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The Original "A350" - Was It Better For Airbus?  
User currently offlineWarpSpeed From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 580 posts, RR: 3
Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12294 times:

With Boeing soon to be at a cross-roads with whether to "refresh" its 777 or launch a new replacement, I wonder if (with admittedly a serious dose of hindsight) Airbus would have been better off sticking with a major refresh of the A330 - a/k/a the original A350 - instead of pursuing the XWB?

Theory: The early versions of the A350 would likely have beaten the much delayed 787 to the market (planned EIS 2010)...while being very competitive...with less of a drain on resources than the XWB. This would have allowed Airbus to soon begin development of a true 777 killer that better fills in the product line-up beneath the A380. One could argue that the XWB may end up being a one trick pony with only the -900 being without a direct competitor while the -800 will face stiff competition from an optimized 787-9 and the -1000 from either a finely-tuned 777-300ERX or clean sheet design.

Note, this post is presented with a heavy dose of hindsight with the intent to have some fun speculating (as only A.netters know how to do best) rather than to second guess Airbus. In other words, let's keep it cool....


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33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24952 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12278 times:
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Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
Note, this post is presented with a heavy dose of hindsight with the intent to have some fun speculating (as only A.netters know how to do best) rather than to second guess Airbus. In other words, let's keep it cool....

Hindsight? A few of us thought that at the time - that they should have stayed with the A350 because it would have bought them the precious gift of time.

But too many people got hooked on what Richard Aboulafia now calls "the drug like rush" of the 787. LOL.

Water under the bridge. The XWB has sold nearly 600 frames. What's not to like?

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6791 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12277 times:

I absolutely believe that the XWB was the right way to go. While it has been much more of an effort, both in money and in time than the original would have been, the end result would not have advanced Airbus's composite technology the way the XWB will. The reason I say this is that I am convinced that composite construction is the future of airliners, and the biggest reason is going to be maintenance savings. If Airbus had gone ahead with the original A350 it would have had some short term success due to likely earlier availability (thanks to the 787 delays) but in the long term would have been left in the dust, and Airbus would still have had to come up with a first time composite airframe. They might as well learn now.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinemoltenrock From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12255 times:

No the revised A350, would have only stolen sales essentially from itself, and a few from Boeing. How many hundreds of airframes has Airbus sold of the A330-200 and A333 in the past 3 years? To me it almost seems as they are getting the best of both worlds. Their A330 is continuing to sell like hotcakes, and almost 500 airframes of a new, bigger, aircraft. My guess is the net is larger with the end decision they made vs. an Airbus A350 1.0 version.

User currently offlineWarpSpeed From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 580 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12186 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 2):
What's not to like?

The lack of cashflow that would otherwise be filling Airbus's coffers NOW if the original A350 had EIS in 2010!?

Quoting moltenrock (Reply 3):
To me it almost seems as if they are getting the best of both worlds. Their A330 is continuing to sell like hotcakes, and almost 500 airframes of a new, bigger, aircraft.

Interesting. So, the XWB (and the 787 delays) may have been the best thing that happened to the A330 and without any direct investment.

[Edited 2010-10-21 15:36:07]


DaHjaj jaj QaQ Daghajjaj !!!!
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24952 posts, RR: 85
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12108 times:
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Quoting WarpSpeed (Reply 4):
The lack of cashflow that would otherwise be filling Airbus's coffers NOW if the original A350 had EIS in 2010!?

Exactly. That's what I meant when I said it would have bought them the precious gift of time. Literally "bought."

But as I also said - it's water under the bridge now, and there's no point in crying over what might have been.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineWarpSpeed From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 580 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12079 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 5):
it's water under the bridge now, and there's no point in crying over what might have been

totally understand...but moving on is not the point of the thread. Its an exercise of "what-if."



DaHjaj jaj QaQ Daghajjaj !!!!
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24952 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12030 times:
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Quoting WarpSpeed (Reply 6):
totally understand...but moving on is not the point of the thread. Its an exercise of "what-if."

Okay - "what if?"

"What if" the A350 (old) had been flying and available now? Would some of the airlines who are frustrated by the 787 delays have switched to the A350?

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineWarpSpeed From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 580 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 11987 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 7):
"What if" the A350 (old) had been flying and available now? Would some of the airlines who are frustrated by the 787 delays have switched to the A350?

