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PennPal
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If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:59 pm

With a production run of under 400 units, I was wondering if the A340 would have even reached that many models produced if it had been built by Boeing. Since the major users of the type are/were Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic, one could surmise that those carriers ordered the plane, to some extent, because it was "home grown". You might even include South African, Cathay Pacific, and Air Tahiti Nui in that mix. Since no American airline ordered the plane (except for Northwest, which never took delivery of one), how successful would Boeing have been in marketing it??
 
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ikolkyo
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:03 pm

Well they wouldn't built it for one, they would rather have went for 777 was developed in the same time frame as the A340.
 
Softaero
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:20 pm

The A340 is basically a stretched A300 with a new wing and quad engines. Can't imagine how Boeing would build one.
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JannEejit
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:34 pm

Boeing already had it's own four holer in the wide body sector. I can think of no reason why they'd have gone with another quad type when the twin engine 767 was already in existence and the 767-400 was more or less a Boeing equivalent to the A340-300. Come to think of it, I still struggle to comprehend why the Airbus A300 evolved into a four engine type, which itself re-evolved into the A330, the true successor to the A300 in Airbus terms. Another question might be, why didn't the 767 begin life with four engines ? The answer may well be...The A300 !
 
DFW789ER
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:59 pm

I'm not sure what the sense of this question is? Would it be fair to ask a counterpoint question and ask what if Airbus built the 777?
 
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SEPilot
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:03 pm

Airbus built the A340 to be a long-range companion to the A330. It was intended for airlines that wanted long range but did not need the size of the 747 (at this point, the 747 was virtually the ONLY choice for airlines wanting trans-pacific capability). There were at that time no engines available powerful enough to give the range to the A330 with only two, and Airbus was not well enough established that the engine makers would make one for them. Also, ETOPS was in its infancy, and Airbus did not foresee how popular and effective it would become, nor how far it would be stretched. Boeing, on the other hand, when faced with the same requirement for a long-range plane smaller than the 747 but larger than the 767 decided to push the envelope and get the engine manufacturers to make a bigger engine so that they could build a plane to meet the requirements with only two engines. They also pushed the authorities to extend ETOPS limits and to give the 777 ETOPS-180 right out of the box. At that time Airbus was not well enough established to do either of those. So the idea that Boeing might have built the A340 is what they might have done if they were a conservative company unwilling to take risks; but they apparently still had the spirit that caused them to build the 247, the B-17, the B-29, the 707 and the 747. All of them were huge risks and all of them pushed the envelope. They also tried to push the envelope again with the 787, this time by trying to shorten development time and expense, and got badly burned. Since then they seem to have become risk averse. I am deeply disappointed by that, and hope that they will recover their bold and daring spirit in the future.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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DocLightning
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:09 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Boeing already had it's own four holer in the wide body sector. I can think of no reason why they'd have gone with another quad type when the twin engine 767 was already in existence and the 767-400 was more or less a Boeing equivalent to the A340-300. Come to think of it, I still struggle to comprehend why the Airbus A300 evolved into a four engine type, which itself re-evolved into the A330, the true successor to the A300 in Airbus terms. Another question might be, why didn't the 767 begin life with four engines ? The answer may well be...The A300 !


You have to take the timeframe in which the A340 was designed into its proper historical perspective. At the time, Airbus was a much smaller OEM than Boeing with much less market penetration overall. They didn't have the resources to sling around entire new types like the A380 or A350. McD was still an independent manufacturer with a fair amount of international market share. They had two competitors to think about: the MD-11 and the Boeing 747-400.

ETOPS wasn't a given thing then. The wide-body twin was a relatively new concept with the A300 and 767. The DC-8 and 707 were still in service in some places (LA was still using the 707 on SCL-IPC). There was still some very serious skepticism about the advisability of flying over remote places with no diversions for 3+ hours on a twin-engined aircraft.

