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A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:57 pm

Ok, the subject must have been discussed a thousand times, but with sales and advertising for both aircraft now solidly started, I thought an update could be interesting.

At least I am interested.  Wink

Could it be possible that both Airbus and Boeing have it right with respectively the 380 and the 787? Would these two planes complement each other?

I think so, and here are the reasons why. The A380 seems to fit into the hub and spokes schemes most major airlines favor at the moment. It would logically operate the "hub-to-hub" legs of trips, allowing current airports to cope with saturation/slots constraints issues a bit more easily (although gate congestion might quickly become an problem with 600 pax boarding/deboarding at once). Where we currently operate 744, 773 or 346, a 389 would offer some 30% increase in capacity.

But at the current rate of things, major hubs will reach congestion point not too far down the road. And there come into action second rank airports, international platforms that do not support giants like AA, JL, LH, AF/KLM, etc., but can accomodate more traffic. FRA, LHR, NRT, LAX are on the verge of saturation where perhaps airports like MUC, BCN, DEN, KIX, BHX, DUS, etc. could allocate a few more slots and gates to airlines. Perhaps the idea of point-to-point flights would come in handy at that stage. STL-BRU, BWI-MXP, ITM-YVR, etc. could support mid-size widebodies like the 788-789, but maybe not the larger airliners. There may very well be enough demand on these routes to make direct flights viable some 10 years down the road. Simply because there might not be room for more STL-ORD-LHR-BRU trips anymore.

Just a few thoughts. Both manufacturers could help deal with congestion (which is one of the biggest time bombs at the moment for the industry) with different but complementary approaches.

What are your thoughts?


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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sat Nov 26, 2005 6:40 pm

The A380/748 and A350/787 have all the potential to complement each other. All airlines who have ordered the VLA will mostlikely all order either the A350 or 787. KE with both the A380 and 787 on order aswell as Qatar and Kingfisher with both the A380 and the A350 on (pending) order are already a living proof of that. Soon QF and SQ aswell as EK will join the list.
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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:40 am

Definitely. If only because there are many ranges of aircrafts to fill outside of super jumbos and 787/350.

I was more approaching this subject on the angle of "how will these two new aircraft fit into the future of passenger aviation?". Or perhaps how will they re-shape current business patterns (hub-and-spokes, point-to-point, mini-hubs, etc.) some ten to fifteen years down the road?

Does the hub-and-spokes represent the future of civil aviation? Will we evolve towards a more complex, dual system in which co-exists different business/fleet management practices, even within the same airlines?


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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:03 am

Note that EK is buying both the A380 and whatever 787 derivative Boeing can sell them. That tells me EK will use the A380 on its most busy routes (like for example DXB-LHR or flights from DXB to some cities in India) and the 787 for longe, thin routes like a flying from DXB to a number of African destinations.
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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:11 am

Both theories about travel are right.

Hub and spoke can't cover everything, and point to point has a fatal flaw. Introducing masses of point-to-point flights depends on cheap, plentiful fuel which just isn't there any more, but there will always be routes which won't support a megaplane but can stand alone.

Traffic forecasts are also now well out of date. Virtual meetings mean travel for business isn't as necessary as it once was, so forecasts from the 1980s are now hopelessly inaccurate.

So growth will not be as fast as anticipated in air travel, and the outcome will be a mixture of hub to hub, secondary operations and feeders. Not unlike today.

Neither plane addresses the real problem, which is that we need to move away from kerosene. There is only a finite amount left, and eventually aviation has to change or die.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Sun Nov 27, 2005 1:16 pm

That sounds very right to me, so I should have mentioned that I was thinking of currently available airplanes. Yes, we need to find cleaner, more abundant fuels, but I was merely wondering about the irrelevancy of opposing the two strategies backed up by A and B.

Business travel would probably not grow as much as some people thought twenty years ago, but decreasing ticket prices have made it possible for a larger number of people to travel for leisure. So perhaps the total number of passengers actually flying will be about the same as previously forecasted, it is just the nature of these travels that will differ.

Hence the congestion issue. Perhaps demand peaks will be sharper and more seasonal (holidays). How do we deal with this?

Thank you all for your input, this is much appreciated!
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RE: A380 And B787 Complementary?

Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:26 am

I second the general idea of this thread.

For one the worldwide market is heterogeneous and rapidly growing - thus probably enabling succes for both aircrafts.

And besides I claim that Airbus and Boeing try to avoid direct competition whenever they can. Clearly not the case for A320/B737. Other aircrafts are IMHO not sold as direct competitors. e.g. A350/B787. And some airlines executives have publicly spoken against the worldwide duopoly.

Last but not least both manufacturers enjoy quite high profit margins for heavy industry - things that car makers may dream of. Is it the reward for high technology or for a duopolist market sharing... ?

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