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Could AA Build Their Own Aircraft?  
User currently offlineaerohottie From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 802 posts, RR: 3
Posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 19311 times:

Its a quiet day at work, and I just had a thought... should the AA and US merger go ahead, this will be an airline wit a massive fleet of single-aisle aircraft. I understand that AA have ordered both 737Max and A320NEO's as their fleet replacement. However, even with ordering both types, it will still take such a long time to replace the combined fleets, by the time the current fleet is replaced it will be time to replace the replacements again.

With a requirement for so many aircraft, would it be possible for the merged AA (or DL or UA for that matter), to approach an aircraft manufacturer (Lockheed please) to design, develop and build their own aircraft specific to their needs?

Looking at the current aircraft fleet and adding 5% capacity growth year on year for the next 5-7 years (time to first delivery) AA would have a requirement for over 1,000 frames, and even more when factoring growth over the period of delivery (10-14 years from now).

Your thoughts?


What?
57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinephxa340 From United States of America, joined Mar 2012, 901 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19353 times:

Of course. DL and CO asked Boeing to build them the 764. WN asked Boeing for the 737NG. UA asked for 777. EK is asking and probably going to get the 777X.

What works for AA will also work for many other airlines. As far as your Lockheed wish .... keep dreaming  

Btw your figure for 1,000 frames is a little bit on the high side.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21865 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19242 times:

No. No manufacturer builds an airplane, even a variant of an existing airplane, specifically for one carrier. They may get a request from one carrier, shop it around a bit to see if anyone else is interested, and then make it if there seems to be enough demand. But making an airplane is a very expensive business, and the orders from one airline alone aren't going to make the numbers work out.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19103 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
No. No manufacturer builds an airplane, even a variant of an existing airplane, specifically for one carrier.

I can think of at least once exception, the MD-88. Build for and operated solely by Delta.

Plus the 764 example provided above by PHXA340.



388 346 77W 787
User currently offlinePanAmPaul From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19072 times:

I would say yes with a lot of strings attached.

Look at Pan Am's involvement in the 747. Of course, those days are long gone but a carrier the size of the merged AA would have tremendous clout.

I doubt it would be Lockheed, however. No recent passenger plane experience and that means a long learning curve.

Of course, AA has a huge order split among Boeing and Airbus - and will take up a huge percentage of both airplane mfr's capacity in the next few years so this would be an interesting discussion on many fronts.


User currently offlinenutsaboutplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 510 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19051 times:

I think Mir is saying that the manufacturer would have to believe that there would be a market with other carriers as well. There is entirely to much risk in sinking a ton of R and D into an aircraft for one company that could be gone tomorrow leaving the manufacturer with a product that nobody else wants.

I have to believe that Boeing felt that they had a case for the 764 outside of CO and DL and MD felt that they had a case for the MD88 outside of DL. If memory serves correctly however, didnt the MD87 share technology with the MD88?



American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
User currently offlineantoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1607 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 19006 times:

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 5):
If memory serves correctly however, didnt the MD87 share technology with the MD88?

I think so... and an MD-82 can be updated to the same standards... only DL has gone to the trouble of having the type paperwork changed as well.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlineaerohottie From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 802 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18964 times:

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 1):
As far as your Lockheed wish .... keep dreaming

I know  
I wish they would though. I'd love Lockheed to get back into the civil space.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 1):
Btw your figure for 1,000 frames is a little bit on the high side.

Really??? how so???

AA current NB fleet;
B738 x 200
B752 x 102
MD-80's x 184
Total = 486

US current NB fleet;
A319 x 93
A320 x 72
A321 x 75
B734 x 32
B752 x 24
Total = 296

Combined current NB total = 782

So now take the 782 current fleet, and build in 5% growth for an initial period of 5-7 years to the point of EIS, then a window of 5-7 years of delivery (10-14 years growth at 5% p.a.). This gives a total fleet requirement of 1274-1548 without factoring in any marketshare growth.

Would an order for 1274-1548 aircraft be enough to justify building your own aircraft in partnership with a manufacturer??? I think it would.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 1):
DL and CO asked Boeing to build them the 764

My initial thought was for AA to "ask" an existing manufacturer to build an aircraft for them, but rather would it be possible for AA to build the aircraft themselves in partnership with a manufacturer??? (Please please please Lockheed hahaha)



What?
User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2413 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18967 times:
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Boeing, United and Pratt were the same company until broken up by the Air Mail Act in the 30s.