Airbus had enough market clout to get the engine suppliers to make some of the most powerful and largest engines ever designed for the A330, but the idea of the 777 was really revolutionary and very risky on Boeing's part. They took a big bet and the bet paid off. Airbus went for a much more conservative approach and the 777 creamed them. Had there been a few high-profile in-flight engine events in the early days of the 777, I'm not sure the A340 would have been such a failure.
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intotheair
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:29 pm

Thanks to someone on FT, I came across this five-part PBS documentary on the 777 development. It is ridiculously long, and I only skipped through bits and pieces of it, but the first few minutes of part one are really interesting. Boeing was studying a number of options in the MD11/L1011/A330/A340 space, i.e. the whole between the 767 and 747. They were in discussions with the "Working Together" airlines, though they were mostly trying to target UA. A number of options were proposed, including a stretched, re-winged, re-engined 767. The plane on the top is a 763:

Image
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oyWZjdXxlw

UA and the other airlines flatly told Boeing that was not acceptable and pushed them to do a clean sheet design. I think we can say that whatever that long thing in that picture is would have been Boeing's A340!

A few other things to consider that are interesting:

> According to the documentary, UA was very close to placing an A330/A340 order. UA's CFO at the time was strongly in favor of an Airbus deal, mostly because Airbus already had a design in development.
> The A330/A340 program and the 777 program are not from the same time period. The 777 didn't really start development until close to when the A340 was in service, and I think that plays a major factor into how the two manufacturers created two very different products for the same market.
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dcajet
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:43 pm

Also the OP forgets to include the 330 in the mix, as the 330 and the 340 were designed and developed by Airbus as a combo. When the 340 and 330 are seen as a package, all these notions out there that it was mostly bought by Euro airlines because of Euro politics and the likes of those, have very short legs.

Although the quad nature of the 340 was quickly rendered obsolete by the outstanding reliability and economics of twins, its basic design lives on the 330 for many years to come.
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TommyBoy
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:03 pm

If Boeing built the A340...they'd be Airbus...
 
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Channex757
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:30 pm

The A340 shares an essential part (or parts) with the A330, namely its wing. That's where the bulk of the work and money goes as without a wing you don't have a plane.

For Boeing to make an equivalent, it would need to be a plane slightly bigger than the 767 but sharing its wing with design modification to take four engines. Obviously they didn't go in that direction. The 777 wing is completely redesigned and the whole aircraft larger, with twin motors. The Airbus consortium did however manage to keep costs lower by sharing so much of the development costs between two members of the family, so in that respect the A343 wasn't a bad investment at all.

We'll conveniently overlook the A340-200 as that was an utter dog! Maybe a good idea at the time but hopelessly outclassed as the A343 became more capable, just as happened later as the A330-300 got heavier and engines more capable which ate into the market for the A330-200.
 
olle
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:35 pm

I think we coming back to the old a.net if a340 and a330 is one or 2 airplanes. I am of the oppinion that it is one with different engine setting. The current A333 seems have more in common with A343 then the original A330 with range, weights and activation of central fuel tanks.
 
rg787
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:49 pm

I think what the OP is really asking is the impact on country of origin of the product, in this case the A340, on costumer willingness to buy it, in this case the airlines. I can't really help with this exact question but it is well known that British airlines had a preference for RR in the past and some say AF only buys GE engines, so the OP proposed situation is not out of this world.

From what has been input in this thread, I would imagine that there may have been some of this European home grown preference but the A340 had some time advantage on its side, as the 777 was years behind in development. Also, it being four engined certainly helped bringing some orders, SAA comes to mind...
 
Bald1983
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:08 pm

PennPal wrote:
With a production run of under 400 units, I was wondering if the A340 would have even reached that many models produced if it had been built by Boeing. Since the major users of the type are/were Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic, one could surmise that those carriers ordered the plane, to some extent, because it was "home grown". You might even include South African, Cathay Pacific, and Air Tahiti Nui in that mix. Since no American airline ordered the plane (except for Northwest, which never took delivery of one), how successful would Boeing have been in marketing it??


