keesje
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Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 10:27 pm

I see it is 10.000 kg heavier then e.g. Embraer 190/195.

How much fuel is that at say 2100 flights a year ?

Tail, Wings everything seems oversized ....

You can see it is too heavy ..


IMO this one looks better balanced ...


"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
LHR340
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 10:43 pm

This thing is ugly  Smile I like Airbus but the tail is to big or looks to big - the wings look OK to me.

LHR340
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Airbus Lover
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 10:52 pm

Again, the A318 is not really meant to be a competitor to any RJ in the 100 seat range. the A318 is designed for long thin routes up to 5000kms hauling 100 pax as opposed to the like of B717, Embraer 190/195 or the sort whose missions are to do many many cycles in one day on short hops.
 
keesje
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 11:33 pm

I don not believe Air France, America West, British Airways, EgyptAir, Frontier Airlines will use the A318 on many routes longer then say 3000km.

They fly those international routes with "larger" aircraft (>125 seat).
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
DIA
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 11:40 pm

They did make the A318's tail larger, including the front extension a la 737-300 through -900, for more stability.

http://www.airbus.com/media/drawings.asp

DIA
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AA737-823
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 11:52 pm

Yes, the A318s tail is so much larger that, in fact, Frontier will not be able to use several of it's gates at home hub Denver airport. You may have seen the pics of the 319's taxying under the "only walkway over an active taxiway in the world." Well, someone on this board said a few days ago that the 318 won't fit under the walkway.

R
 
racko
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Fri May 16, 2003 11:57 pm

The A318 is a niche player for airlines which need a few small planes but don't want to add a completly new type to their fleet.
 
DIA
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 12:23 am

Read the remark in this photo, you'll understand then.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tim Samples



DIA
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 1:58 am

There's a simple reason why Airbus made the tail bigger - so Frontier's "critters" would look good.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

And yes, it would fit under the airbridge - tightly. The clearance is 42 feet. The A318 tail is six inches less than that. So they're not going to risk it - for the moment - but simply park the planes on the north side of the terminal.

Will it be a "niche" aircraft? Maybe. But hey, nothing wrong with "niche" aircraft.

Or does everything have to be the same these days?

cheers

mariner
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atcboy73
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 2:13 am

That TAM looks awesome !!!


I want one!
 
Hamlet69
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 2:44 am

Keesjse,

Actually, EgyptAir and British Airways have already dismissed the A318, converting their orders into other A32Xs.

Regards,

Hamlet69
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jmc1975
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 2:47 am

It looks like the A318 will be the ultimate SHORT BUS!
.......
 
Sonic
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 2:50 am

Lithuanian Airlines for instance makes a good use of these around 100 seats medium haul planes. They operated the following over the time:

Yakovlev Yak-42
Boeing 737-200
Boeing 737-300
Boeing 737-500

The farthest route with such planes was Vilnius-Dubai (4079km / 2202nm).
 
SunCEO
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 5:13 am

When is the A318 due to enter service? I though it was a year ago?

Rgds,
SunCEO.
 
dc-10 levo
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 5:25 am

No A318 wearing a proper livery in the database, so I'm guessing they haven't received them yet.

I'm not sure, but I think BA have some on order.

DC-10
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 5:34 am

DC-10 Levo:

The first A318 doesn't come to Frontier until early July. The critter on the tail is "thong" bear from the new commercials.

The question is, will it (N801FR) be ready in time for the Paris Air Show, and, if it is, will it make an appearance?

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
keesje
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 8:34 pm

Hamlet, thnx

I think some airlines already switched to larger A32x variants says a lot. If a A318 is hardly cheaper to operate then a A319 well .....

Also the fact that USAirways bought a pile of Embraers while they are a big Airbus operator tells a lot.

Maybe Airbus should have stepped in years ago and made sure this baby had (nearly) full cockpit commonality with the Airbus family....



Common cockpits upto the A330/40 family would have given them (with Fairchild Donier) a unique selling point in the marketplace.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
A388
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 9:26 pm

Keesje,

Maybe US Airways order for regional jets has to do with the A318 being a new aircraft of which the operating stats are not available. The ERJ and CRJ have proven themselves as being good regional jets, whereas the A318 still has to prove itself (it's not a true regional jet). All Airbus aircraft have full cockpit commonality, including the A318 which belongs in the A320 family. As AirbusLover already stated, the A318 is not meant as a direct competitor to other regional jets, such as the ERJ and CRJ. The A318 is a heavier aircraft with a bigger range, whereas the reigonal jets usually fly shorter sectors.

