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Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 1:27 pm

From http://www.aviationnow.com -

SINGAPORE (AP)--European aircraft maker Airbus Industrie will officially launch a program in December aimed at building the world's largest passenger jets and plans to deliver the first of them in the second half of 2005, the company said Wednesday.

“About half the demand for the A3XX will come from Asia,” senior vice president John Leahy said. “I am sure that we would not be launching it if there were not key Asian airlines on board.”

Leahy, speaking to reporters after a news conference at the Asian Aerospace air show in Singapore, declined to name any specific airlines that had expressed interest in the massive double-decker plane, designed to carry up to 600 passengers.

The company hopes to start making proposals to potential A3XX customers in May, Leahy said.

Airbus on Wednesday also announced that it is working on a new plane in the 200-seat to 250-seat category, a size usually used for regional flights, to replace its widely used A300 and A310 models.

“Those products (the A300 and A310) are also a little old and are not selling as much as they used to be sold in former years,”' Airbus president and chief executive office Noel Forgeard said at the company's news conference.

“So we are thinking of a new airplane, a 250-seater or less,” Forgeard said, adding that the new plane would be more cost-effective to fly, particularly in terms of fuel consumption.

Though Airbus for the first time beat arch-rival Boeing in new commercial jet orders last year, Forgeard said he expected Airbus' new orders to drop from last year's 476 to about 300 in 2000.

“We see some slowdown in orders this year,”' he said. “Our own predictions for the year are somewhere around 300 new orders.”

Airbus had 476 orders in 1999 compared with 391 for U.S. aircraft maker Boeing, giving Airbus 55 percent of the global market.

Despite the drop in expected orders, Forgeard said he expected the company's momentum to build, especially with its new products on the way.

Airbus Industrie is a consortium formed of DaimlerChrysler AG's Dasa unit, Aerospatiale Matra of France, Spain's Casa and Britain's British Aerospace Systems.

- Neil Harrison
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RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 1:30 pm

New midsized jet... I wonder if it will be a variant of the A330 or not?
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Schedule For A3XX

Fri Feb 25, 2000 1:37 pm

Airbus hopes to begin final assembly by mid 2003, to schedule a first flight for mid 2004, with type certification in mid 2005 and the first delivery abou a month later. That will all be in the 'Development' stage (folloewd by the 'Service' stage where customers actually (finally) get to fly the thing!), presently they are in the Definition stage. The Launch means they'll finally have a design freeze they'll go with.

RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 2:31 pm

I doubt if Airbus will find enough orders to launch the AXXX. What I am afraid of is that Airbus will be bankrupt before the deal is over.

IMHO, Airbus is overextended already. With a large number of orders they currently enjoy, perhaps Airbus will feel the Boeing pain in meeting production schedules and commitments.

One thing I must give Airbus though. I was recently on a TACA A320 and the aircraft was nicely built. I was lucky enough to be inside the cockpit and the quality of workmanship is superb, comparing to McDonnell Douglas and Boeing cockpits, including my beloved MD-11. Kudos where it's due.
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RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 3:06 pm

The A3XX order is based soley on the Asian economic situation. As we all know, Asian economies are very volitile and are subject to highs and lows that we don't see in North America and Europe. Sure, they are on their way to recovery, if not recovered by now, BUT nothing was really done to remedy the economies and prevent such a crisis from ever happening again. We could see another crisis just around the corner (and based on how they "solved" their crises, I expect to see one sooner rather than later), which could totally mess up Airbus' plans for the A3XX. They really need to look before they leap.

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I Doubt It

Fri Feb 25, 2000 3:30 pm

with airlines going for 777x and 747x, i doubt airbus will have enough customers to even launch the A3xx.

RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 3:31 pm

MD11Nut's theme is right on the mark. Another thing I would add is that Airbus would never pull the trigger on the A3XX because some airlines are "interested". Would they? Either Airbus has confirmed orders, which is doubtful because it would have "leaked", or they are incredibly misguided.

Craig M.
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RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Fri Feb 25, 2000 11:15 pm

Isn't Airbus designing a new aircraft for regional flights. Something like the 319. Released in 2003? One particular customer is TWA.

I highly doubt it if Airbus gets their A3XX ready by the end of the year.

RE: Airbus Plans To Launch A3XX By Years-End

Sat Feb 26, 2000 1:56 am

To answer Futurepilot2b, Airbus is going to launch the A318 for regional service which you can read about at www.airbus.com and have a look at it.

