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tavong
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Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:07 am

First of all Hello and thanks for taking you time reading and answering this post.

Second i really wouldn't like to see this thread become and A vs B thread (but most of you know that it's higly likely that it will do *lol*)

And now to the point, you see Airbus almost always making a lot of advertise of their product claiming the commonality issue between their products, Boeing at the otrher side is entering this issue in the last days BUT in these days where you see a lot of Airlines (specially US but some European airlines too) struggling for survive and making profits in an every day highly competitive area my question is that Commonality of planes/parts/crews are THT important to the business? is not more important the management, union issues, contracts More important for an airline that if they use and specific type of plane than the other? Is really the advantages of the planes A or B claims the most important thing on an airline management and business?

Thanks again for the answers, hope my poor english is well understood.

Gus
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gigneil
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:11 am

Parts and crew training account for many, many millions of dollars a year.

Many.

N
 
sanjet
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:57 am

Hey Gus,

It starts off with how many aircraft you have in your fleet. If you are a small carrier, definitely having one common fleet will save you money in terms of training, crew coordination, spare parts, etc. It is vital to small carriers and will save you $$$.
Not to sure for larger carriers though, I think it's best to have a varied fleet and to not solely rely one fleet. Imagine if one model was to be grounded because of mandatory inspection, all that savings of training and spare parts would be lost in a matter of days as they would not be generating revenue. At least you would be able to fly the other fleet and replace some routes quickly therefore reducing that loss. I'm not a bean counter so I can't tell you the exact numbers but I hope others can enlighten you.

Cheers
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avek00
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:01 am

Commonality is overhyped bigtime among a.netters. At the micro level (e.g., a 20-plane fleet), fleet and engine commonality can yield signficant savings. However, on the macro level (e.g., a 200-plane fleet), the cost differential of running one type vs. two is minimial.
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elwood64151
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:07 am

It depends on the type of airline you're operating. If you operate a short-haul, domestic-only fleet, having one and only one fleet type is probably a good idea (re: Southwest). If you're operating a long-range airline, some variety to match aircraft with demand is probably a good idea (re: Virgin Atlantic). If you're operating an airline that has service both short-haul and long-haul to a multitude of destinations, significant variances in your fleet type are probably a good idea (re: American, British Airways, etc).

The principle factors are overlap and economies of scale. First, you don't want two fleet types that do the same job (such as 737NGs and A320s). This is wasteful both in terms of crew training and parts/equipment. Second, you don't want to have just a few of any fleet type. For example, a regional airline in the Southeast US wants to start service to the west coast. It already has dozens of short-haul aircraft, and it will need aircraft designed to travel trans-continental distances. If it can only justify five or ten of the new aircraft type, it may be wiser to open up a new hub/focus city in the midwest than to operate a whole new fleet type; but if it can operate two or three dozen, then it can justify the purchasing of new ground/inflight equipment and warehousing of replacement parts, as well as the cost of training personel on the new aircraft.

So I guess the best answer is: "It depends."
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Dokken10
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:12 am

As an A/P technician I would like to say that one big reason Southwest and Airtran continue making money is sticking with one type of A/C. Many articles have been written about this. Training techs on one type of saves a lot of money. Time saved in the hangar and on the line reduces delays because most problems have been seen many times. Manuals,blueprints,non-routine engineering orders,tooling,equipment,stocking of hardware and parts etc. cost big money. Most techs totally agreed with Airtrans buying 717 to replace the DC-9s, not much difference between them. I strongly believe that NWA is in better shape than other legacy carriers because of their decision to overhaul DC-9s in the early 90s instead of buying new A/C. I could not believe that they went with the 319 instead of the 717. NWA had DC-9 maintenance down to a science. NWA has said many times that they only look a year or so into the future when they project earnings and cost. The 319 initial cost was low but from what I seen on older Airbuses the maintenance cost down the road will bit them in the rear.
 
yeggerman
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:06 am

Quoting Dokken10 (Reply 5):
Southwest and Airtran continue making money is sticking with one type of A/C.

I agree 100%, its the same up here in Canada with WS, they have all 737 and the cost for mtc and training (F/A's , captains, Ground Crew, CSA's, mtc staff) take all those into consideration its a huge money saver. WS is retiring all their 737-200 and replacing it with 737-700 -800 -600 now think of the cost savings in not having to retrain all these people onto a new type of aircraft. There is still some recurrent stuff with the new models, but same basic design and aircraft.
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NYC777
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:21 am

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 1):
Parts and crew training account for many, many millions of dollars a year.

Many.

