BoomBoom
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Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:46 am

A long (6 page) article by Scott Hamilton
http://www.leeham.net/filelib/ScottsColumn040406.pdf

Quote:
This is a good question. Airbus, rightly or wrongly, is perceived to have a long history of difficulty with its widebody program. The perception of those we talk to is that Airbus can’t get its widebody designs “right” the first time.

Airbus is already two-three years behind Boeing’s 787 with its A350. A further redesign could well delay Airbus another year or more. But is this fatal?

Not necessarily. The A320 entered service 20 years after the 737 and today outsells the aging Boeing product by almost 2:1. The A330 followed the 767 by about 10 years and the A330 beat the 767 hands down.

So the history is there; Airbus could be delayed but conceivably wind up with a better product than the 787 by coming up with a better design. Adding just nine inches to the fuselage width, for example, would allow the A350 to have wider coach seats than the 787 in nine abreast while preventing the airlines from going to 10 abreast—thus replicating the improved passenger comfort vis-à-vis the A320 compared with the 737.

If ILFC’s Hazy is right—and he usually is—Airbus may be better off biting the bullet and widening the fuselage. Better to get the plane “right” the first time than not.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:23 am

I will be so bold as to re-propose my hypothesis from the IFLC thread:

If Airbus can obtain about 30-40% market share, will their return on investement not be roughly equivalent to Boeing's?

The project cost of the A350 is currently about $5.5 billion, half that of the projected B787 cost of $10-12 billion. If Airbus sold half as many aircraft (1/3) of the market, they would theoretically obtain a proportional amount of return.

Remember that the A340 has obtained about 38% of the market. Is the current A350 as good against the B787 as the A340 is against the B777?

If the answer is yes, Airbus does not need to redesign the A350 at once.
 
Kangar
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:24 am

Well... that's the 6 million dollar question, will they, won't they? Whatever they decide, I'd like to see them set a real and definite path for this aircraft. Part of the problem with the A350 program is that it is seen as reactive in the sense that Airbus are content to just equal the 787 or thereabouts. If they had taken the point of view that guys, we'll be 3 o 4 years late, but our product will beat the socks off the 787, things could have been much rosier. That said, I think the A350 is unfairly getting saddled with a very negative perception.
 
787engineer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:51 am

Personally I don't find too much credibility in this article. The guy doesn't take into account at all how difficult it would be for Airbus to re-negotiate their contracts to delay EIS for another year or two. Scott Hamilton also sees the fact that the A350 is using a "40 year old" design as a bad thing, which it isn't. It saves money, and is a good size cross section for the A350. Unless of course they stretch the A350 to replace the A346 in 5-10 years, very possible IMO. The A350 is a good plane and Airbus isn't investing nearly as much into it as Boeing is into the 787. He also mentions the design freeze happened in January? I thought it was delayed, can anyone give me a link/source? Anyone that considers the 737 "aging" especially with the NGs out there is not all that well informed or biased. The 737s are doing fine and had record sales last year.

BoomBoom, how much time do you spend looking for all these different anti-airbus articles? We all know (at least those of us that are objective) that the A340 is losing out to the 777 and the A320 is the preferred narrowbody of any new airlines. Both the 787 and A380 and impressive in their own respect and Airbus will be able to swallow the fact the A350 probably won't outsell the 787.
 
atmx2000
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:55 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 1):
The project cost of the A350 is currently about $5.5 billion, half that of the projected B787 cost of $10-12 billion. If Airbus sold half as many aircraft (1/3) of the market, they would theoretically obtain a proportional amount of return

You are assuming the same profit per aircraft. If the sales ratios are 2:1 then you can expect Boeing is receiving a sales premium over Airbus. That would reduce their ability to get equal per unit profits depending on Airbus' investment in the A350 and cost structure.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 1):
Remember that the A340 has obtained about 38% of the market. Is the current A350 as good against the B787 as the A340 is against the B777?

The A343 had the advantage of coming to market several years sooner than the 772ER. The A350 does not have that advantage.

Quoting Kangar (Reply 2):
That said, I think the A350 is unfairly getting saddled with a very negative perception.

I don't think so. If Boeing meets its weight and performance targets, they will have a clear and significant advantage with their new design over the A350.
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kaneporta1
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:08 am

Quoting 787engineer (Reply 3):
It saves money, and is a good size cross section for the A350. Unless of course they stretch the A350 to replace the A346 in 5-10 years, very possible IMO.