Regards A388
 
keesje
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 9:35 pm

A388, the Embraer 170 family US ordered are not proven.
The A318 comes from a well proven family ...

I don´t think are are much sectors were either the Em190 or A319
is not a better choice then the A318 ...

It would be a very, very small niche .... too small probably ...
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
voodoo
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 9:50 pm

DC-10 Levo,
yes I also recall that BA didn't cancel/convert all of the 318s on order.
Unless things have changed again....
` Yeaah! Baade 152! Trabi of the Sky! '
 
Britair
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 10:58 pm

BA converted all their A318 orders for A321's.
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sat May 17, 2003 11:51 pm

Keesje:

The fact that US Air bought Embraers does lot a lot.

The fact that they bought an equal (or greater?) number of Canadair RJ's tells a lot, too.

Such as: US Air doesn't need the range of the A318 - they need a short hop plane.

The fact that BA converted their A318 orders to A321's tells us a lot, too. Times change. The whole nature of BA's short haul operation has changed post 9/11.

Why jump straight from the smallest, the A318 - to the largest, the A321? Why not go for the A319 or the A320?

That says a lot more about what's happening at BA than it does about the A318.

cheers

mariner

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dc-10 levo
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 12:17 am

They converted all their A318's on order to A321's???

The BA livery would have looked very nice on the A318 aswell.

So who else has some on order? It can't just be F9.

DC-10
 
BFS
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 12:36 am

I take it the A318 is based completely on the A320 cross-section and thus will be able to accomodate the cargo containers that its competitors can't? Its not really my particular area of expertise, but would this not be an advantage?
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 12:36 am

DC-10:

Air France and America West. Plus about 45 from leasing companies, for a total of 84 orders.

Like the B717, the plane hasn't sold well, but for different reasons.

It may very well end up as a niche airliner, as someone suggested, but hey, some airlines need niche planes.

After the prototype flew, and thus the capabilities were known, Frontier had the opportunity to convert their orders as well.

They chose to stick with the A318 (which also tells us quite a lot), but with different engines (CFM instead of the troublesome PW).

So Frontier became the launch customer.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
ha763
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 8:10 am

BFS,

While using the same cross-section as the rest of the A320 family, the A318 is bulk only. Apparently, the cargo door is too close to the wing.
 
POSITIVE RATE
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 12:11 pm

I don't like the A318- it's too short. For some reason shorter jets with wing mounted engines don't look good at all- except the 737-200. A short t-tailed jet with rear mounted engines on the other hand looks cool- even the DC-9-10 looked cool.
 
Sean-SAN-
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Sun May 18, 2003 2:29 pm

I like the A318.. it looks overpowered, so it'll prolly be a hoot to fly for the pilots.
 
DIA
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 12:17 am

Short and stubby has always been a good look: 707-100, 721, 732, 747SP, 762, A310, DC-8-10/20/30/40/50, DC-9-10/20/30, L1011-500, EMB-170. . .etc.

And, now to add to the list: 736, A318, A332, A345, and the A380-800(unless they shrink it, it already looks stubby). There are probably others I've not listed. . .

DIA
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kramri
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 1:22 am

If the 318 only has 6 inches of clearance under the walking bridge at DEN, then F9 can't take it under. As I recall, the airport authority only allows planes to pass under that will not strike - even in the event that they loose their nose gear. There would be no way that it could be under there with its nose on the tarmac.
 
elwood64151
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 1:34 am

Six inches, huh? That's not a lot of clearance. Since DEN is one of the busiest US airports, and UA is a major Airbus operator, they might have considered that before the go-ahead with this design.

Still, we'll see how well they operate and if they're as good as Airbus says, then maybe they'll pick up some orders.

I'm still waiting for FL's July announcement before I decide if the 100-seat non-RJ aircraft will be a success for anyone. I sure hope it is, though.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 1:54 am

Kramri:

I'm not sure what all this fuss about the Denver airbridge is. A 747 won't go under it, either.

Frontier have enough gates on the north side of Terminal A for it not to be a concern.

Elwood:

I don't think Airbus had the Denver Airport (or Frontier) in mind when they came up the A318. The airbridge is unique in the world - I don't think you design a plane based on that.