N

Really, then how is it that AF which operates different types (i.e. 777-200 and A340) but still pull a profit? The commanality aspect is waaaay over-rated and is not going to help an airline to profitability. Lower oil prices and lower employee wages (the two largest cost for an airline) will.
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
 
mandala499
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:13 am

Suitability of an aircraft for your route makes money...
Commonality saves money.

Lack of suitable aircraft for the route profiles they are assigned for costs money...
Lack of commonality costs money...

It's just a balancing act.
However, I do think that commonality is overhyped sometimes... Commonality helps, lack of commonality doesn't kill you... not having suitable planes do...

Mandala499
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N60659
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:29 am

Quoting Avek00 (Reply 3):
Commonality is overhyped bigtime among a.netters. At the micro level (e.g., a 20-plane fleet), fleet and engine commonality can yield signficant savings. However, on the macro level (e.g., a 200-plane fleet), the cost differential of running one type vs. two is minimial.

This is my understanding as well (as has been stated several times on various topics on this forum). But as I asked the following question on another concurrent thread ( http://www.airliners.net/discussions...eneral_aviation/read.main/2019960/ (Reply 21)):

Why would an airline as small as Biman split their order between two manufacturers?
Will they be selecting powerplants from the same manufacturer?
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DfwRevolution
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:38 am

Quoting N60659 (Reply 9):
Why would an airline as small as Biman split their order between two manufacturers?

Part of it has to do with the fact that the A330 and 777 cover different mission profiles. One in a medium-range twin, the other a long-range twin.

Quoting NYC777 (Reply 7):
Really, then how is it that AF which operates different types (i.e. 777-200 and A340) but still pull a profit?

Because the A330 and A340 share a good deal of mechanical commonality and training, so they aren't black sheep

Quoting NYC777 (Reply 7):
The commanality aspect is waaaay over-rated and is not going to help an airline to profitability.

That's a grossly ignorant statement. Commonality isn't the panacea it's sometimes made out to be, but it can mean significant savings, in the tens/hundreds of millions of dollars. Overcapacity nonwithstanding, AA found that they could eliminate 8 fleet types in 2001-2002, and doing so greatly improved their economics.
 
Dokken10
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:39 am

Quoting NYC777 (Reply 7):
Really, then how is it that AF which operates different types (i.e. 777-200 and A340) but still pull a profit? The commanality aspect is waaaay over-rated and is not going to help an airline to profitability. Lower oil prices and lower employee wages (the two largest cost for an airline) will.

You are kidding right?? I guess AF management has done a better job and not got themselves in to the debt situation like the US airlines have. AF is probably charging more than it actually cost to fly a route. AF is probably not dropping prices just to knock the other guy out of the picture no matter what the cost. AF probably has increased prices to cover high fuel. Do you work in aviation? I ask because you are the 1st person I have heard say that having different types of A/C does not cost a lot more money than 1 type A/C that actually works in aviation. There are plenty of other threads dealing with fuel,wages and the state of airlines. BTW its a little to late in the game for the airlines to do the commonality on A/C anyway.
 
BlatantEcho
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:44 am

fwiw: AirTran currently operates a fleet of both 717s, and 737NGs.
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Dokken10
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:54 am

[quote=BlatantEcho,reply=12]fwiw: AirTran currently operates a fleet of both 717s, and 737NGs.[/quote I think that some 737 were acquired during the merger. Also with the ending of the production of the 717 probably has something to do with the 737s.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:58 am

Quoting Dokken10 (Reply 13):
that some 737 were acquired during the merger

The 737NG were ordered recently in 2002 or 2003, prior to the conclusion of the 717 program.

Quoting BlatantEcho (Reply 12):
fwiw: AirTran currently operates a fleet of both 717s, and 737NGs.

Two aircraft with two different mission profiles.... you can't have a single homogenous fleet if you are going to cover several niches, but thats a far cry from DL having a pleathora of narrow-body types.
 
brons2
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:02 am

Quoting Dokken10 (Reply 13):
[quote=BlatantEcho,reply=12]fwiw: AirTran currently operates a fleet of both 717s, and 737NGs.[/quote I think that some 737 were acquired during the merger. Also with the ending of the production of the 717 probably has something to do with the 737s.

Airtran ordered 50 737NG not too long ago and deliveries are just now commencing.

Hope this helps.
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ContnlEliteCMH
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:25 am

Quoting Dokken10 (Reply 5):
Airtran continue making money is sticking with one type of A/C.

Uhhhh... might want to check out AirTran's fleet again.
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Dokken10
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:29 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 16):
Uhhhh... might want to check out AirTran's fleet again.

Thx. I was corrected earlier.
 
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mariner
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 9:05 am

NYC777:

Quoting NYC777 (Reply 7):
Really, then how is it that AF which operates different types (i.e. 777-200 and A340) but still pull a profit?

