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What Prospects For Original A350  
User currently offlineRickNRoll From Afghanistan, joined Jan 2012, 782 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8034 times:

When Airbus originally proposed the A350, (it is my understanding that), it would have been an incremental improvement of the A300. Same body width, better engines, etc. Given the success to date of the A330 vs the 787, would Airbus have made more money sticking to that concept, rather than going for a completely new XWB? There are good orders for the A350, but the A330 is doing better than expected still. Entry into service would have been very quick, so it would already have on sale for several years, and AB could now be developing the 777 competitor.

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7564 times:

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
When Airbus originally proposed the A350, (it is my understanding that), it would have been an incremental improvement of the A300.

Not the A300, the A330. The initial concept was called the A330-200Lite and was met with lukewarm reception before morphing into the initial A350 design that was also criticized by airlines and leasing companies as being too much like the A330, as it retained the A330 fuselage and essentially replaced the wings, tail, and cockpit with redesigned one using newer composites and did not view it as a competitor to the 7E7/787. Airbus had no other choice but to go with a clean sheet design.

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
Given the success to date of the A330 vs the 787,

Not really a valid comparison considering the 787 has only been in service for a couple of months.....


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7550 times:

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
When Airbus originally proposed the A350, (it is my understanding that), it would have been an incremental improvement of the A300.

I think you meant A330.

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
Given the success to date of the A330 vs the 787, would Airbus have made more money sticking to that concept, rather than going for a completely new XWB?

Unlikely...it would have sold well in the gap between launch and 787 EIS but would have lost a lot of ground that the A350XWB is getting. It would have been a temporary measure that likely has lower NPV than the option they actually took.

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
There are good orders for the A350, but the A330 is doing better than expected still.

True, mostly because the A330 is still a fantastic plane and you can get one now. Once the A350 and 787 are in full production even the original A350 would have faded away.

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
Entry into service would have been very quick, so it would already have on sale for several years, and AB could now be developing the 777 competitor.

AB is already developing a 777 competitor...launching the original A350 would have delayed that, probably to Airbus's overall detriment.

Tom.


User currently offline2008matt From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7509 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 2):
AB is already developing a 777 competitor...launching the original A350 would have delayed that, probably to Airbus's overall detriment

So are you saying airbus are developing a 777 competitor, or the a350 is their competitor?



Keep calm and up your game!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30565 posts, RR: 84
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7509 times:
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Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
Given the success to date of the A330 vs the 787, would Airbus have made more money sticking to that concept, rather than going for a completely new XWB?

I do not believe so. The A350 would have remained an 8-abreast airframe and that would have affected it's economics against the 9-abreast 787. It would have sold okay (it has over 200 orders at the time it was shelved with QR being the largest customer at 65 frames), but the 787 would have sold better, IMO.



Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
Entry into service would have been very quick, so it would already have on sale for several years, and AB could now be developing the 777 competitor.

With the money Airbus was investing on the original A350, their plan to compete against the 777 was to upgrade the A340-500 and A340-600 with new engines (the Trent 1500, which would have been based on the A350's Trent 1700), moving to Li-Al alloys for the fuselage and improvements to the aerodynamics.

Airbus believed the "A340-600 Enhanced" would close the fuel-burn gap to the 777-300ER to within 2% and offer significantly better range and operating costs. The market evidently didn't believe them and kept ordering 777-300ERs.

Airbus then moved to the A350XWB the following year.


User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2123 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7489 times:

Quoting 2008matt (Reply 3):
So are you saying airbus are developing a 777 competitor, or the a350 is their competitor?

The A350XWB is their competitor.


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7121 times:

Quoting 2008matt (Reply 3):
So are you saying airbus are developing a 777 competitor, or the a350 is their competitor?

What Polot said...the A350XWB is Airbus's 777 competitor. It also chews on the top end of the 787 but that's not its primary purpose in life. The XWB was a very shrewd move for Airbus.

Tom.


User currently offlineDash9 From Canada, joined Nov 2008, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6771 times:

On a similar topic, Since the A350-800 is not selling at all, and its development might be deferred after the A350-1000, I wonder is Airbus shouldn't proceed this way:

1- Cancel the A350-800 completely. It can't compete against the 787-9 as its over weight and its added range is not required by most operators.
2- Start a parallel project to enhance the A330 in a similar way as the A330 lite / A350 v1: new engines, weight saving only where it make the most sense (carbon wing?), strait forward certification as most of the airframe is the same. I'll call this the A330 V2. Yes it won't be as efficient as the B787 but its lower procurement cost, easier availability and commonality with 1200+ in service A330/A340 will help it get a fair market share.
3- Lower the price of the A330 V2. . All the processes, tooling, assembly line and supply chain is already in place so individual frames must cost much less to produce than the B787. Even if Airbus doesn't sell much it would still hurt Boeing as they would have to keep their B787 price low enough so to avoid defections toward the A330 V2.