I think what's going to happen is that as soon as most of on-going projects are 'finished' (A380, A380F, A400M and A350) then Airbus will first go for the 320 replacement and then a new design to replace the A340. The A340E is now indefinitely on hold, a good thing in my opinion.

Quoting 787engineer (Reply 3):
He also mentions the design freeze happened in January? I thought it was delayed, can anyone give me a link/source?

Design hasn't frozen yet, at least here in the UK, we're still working on various wing profiles and midbox, LE and TE configurations to save weight/money/assembly time.

Quoting 787engineer (Reply 3):
and Airbus will be able to swallow the fact the A350 probably won't outsell the 787.

I don't think the A350 was ever intended to outsell the 787, it was more of a quick (some may say paniced) reaction to keep the 330 line from being completely trashed.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:41 am

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 4):
You are assuming the same profit per aircraft

First, please keep in consideration that approximating!  Smile

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 4):
If the sales ratios are 2:1 then you can expect Boeing is receiving a sales premium over Airbus.

Second, as we saw with the B787, I would not be suprised to see Boeing charge more premium if they clearly pull away as the market leader, a la B777.

The point is, Airbus does not necessarily have to sell an aircraft with equal performance or economics as Boeing to still turn a profit.
 
787engineer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:53 am

Quoting Kaneporta1 (Reply 5):
I think what's going to happen is that as soon as most of on-going projects are 'finished' (A380, A380F, A400M and A350) then Airbus will first go for the 320 replacement and then a new design to replace the A340. The A340E is now indefinitely on hold, a good thing in my opinion.

Great! I'd love to see what else those crazy guys on the other side of the pond in Toulouse will come up with given a clean sheet  Smile.

Quoting Kaneporta1 (Reply 5):

I don't think the A350 was ever intended to outsell the 787, it was more of a quick (some may say paniced) reaction to keep the 330 line from being completely trashed.

Exactly, IMO way too many people are over-reacting to the fact that the 787 will probably outsell the A350. B cheerleaders are overjoyed and constantly holding it over/sticking it to the A cheerleaders, while the A cheerleaders are trying to justify how the A350 is better than the 787 in many different ways and in the long run will outsell the 787. The 1.5% weight issue, problems with composites, etc. will all work out, and the A350 in operation won't be so much worse than the 787 that it won't sell at all.
 
atmx2000
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:20 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6):
The point is, Airbus does not necessarily have to sell an aircraft with equal performance or economics as Boeing to still turn a profit.

No, but if there is a sharp performance disadvantage, they have to discount it enough so that airlines who do buy it won't be at a significant disadvantage to their customers who buy the 787. We are seeing that problem with the A340NG today, with Airbus being unable to sell the aircraft at even a 2:1 ratio, and seeing existing orders declined. While the A350 will have engine parity with the 787 unlike the A340NG compared to the 777LR, it will have a similar weight disadvantage in relation to size if Boeing hits their targets.
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boeingbus
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:39 am

I'm sure the A350 is a hot discussion in Toulouse. I believe the engineers continue to tweak/refine the capabilities and reporting it to management and airlines. Simply, Airbus needs more blue chip airlines other than Qatar to endorse the A350. So far mediocre airlines signed up for the A350... Qatar needs to sign on to the program, as well.

The only unexpected news for Airbus was the fact that they never thought Boeing would come out with a 787-10 this soon. So lets sit back and see what Emirates, Singapore, and Lufthansa do.

I always felt the A350 was an intermediate plan to counter the 787 until the next 'all new' Airbus jet. So maybe we will have an all new design sooner than later...
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steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:49 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6):
Second, as we saw with the B787, I would not be suprised to see Boeing charge more premium if they clearly pull away as the market leader, a la B777.

Neither would I. The B787 already has a ton of orders placed for it if I am not mistaken. Although The A350 has its share of orders as well, including the one from US Airways. I guess how each airline sees their B787/A350 performances (pax satisfaction, cost effective, etc...) will determine if any additional orders will be made for each aircraft. It does seem as though that the B787 might have the slight edge over the A350 for the time being, not to be biased or anything...
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AvObserver
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:13 am