Several airlines with mixed fleets will report a profit, including Qantas.

But this does not negate what Gigneil said. Frontier will save a minimum of $11 million a year on it's 45 aircraft fleet because they are gone to a single type.

http://money.excite.com/jsp/nw/nwdt_...82120050324&feed=dji&date=20050324

$11 million is not a lot in great scheme of things, but it is better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

$11 million would represent the difference between profit and loss for Frontier for a couple of quarters.

Of course, lower fuel prices would help as well, but you cannot simply say that commonality is blah.

cheers

mariner
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tavong
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 9:17 am

thanks for the answers.....everyday you learn something new Big grinD

Gus
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iowa744fan
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 9:29 am

Quoting Dokken10 (Reply 13):
I think that some 737 were acquired during the merger

You are thinking about the 73S model. They got something like a dozen of those when Valujet took over Air Tran.


I agree that commonality is definitely an over-hyped topic. Suppose that we have airline that can purchase aircraft types X and Y (not going to use A and B for obvious reasons!) The airline may be able to order just one type, X or Y, that would perform all of its routes and jobs, but the aircraft may operate well at one type of route and not as well for the other routes. You would save money with one type, but you would be losing on efficiency. Many airlines today are realizing this and realizing that having a mixed fleet can be beneficial. For instance, take the 777 and the A330 families. Both of these are good aircraft and many airlines have shown that the two can work really well together. The 772ER model is a great long-range aircraft that has proven ideal for many airlines on long haul markets. However, in the shorter markets, the extreme weight has proven burdensome. Yes, the A model is available, but the 333 has really proven itself in regional and mid-range work with airlines like CX. Hence, by using both types, you can maximize the efficiency in both types of markets, which in many cases will provided substantial economic benefit that will outweigh the costs of operating both types of aircraft.
 
N60659
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 9:33 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):
Part of it has to do with the fact that the A330 and 777 cover different mission profiles. One in a medium-range twin, the other a long-range twin.

Agreed. I have no argument there. But we are talking of a fleet which is under 20 aircraft. The question remains:
Would it be better to operate a single aircraft type on some routes that may be outside the optimal mission profile and have more streamlined maintenance and flight training structures?
or
Would you fly routes with diverse aircraft that are optimized to their respective mission profiles and expend more on the maintenance and flight training aspects?
This is in the context of a small airline like Biman. Not being in the industry, I'm trying to get an understanding. Thanks.
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SWISSER
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:11 am

Quoting Iowa744Fan (Reply 20):
You are thinking about the 73S model. They got something like a dozen of those when Valujet took over Air Tran.


I agree that commonality is definitely an over-hyped topic. Suppose that we have airline that can purchase aircraft types X and Y (not going to use A and B for obvious reasons!) The airline may be able to order just one type, X or Y, that would perform all of its routes and jobs, but the aircraft may operate well at one type of route and not as well for the other routes. You would save money with one type, but you would be losing on efficiency. Many airlines today are realizing this and realizing that having a mixed fleet can be beneficial. For instance, take the 777 and the A330 families. Both of these are good aircraft and many airlines have shown that the two can work really well together. The 772ER model is a great long-range aircraft that has proven ideal for many airlines on long haul markets. However, in the shorter markets, the extreme weight has proven burdensome. Yes, the A model is available, but the 333 has really proven itself in regional and mid-range work with airlines like CX. Hence, by using both types, you can maximize the efficiency in both types of markets, which in many cases will provided substantial economic benefit that will outweigh the costs of operating both types of aircraft.

agreed!
I think it all depends on how you operate your fleet,
Southwest has other goals than Biman for example!

One thing that is another example on the shorthaulmarket is easyjet,
I believe they operate now a mixed fleet of A319 and 737 classic and NG?
Anyone knows something about that operation right now?
What time is top of descent?
 
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tavong
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:45 am

Quoting SWISSER (Reply 22):
One thing that is another example on the shorthaulmarket is easyjet,
I believe they operate now a mixed fleet of A319 and 737 classic and NG?
Anyone knows something about that operation right now?

I think that in this case the main case is that Easyjet have a "huge" number of both planes so the cost saving cames from this concept, in fact yu have two types but a high number of these planes so you can achieve "mass" economy. And well you also have to take account that the deal of Easyjet with Airbus was extremely competitive and in a very high advantage for Easyjet and thus the calculations of earnings/profits are positive for Easyjet.

Gus
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Starlionblue
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:09 am

Engines. Commonality is not only about aircraft as a whole but about engines. As I understand it from many threads about AF they are standardized on one engine manufacturer for long haul. Or something.