No more, probably less. Boeing and Airbus, with a few exceptions were going for twins.
 
cloudboy
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:10 pm

I think the point the OP is trying to make is that the 340 only sold as many frames as it did was because politics forces European airlines to purchase the airbus product.

I am going to switch that around and say that the reason why Boeing was able to shoot the 340 dead in the water was because they had the cloud and financial backing to force changes to both regulations concerning 2 engine long distance flights (ETOPS) and to be able to get engine manufacturers to make improved engines. It was more a factor of Airbus having to play within the rules and market realities of developing a plane in the early 80's. Boeing was late to that game, to its advantage, and could get the rules to change, which Airbus would never have been able to do on its own.
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Revelation
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:21 pm

intotheair wrote:
Thanks to someone on FT, I came across this five-part PBS documentary on the 777 development. It is ridiculously long, and I only skipped through bits and pieces of it, but the first few minutes of part one are really interesting. Boeing was studying a number of options in the MD11/L1011/A330/A340 space, i.e. the whole between the 767 and 747. They were in discussions with the "Working Together" airlines, though they were mostly trying to target UA. A number of options were proposed, including a stretched, re-winged, re-engined 767. The plane on the top is a 763:


Strange that you found it on FT, I made a reference to the same thing just a week ago in viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1344107&p=19130041&hilit=21st#p19130041

Here's the relevant section of that post:

Revelation wrote:
Polot wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Unfortunately what we've seen from Boeing is they don't put new product onto the market till every other option is exhausted. They really didn't want to do the 777 (they were hoping the 767-400 would be enough) but they ended up having no choice.


The 767-400 came about long after the 777 EIS.


True, but Boeing offered stretched 767s (seven different variants) to the customers before they offered the 777, and they were not interested.

If you don't believe me, go to 5:30 or so in YouTube: 21st Century Jet - Building the Boeing 777 and it'll all be clear.

Perhaps I was lazy to call this a 767-400 but I'm sure one of the seven variants was close to what became the -400.
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Channex757
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:44 pm

To say where it would be in the market, you first have to define the product as I proposed above. A Boeing-built 767 stretch sharing a similar wing but with 4 engines (probably the CFM56), as the 777 wouldn't have gone into development (yet).

United and American would maybe buy it. Continental maybe too. I say maybe as what would it mean for a company down the coast called McDonnell Douglas? It could have reinvigorated their own production lines, especially if McDD went for the partnership they later explored with Airbus to get access to the BAE Systems wing technology. The MD-12 might have happened earlier if sales of trijets at Douglas had been stimulated by Boeing building an A340-type derivative.

Douglas could even have gone ahead with the proposed twinjet they mulled over extensively at one point if more cash was flowing into their coffers.
 
mjoelnir
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:38 pm

If you look at the A340 alone, it is easy to say that Boeing came out with the 777 and beat it. But that is build on the comparison of two models, the A340-600 against the 777-300ER shows a complete domination by Boeing. Not every model of the 777 showed this domination.

The second point is that Airbus made a design, covering two areas with the A330/A340-200/300 the quad covered the long range and the twin covered the medium to long range. One fuselage in two length, one type of wing with the possibility to go quad or twin. This combo sold together 1,693 frames with 1,549 delivered. With the A330neo, in principle still the same frame with new engines, sales have reached 1,735 units. The growth potential, that the A330 has shown, is the legacy of the A340, the frame being build strong enough for an MTOW of 275 t.

Airbus made one mistake and that was the development of the 340-500/600, a considerable stretched frame new wings and engines, it came out far to heavy even disregarding the added weight of carrying four engines. There is a far bigger difference between an A340-500/600 and the A340-200/300, than between the A340-200/300 and A330-200/300.

IMO the problem with the A340-500/600 was not being build as a quad, but not going for a bigger diameter fuselage and offering again a twin and a quad. The A340-600 was a stretch to long.
 
