Morgan Stanley had a recent review of Airbus and Boeing and notes that both manufacturers face product marginalization.
In Airbus case it is the A318 that is not attracting interest and the prognosis for the A340 family is grim, with high fuel prices the business case for a 4 engines looks anachronistic and uneconomic. The A380 has been battling weight problems, and now they have to strengthen the wing. Airbus strives to keep the deadline in delivering the first 2 A380 to Singapore before year end, but Foregaard acknowledges it will be difficult to keep the schedule.
Boeing on the other hand sees a dark shadow for the 777. Especially certain members of the family. The 777-200ER will be eclipsed by the 787-9 and eventually the 787-10. Customer demand for the 777-200LR is still unclear.
Also the 737-900ER lacks the combination of range and passenger capacity that the airliners want. And the 737-600 is seen as a mere niche that has fallen out of favor.
Taken from Aviation Week March 13.
After reading this it makes me wonder how Boeing and Airbus will do to keep their product range competitive? Any suggestions?
1: In the A320/737NG product range I would think that offering two fuselage width and two or three wing options would be a good solution. The smaller one with 75-150 seats at 5 abreast and the larger one with 7 abreast and 150 to 250 seats. That way Airbus and Boeing can stay competitive with the E-jets and the RRJ. To think that one single plane can be stretched from 90 to more than 200 seats seems odd to me. If Boeing and Airbus choose to have one airplane replacing the narrow-body they will lack competitiveness in the lower and upper end in the narrow-body segment.
2: The A340 need to get something done, or it will be gone. Maybe Airbus would be better off developing the A350 further and wait for the Genx and Trent engines to develop to a higher thrust?
3: Would Boeing upgrade the 777-200ER and other members to keep it going, or would they just let the 787 grow into the lower end of that market family?