As to it's performance - in a sense it doesn't matter. The RJ's presently rule the thinking of airline bosses in this country. And sadly, the B717 and the A318 came out just as that RJ concept took hold.

But at least, a tall person can stand upright in the A318 or the B717.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
 
kramri
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 2:07 am

The pedestrian bridge at DEN links Jeppeson Terminal to concourse A (map on www.flydenver.com). The 13 gates on the south side of the concourse are the only ones effected by the bridge (7 F9 gates, 6 UA gates). There would be no problem with the 318 taxing between Concourses A and B, then rounding A to reach a south side gate. I would also suspect that most 318s would go to an F9 gate on the north side of the concourse and avoid the problem all-together.

Elwood64151, when DEN was built, UA was only on Concourse B. Concourse A was meant for CO, and the gates that hold big jets are on the north side of the concourse, where there is no bridge. (Now the gates for BA, Lufthansa)
 
Greg
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 2:11 am

It was in EADS best interest to let FD go under. Although they are a component manufacturer...they also hold an financial interest in Embraer.

Boeings interest initially into Dornier was to counter Airbus' interest in Embraer.
 
kramri
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 2:36 am

Mariner,
I not sure I understand what "fuss" your talking about. You mentioned that there was 6" of clearance.

"And yes, it would fit under the airbridge - tightly. The clearance is 42 feet. The A318 tail is six inches less than that. So they're not going to risk it - for the moment..."

All I added was that there was a problem with your statement. They will never get permission to taxi under the bridge with a 318 for the reasons that I stated.

"A 747 won't go under it, either." Where are you going with that? Should we start a thread on all types that will not fit under the bridge?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

P.S. It's possible that it would become an inconvenience for F9. When jetblue has a plane at DEN, there are only 4 gates left on the north side, as opposed to the 7 on the south.

[Edited 2003-05-19 19:44:47]
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 4:22 am

Kramri:

The "fuss" is not so much on this thread. It is frequently used against the A318 - check several threads.

They may, indeed, never get permission to put the A318 under it - but they aren't asking for permission. They made the decision to park the A318's on the north side several months ago.

As to the B747 not fitting under it, my point is only that there are many aircraft that wn't fit under the airbridge, so I'm not sure why it is even an issue (as it has been).

The PS: Yes, indeedy, the number of gates available could be an inconvenience - but gates in general are a problem for F9 (they need more) - until we know what's happening with UAL.

If UAL survives, DIA plans to add a section to terminal A which will give F9 several more gates (9, I think).

If UAL doesn't survive, then I'd guess a fair few gates would become available to F9.

cheers

mariner

aeternum nauta
 
Pe@rson
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 4:40 am

I am all for smaller capacity planes, such as the A318. Indeed, I think that airlines should use smaller planes on as many routes as possible (as slots and range allow), thereby increasing the amount of flights per day and thus consumer choice. Take this example: an airline operates an A320 (150 seats) once-daily between point A and point B. If the airline operated the 50 seat CRJ, for instance, it could operate three daily flights - one in the morning, one midday, one evening. This would appeal to both business people (enabling day trips) and tourists alike. Yes, the airline would need more planes, more pilots, more crew, more maintenance people, etc, but these costs might be offset by more people travelling because it'd be more convenient (especially if the airline passed cost savings onto its consumers in the form of lower prices). In addition, economies of scale (where the unit cost is reduced through, for instance, bulk buying), would be appropriate.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
kramri
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 5:35 am

Mariner
Thanks for the clarification. I just added what I knew about the DEN bridge to what both you and DIA had mentioned. I have no problem with the A318 at all. I am very pro F9 and would like to see them become larger and more dominant in the market. I made no mention of any opposition to the A318, in fact it only gives F9 more room to expand on their "nature preserve"!

Cheers,
kramri
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 6:36 am

Kramri:

I think we both agree, and if I over-reacted to you, I apologize.

I am also "pro-F9" - I've owned a few shares in it since the bad old days of Westpac.

FWIW, I think the A318 is a snazzy little thing (well, not so little) and, as I say, at least a tall person can stand upright in it.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy And if it ends up that F9 is the major - or even the only - operator of the plane, that's fine by me, as long as it works for F9.

I dislike the RJ's for anything other than their original purpose - short hops, short planes. The idea of a four hour flight in an RJ would give me claustrophobia.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
DIA
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 6:53 am

From an outsider's point of view. . .Kramri and Mariner: you both are on the same page and in agreement with one another.

