a shrink of the B777.... Is the B7E7 merely a B777-100? Then what is all the fuss about?












[Edited 2003-06-19 13:29:14]

User currently offlineDynkrisolo From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1863 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4593 times:

Why don't people think for themselves and believe all the PR propaganda as if they are all truth?

Airbus claims the 380 program can breakeven with 250 sales. The program costs 11-12 billion to develop. Without any interest, Airbus will need to make at least 44-48 million net profit on each airplane sold. That's close to 20% of the list price of 250 million. Since it is normal to discount 20-30% from the list price, we are talking about 25% of the actual price will have to be pure profit. When you take into consideration of interest payments, we weill have to add a few more percent!

Think about it, if Airbus can make 25% or more profit on each airplane built, do you think Airbus's margin on sales would be in single digit?


User currently offlineAerosol From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 558 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4527 times:

The A380 is a long term investment with a monopoly in this segment - in the long run profit margins will increase to a level comparable to the 747 (which was called Boeings cash cow for a long time and one of the main motivations to build the A380). So right now they have to discount, but in the long term this program will be - despite all doubters - a success.
Too much focus on shareholder value and short term profitability leads to... - well how many cancelled future projetcs?


User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4461 times:

It is a proven fact that Airbus can simply produce planes cheaper than Boeing . (And before somebody asks me to prove this statement... look at the various topics on B7E7, A380 and A. vs. B. lately; they show several links to and quotes from reputated articles pointing this out!)

However, if you look at the list price of Airbus, and you compare it to the list price of a similar Boeing plane, you do not see much of a difference.
In short: Airbus planes look equally expensive than Boeing planes.

How come?
Hasn't anybody ever come up with the idea that Airbus is deliberately OVERpricing its product line?

Why do so?
As the margin between the list price and the cost price of an Airbus is bigger then for a Boeing, Airbus can always undercut Boeing's final offer and still pull a profit from it... and if on some occasions Airbus doesn't have to go to the full extend, Airbus have concluded a very juicy deal, notwithstanding the huge price reduction...

Look at it for a second:
Suppose an airline is looking for new planes and asks both Airbus and Boeing for their best offer. Both take their list price (very similar) and give let's say 20% reduction. Then the airline goes to Airbus and asks for a better deal, because the offers are really such a close call and the cheapest will win. Airbus changes its offer to 25% reduction! The airline then calls Boeing and says Airbus has changed their offer and is giving 25% now! Boeing thinks Airbus went bottom price to get this 'to close to call for the moment' deal and matches it by creative methods.... and gives even a bit more.... 26% reduction! Then the airline goes back to Airbus with this last offer from Boeing and hears from Airbus they can offer them not 27, but even 28% off the list price if they decide now! The airline quickly calls Seattle, but when Boeing hears about this, they quit saying Airbus can not possibly get any profit out of this! Sounds familiar?
But what if Airbus started off with a too high list price (which still only matches the real list price of Boeing and thus goes relatively unnoted)? Then they can go further then Boeing in their offers for reduction... Airbus might very well go to 40% before selling its planes at production cost! And every percentage above this is pure profit!

Why would Airbrus play this trick?
Why doesn't Airbus start off with the real and thus lower list price? It would most possibly have the same sales results for them as now, and would make negociations less long and exhausting....
Yes, but in the end there is much more to win from it!
As long as Boeing is giving Airbus a run for their money in negociations with airlines, Airbus has (and will) cut its list prices automatically by 25 to 30% sometimes even 35 or more percent (remember there is plenty of margin) to obtain normal free market profits, yet the day Boeing decides they can't possibly win a contract and thus won't bother to make a serious offer (remember Boeing announced this strategy after the Iberia deal), Airbus will only have to offer a symbolic reduction to the airline and can milk the cow completely!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy In fact, once they have reached this stage, they can increase their revenues thanks to their monopoly, without having to visibly raise the price of their products.

yes, Airbus is truly setting the standards in every single segment...



[Edited 2003-06-19 17:16:13]

User currently offlineKevs From Australia, joined Jun 2003, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4443 times:

surely boeing and airbus are monopolies...and competiting in the same market.

any time limit set to get this 250 units to break-even?limit?

anyway, I think everyone will agree,
A380 is setting a milestone to be the largest passenger aircraft ever build.

looking back to 1970, it is the age of boeing,
7E7 isn't the right answer to A380
may be in 2005, it is airbus turn...