UltimoTiger777
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:00 pm

I'm sure I read that the reason for the A330/A340 was that some European and Asian airlines wanted a quad jet while the US carriers and some other European ones prefered a twin hence the decision to build both.

Am I right thinking this?
 
PennPal
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:00 pm

[quote="cloudboy"]I think the point the OP is trying to make is that the 340 only sold as many frames as it did was because politics forces European airlines to purchase the airbus product.

Thank you cloudboy and rg787 for correctly addressing the true meaning of my question! I guess I should have left "Boeing" out of the equation. I should have said if ANY OTHER manufacturer than Airbus built the A340, would it have garnered as many orders as it did, considering the major amount of orders came from European airlines.
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:26 pm

[quote="SEPilot"]There were at that time no engines available powerful enough to give the range to the A330 with only two, and Airbus was not well enough established that the engine makers would make one for them.

Actually Airbus contracted with PW to build a conceptually novel "superfan" for the A340, but had to revert to CFM56s when PW fouled up on the project.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:21 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
There were at that time no engines available powerful enough to give the range to the A330 with only two, and Airbus was not well enough established that the engine makers would make one for them.

Actually Airbus contracted with PW to build a conceptually novel "superfan" for the A340, but had to revert to CFM56s when PW fouled up on the project.

That is true, but I believe that the Superfan was something PW wanted to do, and were looking for something to hang it on. They were not ready for prime time, however, as is shown by the fact that the GTF (which is basically the Superfan) is only appearing now, and still has some hiccups. I do not think PW would have built a 777 equivalent engine for Airbus at that point.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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caoimhin
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:56 pm

TommyBoy wrote:
If Boeing built the A340...they'd be Airbus...


Reminds me of the 2014 press conference at which Putin, responding to a question about what will happen if the ruble continues to fall, says something like, "We have a saying in Russia. If grandma had a penis, she'd be grandpa."

I came to this thread expecting to see all sorts of defensive posts visciously attacking the very suggestion that political associations could have anything to do with aircraft acquisition. I'm delighted to see no such thing yet. Bravo lads!
 
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lightsaber
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:18 am

olle wrote:
I think we coming back to the old a.net if a340 and a330 is one or 2 airplanes. I am of the oppinion that it is one with different engine setting. The current A333 seems have more in common with A343 then the original A330 with range, weights and activation of central fuel tanks.

Yep. One product with two radically different engine options.


Boeing had the clout for the largest engines ever for the 777. Now Pratt offered the PW4175 (never made it to that thrust) and thus Airbus launched the A332 and a higher MTOWA333. The last CEO A339s have the range of early A332s! So the market evolved.

Boeing built the 777 and that was the start of the end of the 747.

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racercoup
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:53 am

As I recall Leahy and his crew upset more than a few airline executives by waging a war against Boeing rather recklessly attacking the safety of twin engine wide bodies.
 
Varsity1
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:56 am

The A330 was a home run. Airbus made it's name with big twins, should have stuck with it.
 
VSMUT
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:23 am

mjoelnir wrote:
If you look at the A340 alone, it is easy to say that Boeing came out with the 777 and beat it. But that is build on the comparison of two models, the A340-600 against the 777-300ER shows a complete domination by Boeing. Not every model of the 777 showed this domination.


Didn't the A340-300 in fact win slightly more sales campaigns (original customers) than the 777-200A/ER did? What made the difference was that the original two 777-200s won some very big customers.

:)
 
SYDSpotter
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:27 am

If Boeing had built the A340, it would still get flamed on A.Net :lol:
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olle
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Re: If Boeing built the A340

Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:30 am

The Airbus 340 special 300 but also in some manner the 600 was great success for the development of Airbus in order to with relative low cost enter a wide body market where Airbus with A300 models played a very small role before. It gave them a expanding presence in the market and made the management bold enough to create the Airbus wide body offering that it has today. From a presence of less then 10% market share of widebodies late 80s to around 40% market share 30 years later.

Would there had been a A330Neo, A350 and even A380 without the original combo of A330/A340?

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