Pro-F9 it is. . .myself included.

I wouldn't doubt the BabyBus will become my favorite Airbus to fly on, especially with F9!

Cheers,
DIA
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 7:00 am

There is, of course, a great in-joke that no one's picked up.

The general complaint about the A318 is that it is too heavy. Since I don't think F9's management is stupid, I'd guess they've heard all this too, and have put it into the equation.

So they could have chosen a "critter" for the tail which is small amd light, a bird, or the jack rabbit.

Instead the critter on the tail of the first A318 is to be the "thong bear" from the commercials, which is about the "heaviest" looking animal in the collection.

Coincidence? Yeh, maybe.

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy

cheers

mariner
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sxmarbury33
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 8:19 am

Pearson i dont think thats really that good of an idea. The concept is nice but a lot of airlines have already changed to frequency over capacity to the breaking point, going to RJ's would take it over this point. As an aviation enthusiest i would imagine that in most markets this idea would not work, as lot of the ATC system is already bogged down with added traffic, this would only cause more delays. As a consumer i might not like being in an RJ as opposed to a smaller mainline aircraft. Other consumers especially premium passengers that can only be fully accomodated (if you could call it that) on larger regional jets anyways, and the level or service and comfort probably wouldnt match a mainline aircraft. And as you said the extra plane, pilot, maintinence, etc costs would be higher. The airlines changed from capacity EX. Domestic DC-10 747 after deregulation. At this point downgrading anymore would impact the service to a point of descouraging travel at least on all airlines that did this.
 
DIA
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Tue May 20, 2003 11:56 pm

"Instead the critter on the tail of the first A318 is to be the "thong bear" from the commercials, which is about the "heaviest" looking animal in the collection."

Good point. Doesn't F9 have an elk, or something like that? I think I've also seen polar bears as well.

Anyway, does anyone have an "animal list" for Frontier's animal tails? I've seen it on A.net before, so I know someone has it.

In terms of the A318 being too heavy, well, I think F9 is going to be laughing about that one all the way to the bank with all the profit they will be making off of this "Baby-Heavy" or "Beary-Heavy-BabyBus". . . .

Cheers,
DIA
Ding! You are now free to keep supporting Frontier.
 
keesje
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 12:47 am

Comfort wise ...

At an RJ like the Embraer it is a 4 abreast seating,

so either window or aisle seat.

I would not prefer a middle seat on a A318, especially on longer flights, would you ?

Those are 33% of the seats.....

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
ScottB
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 1:32 am

I think the problem with the A318, as far as prospective airline customers see it, is that the effective niche for the aircraft is very small. It has virtually the same operating costs as the A319, and yet offers roughly 20 fewer seats. Remember that it is nearly as heavy as the A319 (so almost the same fuel burn on a given route), uses pilots from the same pool (so identical pilot costs), requires three flight attendants (as does the A319), and requires essentially the same number of ground staff as well -- while offering 15-20% fewer seats. The only time an A318 will be more effective than an A319 on a given route is when you know that you will never, ever need more seats than the A318 can offer.

My guess is that Airbus made it worth Frontier's while to be the launch customer for the A318. That's good for Frontier, since they're probably getting a better deal on their entire Airbus order, and Airbus needed an airline customer aside from AF who would actually take delivery of A318's (America West's A318 order looks dubious at best these days).

Given a whopping 35 orders from airlines on the books, I suspect most of them think the A318 is a poor fit, especially considering the number of A320-family operators who could take advantage of its commonality.

The bridge to Concourse A at Denver International was designed to CO's specifications -- and they are and were a big 737 operator.
 
kramri
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 2:29 am

DIA: here is an animal list... since F9 is actively cutting the 732's, I'm not sure which 3 are still active...but

737-200 (3): raccoon, elk, mountain goat (maybe humming bird)

737-300 (16): red fox, wolf, bobcat, golden eagle, penguin, moose, black bear, bighorn sheep, lynx, grey fox, pelican, dolphin under water, dolphin jumping at sunset, crane, bald eagle, fawn.

A319 (17): humming bird, snowy owl, howling wolf, seal under water, gazelle, buck, red fox pup, crane, elk in meadow, Canadian goose, mallard duck, mountain lion, stallion, killer whale, swan, wood duck, elk at dawn.

Also thought this was cool... not sure what animal is on the tail of your 319... check the inside of the wingtip!