User currently offlinenrt1011 From Canada, joined Jan 2005, 104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18938 times:

Better developa good strategy for re-using older planes. Seems it would take far too long to wait for new ones, and with an airline that large then segmentation is critical. There is certainly a segment of that that could well operate with older planes

User currently offlineaerohottie From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 802 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18938 times:

Quoting PanAmPaul (Reply 4):
Look at Pan Am's involvement in the 747. Of course, those days are long gone but a carrier the size of the merged AA would have tremendous clout.

Oh yeah, forgot about Pan Ams involvement in the 747... did Pan Am or United once own part of Boeing? or was it the other way around?...

Quoting PanAmPaul (Reply 4):
I doubt it would be Lockheed, however. No recent passenger plane experience and that means a long learning curve.

NOOOO!!!!! you are right of course



What?
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21865 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18935 times:

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 3):
I can think of at least once exception, the MD-88. Build for and operated solely by Delta.

The MD-88 is basically an MD-82 with a fancier cockpit and some cosmetic changes in the cabin. It's more akin to the MD-90s that McD built for Saudi Arabian that had an MD-11 style cockpit than a new variant of the aircraft.

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 3):
Plus the 764 example provided above by PHXA340.

The 764 was not built solely for CO or DL - Boeing had hoped other carriers would buy it as well, but everyone else found that the 332 was better suited for their needs. There wasn't a whole lot of investment needed on Boeing's part, so it wasn't that much of a problem, but the program was not as successful as they wanted it to be.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineiFlyLOTs From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 492 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18904 times:

Quoting aerohottie (Reply 10):
did Pan Am or United once own part of Boeing? or was it the other way around?...

Boeing owned United.

Quoting aerohottie (Reply 7):
My initial thought was for AA to "ask" an existing manufacturer to build an aircraft for them, but rather would it be possible for AA to build the aircraft themselves in partnership with a manufacturer??? (Please please please Lockheed hahaha)

So something along the lines of what easyJet tried to do with the ecoJet?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EcoJet



"...stay hungry, stay foolish" -Steve Jobs
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18901 times:

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 5):
I have to believe that Boeing felt that they had a case for the 764 outside of CO and DL and MD felt that they had a case for the MD88 outside of DL. If memory serves correctly however, didnt the MD87 share technology with the MD88?

Yes I agree, but at the end of the day, the MD-88 was build on the back of Delta orders and options. The variant may not have been intended "specifically and only" for Delta, but DL certainly got the ball rolling on that variant.

Im not sure about technology, but I do know the MD-88 has similar specifications to the MD82 and MD83.



388 346 77W 787
User currently online1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6648 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18871 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
The 764 was not built solely for CO or DL - Boeing had hoped other carriers would buy it as well, but everyone else found that the 332 was better suited for their needs. There wasn't a whole lot of investment needed on Boeing's part, so it wasn't that much of a problem, but the program was not as successful as they wanted it to be.

Not solely, but primarily. It accomplished its primary mission of suiting the widebody trijet replacements needs of DL and CO and prevented them from defecting to Airbus.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18869 times:

Quoting aerohottie (Thread starter):
With a requirement for so many aircraft, would it be possible for the merged AA (or DL or UA for that matter), to approach an aircraft manufacturer (Lockheed please) to design, develop and build their own aircraft specific to their needs?

A manufacturer would do it if the price were right. Everything will have to be paid by the airline up front so the aircraft manufacturer isn't stuck with the development costs.

Probably a 4 to 6 billion dollar up front payment plan over a year or so - new factories, new workers, training, etc. No manufacturer is going to pay the development costs of a new aircraft without a guarantee, and a check, to make sure they don't lose money.

That's assuming the manufacturer has a design concept which could be put a prototype on the ramp in three years. Add two more years for certification.

Sure, it could be done. They would get about 100 aircraft in seven years, at a cost higher than buying 300 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing in the same seven years.

And we haven't even discussed A & B pulling every political string they can find to slow the 'new' manufacturer from getting up and running and the new aircraft approved.

I see only one potential possible manufacturer - Sukhoi or possibly Antonov - that might be able to survive and get the plane into the air.


