Topic Author
Posts: 507
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2000 11:37 pm

747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 5:38 am

To all: The recent selection of A3XX by SQ has given the Forum a whole new range of topics to discuss, i.e, the technical merits of A3XX, the price paid, the deal SQ received, the routes A3XX will be used on, what competitors may do, ect. All of these and more were discussed with varying degrees of objectivity, perspicasity and, of course, belligerence. The analysts were also heard from, with various opinions about the significance of the SQ selection.
What seems to have been given little attention however, was the overall validity of the 747X program itself. It seems to me that Boeing would be relatively foolish to pursue a program which had little prospect of successfully attaining Boeing's business goals(whatever they are in the near to medium term in the very large a/c market)if they had not received sufficiently positive response from their customer base. That said, I was wondering what variants of the 747X program you think have the greatest potential for success. In another post, our friend WorldTraveller stated his thoughts that the 747-400X had the best shot; certainly a plausible theory as that variant offers a minimum risk, relatively low-cost option for adding capacity in the near term to operators of 744 fleets. I think that the freighters and ULR variants of 747X offer niche opportunities to exploit, the freighters for obvious reasons, the ULR variant as it falls between A3XX and the 777/340 series in capacity.

Thoughts, opinions and comments, please.

Best regards,


RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 5:53 am

--I'm confused...why does everyone think that the 747X program is already unsuccessful because SQ ordered 25 A3XX's??? There are still a couple dozen carriers out there that have not voiced their choice.

--Neither program has had a formal production launch.

I think both will do well.

Posts: 594
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 1999 3:47 am

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 6:32 am

Hello F4N, here's another possibility:

This weeks Economist states that Boeing's shareholders might not want the company to undertake an even "medium-risk" enterprise like the launch of the proposed 747X variants right know, since Boeings order books are full and the planemaker is very healthy right now (look at the stock performance).
The article claims that Boeing might actually not go ahead with the 747X but work on a "real" competitor to the A3XX which it could unveil in 2002. Of course, the plane would not come out in 2002 but rather the preliminary design as we have the A3XX design in 2000.

I believe on the one hand this strategy is risky, too. Airbus wants to have taken two thirds of the VLA market by the time Boeings VLA would come out, and when this turns out to be true Boeing will have a hard time making money on its >$10 billion investment.
On the other hand, many customers like Cathay, Qantas, UAL, ANA, JAL could wait till 2002, compare the Boeing VLA to the A3XX and opt for the Boeing variant. This would certainly mean hard times for Airbus...

Either way, the coming years are slated to become interesting...

the WorldTraveller
Posts: 2013
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 6:50 am

I agree with WorldTraveller: I believe there are a number of customers that are willing to wait until Boeing comes up with a VLA definitive answer to the A3xx.

This wouldn't be the first time Boeing has played catch-up recently; look at the A340/777 and A320/737NG. And we all know that the 777 and 737ng have done extremely well in the market.
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Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 2:02 pm

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 6:52 am

Boeing should continue with the 747X. If there is a large market for A3XX type aircraft, then Boeing should develope a new superjumbo of it's own, a 787 or 797. Maybe a large super sonic aircraft with greater efficiency and range.
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 3:52 am

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 5:10 pm

Boeing wouldn´t be wise to go for an all-new 7X7 to counter the A3XX right now.
I think that the 747X offers a smart alternative for airlines expanding their current 744-fleet. A 747X-Freighter might even outsell the A3XX-Freighter because money is even more important in the freight business. And an 747X-Freighter will be considerably cheaper than the European alternative (it doesn´t need an completely redesigned interior!). Boeing should take the opportunity to wait and learn from mistakes Airbus will make with the A3XX. The Superjumbo-market boom is anyway not really starting before 2010. But then I predict Airbus´ market predictions will be closer to reality than Boeing´s current numbers. The US company still has some time on their hand.

The decision to start the 747X with the freighter version is a clever move.
Topic Author
Posts: 507
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2000 11:37 pm

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Fri Oct 06, 2000 9:15 pm

To all: There is an interesting article from Credit Suisse-First Boston about A3XX and its' prospects for the future(I believe Navion has already posted the article). I'll leave it to others to debate the A3XX part; instead, I'd like to point out the part of the report which indicates that Airbus has decided not to compete in the 400-480 seat segment of the market. This certainly leaves opportunities for Boeing to exploit I would think, especially on the long range routes which may not justify a larger a/c but are too large for a 777 or A340. This may be of interest to UA or NW, given the large 744 fleets both currently operate.

Best regards,

Posts: 1590
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2000 4:46 am

RE: 747X Variants Which May Have Success

Sat Oct 07, 2000 2:04 am

So, it looks like this:

1. Boeing can go on with 747X. Even if it is a niche aircraft, it will be financially successful because of not high development expenses.

2. Boeing has time to wait and see how successful A3XX is and what the superJumbo market really is. The worst (for Boeing) possible scenario is if there is quite a large market - but it is filled by the product that was first (A3XX), and there is no space for new VLA at least until new generation VLA is required. Other possibilities: A3XX itself is a niche aircraft that is a real disaster for Airbus (similar to Concorde, but I'm absolutely sure Concorde is a greatest aircraft ever built so it had to appear even by such a price - I am not a British or French taxpayer though  ); or A3XX is really successful and the VLA market is big enough another superJumbo to be developed.

3. (fantastic?) In 1969 Europe made SST and Boeing made Jumbo-jet. 40-50 years later Europe made very advanced, really new generation superJumbo (isn't A3XX supposed to be one?) and Boeing develops new generation SST that is rather economically viable. Needless to say, if there is a discussion about VLA market, the SST market is potentially huge and depends only on possibility to create an aircraft not THAT expensive both to develop and fly.

4. Of course, no way for Boeing to develop both VLA and SST. Only with subsidies from government (I mean REAL subsidies for these developments, not that rubbish I saw here several times like "Boeing gets subsidies as the government pays for military planes",...). I am a US taxpayer now and I AM AGREE  .

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