Tired and clueless at PHL...  Wink
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lightsaber
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:05 pm

Quoting Sanjet (Reply 2):
I think it's best to have a varied fleet and to not solely rely one fleet.

We constantly have airline executives noting how they will "misuse" an oversize A380(Emirates, Cathay), 777(AA), and even a A320 (B6), etc. rather than add the complication of another fleet type. Fleet variation must be business case driven.

I've seen arguments both ways, but here are the cost savings with minimizing the fleet types:
1. Less disruption if an aircraft has to be pulled out of service. (Note, this is one reason a fleet of < 20 doesn't benefit much by having one type, the airline is simply too small to have an aircraft in reserve even if that reserve is pulling it half way out of a cleaning.)
2. Less disruption if a crew member is sick and fewer spare crew on call per aircraft.
3. Parts. If you don't realize there is a large cost with this...  blockhead  Come on! Airlines have mortgaged their parts for Billion dollar loans!  boggled 
4. Maintenance: you can keep the crews "fully loaded" easier with a simpliefied (but large) fleet.
5. Training. For example, you need a lot of pilots on one airframe to afford your own flight simulator. Thanks for the tour Mike!

All in all, the "rule of thumb" I keep hearing is that there needs to be 100+ of each type of narrow body airframe to have decent economies of scale.

Some fleet diversity makes sense:
AA with 777, 767, 737, MD-80, and ERJ's (AE). They have enough of these types to have good economics. (I deleted the 757 as I'm not sure there are enough of them to justify it in AA's fleet). And the missions are different enough to justify a small fleet mix.
NW with 747, 330, 757, 319, and CRJ200. And yes, milking the remaining DC-9s that don't require heavy mx looks to be profitable. Long term NW is only big enough for three types...
B6 adding the E190 (I could be wrong on this, but I think it adds enough markets.) And they're buying both by the hundreds.

Lightsaber
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Starlionblue
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:15 pm

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 25):
AA with 777, 767, 737, MD-80, and ERJ's (AE). They have enough of these types to have good economics. (I deleted the 757 as I'm not sure there are enough of them to justify it in AA's fleet). And the missions are different enough to justify a small fleet mix.

Note that the 757s have two different engine types (RR and PW). This in itself makes them 1½ types. The PWs cannot be used for certain airports for example, and many parts are different. Having said that, the same pilots can fly the 757 and the 767. As the pilots say, this is 5 types (757 RR, 757 PW, 762 ex-TWA, 762 AA, 763).
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Carpethead
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:29 pm

With the exception of DL's numerous narrow-body fleet, US airlines' fleet are pretty good on standarization. Its the revenue and expenses balancing that's killing most of them.

Standarization is sometimes overhyped as many have said on this forum. It's important for private small- & some medium-sized airlines and LCCs. For the flag & legacy carriers, its probably a mute point except not overdoing in fleet types.

Biman is (probably) a government owned entity and is a piddly po-dunk airline in the airline world that they can order two differing aircraft types. This order keeps both US & Europe happy. If Biman were not a government owned entity, it would have settled for a A343/A332 mix. If it opted for a Boeing-oriented solution, they may have ordered both the 767/777 or waited until the 787 debuts.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:29 pm

Money saved is Money Earned.
Especially if its in Thousands.

Crew training,Stores Inventory all cost money.
regds
MEL
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gigneil
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:37 pm

Quoting Carpethead (Reply 27):
If Biman were not a government owned entity, it would have settled for a A343/A332 mix. If it opted for a Boeing-oriented solution, they may have ordered both the 767/777 or waited until the 787 debuts.

The thing is this... a 767/777 fleet has zero commonality, whereas an A340/A330 fleet has over 90%.

N
 
B-HOP
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:44 am

Lightsaber : -

'We constantly have airline executives noting how they will "misuse" an oversize A380(Emirates, Cathay), 777(AA), and even a A320 (B6), etc....'

Cathay never ordered A380, that was SQ who said they would abuse their 380, otherwise, that fully sum up the problem for a diverse fleet. That explains why every now and then, words have been spoken about why CX want to dump their 346 (different engines, gears, manuals), even though they have signed a 3 year deal for parts.

Kevin
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Rj111
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RE: Is Really Commonality That Important?

Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:03 am

That explains why every now and then, words have been spoken about why CX want to dump their 346 (different engines, gears, manuals), even though they have signed a 3 year deal for parts.

CX's main concern was that two were overweight.

The A346's have Trents like CX's 777's and possibly their A330's. Different versions but similar enough.

The gears problems are less to do with commonality more with the fact that the central ones were faulty.

a 3 year deal for parts.

5 Years.

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