Whether expedient or not, I don't see Airbus scrapping the existing A350 design, although they may well give it a few more significant "tweaks". Too late for that. To do so now would entirely abandon the market to the 787 for a few more years, something Airbus can't afford to do. While they could leapfrog the 787 technically by doing that, the Boeing customer base would be so well entrenched by that time, it would be difficult to dislodge, however good the new Airbus model would be. They're doing the only practical thing by shrugging off ILFC and GECAS criticism and proceeding with the current design. Even a 30% market share would be preferable to a further delay and the need to later recapture so many lost customers. Surely they'd considered the ramnifications of redesigning the A330 as opposed to an all-new model and decided the extra time needed to get a clean-sheet design to market was unacceptable. Besides, they've other priorities to address: the A340 deficiencies and the A320 revamp in response to the expected 737 replacement being the most important. If the A350 can be priced competitively, it will sell well enough to keep Airbus's foot in the door of this important market while it readies an all-new replacement for a later timeframe.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:25 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6):
Second, as we saw with the B787, I would not be suprised to see Boeing charge more premium if they clearly pull away as the market leader, a la B777.

Let the record show: This should read:

Second, as we saw with the B777, I would not be suprised to see Boeing charge more premium if they clearly pull away as the market leader.

I incorrectly typed B787 instead of B777, making the "a la B777" reference an unnecessary redundancy.

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 8):
No, but if there is a sharp performance disadvantage, they have to discount it enough so that airlines who do buy it won't be at a significant disadvantage to their customers who buy the 787

Again, I think you are still looking way to literally into a thought experiment. I am the last person who must be explained the performance aspects of the two aircraft. The simple fact of the matter is that Airbus does not need to establish absolute parity with the B787 (per say)

The biggest logic flaw with my statement is the fact that, unlike the A340, the A350 is arriving to the market after its competitor. The best sales year of the A343 was 1989 while the A340NG was 2003, before thier Boeing competitor was introduced.

However, two points to the contrary must be considered:

1. Boeing does not have infinite line capacity. Sales will eventually default to Airbus on the basis of sheer availability or unwillingness to pay for the premium B787.

2. This market niche is projected at an unprecedented +3,000 aircraft over twenty years. Products will amortize well before this two-decade cycle is complete, so this story book is not finished just because Airbus firms the A350 at a sub-optimal design.

What I'm alluding toward is perhaps the A350 will morph (intentionally or not) into one of the most expensive stop-gaps in history. In the short run, an ROI parity is possible, but it could not be sustained for the life of the B787.

Like I've said before, I'm predicted "A350 Enhanced" come 2012...
 
Lumberton
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:51 am

Quoting AvObserver (Reply 11):
While they could leapfrog the 787 technically

This seems to be an assumption shared by others. I've got to ask, how could Airbus "leapfrog", i.e., exceed the technology on the 787? They could most likely equal it technically, but there won't likely be new engines, avionics, or design improvements that would relegate the 787 to second place. Ten years hence, perhaps, but I don't see how Airbus can do this by starting from scratch at the present time and sliding the EIS to the right only a few years, but then again, I'm not an engineer.
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Stitch
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:09 am

Can they afford not to update the plane?

Absolutely.

The A350 is hardly junk and even if the 787 ends up with better numbers (be it design, efficiency, capacity, or a combination), a lot of airlines fly A330s and A340s and the commonality advantages (crew, training, maintenance, financing, or a combination) will tilt the numbers back to the A350 in such cases - or make it close enough to be a wash.
 
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ER757
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:32 am

Quoting BoeingBus (Reply 9):
So lets sit back and see what Emirates, Singapore, and Lufthansa do.

Exactly right - if the A350 wins one or all of the above battles and QR finalizes their deal, then it's a whole different picture than the current one. If however, EK, SQ, LH all go 787, with perhaps SU joining in, then the A350 in its current form is pretty much DOA. If you look at the current orders, it is mostly longtime loyal Airbus customers and then there's US who placed the order as part of their BK re-financing. So yes, Airbus needs to win a couple major airline orders to validate the current design. This certainly could happen.
 
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:43 am

The A350 will be a nice plane and it will be a pleasure to see it fly.
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steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:36 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 12):
Second, as we saw with the B777, I would not be suprised to see Boeing charge more premium if they clearly pull away as the market leader.

I incorrectly typed B787 instead of B777, making the "a la B777" reference an unnecessary redundancy.

I didn't even catch that little error. I knew what you meant though. It's all good...  Smile

Quoting ER757 (Reply 15):
Exactly right - if the A350 wins one or all of the above battles and QR finalizes their deal, then it's a whole different picture than the current one. If however, EK, SQ, LH all go 787, with perhaps SU joining in, then the A350 in its current form is pretty much DOA. If you look at the current orders, it is mostly longtime loyal Airbus customers and then there's US who placed the order as part of their BK re-financing. So yes, Airbus needs to win a couple major airline orders to validate the current design. This certainly could happen.



