UAORD
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Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 3:30 am

We all know that Southwest has an all B737 fleet and the reasons why that works for them. The Airbus was not an option at the time Southwest was formed, do think they would have gone with an all airbus fleet if that was a possibility.


The major low-cost carriers in the US (Jetblue, Frontier (soon to be), Spirit (soon to be) , Ted, ) all operate an Airbus fleet. Look at Easyjet, there were all B737 and now phasing in the Airbus family?

[Edited 2004-04-09 20:31:58]

 
airtran737
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 6:12 am

AirTran is am major LCC with an all Boeing fleet. We have 75 717's with ten more on order. In addition we have 50 737-700/800 on order with an option for 50 more. I personally am glad to work for a company that has an all Boeing fleet, and I can't wait for those 737's to roll off the line in about 70 days.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
JayDavis
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:01 am

The B-737's will be sweet, just wish they would have ordered them with the winglets. Those winglets are so cool looking, plus, they help to save fuel.

A friend of mine who is an A&P mechanic said this about winglets, if you have a good enough airfoil to begin with, you don't need winglets. He was saying this comparing a Falcon 900EX with a Gulfstream V or something similar.


Jay
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:17 am

Well that is a question for which there is no answer. All things being equal, I suppose if Airbus had been an 'established' aircraft manufacturer in the early 70s competing head to head with Boeing and Mc Donnell Douglas with short range narrow body A/C, they probably would have been approached. As to whether they would have selected Airbus...who knows? At this point it is all academic.

Thomas
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
DeltaMD11
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:25 am

Jay---thats the exact reason why you don't see winglets on the 777. The wing was so impeccably designed that winglets are uneconomical in a cost v. benefit analysis (now we are seeing the addition of raked wingtips which make it truly streamlined).
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
AA737-823
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:27 am

I disagree on the winglet issue.

ANY wing will have air spill from the bottom of the wing, around the tip, to the top. It's due to the laws of physics. The air underneath has a higher pressure, and on top a lower pressure. Hence the air spills. The winglet helps to stop this. Therefore, in theory, a winglet would actually help ANY wing. Airbus sure thinks so.

And you kinda shot yourself, DeltaMD11. "The wings are so perfect that they don't need them... so they just put some on them." The 777 wing is good enough to do without the wingtip, but it adds range in the -200LR and -300ER designs.

I think Southwest would have gone with whichever manufacturer brought them the best deal. I am surprised that they didn't start off with DC-9s. But, for whatever reason, they went 737... and the rest is history. The question now is what happens when Boeing replaces the 737? I predict that it will happen immediately after the 7E7 comes online. They will adapt the technologies and lessons learned from the 7E7 into a new narrowbody, which will fit the mould of the 717, 737, and 757. Neither the A320 and 737 are really that impressive, in terms of modern technology. Okay, they're both impressive, but not compared to the stuff to be found in the 7E7!!! Fiberglass, bleedless engines, et cetera. Will Southwest go Airbus then?
I doubt it.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:33 am

Jay---thats the exact reason why you don't see winglets on the 777. The wing was so impeccably designed that winglets are uneconomical in a cost v. benefit analysis (now we are seeing the addition of raked wingtips which make it truly streamlined).

The whole concept of a winglet (or raked wingtips for that matter) is to reduce the drag-inducing vorticies coming off the wingtips. NASA has a great website that illustrates what I'm about to say, if your interested. The most effective way to reduce these vorticies is to enlogated the wing and sweep back the tip, hence raked wingtips.

The problem is, extending the wingtips can be prohibitive in terms of gate space. Since a verticle extension has the same effect, winglets are an obvious solution.

Regards,
DFW
 
DeltaMD11
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:36 am

AA,
Don't be mistaken as to what was said. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that winglets do give a major cost savings over time, because they do as for the reasons you explained above. However, on the 777 the wing has such a critical design that in a cost v. benefit analysis it's not really worth adding the full-sized winglets. The raked wingtip concept saw it's advent on the 764ER, and it does help with the airflow out on the wingtip which will give a little added fuel economy and reduce noise, while not being as costly as adding a whole new addition to the tip such as a winglet. And as for the wingtip fences that you see on the Airbii (A300's, 310's, and 320 series), while they do reduce drag and wake from the wingtips, they are standard in manufacture and have no great cost savings (though I'm sure that in the long run they're going to save you a buck here and a buck there).
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:43 am

What I believe DeltaMD11 meant earlier was that while the 777 wing is great as is, without winglet or raked tip, the addition of the raked tip further enhances the performance of the near-perfect wing.

The 777 wing enables the aircraft to do exactly what it was designed to do, winglet free, but, in response to added demands/requests from airlines, Boeing is enhancing the wing to enable the plane to go above and beyond the original design.
 
jeffrey1970
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:57 pm

AA737-823,

I do believe Boeing is already talking about comming out with a newer version of the 737. I guess it remains to be scene if that newer version goes the way of the newer version on the 727 which became the 757.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
elwood64151
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 2:28 pm

I am surprised that they didn't start off with DC-9s.

The DC-9 was an incredibly popular airframe at the end of the 1960s and the early 1970s. Its problem was that too popular. MDD didn't set up their operations to build as many aircraft as there was demand for. What really sucks is that their marketing department predicted almost exactly the demand as it would be from 1965-1980 (approx 2000 airframes). Douglas predicted it would sell 1000 copies of the DC-9 between 1965 and 1975.

Anyway, Douglas' Operations/Manufacturing basically cut the estimates in half, with 1000 airframes by 1980 and 500 DC-9s being sold by 1975. Accounting got ahold of the numbers and cut them in half again.

So by the time Douglas started setting up to build the DC-9, they set themselves up to build about 350 airframes between introduction in 1963 and 1980, rather than the 1200 they actually might have ended up selling. As a result, they couldn't deliver aircraft fast enough and everything went all to hell, from sales to manufacturing to customer satisfaction. They couldn't get engines, avionics, and various other parts fast enough, and as a result orders were badly delayed.

There's a great section about this in a book I read once, I think it was Eagle by R. Serling, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, WN might have chosen the DC-9, if they hadn't gone looking for aircraft at the absolute height of all these problems (which also affected DC-8 and DC-10 sales, it is worth mentioning - especially DC-8s since they used similar engine types). When WN looked at all the problems at Douglas (by then McDonnelDouglas - the merger was the only thing that could save the company), they realized that Boeing was their only real option.

Once again, another prime example of not listening to Marketing hurting the company.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
gigneil
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 2:33 pm

I think this to be an unanswerable question, unfortunately we could just never know.

N
 
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yyz717
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sat Apr 10, 2004 2:33 pm

WN might have chosen the DC-9

WN could very easily have chosen the DC-9-30 over the 732. In which case, the eventual cessation of MD-80 production could have coincided with a WN decision to turn to either the NG or 320-series.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Would Southwest Have Gone With Airbus

Sun Apr 11, 2004 1:43 am

A couple of things:

The problem with WN choosing the A320 was that given that WN was already committed to the 737 fleet at the time the A320 started in 1983, so it would have violated Herb Kelleher's tenant of keeping the fleet as simple as possible. And the plane would have been too big for WN, too; the A319 (which is sized right for WN) didn't appear until the middle 1990's.

If WN had chosen the DC-9 for its starter planes, it would have kept the DC-9/MD-80 production line going a lot longer than in reality; indeed, the line would still be active right now producing planes for WN, probably powered by much quieter engines than the JT8D-219 engines (probably a more powerful version of the Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR715 engine).