OK, this sounds too simplistic. Whats wrong with my idea?  

-Dash9


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30565 posts, RR: 84
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6721 times:
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Quoting Dash9 (Reply 7):
Whats wrong with my idea?

From the hundreds of other times it's been suggested on this forum, the biggest obstacle is getting GE and RR to build an engine for it. GE wants a solid RoI, so unless they were given an exclusive power deal, I don't see them going for it. RR can asks the UK government to provide them a third of the cost via RLI funding, but they already have an exclusive on the A350XWN (by default on the -800 and -900 and by contract on the -1000). They're also the engine supplier of choice for the current A330 family. So they really don't need to spend billions on a new engine.

As for Airbus, if they cancel the A350-800 to significantly overhaul the A330, they could put some A350-900 sales at risk as airlines are choosing that model to replace A330-300s.


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6644 times:

Quoting Dash9 (Reply 7):
2- Start a parallel project to enhance the A330 in a similar way as the A330 lite / A350 v1: new engines, weight saving only where it make the most sense (carbon wing?), strait forward certification as most of the airframe is the same. I'll call this the A330 V2. Yes it won't be as efficient as the B787 but its lower procurement cost, easier availability and commonality with 1200+ in service A330/A340 will help it get a fair market share.
3- Lower the price of the A330 V2. . All the processes, tooling, assembly line and supply chain is already in place so individual frames must cost much less to produce than the B787. Even if Airbus doesn't sell much it would still hurt Boeing as they would have to keep their B787 price low enough so to avoid defections toward the A330 V2.

If airlines didn't want it back in 2004, they're just as likely to still not want it. Their lukewarm response to the A330-200Lite and the initial A350 design forced Airbus to go with a clean sheet design as opposed to slapping some new parts onto an A330. Just as the 787 is Boeing's 767 replacement, the A350 is Airbus' A330 replacement.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3380 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6296 times:

Quoting RickNRoll (Thread starter):
There are good orders for the A350, but the A330 is doing better than expected still.

A350 Mk1, Mk2, Mk3, Mk4, Mk5 etc all appeared inadequate designs to compete against B787, hence the decision to go for a fresh design with a different fuselage diameter.

The B787 design was received with such enthusiasm that it logged an unprecedented number of orders - meaning a lengthy wait for airlines ordering it late. To aggravate the situation, it was delayed for years, boosting the attraction of the A330's much better availability. So what need to make an A350 if there is still strong demand for the A330?

Quoting Dash9 (Reply 7):
2- Start a parallel project to enhance the A330 in a similar way as the A330 lite / A350 v1: new engines, weight saving only where it make the most sense (carbon wing?), strait forward certification as most of the airframe is the same. I'll call this the A330 V2. Yes it won't be as efficient as the B787 but its lower procurement cost, easier availability and commonality with 1200+ in service A330/A340 will help it get a fair market share.

An A330V2 would not be available for delivery for several years so if airlines could wait years for delivery, why should they not order the more capable 787?


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25005 posts, RR: 85
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6247 times:
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Quoting art (Reply 10):
The B787 design was received with such enthusiasm that it logged an unprecedented number of orders - meaning a lengthy wait for airlines ordering it late.

"The drug-like rush of the 787" - Richard Aboulafia.

When CEO Parker of US Airways was asked if he would transfer his order from the A350 to the A350XWB, he said he didn't know what was wrong the aircraft he had already ordered.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineStickShaker From Australia, joined Sep 2004, 753 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 5474 times:

Quoting Dash9 (Reply 7):
Yes it won't be as efficient as the B787 but its lower procurement cost, easier availability and commonality with 1200+ in service A330/A340 will help it get a fair market share.

Once you develop a carbon fibre wing you will lose your lower procurement cost (wings are a big capital cost item) along with availability as engineering resources are already stretched with current programs at Airbus.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
the biggest obstacle is getting GE and RR to build an engine for it

Airbus have stated that any re-engine would also require beefing up the wing, wing centre box and other structural mods that would add significantly to the cost.

