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Why No A330-600?  
User currently offlineDash9 From Canada, joined Nov 2008, 188 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12202 times:

As we all know, the A340 family is loosing ground and the -500 and -600 series have become niche aircraft. Big twins get the bulk of orders: A330 & B777 then B787 & A350

Back in the 90s, Airbus decided to invest a lot on the A340 family and their work resulted in the -500 (ultra long range) and -600 (higher capacity).

Back then, would it have been possible to put that investment into the A330 instead?

From a technological perspective, what would prevent the A330 from growing even longer? What is the biggest / highest trust engine that it can accommodate? Would it require a new wing?

From a business perspective, if it would have been technically possible, should Airbus have bid on the A330 instead of the A340?

I do understand that it is too late now and the focus is on the A350. But what would have become Airbus (and Boeing...) if the A330 family would have grown into a A330-500 and A330-600? Yes it's speculation but speculation is fun when we're not mixing facts and opinions  Smile


I'm no aviation expert so please do not hesitate to correct any statement in my question that might be wrong.

Thanks!

Dash9

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 11864 times:

I think the main issue is powerplant.

What you are getting at, unless I read you wrong, is an A345/A346 fuselage but a twin, a'la 77W.

Put simply, Rolls and Pratt just did/do not have anything in that thrust class - the 77W is powered by GE90-115bs, packing 115K of thrust and you'd have to expect a A336 to use something at least similar. They couldnt have used the GE90 as GE has an exclusivity agreement with Boeing for the 777, so in order to get it done they would have had to had Rolls upscale the Trent to 115-120K and I'm not sure thats possible on the Trent core as is. Its definitely not possible on the PW4000 series, so in all likelihood they would need a totally new engine, which would be a risk.

I also think that at the time that Airbus committed to the A340NG series over a A330NG the A330 was not the platform we know today, and the A340 was still selling well.

Its worth bearing in mind that the 77W and 77L live and die by the GE90 and are the amazing platforms they are today largely because of the absolutely stellar performance of the big 90s. Had the larger 90s come in on spec (they absolutely smashed their SFC targets by at least 8% in the case of 115b and nearly as much on the 110b) or even just above, the story may have been very different. As it was, it was a case of the absolute right platform and a truly excellent engine at the right time. Nobody at Airbus or Boeing expected the landslide that was to follow, but for better or worse the A340 is basically obsolete now in some respects.

I've always been of the opinion that it wasnt the triple seven that killed the A340, it was the GE90.

Would the situation have been different had Airbus decided to go for an A330NG using the A345/6 fuse? Hard to say.

I certainly think it would be a tall order to ask Rolls to scale up the Trent 800 to that much thrust, and a whole new engine would have taken too long and the initiative would have passed to Boeing anyway. Airbus used the Trent 554 in the end, which is a scaled down Trent 700 core I think (correct me if i'm wrong) and it turned out ok - the A340NG programme did what it set out to do which was make a 744-sized transport with huge cargo capacity and more range than the 744, and for it to have something like a 15% trip costs saving over the 744 - the A346 did this. Its just that the GE90-fired 77W did it 10-12% better again.

People slate the A346 but it is a magnificent airliner and is very much more efficient than the 744 it replaced. Its sales record was not so much to do with any major shortcomings on its part (non-HGW models excepted), but more to do with the amazing GE90 and what it offered the 77W.

Personally I think a proposed A335/6 probably would have done similarly - good but not good enough in the end, against one of the all time great frame/engine combos. I think in 50 years people will regard the GE90 in the same way as the other true greats - it really was a game changer.

Lessons have been learned at Airbus and they will not make the same mistake again of assuming that the targets set by its competition will only be met and not broken - or smashed in the case of the 77W.

Interesting topic though. Hindsight is always 20/20 and all that.