As for this A3XX deal. How many firm orders does Airbus need to go ahead with this? Quite frankly, I don't think that this plane will make it into service although I would love to see it happen. The 747-400 in a 2 class cabin can carry up to 524 people and the 747-400 "domestic" version can carry up to 568 people which is 32 shy of 600. If the world needed a 600 passenger jet couldn't Boeing push the 747 to 600? They wouldn't have to design a "brand new" airplane so to speak like the A3XX. I know that the plane would be all new but they have the basis in the 747 that requires some modifications. They have proven technology that is very popular world wide, if it ain't broke don't fix it!

It Will Never Happen

Sat Feb 26, 2000 5:33 am

I don't think Airbus would be able to launch the A3XX. Cost of develpoment will be in the region of $10++ billion....too risky for Airbus. The operating cost of the A3XX is reportedly only 6-7% lower than the 747-400 while the much cheaper alternative, the 747-400X have a direct operating cost that is 5% lower
than its stablemate the 747-400 itself. Not much different from the A3XX. Market fragmentation is also robbing away all the potential customers. The Boeing 777 and even the A340-500/600 are doing just that. Most customers for the A3XX would likely come from existing 747s operators, thus buying the 747-400X would make more sense than the A3XX. Why ? Cheaper to acquire, would be available sooner, already a proven design and lower training cost. Pilots could just move up from the 747-400 than to go on long training process. The availability of airports to handle them is also a problem. How can they board the aircraft and deplaned them efficiently without costly infrastructure modifications ?
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IT Will Happen

Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:01 am

Shut up you boeing maniacs. OK I am sorry and I do not want this held against me on other discussions. I like Airbuses and Boeings equally. But think of this. The A 3XX or A 350 is the first new long haul plane in a few years. I hope it will sucseed ansd so should you. No one believed the B 747 would sucseed when it was launched.................that says it all

Jeremiah Teahan
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: IT Will Happen

Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:11 am

I do think that Airbus will indeed go ahead with the A3XX. Not by December though. I think it is truly a very-risky business manuever. Boeing is going to attack the A3XX with the 747-XXXs. Basically chopping the legs off of the new aircraft so to speak. The 747NGs will be just as efficient if not cheaper to operate along with being compatable with its sister 747-400 and 777-200, 777-200ER, 777-300 and 777-300ER. Boeing has a trump card.

F.Y.I. It has been stated from those in the industry who would know these things that the 747-XXXs may in fact be cheaper to operate and more efficient.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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RE: IT Will Happen

Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:17 am

The 747 NG are only an extension to an old design........the A 350 (A 3XX) is brand new....
what do passengers prefer..........

Jeremiah Teahan
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: Teahan

Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:40 am

.....the passengers want to travel from A to B no matter what aircraft is to be used. We are a very small group of people who have likes for aircrafts but 95% of people don't care in what plane they will fly.

Luis, Faro, Portugal
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Maybe, Maybe Not

Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:54 am

It has been stated by officials in the industry and Boeing itself that if launched the new 747-XXX would infact be cheaper to operate then the new A-3XX. The new GE\PW GP7200 is what will either help Boeing or help Airbus. I agree that it is a step in the right direction, but not worth 12 billion.
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A3XX Much More Comfortable

Sat Feb 26, 2000 7:28 am

There is maybe another point to consider.

The A3XX will offer unprecedented comfort to both passengers and crews, there is so much space left that it is possible to equip the plane with underfloor bedrooms, duty-free shop areas etc. Moreover, passengers will enjoy a very spacious cabin with a more generous seat layout in all classes.

So, if for example Cathay and BA have this plane in its fleet and maybe SIA and other carries compete with versions of the 747 (the layout and space within will be the same in the 747NGs) on the same routes, they would be in a disadvantage because passengers will appreciate the new level of comfort on the 3XX. So this could be a selling point, too.

One could also think about the fact that the 747 today is the queen of the skies and with the A3XX around, there would be a larger plane, causing the interest of the public and the flying passengers. So maybe its also an image factor for airlines to fly this new bird on its most prestigeous and money making routes.

Just a thought.

What do you think?

Regards, the WorldTraveller
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RE: A3XX Much More Comfortable

Sat Feb 26, 2000 8:10 am

All of that added space and luxury rooms are ridiculous. The 747 had a loung upstairs when it first started service but that didn't matter much. All of that luxury room doesn't carry more fare paying pax. Adding to operating weight ie increased fuel burn so I doubt that these rooms will ever materialize. Which ever bird does the job more efficiently and better will get the nod. Right now both are still on paper so to speak but it seems that the 747-XXX will be the cheaper to operate and so on.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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747 Will Still Dominate

Sat Feb 26, 2000 8:44 am

The A3XX leaves a huge gap between it and the A330/A340 (almost 300Pax). The only plane that will fill that gap is the 747 and the 747X. So no matter what the 747 will still dominate the double decker market.

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