First off, I agree that the topic is correct, it is going to change, however, I don't agree with how.
A isn't going anywhere. Neither is B. However, that being said, I believe instead of one disappearing in the A vs. B fight, I believe what you are going to see is something more of an A vs. B vs. E fight, "E" being Embraer.
Why do I say this? Well, seems to me that both A and B are more focused on big jets. I personally like B's focus on composite planes. Good choice, smarter in my opinion than what A is doing, which is making bigger number PAX planes, the mega jumbo, the "lets see how many people we can fit into a flying machine" theory, while not focusing on a change in building material.
That being said, B is still focusing on larger number planes, as their 717 was and is an overpriced dud.
This is where E comes in. Today's customer, no matter what it is, from cars, to TV
's, to flights, want choices and price. More and more, customers want to be able to fly from one destination to another, with one or less connections and a good price, when they want to. Well, who is doing that the best today? Southwest, of course. How do I know that? Their seats are fuller and fuller, and their pockets are deeper and deeper. Who else can say that here in the states? What are they using? One of the smallest "Big Jets" around, the 737. Look at others, Frontier, A 319's/320's. Again, smaller jets, more options, better bottom line.
So.. since A and B aren't looking at what makes today's market tick, basically telling the Airlines "you need to fly as many people on one aircraft possible," you have Embraer quietly coming up. Look at their 170 and 195 series. Modern, good looking, great for flights between cities not named NY, LA
, Chicago, or Atlanta. United really seems to like them, as do a lot of the people here who flew them already.
Embraer will be able to deliver a product that will allow them to sell many more, and I mean many, many, more 170 and 195 aircraft than Airbus could do with their 380.
So, you say? Sure, the 170 is a much cheaper product to build and sell than the 380, meaning much less profit per jet. True. But how many parts are 100-200 380's going to need vs. the 1000-3000 170s 10-15 years from now? How many 380's is Delta going to need to fly people from Atlanta, to say, Nashville, Kansas City, Houston, etc? Zero? Correct. They couldn't fill the bottom half of a 380 to those cities. BUT, they probably could get an 80% fill rate 3-5 a day going to these destinations, all on 170-195's series, offering the customer what they want, choices (departure times), while on a wing mounted (more room) engine jet, that is much more fuel efficient, and again, that has gotten surprising good reviews from some of the most critical judges, Airliners.net contributors!! Its like the ERJ on crack!
Then again, that might be what you think I'm smoking after this post (I'm NOT!!)
So in my opinion, its A vs. B. vs. E in the future. If not Embraer, someone else who can make good quality 100-130 Pax regional jets.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
[Edited 2004-12-16 03:42:21]
[Edited 2004-12-16 03:43:10]