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tim Samples



kramri
 
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mariner
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 3:20 am

Scottb:

I'm confused. You spent a deal a bandwidth on another thread trying to persuade me that the costs of the A318 were more than somewhat higher than the A319.

Now you say the costs are "virtually the same."

Perhaps F9 did get a good deal on the A318, but I doubt it's out of line - F9's general deal with Airbus is not extraordinary.

They're paying a total of $34 million for each A319 ($24 million down with a balloon of $10 million at the end of the ten year mortgage period). Somewhat less than list, but not outrageously so.

Boeing refused to pay any kind of ball on the price at all - F9's order being, at that time, "too small."

There are also a number of Frontier routes which are good but thin - where an A319 is simply too big a plane, and an RJ too small. In which case, the A318 fits (under your scenario) very nicely into the scheme of things.

Nor am I sure why the AWA order looks 'dubious" these days. It may be so, but I have read nothing that suggests it. Their A318 order was deferred until 2006 specifically because of demands made by the ATSB.

It helped AWA that there was a problem with the PW engine, because, assuming their order sticks, they're staying with that engine.

My other puzzle is that there are some 50 orders for the A318 by the leasing companies. Now, they had the opportunity, as did everyone, to convert those orders after the test flights and the PW problems were revealed.

But the leasing companies (like F9) stayed with it. Surely, ILFC (e.g.) wouldn't want the planes if they didn't think they could find homes for them?

Mind you, if they do take the planes and no one esle does want 'em, I'm sure that F9 would then get a really good deal!

What the hey? In a couple of months - mid July - F9 will be flying the A318 (N801FR), and then everyone, including AWA, can make up their minds.

cheers

mariner
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ScottB
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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 5:03 am

Mariner-

You're not that dense. You do understand the difference between trip cost and cost per available seat mile (ASM), right? The A318's trip cost will be virtually as high as the A319's trip cost -- slightly lower (low single digits of percent) due to a lower price paid to Airbus for an A318 vs. an A319 and due to marginally lower fuel burn. But it has a lot fewer seats; on the order of 15-20%. Consequently, the ASM cost on the A318 is significantly greater than on the A319.

When I said "virtually the same operating costs," I was referring to trip cost; i.e. operating an A318 or an A319 on a given route will cost roughly the same number of dollars on an absolute basis. But the A318 offers fewer seats on which to make back those dollars spent. The point is that while Frontier may have routes for which an RJ is too small and an A319 is too large, they gain very little in cost savings by operating an A318 istead of an A319.

This is exactly why the 737-600 has had limited market success as well; because it's a shrink of the -700 (and nearly as heavy), the per-trip cost is virtually as high as the -700's. So if you're paying out the money to operate the airplane, you might as well take the extra seats for essentially free.

To be honest, I don't know exactly where ILFC is going to place 250-300 new Airbus narrowbodies in the next several years -- especially given the current environment where many existing leases are being rejected or renegotiated, and where there are hundreds of relatively new aircraft sitting in the desert. But if you take a look at their 10-K report for 2002 and the delivery schedule contained therein, you might notice note (d) next to the entry for 13 A318-100's to be delivered in 2005-7: "(d) Under the terms of the contract with Airbus, the Company intends to exercise its right to redesignate these aircraft to other aircraft types." Not "may", but "intends to."

According to the specs put out by both Boeing and Airbus, the operating empty weight of the A318, at 84,600 lbs, is only 3,800 lbs less than the A319 and higher than the larger 737-700 at 83,000 lbs. I don't exactly see how HP will effectively compete with WN at PHX and LAS using an aircraft with higher operating costs for fewer seats.
 
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mariner
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Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 6:22 am

Scottb:

If I'm being dense, so be it. I bow to anyone's superior technical knowledge than my own, which is close to zero.

Howsumever, I come back to a point we've discussed before. According to GECAS, which is the easist for dense folk like me to read, the maximim gross take off weight of the A318 is 59,000 kg.

The same source says the maximum gross take of weight of the A319 is 70,000 kg.

That's an 11,000 kg difference - approx 22,000 lbs. Are they telling fibs?

I know you say that the A319 specs are for a different model (and hey, I can't prove otherwise), but if you are correct then later versions of the A319 must have been reduced by some 18,000 lbs. If I find that a tad hard to swallow, forgive me.