User currently offlinehOmsar From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 1212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18870 times:

Quoting aerohottie (Reply 7):
So now take the 782 current fleet, and build in 5% growth for an initial period of 5-7 years to the point of EIS, then a window of 5-7 years of delivery (10-14 years growth at 5% p.a.). This gives a total fleet requirement of 1274-1548 without factoring in any marketshare growth.

Would an order for 1274-1548 aircraft be enough to justify building your own aircraft in partnership with a manufacturer??? I think it would.

You're asking two different things. One is will AA need to buy 1200-1500 planes in the next 10-15 years (the answer to that is no). Two is whether a hypothetical order for 1200 planes would be enough to launch a new plane (the answer to that is probably, but that assumes a new plane model is needed; the next question is, is a new plane model needed; the answer to that is no).

A few things.

1) I doubt AA's needs are so specific that they would need a plane built just for them. They probably could find what they need already available from existing manufacturers (and, in fact, they have).

2) They are currently already receiving new 737-800s, and have received a bunch (I don't have exact numbers) over the past couple of years. These planes will be able to last at least 20 years, perhaps more. So there's no need to even consider replacement of these frames within the timeframe you mention. Even their oldest 737-800s would just start to need replacement in about 10 years.

3) Is 5% growth a realistic assumption? Without looking it up, I suspect that many mainline US carriers actually had larger fleets in the past than they do today (with regional jets having taken a lot of mainline flying).

4) You acknowledge that they do have 737NG (and I believe they have options of the 737MAX, but I don't think they have orders) and A320/A320neo on order. When those planes are delivered over the next several years, that fleet will be set for the next 2-3 decades. No need to think about replacing those.

[Edited 2013-02-10 21:22:49]


I was raised by a cup of coffee.
User currently offlineantoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1607 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18818 times:

Quoting hOmsar (Reply 16):

3) Is 5% growth a realistic assumption? Without looking it up, I suspect that many mainline US carriers actually had larger fleets in the past than they do today (with regional jets having taken a lot of mainline flying).

Nope. Market growth + consolidation means that the likes of Southwest, Delta, and United have larger individual fleets than any airline ever has before.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlineaerohottie From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 802 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18699 times:

Quoting hOmsar (Reply 16):
1) I doubt AA's needs are so specific that they would need a plane built just for them. They probably could find what they need already available from existing manufacturers (and, in fact, they have).

I guess this raises the question that sparked my initial thought. Can the existing manufacturers build the aircraft required by these megacarriers fast enough or soon enough?



What?
User currently offlinecornutt From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 338 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18612 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
Boeing, United and Pratt were the same company until broken up by the Air Mail Act in the 30s.

Yep, and if a U.S.-owned airline were allowed to do that today, Bill Boeing would rise from his grave and assassinate some Congressmen. He left the aviation industry because of United Aircraft being broken up.


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 1406 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 18578 times:

Boeing, United airlines, P&W (aka United Technologies) all were the same company until broken up by the US Federal government in the 1030s. Not sure if it legal for an airline to build airplanes.

AA could follow the Apple model. If they can't get what they need, they will finance a factory or such in exchange for commitments. Apple makes this work with a huge stack of cash, which airlines typically do not have.


User currently offlineJarradS From Australia, joined Dec 2012, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 18212 times:
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If any airline were to do this, it would most probably involve the Chinese.

Just my Opinion.............


User currently onlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2552 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 17011 times:

Because I remember my translating work (German to English) I've done on Wikipedia...

Swissair persuaded Douglas to produce the DC-9-32, and with the DC-9-51, SR was the launch customer. Then Mr. Baltensweiler traveled to the U.S. ton convince DC of stretching the -51 even longer, thus producing the -81 or MD-80.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissair

Feel free to correct me if anything of that is wrong.  

David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineHawaiianBird From Germany, joined Jan 2013, 9 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 16529 times:
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Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 3):
I can think of at least once exception, the MD-88. Build for and operated solely by Delta.

But did not Iberia operate that variant of the MD-80 series until a few years ago as well?


User currently offlineJoePatroni707 From United States of America, joined Dec 2012, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 15671 times:

CR Smith (AA president/CEO) convinced Douglas to build the DC-3. AA also played a major role of the DC-10 as well, but not the only contributor to the -10 program.