I'd be tempted to if I were way down the 787 delivery list and bumped further out due to what I expect to be a lower than planned production rate for the 787. I think having an original A350 sooner so I could better compete with early B787 operators would be economically compelling.



DaHjaj jaj QaQ Daghajjaj !!!!
User currently offlinedl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 11822 times:

Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
Theory: The early versions of the A350 would likely have beaten the much delayed 787 to the market

It might have beaten it to market but there were many customers who were obviously willing to wait for the 787

Quoting mariner (Reply 7):
"What if" the A350 (old) had been flying and available now? Would some of the airlines who are frustrated by the 787 delays have switched to the A350?

maybe a few but I doubt it would be enough to sway a lot of airlines to make it worth it



Airbus was smart to change to a 777 competitor as well as a replacement for the A340 in one aircraft. The XWB (although I can't stand the name) is in a very good spot to replace the 777. The fact that UA went with the A350 as a 777 (and 747) replacement shows this. Boeing essentially switched roles with Airbus. A330/767 = 787 777/A340 = A350


User currently offline2707200X From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 8427 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 11819 times:

I think the original A350 concept with the improved engines can serve as a next generation A330 model as the A330s are selling reasonably well and it is generally smaller than the A350XWB particularly in concern when it comes to the size contrast between the A330-300 and the A350-900. If the original A350 went into service in 2010 or even 2011 Boeing would have a lot more to worry about when it comes to the much delayed 787 than they do now with the almost equally delayed A350.


"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9938 posts, RR: 96
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 11544 times:
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Quoting WarpSpeed (Reply 4):
The lack of cashflow that would otherwise be filling Airbus's coffers NOW if the original A350 had EIS in 2010!?

In what way? To be honest, the A330 as it stands has been providing the cashflow that you describe, or at least a fair chunk of it.
But Airbus were BURIED under the failure in the marketplace of the A340NG, whilst Boeing were making hay with the 773ER.
In my opinion, the fact that the A330 and A350XWB have been selling side-by-side in big numbers is testimony to the fact that making the A350XWB more of a 777 competitor was the right decision for Airbus.
There's 400 orders for the 777-sized A350-900 and A350-1000, which Airbus might not have received sticking with an A330-sized aircraft.

For sure there is an argument that says Airbus are sub-optimised against the 787 (-8 in particular) with either an "old-fashioned" A330, or an "oddly-sized" A350-800 as their alternatives, but those aircraft DO have a combined backlog of 550 frames as we speak, so they're not in "train-wreck" mode, just yet anyway.
And Airbus have delivered approaching 300 A330's since the 787 was launched.

I wonder if Airbus would be sitting on a backlog of 960 widebodied twins if they'd stayed with the old A350....
The deposits for those are no small amount of money, I suspect..

Quoting dl767captain (Reply 9):
Airbus was smart to change to a 777 competitor as well as a replacement for the A340 in one aircraft.

I tend to agree.

Rgds


User currently offlinepanais From Cyprus, joined May 2008, 453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 11519 times:

Quoting 2707200X (Reply 10):
I think the original A350 concept with the improved engines can serve as a next generation A330 model as the A330s are selling reasonably well and it is generally smaller than the A350XWB particularly in concern when it comes to the size contrast between the A330-300 and the A350-900.



Although this might be a wise decision considering all the money they have spent on the original A350 design, I believe that Airbus wants to focus on one family of widebody aircraft family the A350XWB instead of two which is the strategy that Boeing is going with the B787 and the B777.

It seems they want to repeat the success of the A320 with commonality, etc.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30393 posts, RR: 84
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 11506 times:
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I think Airbus made the right choice. Aibus was considering an A350-1000 stretch of the original design to cover the 777-200ER market, but they would have had nothing to throw against the 777-300ER.

User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4376 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 11236 times:

I tend to share the view that most of the orders the A335 could have got ( I use that name to make it clear what I mean ) have ended with the 332 and 333 now.
The A350 now is a completely new design, and will perform better than any A33x ever could. I see it as a new basis, like the original A300, of a large family of aircraft in the size favored for wide bodies. And like the A300 based aircraft are built for 40 years now, and I assume will be built for 10 years still with numbers going down after 2015, The A350 is the basis single deck design of Airbus for the time span from 2015 to 2060.
Yes, I know, I hear that aircraft will be completely different in 20 years, but I hear this since 50 years, and looking at 787 and A350 this just never was true.
So, to continue speculation, what other A350 based models will be built?