Quoting Dash9 (Reply 7):
Lower the price of the A330 V2. . All the processes, tooling, assembly line and supply chain is already in place so individual frames must cost much less to produce than the B787.

The existing and planned 330 developments provide maximum pricing flexibility - once you add major R&D items that pricing power is lost due to the need to recoup the R&D.


Regards,
StickShaker


User currently offlineferpe From France, joined Nov 2010, 2800 posts, RR: 59
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 5360 times:

On top of what has already been said I think a decisive part of shelving the A350mk1 and going for the XWB was Airbus realizing just how difficult it would be to compete with the 77W with the 340 range. This decision grew on them during late 2005 and spring 2006, by then the 77W had during 2 years demonstratet that it would give the 340-600 a very hard time, owerperforming on fuel burn, payload and range. It was also very reliable and had excellent ETOPS rating which would not be worse going forward.

Strategically A realized they had 2 gaps to fill with something better then their present offering, a 350mk1 only addressed the lower gap (so so). If Airbus was to stay in duopoly in the profitable mid-range with Boeing they needed to be more competitive, thus something better then A350mk1 and 340neo was needed. The clever thing about the A350XWB is that it covers this two gaps albeit with some compromises in the 250 pax area. For that area Airbus can wait to finally decide on the strategy as the 330-200/300 and the 350-800 defends that area acceptably right now and A can only profit from a late decision what to finally do there, a 330neo or a real 350-800. That might include changing the definition a bit like making it slightly longer (only an 8 frame shrink instead of 10) to use the somewhat large wing and engines more efficiently, given that pax needs grows as we go forward. Post recession that might be the better sizing of this segment.

[Edited 2013-01-13 02:49:43]


Non French in France
User currently offlineRicknRoll From Afghanistan, joined Jan 2012, 782 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 5248 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 9):
If airlines didn't want it back in 2004, they're just as likely to still not want it. Their lukewarm response to the A330-200Lite and the initial A350 design forced Airbus to go with a clean sheet design as opposed to slapping some new parts onto an A330. Just as the 787 is Boeing's 767 replacement, the A350 is Airbus' A330 replacement.
Quoting art (Reply 10):
An A330V2 would not be available for delivery for several years so if airlines could wait years for delivery, why should they not order the more capable 787?

It won't work now, but in hindsight, the A330 NEO may have been a good idea. The promise of the 787 is not what it once was. A cheaper, more timely, less fuel efficient plane, that is a significant improvement on the A330, appears now to have had a window of opportunity, IMHO. It's gone now. The A350, also in hindsight, can't cover the big gap down to the A321 to where the 787 sits.


User currently offlineIndianicWorld From Australia, joined Jun 2001, 2916 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5192 times:

It's very hard to have a product range that suits all needs without some compromises. There will always be some gaps.

The A350 XWB provides a very good platform to attack the 787 and 777 product offerings.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3380 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5181 times:

Quoting RicknRoll (Reply 14):
A cheaper, more timely, less fuel efficient plane, that is a significant improvement on the A330, appears now to have had a window of opportunity, IMHO. It's gone now.

In retrospect. At the time nobody knew that deliveries of the 787 would start three and a half years late. In any event, Airbus had to choose where to apply their resources - to developing the A350 or to developing the A350XWB. They could not do both and the fact that IIRC all A350 orders were converted to A350XWB suggests that customers preferred the latter.


User currently offlinesweair From Sweden, joined Nov 2011, 1811 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5115 times:

The gap between the A321neo and the A358 is too big IMO. They need the A325 here, they need it more than Boeing as they have the 788 for sub par 4500nm routes.

The A321 is a perfect structure to build on, but would need heavy investment and a weight hike up to 55t. A bigger lighter cfrp wing, bigger heavier engines and beefier UC. Larger wings means more tankage and lift, beefier UC means higher MTOW, more thrust means more capability. This model would take sales from the A321neo, MAX-9, 767 A332 and 788.

They could let the A330 fade away with time and replace the A333 with a better A358 and the A332 with this imaginary A325. 10 hour flights and up to 200 seats, no cargo. 38-40K thrust GTF is that possible? The seat width is ok for longer routes and with max 200 seats pitch is ok too. Then make a freighter model of the same basic frame, perfect replacement of the 757Fs out there. Very efficient medium hauler/shuttle frame, could survive more cycles better than a big heavy WB abused on shorter routes.