Quoting ER757 (Reply 15):
The A350 will be a nice plane and it will be a pleasure to see it fly.

I agree with these both, for one, I do like the look and design of the A350 after looking at pics of its exterior as well as the interior. This plane looks very roomy and very inviting, adding to the comfort of the aircraft.

For the other statement regarding the number of orders, yeah the A350 is part of US's plan to go all-airbus and retire its aging boeing fleet (as I have stated in numerous other threads). I am sure that many european airlines will make an order for this: LH (already mentioned), AF, of course, Aer Lingus maybe - I think they have a pretty sizeable airbus fleet... Singapore, Emirates, and ANA are a bit of a toss-up... Emirates has a massive fleet of 777s, I think more than any other airline if I read correctly in some of these other threads. BA might go with the A350, but I think they'll lean more so towards boeing. I think that BA has more boeing aircraft than they do airbus. Do they have any airbus?
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redflyer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:05 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 14):
Can they afford not to update the plane?

While you provided the answer to this question in the rest of your post, my take on it is this: They cannot afford to update the plane (again). They simply don't have the resources because of the 380 and A400. If they commit entirely to another iteration of the 350 then they will risk losing the next round in the narrow-body battle between the replacements for the 320 and 737 because you know once the 787 is in full production (and providing hefty profits) that Boeing will turn its attention to the narrow-body line.
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steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:12 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 18):
They simply don't have the resources because of the 380 and A400.

Forgive me, but what is the A400, is that a renaming of the A380-10 or a completely new airplane that I have completely ignored or did not realize...
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redflyer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:36 pm

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 19):
but what is the A400

Military transport.
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steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:43 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 20):
Military transport.

Thanks, no wonder why I didn't know what the hell that was. I don't really pay attention to military operations...
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Stitch
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:05 pm

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 19):
Forgive me, but what is the A400...

Short answer - Airbus' answer to the C-130 Hercules (though more modern and capable).

Long answer - http://www.airbusmilitary.com/
 
steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:13 pm

Thanks, both of yins guys. That really helped  Smile
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baguy
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:02 pm

I don't think Airbus will need to redesign the A350 yet, but maybe soon.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:00 pm

This guy needs to get his facts straight, since they are indeed facts and can be easily checked should he care to.

Quoting Hamilton (Thread starter):
The A320 entered service 20 years after the 737 and today outsells the aging Boeing product by almost 2:1. The A330 followed the 767 by about 10 years and the A330 beat the 767 hands down.

While the A320 outsells the 737NG, it's not 2:1. It's more like 3:2. And if you back out the mismatched china accounting, it is 3:2. Which it will likely remain. I don't see it ever being 2:1. The 737NG would have to be incredibly inferior for that to happen, and it isn't.

Now while the A330 is a better plane than the 767 for many reasons, it did not beat the 767 hands down, as stated. Further, the A330-300 (along with the 340-300) competes with the 777-200/ER (and I guess you can include the 767-400ER), not the 767 as a whole family, and the 777-200 ate the 330/340-300 lunch once it was launched.

It's the A330-200 that competes with the 763/ER. Since 332 EIS, the 763/ER has out delivered it by 30+ airframes. Over time, the 332 will deliver more since it's EIS than the 763/ER since 332 EIS, but you'd expect that of a 12 year newer airframe. Over the 763/ERs useful sales life of 20 years, it will have sold 625 units. Over the 20 year sales life of the 332, Airbus will not be able to match that, as 300 more A332 units are not likely in history. Add in the 28 342s if you like, it's still not likely to beat the 763/ER, as both the 787 and 350 will really hamper 330 sales after 5 years.

The A330-300 combine with the A340-300 to compete with the 772/ER. The 772/ER has sold 520 units in 4 fewer years compared to the 343/333 sales of 466. And you should add the 764ER to this fight, too, as it was intended as an alternative to the 333 for DL and CO (and anyone else who wanted it). 38+520=558. It would again be hard for the 333+343 to surpass the 772+764 sales numbers no matter how long they are all offered, and the 772+764 are both newer aircraft.