What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2004 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 11820 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 1):
Put simply, Rolls and Pratt just did/do not have anything in that thrust class - the 77W is powered by GE90-115bs, packing 115K of thrust and you'd have to expect a A336 to use something at least similar. They couldnt have used the GE90 as GE has an exclusivity agreement with Boeing for the 777, so in order to get it done they would have had to had Rolls upscale the Trent to 115-120K and I'm not sure thats possible on the Trent core as is. Its definitely not possible on the PW4000 series, so in all likelihood they would need a totally new engine, which would be a risk.

Did the exclusivity deal work that way round? Certainly, the only engine option allowed on the heavy 777s was the GE90-115, but I'm not sure it follows that GE couldn't have offered it to Airbus or anybody else who wanted it?

I presume the GE90-115 wouldn't have fitted under the A330's wings, but would a smaller T800 type engine have worked, to create an A330-400 (a 77E rival)?



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 62
Reply 3, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11789 times:



Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 2):

Did the exclusivity deal work that way round? Certainly, the only engine option allowed on the heavy 777s was the GE90-115, but I'm not sure it follows that GE couldn't have offered it to Airbus or anybody else who wanted it?

I'm pretty sure it worked that GE was the only engine Boeing could offer on the 777NGs, but but that GE could not offer it to anyone else either.

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 2):
I presume the GE90-115 wouldn't have fitted under the A330's wings, but would a smaller T800 type engine have worked, to create an A330-400 (a 77E rival)?

Bear in mind that the A343 was still scrapping it out with the 77E at that time and that they saw no reason to better their hand in that game I dont think.

Whether or not a 115K powerplant would fit under the A330 wing is a good question. I'm guessing they would need to extend the clearance somehow - certainly the GE90-115b wouldnt have fit but a lot of that engine is fan and cowl - with a more powerful, triple spool core it might be possible to get the same thrust from a smaller engine - look at how much smaller the Trent 892 is than the GE92.

But i guess we'll never know!  Smile



What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11663 times:

I did have a look at it 1.5 yrs ago on Tech Ops. IMO the A330 could handle a bigger engine, although not a GE90. That wouldn't be required. GE offered the GENX in '06. A stretched / renengined A330 could not offer 777/A340/A350 like long / ultra long haul capability but probably amazing CASM on medium/long haul like Trans Atlantics / intra Asia.



http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/218686/

[Edited 2009-07-21 02:25:59]

User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2004 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11490 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 2):
I presume the GE90-115 wouldn't have fitted under the A330's wings, but would a smaller T800 type engine have worked, to create an A330-400 (a 77E rival)?

Bear in mind that the A343 was still scrapping it out with the 77E at that time and that they saw no reason to better their hand in that game I dont think.

My suggested A330-400 would have been longer than the A343, perhaps halfway between it and the A346, a sort of 777-250 size  Smile



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 11224 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
Whether or not a 115K powerplant would fit under the A330 wing is a good question. I'm guessing they would need to extend the clearance somehow - certainly the GE90-115b wouldnt have fit but a lot of that engine is fan and cowl - with a more powerful, triple spool core it might be possible to get the same thrust from a smaller engine - look at how much smaller the Trent 892 is than the GE92.

Cropping the fan would have done (negative) wonders for the SFC. RR could probably have done a reasonable 95K version of the T800, it might be a matter of sizing the length of the A330 to fit in weight terms - provided you could stuff the donks under the wings. But by now, the cores have shrunk for a given thrust allowing higher BPR for a given overall diameter.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4360 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 11199 times:

At an MTOW above 240 tons, either completely new gears would be needed, or those central ones from the A340, that cost valuable space in the body.

User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 7874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 11167 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 1):
I've always been of the opinion that it wasnt the triple seven that killed the A340, it was the GE90.

Well, that and ETOPS 180. And lets not forget the engine debacle for the first A340's which caused a huge setback to the program that in a lot of ways never recovered from. Had the right engine been available at that time, I suspect the A340 program may have been a lot more succesful.


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4264 posts, RR: 34
Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 11076 times:

hehe, an A-330-600 would look a bit like this
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ingo Lang
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ingo Lang




nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9106 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 11072 times:

What happened to the proposed A 330-500? What was it about?