User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 634 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4961 times:

Is the 242t A330 the final stage of its development (apart, I am expecting, from launch of a new-build 242t A333F)?

I recall there was a weight-saving proposal to remove weight from the wings that was there solely to provide a common wing for A340s - i.e. the outer engine attachment points. Does anyone know if that weight saving is part of the 242t proposal, or something possibly for later?


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4384 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4944 times:

To me it looks like in 2004 the enthusiasm for all new plastic planes was just too big. The maths always made it clear than an A330 with GENX/Trent 1000 engines could compete with the 787 on most missions. But it could not attack the A340/777-200ER replacement market, so the 350XWB was needed - and any commitment to an A330NEO would have put doubts onto the A350 program.

I wish Airbus proposes A330Neos on the day of first flight of the 350XWB.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3380 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4848 times:

Quoting sweair (Reply 17):
The A321 is a perfect structure to build on, but would need heavy investment and a weight hike up to 55t. A bigger lighter cfrp wing, bigger heavier engines and beefier UC. Larger wings means more tankage and lift, beefier UC means higher MTOW, more thrust means more capability. This model would take sales from the A321neo, MAX-9, 767 A332 and 788.

It Airbus started development today, it would not be ready for delivery pre-2017/2018, would it? In saying that, I assume that Airbus has the spare design resources to embark on more design work in parallel to A350WXB and A32XNEO.

I see a risk going down the A325 route. Just speculating here, but if incremental improvements to the A320NEO series lead to it outperforming the B737MAX series (I imagine due to GTF PIP's pulling the engine ahead of Leap-X PIP's over the years), Boeing might start working on the 737MAX replacement earlier than expected. I guess that would force Airbus to follow suit, in which case how many A325 frames could Airbus deliver to cover R&D and make a decent profit before replacing the model?


User currently offlinesweair From Sweden, joined Nov 2011, 1811 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4657 times:

Quoting art (Reply 20):

The cfrp wing design of the imaginary A325 could be used in the future NB from A, reuse/recycle. This model would live on beyond the NEO EOL. Until the new NB is in shape and up there in numbers, transfer it to the new design.

Even if the A332 sells right now it will dwindle with time, A needs something smaller than the A358 and bigger than A321.
Either they have to invest heavily in the A358 or do something else. The A358 in current form will never be a good A332 replacement, nor 767.

This is a subject that provokes many here, I´ll just place my bets on this problem for A, they need a weapon against the 788. I see a useful role for the A320 frame, a bit larger than the A321, a bit beefier and more thrust. It would only really have to cover up to 4500-5000nm flights and 220 seats. In this range the 788 will never beat it.


User currently offlineKarelXWB From Netherlands, joined Jul 2012, 10706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4051 times:

This is how the original A350 would have looked like:



See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHtzz-rPgSY for the whole presentation.



Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe.
User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 634 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 3811 times:

We will never see the original A350 fly, but there will be ongoing development of the A330. We can be certain that there will be no re-engining of the current A330 but sharklets are not yet ruled out, and there may of course be engine PIPs and more weight savings yet to come.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...ons-open-on-a330-sharklets-381256/


User currently offlinegigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 24, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 3465 times:

Quoting sweair (Reply 17):
10 hour flights and up to 200 seats, no cargo. 38-40K thrust GTF is that possible?

Possible yes.

But there's no market for such a plane. If there were, we'd have one - we'd still have the 753, or an iteration of it. People would be buying the 763 for that market.

A 10 hour endurance narrowbody is such a niche. Remember - the 757 is only flying the routes it is because the carriers want to maximize the ROI on the plane, and the only way to do that is to fly it on its max capability routes.

NS


25 sweair : Think ahead, the 788 will be the smallest and lightest frame to use on a 10 hour trip with 210 seats, will this really be a small market? How many 76
26 Stitch : A 787-8 with 210 seats would be operating in three classes of service. An A321-200neo or 737-9 with 210-seats would be operating in a single class of
27 multimark : Given that both A and B decided to go the "evolution" route with the upcoming 737 and A320, perhaps that's indication it would have been the wiser cou
28 nrt1011 : AC operates a significant number of 763's to Europe (from YYZ/YUL) and to Asia (from YVR). I would hate to do such a flight on any single aisle A321 c
29 liftsifter : Be mindful as to WHY Boeing went with the MAX as opposed to a new product. 1. AA (a pretty big Boeing customer) was planning a major neo order and th
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