BOEING appears set to win the lion's share of the Qantas fleet order for 100 mid-sized medium- and ultra-long-range aircraft.
The order is worth $15 billion and is to be announced next week.
This week, Boeing was handed unexpected help in the high-stakes poker game that pits its ultra-long-range 300-seat 777-200LR and its 230 to 280-seat, medium-to-long-range 787 against Airbus's A340 and A350.
In an unusual attack, Emirates president Tim Clark has stung Europe's Airbus in the Flight International journal, saying his airline must be convinced that the 250 to 290-seat A350 would not repeat the "misses" by Airbus in performance and delivery, if the Europeans were to beat the Boeing 787. Emirates has held off ordering either aircraft as it tries to convince Boeing to build a larger version of the 787, the 787-10 - which is the airline's preferred option.
Boeing also said yesterday that it had reduced the Boeing 777-300ER/200LR fuel burn by 1.4 per cent with aerodynamic improvements and weight savings.
The fuel burn reduction comes on top of the 2 per cent improvement achieved during the flight test program, which finished late last year for the 777-300ER. These improvements mean the 777-200LR will be capable of a Sydney-London non-stop flight with an economical payload, Qantas insiders say.
While the 777-200LR appears to be a clear winner over the A340-500 for the ultra-long-range hub-busting mission for Qantas, the race for the larger order, between the 787 and A350, is closer run, with the 787 a short nose in front.
Given how successfull Boeing has been at Family pricing the 777 and 787 together, I really doubt that QF would split this order. I also find it interesting that the paper thinks that the EK warning shifted things more to Boeing's advantage. QF and EK are hardly fast friends.
A couple of other interesting quotes:
That comment came after Mr Chew and Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon sat through a dinner at June's International Air Transport Association conference in Tokyo, where Airbus's Mr Leahy told an amazed audience of airline CEOs the A380 delays were due to special airline specifications.
That glib remark irritated airline CEOs, who pointed out that the features they were specifying were nothing compared with the McDonald's, duty-free shops etc that Airbus was touting in its advertising and marketing presentations for the A380.
But on guarantees, Boeing's conservatism generally pays off with the manufacturer typically exceeding its contract promises.
That conservatism is starting to pay big dividends on the 787 with Boeing able to promise Qantas special versions to meet its particular requirements for extra range on the one hand, and a lighter version on the other for domestic routes.