User currently offlineAA777223 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1219 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10913 times:



Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 5):
My suggested A330-400 would have been longer than the A343, perhaps halfway between it and the A346, a sort of 777-250 size Smile

Sounds to me like it would have been A340-500. I always thought the A345 was the same size of the A343, just with different engines, etc. but, apparently it is a little longer.



Sic 'em bears
User currently offlineMogandoCI From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10844 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 1):
I think the main issue is powerplant.

What you are getting at, unless I read you wrong, is an A345/A346 fuselage but a twin, a'la 77W.

Put simply, Rolls and Pratt just did/do not have anything in that thrust class - the 77W is powered by GE90-115bs, packing 115K of thrust and you'd have to expect a A336 to use something at least similar. They couldnt have used the GE90 as GE has an exclusivity agreement with Boeing for the 777, so in order to get it done they would have had to had Rolls upscale the Trent to 115-120K and I'm not sure thats possible on the Trent core as is. Its definitely not possible on the PW4000 series, so in all likelihood they would need a totally new engine, which would be a risk.

I believe RR did test the Trent 800 core to like approx 118K lbs. They could've easily developed a "Trent 1100" just for the A335/336 (since the Trent 500 was custom-made too). The only mistake was that Airbus believed "4 engines 4 long haul," and that customers would be prefer quad-reliability over a lower-cost-twin from Boeing.

Of course in hindsight it was a big mistake, but at the time of development, they didn't foresee 4 things :

1. Fuel prices through the roof, so the extra weight of the engines really penalized its performance.

2. The A300-340 family's fuselage is only 8-abreast, making such a looooong stretch of the body structurally marginal.

3. ETOPS has been extended so much only Australia-SA routes require 4 engines.

4. The reliability of 777 and 330 has altered people's mindsets, and quads are no better than twins.


User currently offlineGilesdavies From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2985 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10643 times:

Also, how would they get an engine big enough to power an A330-500/600, installed to the wing?

I would have thought their would not be enough ground clearence to a 777 engine onto the wing of an A330!


User currently offlineKL911 From Ireland, joined Jul 2003, 5084 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10620 times:



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
I'm pretty sure it worked that GE was the only engine Boeing could offer on the 777NGs, but but that GE could not offer it to anyone else either.

I was just looking back at my pictures from a UA trip LHR-IAD-MIA, both on 777, and both legs I was before the wing in F and C, but it clearly has the PW logo on the engines.. How come?

KL911



Next trip : DUB-AUH-CGK-DPS-KUL-AUH-CDG-ORK :-)
User currently offlineMogandoCI From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10543 times:



Quoting KL911 (Reply 14):

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
I'm pretty sure it worked that GE was the only engine Boeing could offer on the 777NGs, but but that GE could not offer it to anyone else either.

I was just looking back at my pictures from a UA trip LHR-IAD-MIA, both on 777, and both legs I was before the wing in F and C, but it clearly has the PW logo on the engines.. How come?

Because UA doesn't have the 777NG (77F, 77L, and 77W), so both statements are correct. ORD-HKG is one of the routes in which the 744 has high CASM and high payload-restriction, but a walk in the park for 77L/77W.

CX should definitely attempt ORD-HKG and eat UA's lunch. The sheer O&D size of Chicago plus the Asian/China connectivity through HKG via CX should be sufficient to make this route work with a 77W.


User currently offlineTISTPAA727 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 319 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 10441 times:



Quoting Airbazar (Reply 8):
Well, that and ETOPS 180.

Agreed but don't the engines have quite a bit to do with ETOPS getting extended?



Don't sweat the little things.
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29684 posts, RR: 84
Reply 17, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 10339 times:
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Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
I'm pretty sure it worked that GE was the only engine Boeing could offer on the 777NGs, but but that GE could not offer it to anyone else either.

Everything I have ever listened to or read by both Boeing and GE Aviation personnel, from the CEOs down, have stated that nothing prevents GE from putting their GE90 family of engines on another aircraft family.