25 PSU.DTW.SCE : In this era, there is no justification for building exclusive aircraft since the costs involved would not be offset by any sort of advantage for the c
26 hotplane : Can't see it happening nowadays. A few years ago easyJet did ask Airbus to produce an A322, but nothing came of it. In the 60s, Hawker Siddeley built
27 aa777223 : I would liken Delta's influence on the creation of the new "variant" MD-88, to the influence of NW on the new variant of DC-10, the -40. It was someth
28 Post contains links web500sjc : AA got Douglas tosinglehandedly build the DC-7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_DC-7
29 alfa164 : I do like your theory; it would be the ultimate in vertical integration (no pun intended) in the airkine industry. And it has been done before; when B
30 alfablue : Airbus built a variant for easyjet (even though it was also sold to others). The 156 seat A319 with modified rear galley and the additional set of ov
31 Aesma : A cheap derivative maybe (like Airbus tweaking exits on the A319 and now A321), but that's it. If anything the 764 is a lesson that you shouldn't do t
32 Burkhard : As far as I understand, American ins bankrupt and US Airways just not. How could they get the 50 Billion $ together to develop something better than 7
33 BooDog : This reminds me of the question "Why does Boeing use Rolls Royce, GE, etc. for engine suppliers instead of building their own?" I believe Boeing's res
34 Burkhard : If the Airline they run is the best they can do, every free market would wash them away...
35 Mir : When I said variant, I meant a new version of an airplane (such as a 737-900 as opposed to an -800, or a 340-300 as opposed to a -200). The modificat
36 CiC : Hm, Convair built the CV-880 95% based on Howard Hughes' (TWA's) request and spec, and the 990 75% on AA's spec and 25% on SR's (and didn't match both
37 3rdGen : There are some big assumptions being made here: 1) There is so much new technology and scope to improve on the upcoming 737MAX and A320NEO that a new
38 rfields5421 : Based on an existing airframe they had in production. And as noted in the Wiki article - Douglas required AA to commit to the full development financ
39 XEspecialist : Not exactly. Boeing and its subsidiary thought they'd be smug and develop an exclusive aircraft. This was the Boeing 247. Sure it was fast and like n
40 hOmsar : I meant when you factor out consolidation. Does UA today have more or fewer mainline planes than UA + CO of 15 years ago? What about DL today vs DL a
41 EMBQA : The EMB-140 was built specifically for American Eagle.
42 garpd : So far as I can recall all the official info says the opposite. The 764 was a request from CO and DL for something between the 763 and 772. Of course
43 olli : Of course DL was/is the biggest operator (by far) of the MD-88 but not the only one:: Austral, AeroMéxico, Iberia (Aviaco previously), Midwest and O
44 1337Delta764 : Exactly. Many seem to love to bash the 764 due to it not selling to other carriers. While Boeing would have hoped to sell it to a few more carriers,
45 Viscount724 : Not correct. Most went to DL but 38 MD-88s were built for customers other than DL. IB operated the shorter-fuselage, longer range MD-87, not the MD-8
46 N505FX : Not so much a learning curve on how to design and build the plane, that is what they do for a living....but supporting commercial operations and comm
47 4holer : What if... They could make a business case for a fleet of 200 or so smaller supersonic passenger airliners and have a manufacturer build it to their s
48 Post contains images L0VE2FLY : Even if they, or any other manufacturer did, it'll be yet another boring twin-jet, nothing like the beautiful Tristar!
49 Aesma : Only Air Inter flew the Dassault Mercure but I don't know if they had anything to do with the design.
50 UA735WL : Wasn't NW basically the only reason the DC-10-40 was built? Another example is anything built in Soviet-era Russia- everything was designed solely for
51 CapEd388 : I stand corrected. I should have said "mainly" instead of "solely". My apologies.
52 HSVflier : I wouldnt be suprised if we see another large aerospace company enter the NB aircraft scene in the next 10 years. Especially if budget cuts go through
53 american 767 : Likewise SAS was the only reason the DC-9-20 and -40 were built.
54 4holer : ...And definitely the 707-138 for Qantas.
55 olli : That is inaccurate, Iberia operated the MD-88. Best Regards,
56 Viscount724 : Correct. I should have said "ordered" not "operated". The IB MD-88s were inherited from AVIACO, while IB was the largest original customer for the MD
57 NorthStarDC4M : -20 yes -40 no, -40 was built to meet spec requests from SAS and Swissair, also bought by TOA Domestic But lets not forget the Mercure for Air Inter.
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