The thing that puzzles me is this: you are determined to prove, and may have done so to everyone's satisfaction but mine, that the A318 isn't that much of a virtue (if any) over the A319.

Okay. But what you haven't answered is this: after the first flights of the A318 prototype, when the capabilities were known and the problems of the PW engine were revealed, all the airlines had the opportunity to convert their orders.

F9 didn't take advantage of this. They stayed with the A318. Maybe they got an amazing deal. But I think it was you who said that even a major price advantage doesn't help if the costs are so much higher.

So unless you are claiming that the F9 management are total dodo's (which you may think but I don't), they must believe that the plane suits what they want it to do. Which is all I care about.

But let's assume you're right. FRNT's A319 CASM is a tad over 8 cents. MESA's CASM for an RJ is around 14 cents.

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that you're right. That F9's CASM for an A318 will be higher - 9 cents, say, or even 10. That's still cheaper than an RJ, by quite a large margin.

Let's ignore issues of commonality, or of the cost savings by not having two aircraft types in the fleet, and their crews. or the savings in cost to engineering by only having one type (all of which go to the bottom line, and thus CASM).

So for those thinner routes which can't (or don't) support an A319 - say ONT - the A318 becomes more economical (for F9) than an RJ.

But I'll go further. Let's suppose - again - that you are right in everything you say, that the A318 is simply a niche aircraft that maybe makes sense for a couple of airlines. Of which F9 may be one.

I don't have a problem with that.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
ScottB
Posts: 5446
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RE: Airbus A318, A Shrink To Far?

Wed May 21, 2003 11:40 am

Mariner-

Comparing Maximum Gross Take-Off Weight (MGTOW) between models is fairly meaningless. It tells you nothing directly about the weight of the airframe; it only tells you the maximum value of the sum of the weights of the airframe, fuel, cargo, passengers, interior fittings, etc. The fact that the A319 has a substantially higher MGTOW than the A318 only means that it can carry more fuel and cargo and may have strengthened gear assemblies, higher-rated engines, etc. The operating empty weight is a more direct measure of the weight of the airframe without passengers, fuel, cargo, or other items. If you were to place the same number of passengers on an A319 as an A318, with the same amount of cargo and a similar amount of fuel, the weight of the A319 is only marginally (under 4,000 lbs, or only 3-4% when loaded) higher than that of the A318.

So you might get a 3-4% reduction in fuel burn *per trip* NOT per passenger on a given route, with fuel being roughly 15% of an average airline's operating costs. That means that a hypothetical airline flying the A319 has given up the ability to sell 15% more seats for less than 1% additional operating cost per trip.

The effectiveness of RJ's comes from the fact that they have substantially lower trip costs than mainline airliners -- owing to pilots and other staff who make far less in salary, the need for only one cabin attendant in a 50-seat RJ, and the considerably lower fuel burn of the RJ. Moreover, in many cases, airlines use RJ's to skim the cream of the traffic on a given route. If F9 has demand for 60 seats on a route like DEN-OKC, they can either try to fill a mainline airliner with discounted seats or simply take the 50 who are willing to pay the highest fares. Yes, RJ's do have a substantially higher CASM, but they provide a substantially lower trip cost (with the drawback of offering fewer seats) on routes which are more thinly traveled.

Let's take a hypothetical 750-mile trip using CASM of 8 cents for the A319 (132 seats), 9 cents for the A318 (114 seats), and 13 cents (from Mesa's 10-Q) for the Mesa CRJ (50 seats). It costs Frontier $7920 to fly the A319, $7695 to fly the A318, and $4875 to rent the CRJ. For a very modest increase in cost ($225), Frontier gets 15% more capacity. By comparison, the cost of the CRJ is over $3000 less than the A319, so even though ASM cost is over 50% higher, it's effective when you can't fill your mainline aircraft halfway.

The point is that the A318's trip cost (again, as distinct from ASM cost) is so close to the A319's that there is little advantage to operating the A318. And operating the A318 does add some operational complexity -- if a full A319 scheduled for a given flight has a mechanical problem, and the only available spare is an A318, you're going to have to leave 18 angry passengers behind and get them to their destination some other way.

I can't tell you why FRNT decided not to convert its orders. My best guess is that Airbus, in the interest of saving face (since it is embarassing to build a new member of an aircraft family and have no launch customer), made it worth FRNT's while by offering inducements of some kind. Lower prices on the A319's or A318's perhaps, or better financing. I'm certainly not privy to such matters.