The only "exclusivity" is that the 77L, 77W and 77F are all offered from the factory only with the GE90-11xB series of engines.

So if Airbus could find a way to fit them, you could have GE90s on any Airbus family from an A320 to an A380.


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4593 posts, RR: 38
Reply 18, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 10317 times:
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Maybe (with hindsight) they should have gone for such an engine, but at the time with many uncertainties it was a big risk. Boeing took it and got exceptionally well rewarded for it. An 330-600 o.t.o.h. would not be so nice looking imho as an A340-500/600. These series looked to be a good development, and they still are. But the enormous success of the B77W, which as pointed out even surprised the market and Boeing/GE, basically took the wind out the sails of the A340-NG. It is too bad, but that is how the mechanism of competition works.

[Edited 2009-07-21 10:13:29]

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24075 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 10271 times:



Quoting KL911 (Reply 14):
I was just looking back at my pictures from a UA trip LHR-IAD-MIA, both on 777, and both legs I was before the wing in F and C, but it clearly has the PW logo on the engines.. How come?

UA only operates the 772 and 772ER. All UA 777s are PW-powered, as are all their 752s, 763s and 744s.


User currently offline2707200X From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 8027 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 9 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 9968 times:

An A330-400 along with an A340-400 was proposed by Airbus when project was in developement as reported in AW&SP.


"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3301 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (4 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6818 times:

In around 2000, Airbus was looking at a longer range version of the A330 300, and it had a middle two wheel boogie like the A343. If this longer range version of the A330 300 was built, Airbus could have made a longer version of it, and that would be the A330 400.

User currently offlineYULWinterSkies From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2169 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (4 years 9 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6637 times:



Quoting Dash9 (Thread starter):
From a technological perspective, what would prevent the A330 from growing even longer? What is the biggest / highest trust engine that it can accommodate? Would it require a new wing?

Clearly yes, since the A345-A346 had a new wing.



When I doubt... go running!
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6289 posts, RR: 54
Reply 23, posted (4 years 9 months 18 hours ago) and read 6283 times:



Quoting Stitch (Reply 17):
Everything I have ever listened to or read by both Boeing and GE Aviation personnel, from the CEOs down, have stated that nothing prevents GE from putting their GE90 family of engines on another aircraft family.

The only "exclusivity" is that the 77L, 77W and 77F are all offered from the factory only with the GE90-11xB series of engines.

So if Airbus could find a way to fit them, you could have GE90s on any Airbus family from an A320 to an A380.

Absolutely correct!

What happened was that Boeing stood with plans for an airliner and no engine to fit under its wings. No engine manufacturer was really eager to produce the wanted engine since they expected the production to become fairly modest.

And certainly no engine manufacturer wanted to dump a lot of resources into such a huge project, and then risk to loose out in competition with a competitor.

In the end a complicated agreement was made between GE and Boeing. GE became risk sharing partner in the 777NG development, provided much wanted "cheap" capital for Boeing, and agreed to produce the engine...

...on the condition that for many years to come Boeing must not produce a twin engined airliner above a certain weight limit without putting GE engines on it.

But GE can certainly sell any of their engine types to whoever they want, except to embargoed countries like North Korea, Iran etc.

On the other hand, Boeing cannot for many years to come produce a 777NG sized twin airliner (or bigger), name it 797 or whatever, and put PW or RR engines on it, should they ever produce a 115k lbs engine (or a 150k lbs engine or whatever).

The deal may at first glance not seem very fortunate for Boeing, since GE with their GE90 price handle controls Boeing's large twin market.

On the other hand, without partial GE financing Boeing might not have had the resouces to produce their 340-killer in time, and they might never have had an engine to fit.

And should GE ever turn their GE90 price handle too violently, then it will immediately have a huge impact on all airlines willingness to put GE engines on all types of planes all way down to RJs. So the partnership will most likely turn out as a huge advantage for both.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
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