User currently offlineDynkrisolo From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1863 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4435 times:

Sabenapilot:

Your statements contradict to the actual numbers posted in EADS's annual report. Airbus's profit margin is hovering between 5-7% in the past few years! If you truly believe what you just said, Airbus would get alot more than thier current 50+% of market share. Your statements still do not explain how the A380 can breakeven with only 250 sales.


User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4403 times:

Your statements contradict to the actual numbers posted in EADS's annual report. Airbus's profit margin is hovering between 5-7% in the past few years! If you truly believe what you just said, Airbus would get alot more than thier current 50+% of market share. Your statements still do not explain how the A380 can breakeven with only 250 sales.

Can't you do the maths for yourself, Dynkrisolo?

Profit margins at EADS are indeed only at 7% 'cos Airbus has (as several of you have pointed out here on these fora) indeed signed a whole list of deals with massive reductions. However, despite the massive reductions Airbus is giving now, (-35%), they still get around 7 percent of profit margin.... if Boeing were to give 35% reduction on average, they'd have to close at the end of the year! I advise you to sit back and watch to see how Airbus profit margins will raise as competition faides away over the coming years (despite Airbus not having to raise their list price).




User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4489 posts, RR: 21
Reply 23, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4405 times:

7E7 isn't the right answer to A380

 Insane

Do you have anything to back that up? The 7e7 is NOT meant as the answer to the A380. It's simply there to fill a future market that Airbus currently has not given any attention to yet. By focusing on the 7e7 and maybe even starting a 747 stretch project, Boeing is positioning itself to remain a viable Boeing competitor.

As others have wisely mentioned, the "superjumbo" market segment size, at this point in time, really does not justify two serious competitors. We may find that Boeing has made a wise business decision by concentrating on other markets (if the 7e7 really does go through). Airbus is still a ways off the published breakeven mark, at least for now.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineScottb From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6752 posts, RR: 32
Reply 24, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4225 times:

I do agree with Sabenapilot about one thing -- for those non-customers like Iberia, Qatar, Lufthansa, Swiss, etc., Boeing should simply refuse to respond to their RFP's in future, or to offer no discounts on their list prices. They all seem to be very happy with their single supplier, and since they are all simply using a Boeing offer to extract lower prices from their preferred supplier, Boeing ought to let them have the pleasure of paying the prices offered by a monopoly supplier.

In this way, Boeing loses no business and its customers will enjoy more competitive pricing than Airbus operators -- thus having lower costs. Boeing would need to be very careful to make sure that Airbus wasn't using its monopoly profits from some customers to offer below-cost airplanes (i.e. dumping) to other customers, though.


25 Cruising : It is TOO early to tell. Remember, my friends in airliners.net, A380 hasn't even flown yet.
26 L-188 : Sabenapilot: I have a hard time believing that Boeing is a less expensive aircraft then Boeing. European unions should be keeping the cost of labor hi
27 Dynkrisolo : Sabenapilot: It's typical for both Boeing and Airbus to give 20-30% discount off list price. List price does not mean anything. It's the actual price.
28 GD727 : I don't understand what the problem is with the 744. It has a glass cockpit, FBW, and is (correct me if I'm wrong) the fastest subsonic airliner. Just
29 N79969 : "It is a proven fact that Airbus can simply produce planes cheaper than Boeing . " Not true. At all. Sabenapilot, If Airbus had to cover the cost of c
30 L1011Fan : I do think that Boeing missed an opportunity with a plane larger than the 747. Let's not forget that McDonell Douglas was considering the MD-12 long b
31 N79969 : I don't think Boeing missed an opportunity actually. Here is why: if Boeing launched a superjumbo before the A380, Airbus would have launched the A380
32 Sebolino : I could understand if the 747 was inefficient, but it isn't. The 747 is technologically advanced enough, what ever airline says it isn't is just plai
33 Post contains links Sabenapilot : Seems the only remarks one can come up with against the idea that A. is actually producing planes cheaper then B., so they can easily undercut Boeing'
34 Keesje : Boeing 7e7 is the answer to the immense succesful A330-200, nothing else. Promoting it as a A330 replacement is just provocative PR. A330-200 is the p
35 Na : Even if it looks like that at the moment I don´t think that the decision of Boeing not to fight head-on against the A380 is a grave mistake. In my op
36 N79969 : Sabenapilot, I repeat that Airbus has not had to bear most of the capital costs for developing its products. Efficiency in the manufacturing process i
37 FDXmech : >>>Airbus also uses fewer workers. It employes 161 people per plane delivered, 24 percent below the 213 workers used in 1993. Boeing requires 220 per
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