In other words, while I don't disagree that the A320 is a better jet than the 737NG or that the A332 is a newer plane than the 767, this guys analysis is sort of hinged on his statements about clear superiority of newer airframes, yet he chose examples that don't demonstrate that, or demonstrate that in the opposite way that he envisioned...
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rigo
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:35 pm

Disclaimer: what follows is pure speculation, not based on any concrete facts or internal Airbus information. Most of all, I realise that expressing such an opinion on A.net is a sacrilege. Nevertheless...

It may be that the reason why A does not invest in the A350 as much as B does in the 787 is because thy don't regard the A350 as a strategic product in the long term. Notwithstanding technological progress, with ever-increasing fuel prices, a moment will come when the economics will impose less flights, not more. That is, the future MAY consist not in dense routes covering all pairs of airports, but in flying a few giant planes between distant airports. This is true especially in the EU, in Japan and (increasingly) in other Asian countries, which are strongly committed to HSTs as an efficient means of transportation for distances up to 1000km.

From this perspective, Airbus may possibly have a winner with the A380+A320NG combo. The A350 may be just a comparatively cheap attempt to grab a little portion of Boeing's pie, which is very profitable at the present moment, but which may not justify such a massive investment (which, in the case of Airbus, would divert the company's resources from prioritary projects). It seems to be at least what Airbus believes.

It is actually interesting to note that the A380 is not as efficient as it could have been. Airbus plans to go still bigger and has designed the A380's wings for optimum performance at weights the A388 will not reach. It looks like the "real" A380 is really the A389, the current A388 being a mere shrink....
 
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Stitch
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:08 pm

Quoting Rigo (Reply 26):
It may be that the reason why A does not invest in the A350 as much as B does in the 787 is because thy don't regard the A350 as a strategic product in the long term. Notwithstanding technological progress, with ever-increasing fuel prices, a moment will come when the economics will impose less flights, not more. That is, the future MAY consist not in dense routes covering all pairs of airports, but in flying a few giant planes between distant airports. This is true especially in the EU, in Japan and (increasingly) in other Asian countries, which are strongly committed to HSTs as an efficient means of transportation for distances up to 1000km.

The problem becomes when the hub airports saturate with VLTs and narrowbodies. When the 777s/A340s/747s are all replaced with A380s, you still reach the point where delays at the hub are as bad (or worse) as they are now, because the A380s are bringing in more pax into the hub which need to be distributed by more and more narrowbody spoke planes. When this happens, non-stop service will become more valuable and the plane that can offer the best efficiencies (across all disciplines) to help make a better case for the numbers is going to land orders.
 
rigo
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:31 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 27):
The problem becomes when the hub airports saturate with VLTs and narrowbodies. When the 777s/A340s/747s are all replaced with A380s, you still reach the point where delays at the hub are as bad (or worse) as they are now, because the A380s are bringing in more pax into the hub which need to be distributed by more and more narrowbody spoke planes. When this happens, non-stop service will become more valuable and the plane that can offer the best efficiencies (across all disciplines) to help make a better case for the numbers is going to land orders.

In the immediate future, undoubtedly yes. But in the longer run, most pax will be demanding low prices, sacrifying the comfort of nonstop service. Large airports will then be acting not as hubs in the sense of today, but mainly as long-haul (essentially intercontinental) terminals for pax routed by high-speed ground transportation from a 1000km radius. This is already happening, for example at CDG or FRA.
 
787engineer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:51 pm

Quoting Rigo (Reply 26):
Notwithstanding technological progress, with ever-increasing fuel prices, a moment will come when the economics will impose less flights, not more. That is, the future MAY consist not in dense routes covering all pairs of airports, but in flying a few giant planes between distant airports.

Wasn't there recently a discussion that the 787-10's CASM matches well or exceeds the A388s? If 787-10 comes close to the A389s CASM, then there will be little difference economically. In such a case I think most airlines would opt for the 787-10 for increased flexibility (unless of course there are slot restrictions). I think the 787-10 has the chance to disprove your assumption that one plane is cheaper to fly than two. Neither plane has flown yet so there's no way to know for sure, but Boeing's claim of the 787-10s low CASM could beat the A388s is certainly something to keep an eye on.
 
Johnny
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:03 am

@ Ikramerica

Oh yes, check the figures of the combined sales of both B764ER / B777-200/ER and the A332,333,342 and 343...

The B764ER has exactly the size of the A332,not the A333!