We have for sure A350-800: 270 seats, 28 LD3, 8300 miles range,248to MTOW
We have for sure A350-900: 314 seats, 36 LD3, 8100 miles range,268to MTOW

At least that is what I read on the Airbus web page. Is this really the latest news, since somewhere here was the news that 358 and 359 would be unified, with the A358 gaining more range?

We expect:
A350-1000: 350 seats, 44 LD3, 8000 miles range,298to MTOW

Now let me speculate.
Not every airline needs 8000 or even 8300 miles range - the A332 can do most long range applications, and there are tons of application where A333 range is enough, as example TATL.
My proposal:
A350-600: 270 seats, 28 LD3, 6300 miles range,224to MTOW - an A358 derated by software, rebated, can be upgrade to A358 for paying the difference. Offers A333 capacity with A332 range and operation costs below A358.
A350-700: 314 seats, 36 LD3, 6000 miles range,242to MTOW - an A359 derated by software, rebated, can be upgrade to A359 for paying the difference.

These models could compete with the 787 nicely.
Then I see a need for another model with still less range, a mid range widebody with 4000 miles range ( the 3000 of the 783 might be too little). This would require a new, lighter and smaller wing, so will come much later (2020?)
A350-400 270 seats, 28 LD3, 4300 miles range,198to MTOW
A350-500 314 seats, 36 LD3, 3800 miles range,212to MTOW

This calls for another shrink - and finally we have a replacement for A300 and B767.

At the upper end:
A350-1100 390 seat,52LD3, 298to MTOW, I still calculate around 7000 miles range. That would be a real CASM killer, already within 10% of the A380, 10% better than current 77W.


And since Boeing wil not sleep, we have wonderful times ahead, now that Wall Street crisis is behind us.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9938 posts, RR: 96
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 11078 times:
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Quoting Burkhard (Reply 14):
Not every airline needs 8000 or even 8300 miles range - the A332 can do most long range applications, and there are tons of application where A333 range is enough, as example TATL.
My proposal:

For what it's worth, Airbus offer a paper de-rate for those who don't require the range. The lower certified weight does reduce some costs, and the commonality with all the other A350XWB's also helps keep costs in check.

That said, there's no doubt that the decision to make the A350-800 a direct shrink of the A350-900 leaves that plane in a place where I think Airbus didn't really want it to be.

I sense that once the A350-1000 goes into service, Airbus will either
a) refine the A350-800 as they originally intended, or
b) produce a genuine "lighter" derivative (A350-700?), about the size of the A332, and with a smaller wing than the "baseline" A350XWB wing, to be a genuine, direct competitor to the 787-8

Rgds


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 10980 times:

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 14):
This calls for another shrink - and finally we have a replacement for A300 and B767.

Interesting but would they not be bugged by excessive empty weight?


User currently onlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 628 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10858 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
about the size of the A332, and with a smaller wing than the "baseline" A350XWB wing,

Would this require a new "clean sheet of paper" start on wing design, or have Airbus "designed in" the capacity to make a smaller version of the current A350 wing? (Like the A340NG wing being "scaled up" from the the A330 / 343 wing).


User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10752 times:

Quoting dl767captain (Reply 9):
Airbus was smart to change to a 777 competitor as well as a replacement for the A340 in one aircraft.

I agree. The a343 was already dead in the water and the a346 was being hammered by the 77W. This was the segment that needed the most urgent attention from Airbus, the a330 was still selling well.

Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
This would have allowed Airbus to soon begin development of a true 777 killer that better fills in the product line-up beneath the A380.

I'd say the a350 is exactly that aircraft.

Quoting mariner (Reply 7):
"What if" the A350 (old) had been flying and available now? Would some of the airlines who are frustrated by the 787 delays have switched to the A350?

I'm guessing just as many as have jumped from the 787 to the a330...  
Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
That said, there's no doubt that the decision to make the A350-800 a direct shrink of the A350-900 leaves that plane in a place where I think Airbus didn't really want it to be.

According to Airbus, it's more efficient that the a332, while carrying more cargo and pax. But I believe it's also heavier. While it may be a good a332 replacement, it may indeed have a tough time competing against the 788.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
b) produce a genuine "lighter" derivative (A350-700?), about the size of the A332, and with a smaller wing than the "baseline" A350XWB wing, to be a genuine, direct competitor to the 787-8

The smaller wing would indeed certainly solve part of the "overweight" issue the a357 would have. But I'm guessing the frame itself would need to be lightened as well...



