redflyer
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Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:21 am

Ok, with all that Airbus (and, for that matter, Boeing) has going on at the moment, I'm sure this is not at the top of their priority list. However, I'm curious to know if they will ever tackle the gap in their product line. I'm referring specifically to the gap that exists between the 346, which is designed to seat ~380 passengers, and the 380, which is designed to seat ~550 (and more). That is a gap of 170 seats; a fairly decent hole by any measure.

I realize there may not be a huge rush to fill that gap since the only player in there currently is the 747, and it has not exactly been flying off the shelf in recent years. However, I can't help but wonder if Airbus will ever go after the 747. It could certainly come out with a product that could effectively kill off the 747 because, if they designed it from scratch, they could incorporate all the latest bells and whistles and render the 747 obsolete. And as we know, Boeing has only incrementally improved the 747 over the years, including the latest iteration (747Adv) so whatever Airbus comes up with could be considerably better.

And in that regard, why did they not build an airplane that was the size of the 747 but that could grow to the 380-800's size? Instead, they designed the 380-800 as the base model so that it could grow but not shrink to compete with the 747. So what they're left with is a gap that can only be filled by a completely new model instead of a derivative of an existing one, which makes filling the gap that much more expensive.
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flyf15
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:45 am

As airplanes get bigger, the acceptable seat range gap between them grows accordingly, as we all know. There aren't too many routes out there that need a 747 size aircraft and can't be served by a 777/A340 sized aircraft. The routes that do usually are very heavily travelled routes and have multiple 747 frequencies daily. These routes are prime candidates for A380 service.

I highly doubt Airbus will create an aircraft that is between the A340-600 and A380. There just isn't really any need for it. And, if there is, there is an A380-700 shortened variant that has been discussed occasionally that could be built. But, this would mostly be to supplement A380-800s and may be something for ultra-long range routes more than routes that can't fill a -800.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:05 am

The A380-700 will never get built. Too heavy.
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boeingbus
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:09 am

Not a chance.... Airbus is too busy.... like Boeing, there are going after the mainstream... so see a A320 replacement before a 450 seater...

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 2):
The A380-700 will never get built. Too heavy.

very much so... I believe a bigger A380 is more likley than the smaller version. It would also probably sell better as the economics are better...
Airbus or Boeing - it's all good to me!
 
Aither
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:09 am

From a recent post in this forum it seems many A380s will carry around 500 seats and the breakeven point must be much lower so the gap is not that big.

Also i agree with Flyf15 concerning the acceptable seat range gap. It is easy to fill 50 or 100 more seats on a large market using revenue management. In fact it is much easier than filling 10 additional seats out of small market.
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A360
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:41 am

Quoting BoeingBus (Reply 3):
very much so... I believe a bigger A380 is more likley than the smaller version. It would also probably sell better as the economics are better...

A stretched version (380-900) is much more likelly indeed. And it hass beentalked about... Emirates, for example, wants it.

It's almost certain that the 380-900 will be launched... the question is when.
 
redflyer
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:55 am

Unless I missed something in the above posts, it still doesn't answer why there's expected demand in the 550+ seat category but so little in the 380 - 550 seat range.

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 1):
As airplanes get bigger, the acceptable seat range gap between them grows accordingly, as we all know.

Good point; however, is that gap expected to be as big as 170 seats? EK is likely to order the 358 because it has only 30 more seats than the Boeing model. Obviously, a gap of even that relatively small size is making a difference and I would imagine a gap of 170 seats would make an even bigger one.
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gigneil
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:59 am

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 2):
The A380-700 will never get built. Too heavy.

I dunno... an A380-700 would be able to connect practically any two points on the globe with 450 passengers.

Imagine every flight between SYD and LHR nonstop with a 747's load.

N
 
Thorben
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:17 am

Even shortening the A380 would not close the gap to the A346. There is also a gap between the A358 and the A321, maybe a shortened A350 would help. But I think Airbus is too busy to construct a new plane for 350-500 pax, although I think they should do that.
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zvezda
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:30 am

Now there is a gap between the A340-600 and the WhaleJet. The former, however, is not selling particularly well against the B777-300ER. In a sense, there is a gap between the A350-900 and the WhaleJet. That gap is too large to ignore and it is just a matter of time before the A340 needs to be replaced. I would not be surprised if Airbus were to develop a family of airliners to fill the gap between the A350-900 and the WhaleJet at such time as the A340 needs to be replaced.
 
Trolley Dolley
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:43 am

Maybe the idea of a substantial gap is good business for a manufacturer? As an example, I've read that Boeing is having concerns with launching the stretched 787-10 as this will be too close in capacity to the 777, with the risk of killing off the 777-200.
 
zvezda
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:18 am

Quoting Trolley Dolley (Reply 10):
Maybe the idea of a substantial gap is good business for a manufacturer? As an example, I've read that Boeing is having concerns with launching the stretched 787-10 as this will be too close in capacity to the 777, with the risk of killing off the 777-200.

The B787-10X has the same capacity as the B777-200.
 
Alessandro
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:31 am

Il-86 is also flying with that amount of passengers. To answer the question, no I don´t think the gap between the A346 and the A380 will shrink, it belong to the B777 not the older B747....
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SkyexRamper
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:22 pm

You don't need an airplane to fill every seat gap. Airlines would rather sell out flights then to have 20 open seats and use an airplane that would cost another $1000/hr than a plane that had not enough seats and was sold out.
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astuteman
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:18 pm

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 7):
I dunno... an A380-700 would be able to connect practically any two points on the globe with 450 passengers.

Imagine every flight between SYD and LHR nonstop with a 747's load.

N

A380 may yet make the ultimate ULR - one day.....
 
zvezda
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:22 pm

Quoting Astuteman (Reply 14):
A380 may yet make the ultimate ULR - one day.....

Huh??? How would that work? By putting its wings on an A350 fuselage?
 
kappel
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:44 pm

Quoting A360 (Reply 5):
Emirates, for example, wants it.

FedEx has also stated that they are interested in the A389 not so long ago.
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A360
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:00 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 15):
Huh??? How would that work? By putting its wings on an A350 fuselage?

Just like Gigneil refered, the 380-700 could have a huge range.
The 380-800 has 8000nm range... the shortened 380-700, with extra fuel tanks, could have up to 10000nm... who knows...
 
zvezda
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:47 pm

Quoting A360 (Reply 17):

Just like Gigneil refered, the 380-700 could have a huge range.
The 380-800 has 8000nm range... the shortened 380-700, with extra fuel tanks, could have up to 10000nm... who knows...

An A380-700 would have an absurd CASM. We may someday see an A380-900, but not an A380-700. It's more likely that a future variant of the B787 will be able to economically serve any pair of cities on the planet.
 
redflyer
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:21 am

Quoting A360 (Reply 17):
The 380-800 has 8000nm range... the shortened 380-700, with extra fuel tanks, could have up to 10000nm... who knows...

Couldn't a 388 with additional fuel capacity and fewer seats (say around 450) become the ultimate ULR? I realize CASM would tank but just think of the opportunity to be able to fly non-stop between any two points on the globe in real comfort, even in Y.
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A360
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RE: Will Airbus Ever Fill Their Product Line Gap?

Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:32 am

Quoting Redflyer (Reply 19):
Couldn't a 388 with additional fuel capacity and fewer seats (say around 450) become the ultimate ULR? I realize CASM would tank but just think of the opportunity to be able to fly non-stop between any two points on the globe in real comfort, even in Y.

I think a 380-800R (longer range) is possible and in airbus plans, if the market requires it.
Maybe someone can elaborate.

Btw, is the 380-800 range fuel limited or payload limited?