A very good idea from your side... Wink
 
mhgreen
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:11 am

This is my first ever post, so please excuse any errors of presentation. In today's Seattle Times there is an article by Dominic Gates, their regular aerospace reporter, called "Airbus' top saleman is under the gun." Gates quotes as follows:

"But Doug McVitie, an Airbus sales director just before Leahy's time and now an industry consultant based in France, said the real problem is the airplanes Leahy has to sell."

"McVitie's Arran Aerospace has just completed market forecasts that show Boeing's strength in the midsized-widebody market giving it unassailable momentum. The superiority of the 777 over the A340, and the 787 over the current A350, will leave Airbus "with a vacuum where they had a product line," he said."

"We see Boeing regaining the deliveries lead in 2008 and never losing it," McVitie said. "Boeing will overtake Airbus and stay ahead. Airbus is heading back down to 30 percent market share."

This strikes me as the most pessimistic of the statements following the Orlando meeting.
 
redflyer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:20 am

Quoting Mhgreen (Reply 31):
This is my first ever post,

Welcome. And it's a great first post!

Quoting Mhgreen (Reply 31):
This strikes me as the most pessimistic of the statements following the Orlando meeting.

Yes, it is very pessimistic but it also is the first to encapsulate the potential dire straights Airbus could end up in if they continue without making some fundamental changes. While they may lose their lead in the next couple of years, I don't think anyone really believes they will allow themselves to lose it for long and certainly not down to the 30% level. With two players in this sandbox, to let yourself go down that far after so many successful years would really reflect terribly and, even worse, put you at risk of going out of business.

Boeing, with all its troubles of the past few years, never went more than a few percentage points behind Airbus in deliveries. Being only a few percentage points down, Boeing realized their entire commercial business was at risk it motivated them enough to make fundamental changes in order to compete better.

I have no doubt Airbus will do the same thing. It doesn't take huge swings in market shift to motivate a company to make fundamental changes and come back swinging.
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kappel
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:45 am

My humble opinion of the a350 is as follows:
At first Airbus was confident that the a330 could still compete with the 787. The promised reduction in fuel burn didn't mean as much at the time, because the highest costs for running an airline were labour costs. But at the time fuel was at <$30 a barrel, and indeed the 787 did not receive a lot of orders, and airbus continued to focus on the a380.
Suddenly oil jumped to more than twice in fact thrice the price it was at the introduction of the 787. Over the last two years, it was proven that the high prices were to stay, so airlines saw that no longer labour, but in fact fuel were becoming the highest costs. This forced them to look to the aircraft which promised to reduce those costs signicantly. This meant that the a330 was now at a real disadvantage, as were the entire a340 line. Airbus could in the past easily make up the difference in fuel burn in the lower purchase price, but now that was becoming impossible, so they needed a quick patch, and were in fact caught with their pants down, because of the spiralling sales success of the 787. Thus the a330ng(a350) came into being. But it proved to not be enough and since then they have to keep tweeking the design, which was not optimal to begin with, they needed something fast, so choose the a330 as starting platform.
Had they started with a clean-sheet design they may not have lost the NW and AC orders, or perhaps they would have anyway, because the EIS of a clean-sheet design would be too far away for these airlines.

So in short, Airbus thought they could wait, thanks to the low fuel prices. They did not anticipate the sudden rise in fuel costs and sought a quick fix.

Sorry for the long rant... comments are of course welcome  scared 
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steeler83
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:31 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 25):
While the A320 outsells the 737NG, it's not 2:1. It's more like 3:2. And if you back out the mismatched china accounting, it is 3:2. Which it will likely remain. I don't see it ever being 2:1. The 737NG would have to be incredibly inferior for that to happen, and it isn't.

Agreed fully, I think someone already posted on here that the 737 has reached 5,000 deliveries and counting. The A320 is not even close, I don't think... I do believe that the A320 is outselling the 737NG though by a little bit as stated just here, but yes, the 737 is probably the best commercial aircraft in the air in general...

Quoting Kappel (Reply 33):
So in short, Airbus thought they could wait, thanks to the low fuel prices. They did not anticipate the sudden rise in fuel costs and sought a quick fix.

Sorry for the long rant... comments are of course welcome

Perhaps it was a bit of a rant, but it was informative. So are you saying that this "quick fix" was an error and now they have to spend all of that extra time trying to correct it? I am guessing that this is what you are saying here, and that appears to make sense. What time would you anticipate first delivery of this bird now? Original time was set in 2009, so what would it be now, 2010 or '11 perhaps? I suppose if they would have started with this new slate in 2002 or 3 we'd be looking at a delivery perhaps in a couple of years in 2008...