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User currently offlineYULWinterSkies From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2176 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10184 times:

Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
This would have allowed Airbus to soon begin development of a true 777 killer that better fills in the product line-up beneath the A380.

But, the A350 will be a true 777 killer, as by the time it actually enters service, the 777 will be getting old. Right now, the 777 is not quite at that stage yet and still sells well.
And, Airbus did not really need a 'refreshed' A330 as the A330 still sells really well too. Admittedly it is by default as there is nothing else available quickly, but the main reason for manufacturing airliners is to sell them, so Airbus gets what they need!

Quoting mariner (Reply 1):
Water under the bridge. The XWB has sold nearly 600 frames. What's not to like?


Well, you get the point. Nearly 600 frames and not even already built.



When I doubt... go running!
User currently offlineparapente From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1548 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10147 times:

I tpp agree that the decision to "side step" the 787 and go for the 777 market was both unexpected and clever.And of course sales have prooved this strategy.

I like to take Keejse's 50 "alternative planes" with a little pinch of salt - good that they are.But I would not yet write off his 330 re engine.Unlikley I accept - but would not write it off just yet.Lets see how good a 788 really is 'cos franky right now we don't know.

Furthermore the "simple 787-10" straight stretch would indeed take the 333 market.I wonder.The Genx-2B has benefited from all the -1A learnings and appears(on the 748) to be doing a fine job.It's not impossible.Airbus has a long and successful history in mid range widebodies.It's (333) a damn good aircraft and would not steal from the 350 in any way. V Good for Charter airlines I think.


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4293 posts, RR: 36
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 10024 times:

dropping the original A-350 was the best decision Airbus ever made. If they continued, they would have clogged up their systems with another (after the A-345/346 and comparible to the 764 and 748i) baked over type of yesterdays airplane.
Even if the A-350 were say 5 or 10% better then the A-330, airlines would tend to 'wait for the real thing' or jump ship towards Boeing. And then around 2010-12 they still would have to start designing to come up with a proper 787/777 competitor, and loose a lot of that market to Boeing for the period 2010-2018.
They now have the best of both worlds; a healthy A-330 orderbook and a challenging 500+ XWB orderbook to fullfil in a few years time.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4672 posts, RR: 38
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 9742 times:
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Quoting Kappel (Reply 18):
Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
This would have allowed Airbus to soon begin development of a true 777 killer that better fills in the product line-up beneath the A380.

I'd say the a350 is exactly that aircraft.


I think so too. And compared to the low number of sales the A340-500/600 achieved, the well over 500 sold A350-XWB's are a very strong indication for Airbus choosing the right path here.  .


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4672 posts, RR: 38
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 9690 times:
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Quoting YULWinterSkies (Reply 19):
Right now, the 777 is not quite at that stage yet and still sells well.

That would only be the B77W which is still selling quite well. The initial B777-versions are hardly selling since the B787 and A350-XWB were offered to possible customers.


User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 9484 times:

I think it was absolutely the right way for Airbus.

Maybe a shortrange version of the -800 and also a -1100x would make sense.


25 kmz : my humble opinion is that the current XWB with an AL fuselage would have been perfect. Is there any proof until now that a CFRP fuselage is lighter an
26 mariner : But the "old" A350 had already sold about 200 frames and even ILFC had bought a bunch. Which is odd since Stephen Udvar-Hazy may have driven the fina
27 328JET : The old A350 was studied several years before already as a heavy weight A330 to replace the A343. But i think Airbus did it right to focus on a compl
28 Post contains images astuteman : The only issue I have is that (as I understand it), the A330 wil need a virtually new wing in order to park the GEnx or Trent 1000 underneath it. In
29 HBGDS : On the original question: It was great for Airbus to keep the original 350; not for the airlines. After all, same fuselage as the old A300A, B, 310, 3
30 Post contains links SchorschNG : Interesting thoughts. I think you need to take out weight to have a viable design. That requires a smaller wing - as you pointed out. The current A35
31 mariner : I'm sure the shareholders in EADS would have a different view. I know I did when I had shares in EADS. And it was Mr. Aboulafia who made all those ev
32 Post contains images art : Yes, but at the time no-one knew the 787 would be subject to extreme delay (apart from CaptainX of course who came close to being lynched for suggest
33 Post contains images astuteman : Excuse me? If it wasn't for the fact I surf airliners.net on a regular basis, it would qualify for the biggest load of politically motivated twaddle
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