|Quoting Bjornstrom (Reply 4):|
Thats part of my point - why not a A340-500/600 with two (larger) engines instead of four? Isn't that what the 777 is all about?
Because its too late and too expensive to do that, anyhow the horse (772ER 773ER and 772LR) has well and truly bolted. Airbus may as well close the stable door and work on a replacement for A340/A330. The A350 will be competition for 787 and some models of 777 (namely 772 and some 772ER missions) but won't be able to compete with the 77X versions (77W 77LR) for sheer capacity (weight) and range.
To be fair to Airbus when the A330 and A340 were developed (Several years before B777 both models were relying on the biggest engines that were available at the time. The 340 was let down by the cancelling of the 'superfan' project and had to rely on the extreme upper limits of CFM development. The 330 was constrained to the upper limits of CF6 PW
and Trent engines of around 68 - 72K.
The B777 initially had engines of around 77K but quickly grew to 85K then 90-98K and finally the GE90-115B (at 115,000K) which has become 'legendary' on the long range derivatives of 77X.
Things could have been different for Airbus had these power plants been available several years earlier. This of course is not predudicing A's clear preference then
of 4 engines instead of 2.
Its not a simple case of bolting on larger engines to a330 either. Imagine the re engineering required to mount the larger 777 engines to A330s wing!!!
As I have said before Boeing took a punt on the 'Very Large Twin' on both being reliable and acceptable to the market and this relied heavily on the engine makers providing the high thrust engines 90K + that at that time had not been developed. The reliability and economics of these engines and the acceptance of ETOPs has paved the way for the success of the B777 that you have seen. The irony of all this is that is was Airbus who began the widebody twin in 1972 but later abanded that theory for 'four engines for long haul'
We all know what happened to that and now you have Airbus following Boeing with the A350 which will have its work cut out in the 787/777X combo.l