I think this may have already been discussed either in a previous post or another thread, so pardon the repetition if any is seen here...
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Kangar
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:36 am

Quoting 787engineer (Reply 29):
Wasn't there recently a discussion that the 787-10's CASM matches well or exceeds the A388s? If 787-10 comes close to the A389s CASM, then there will be little difference economically. In such a case I think most airlines would opt for the 787-10 for increased flexibility (unless of course there are slot restrictions). I think the 787-10 has the chance to disprove your assumption that one plane is cheaper to fly than two. Neither plane has flown yet so there's no way to know for sure, but Boeing's claim of the 787-10s low CASM could beat the A388s is certainly something to keep an eye on.

Dude, calm down, they're just claims. Airbus claim on the other hand that the A388 will have the lowest CASM of any aircraft ever built, but you're choosing to disregard their claims....
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:40 am

Quoting Kangar (Reply 35):
Airbus claim on the other hand that the A388 will have the lowest CASM of any aircraft ever built, but you're choosing to disregard their claims....

Wasn't that before the 787-10?
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
Kangar
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:11 am

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 36):
Quoting Kangar (Reply 35):
Airbus claim on the other hand that the A388 will have the lowest CASM of any aircraft ever built, but you're choosing to disregard their claims....

Wasn't that before the 787-10?

Does that matter? If you ask Airbus now, they would still say the same thing. The point I was making is that something Boeing says is not necessarily true, no more than when Airbus says it. At the end of they day, if they can genuinely undercut the A380 with the CASM of the 787-10, then it is reasonable to assume they would have absolutely slain it with a new VLAC, but instead they went for a warmed over 747.
 
boeingbus
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:04 am

If Singapore decides... I dont think its going to be the A350...

Airbus Should Redesign A350, Singapore Airlines Says
April 7, 2006 11:18 EDT -- Airbus SAS may need to redesign its A350, the long-range widebody model that the European maker is offering against Boeing Co.'s new 787, if it hopes to match Boeing on sales in that area, said Singapore Airlines Ltd., the world's second-biggest carrier by market value

Source: Bloomberg
Airbus or Boeing - it's all good to me!
 
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:13 am

Quoting Kangar (Reply 37):
At the end of they day, if they can genuinely undercut the A380 with the CASM of the 787-10, then it is reasonable to assume they would have absolutely slain it with a new VLAC, but instead they went for a warmed over 747.

Boeing is marshalling their resources. The fact of the matter is that the 747-8 is not a primary focus for them. Its primary purpose is to keep the heat on Airbus. Their real player there is the 777-300ER. All they want is to tide themselves over until they have a chance to replace both models with Y3.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:22 am

Quoting Kangar (Reply 35):
Airbus claim on the other hand that the A388 will have the lowest CASM of any aircraft ever built, but you're choosing to disregard their claims....



Quoting Kangar (Reply 37):
The point I was making is that something Boeing says is not necessarily true, no more than when Airbus says it.

It seems like you are disregarding BOTH their claims.

Quoting Kangar (Reply 37):
At the end of they day, if they can genuinely undercut the A380 with the CASM of the 787-10, then it is reasonable to assume they would have absolutely slain it with a new VLAC, but instead they went for a warmed over 747.

They went for the mass market with a new 787 instead of the niche VLA. Looks like a smart move.

Quoting Kangar (Reply 37):
Does that matter? If you ask Airbus now, they would still say the same thing.

You speak for Airbus now?
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
787engineer
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:30 am

Quoting Kangar (Reply 35):
Dude, calm down, they're just claims. Airbus claim on the other hand that the A388 will have the lowest CASM of any aircraft ever built, but you're choosing to disregard their claims....

I'm not disregarding their claims, and I was very calm when I posted that reply. No where in my post did I say the 787-10 definitely beat the A388 in CASM. I said "In such a case"; I'm simply considering the implications if it is true, and like I've said before any claims by A and B must be taken with a grain of salt. If the 787-10 beats or comes close to the A388 in CASM it would have a significant impact on the market, and that's something worth keeping an eye on.
 
Poitin
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:43 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 18):
Quoting Stitch (Reply 14):
Can they afford not to update the plane?

While you provided the answer to this question in the rest of your post, my take on it is this: They cannot afford to update the plane (again). They simply don't have the resources because of the 380 and A400. If they commit entirely to another iteration of the 350 then they will risk losing the next round in the narrow-body battle between the replacements for the 320 and 737 because you know once the 787 is in full production (and providing hefty profits) that Boeing will turn its attention to the narrow-body line.

