What we have here is just another of those warmed over reports in which some old comments are put together to help substantiate a single and rather vague 'new' quote from UH on the fact ILFC is -not surprisingly- still working with Airbus to have the A350 defined more to their needs, thus pushing its final design details into a specific direction.
As everybody in the industry feels the A350 programme is a unique occasion to unexpectedly get a fabulous all new platform that will replace the 777 and compete with the top models of the 787, every likely future customer want this next decade's best plane to fit perfectly his own needs, based on their experiences from the past: SQ has some demands, QR has other things on their wish list for this plane, ER and its preference for range and size well known and ILFC too wants to push some aspects of the design a bit further as it feels these are an asset to them.
Contrary to the 787 which is frozen and thus available on a take-it-or-leave it basis alone, the A350 is still modifiable within its performance and technical specifications and it seems the future large customers of the plane are now constantly trying to make best use of this opportunity: some by ordering it right out (QR and SQ) and then counting on the fact they will gain more leverage over the design as such (see QR's comments on the A350 after they had ordered), others by doing exactly the opposite and delay their likely order till they have got their way... or at least the unambiguous confirmation the design is frozen to beyond the issue they would like to see included, at what point ILFC will have to look again at the big picture and decide whether the plans for the A350 match their global expectations for a 777 successor and 787 competitor and I don't doubt for a minute they will then step on board.
What we see happening here to the A350 is something is basically going on with all other planes which are still somewhat flexible in their final design:
EK on the 748i: not enough range
LH on the 748i: make it the same lenght as the 748F
QF on the 787: we'd like a bigger version, and it should be so and such
EK on the 787: bigger, more range
QF on the 748i: warmed over old technology
|Quoting Poitin (Reply 22):
Clearly, he has not kissed and made up with Airbus over the A350 XWB. And given QR grumblings, I would expect that we have not seen the definitive version of the XWB. While I expect that the panels will be retained, the LI-AL frame will go and be replaced by composite. SUH is clearly well informed about the short comings of the airframe.
I think we have moved beyond that point of a structural discussion some time ago and the centre of attention of the airlines now is more on details, fine tuning of the design so to speak: redundancy and durability and their cost effect on the total price vs the maintenance cost of the plane. As different customers have different ways of using a plane, so do their interests diverge, hence all of them trying to influence the final design to be as close to their personal interests as possible: expect it to end only when the A350 will be finally frozen, after which UH will finally shut up and put in an order for 30 at least.
[Edited 2007-07-12 15:43:22]