I would like to discuss the improvement potential for the proposed A345/6E, without getting to deep into the business case for now, please.
Weight savings - As far as I can see this is the A345/6's biggest let down, it carries a lot of dead weight compared to it's main rival. I gather this is partially due to the long and thin fuselage requiring a strong and therefore heavy structure. This massive OEW's also takes away any advantage that the very high MTOW would offer.
Airbus has proposed a new Al-Li fuselage akin to the A350. How much will this be able to save though? When I compare the various OEW's for the A343 vs the A359 - two very similar planes in size, function and weights - I notice that the A359 is actually slighlty heavier. Although I realise modifications in other areas of the aircraft may have contributed to the increased overall OEW. But we therefore, cannot be talking about a massive reduction in weight, although even a slight % would be useful to the A340.
Engine efficiency - I've heard figures of 6%-7%, seems beneficial.
Range and Payload - The range and payload are already fairly decent. 7,900nm and 9,000nm for the 380t MTOW, -500 and -600 respectively. How much could this be extended, 10% say? I understand the A340 is weight limited as supposed to tank limited as far as fuel capacity goes. Also payload, would the MZFW be able to be increased whilst maintaining a lower OEW, to finally take advantage of the high MTOW?
Competition - I also wonder to what levels the 777NG's - which already maintain a healthy advantage - could be enhanced using similar improvements. Would the Ge90 be able to benefit from the same advances RR are proposing for the Trents. And could the 777 be made even lighter - I've read about studies into this on this website before.
All comments greatly appreciated.