You are quite right that Airbus is over extended with both the A380 and A400. That is the reason why they developed the A350 so "cheaply" by first changing the engines of the A330, and then making one "improvement" after another to it to the point where is is something like 80% new. Unfortunately not too many people in the position to actually buy the plane are impressed, witness the rude comments from Hazy and others.

And you are absolutely right in should they take on the 787 with an all new plane, what keeps Boeing coming out with Y1, the A320 killler?

Interesting position they managed to get themselves into. Looks like check mate, but I hope not, for I really want both Airbus and Boeing to compete because that is what is best for all of us.
Now so, have ye time fer a pint?
 
parapente
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:01 am

This has been an interesting thread.I believe Airbus is doing the right thing.Yes Carbon is a little lighter than AlLi-but Airbus does not have the technology/time/money to make it.(Boeing will have been quietly working on this technology for years!).Otherwise what's the problem-that you can cram 9 abreast in at the back of the plane slightly better?You are talking a couple of ins of lost isle width that's all-. If the A350 was so bad why the orders-if the A350 was so bad why is Boeing copying the 900 version in a panic reaction?-with the engine manufacturers stating that they will have to "refan" the engines.No the A350 is OK but will only take 30% of the (large) market IMHO but that's OK for the outlay.
Just as the -900 shook Boeing so will the 1000.It will be a poor mans 777-300er.It will be a stretched A350 (AlLi is far stiffer than Al) and seat approx 350 pax 3 class (i.e. 45 seats smaller than the A350-600 which will be discontinued).It will be powered by Trent 900's certified to approx 90,000 lbs (already bench tested to 95,000 lbs).Just as Boeing hung larger engines on the 777-300 and used them to add range (er)so you can do the same to the A350 but add Pax . Now you have a "sister" aircraft to the A380 (same engines) and it sits in a different size (in the middle) category to both the 787-10 and the 777-300er .Everybody talks about the economics of various aircraft but the numbers only work if you fill'em up full ,what if you don't need anything as large (and as expensive) as a 300er (400 seats) but not as small as a dash 10 (300 seats). At least Airbus will have something unique to sell rather than both companies chasing each others tails.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:11 am

Quoting Parapente (Reply 43):
If the A350 was so bad why the orders-if the A350 was so bad why is Boeing copying the 900 version in a panic reaction?

You're a little confused. The A350 is a 'panic reaction' to the 787.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
Poitin
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:15 am

Quoting Parapente (Reply 43):
(Boeing will have been quietly working on this technology for years!)

Which is why they went out and bought the technology from a sail manufacturer? Okay. If you say so. Seems to me Airbus has been making large plastic parts (A300 tail) for far longer.
Now so, have ye time fer a pint?
 
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N328KF
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:15 am

Quoting Parapente (Reply 43):
Just as the -900 shook Boeing so will the 1000.It will be a poor mans 777-300er.It will be a stretched A350 (AlLi is far stiffer than Al) and seat approx 350 pax 3 class (i.e. 45 seats smaller than the A350-600 which will be discontinued).It will be powered by Trent 900's certified to approx 90,000 lbs (already bench tested to 95,000 lbs).

Which bodily orifice did you pull this out of?

Quoting Poitin (Reply 45):
Which is why they went out and bought the technology from a sail manufacturer? Okay. If you say so. Seems to me Airbus has been making large plastic parts (A300 tail) for far longer.

I don't think all A300 tails were composite, were they? When did they start this? Boeing has been making composites for a long time, just not in the civil side.

[Edited 2006-04-07 21:23:59]
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
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Stitch
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RE: Can Airbus Afford Not To Redesign The A350?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 5:41 am

Did the A300's tail become carbon-fibre with the -600 model, or has it always been so?

As for Boeing, don't forget their long military experience with carbon-fibre, both through their own programs and the programs they inherited from McDonnell-Douglas. And then there is the space experience gained from Rockwell, Rocketdyne, and Hughes.

But all that is moot, since Airbus is not going carbon-fibre on the A350 due to lack of knowledge or talent. They're not going carbon-fibre because they want to use the same assembly tooling as the A330 and A340. So they need to assemble the plane using the same techniques, which means traditional ones, which means some form of Aluminium.

If Boeing wanted to build the 787 on the 767's tooling, then they'd not be using CF, either.  Smile

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