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LongHaulFTW
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A340-600 with two GE90's

Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:23 pm

What if the A346 had two GE90's just like the 77W instead of four Trent 500's? It is noted that the reason the A346 did not sell well is due to its fuel consumption compared to the 77W, so would having two GE90's made the A346 more competitive? Would the A346 sold like hotcakes and exist as a formidable competitor to the 77W?
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:14 pm

The B777 is loud, flies less smooth than other planes and especially the interior as normal from Boeing at least until now cheap (not talking about seats of course). The luck for Boeing was that at the time the B777 was the most efficient plane, especially the B77W and if you were looking for a comparable model at Airbus the A345-6 was just not efficient enough. Hence a A345/6 with 2 instead of 4 engines being as efficient if not even more fuel efficient than the B77W would have seen many less B777's in the sky
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:18 pm

John Leahy said that GE offered to put GE90 on A330 and Airbus refused, which JL said surprised him very much.

It seems elements within Airbus were very late to see the threat/opportunity of the big twin.

The various MTOW enhancements A330 has gotten over the last decade or so are not rocket science.

The missing element was the commercial vision to pull them forward along with a bigger engine that could provide the thrust to lift all the extra MTOW off the ground to get something akin to the A339 we now have, only a decade and a half sooner.
Last edited by Revelation on Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:22 pm

1. It wouldn't have been an A346
2. The A346 still had an 8 across cross section that contributed to an EIS weight 6 tons over plan.
3. It would have list first mover advantage to the 77W, that helped gain early sales, in particular Virgin Atlantic.
4. Airbus wasn't looking at that high a thrust. You would have had a 95k A330, not the A346.


By the time it was obvious they needed a twin:
1. ThevA332 was selling well.
2. Engineering talent was focused on the A380.

I was working the counter proposal for Airbus to the A380. Airbus could:
1. Do the A321NEO early, make no mistake, the focus was the A321 and a very 787 like new twin, but advanced aluminum and an A340 re-engine (I was working all three at the time).
2. A380;and only A380.

We know the path Airbus took. I'm obviously biased in what I considered the correct direction to go.

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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:31 pm

LongHaulFTW wrote:
What if the A346 had two GE90's just like the 77W instead of four Trent 500's? It is noted that the reason the A346 did not sell well is due to its fuel consumption compared to the 77W, so would having two GE90's made the A346 more competitive? Would the A346 sold like hotcakes and exist as a formidable competitor to the 77W?


Gotta fit them under the wing. It would literally probably be easier to loft a new wing altogether than design the mods necessary to accomplish your goal.

It also was not just fuel consumption that hit the 345/6. This was actually within an at-the-time forgivable(ish) range, given the performance advantages the 340NGs had.

But MX will always be a non trivially higher cost with each added powerplant. As well, Quads suffer on Dispatch Reliability and are not as incident-proof on longer ETOPS missions as Twins are.


To properly answer your question, I'm sure it would have sold tremendously, yes. But the development cost would have been astronomical compared to what was spent on the 340NGs.

It is worth noting that the 340NGs were developed as a variant of an existing family. Same again for the 77W. No one was looking for a clean sheet (in that size category) at the time. Which a 340NG with wings for a GE90 would have essentially been.

Lastly, GE funded most of the developmental costs for Boeing to make the 77W/L updates, in exchange for a sizable percentage from BCA on each 777 sale. The agreement they had for this may very well have prevented them from offering that product to Airbus.

LXA340 wrote:
The B777 is loud, flies less smooth than other planes and especially the interior as normal from Boeing at least until now cheap (not talking about seats of course). The luck for Boeing was that at the time the B777 was the most efficient plane, especially the B77W and if you were looking for a comparable model at Airbus the A345-6 was just not efficient enough. Hence a A345/6 with 2 instead of 4 engines being as efficient if not even more fuel efficient than the B77W would have seen many less B777's in the sky



What? No. While it is true that the 345/6 are not loud planes, once in cruise they're not noticeably different to 77W/Ls. If you were postulating that A330s & 342/3s are quieter, yes, that would be true. But more because those aircraft are exceptionally quiet --it took the A350 to finally match them.

And where are you getting less smooth from? Any aircraft with large, flexing wings is going to handle turbulence better. The 340NGs are great for this too, obviously. But there is not a measurable difference between these and the 77W/L here.
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KFTG
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:35 pm

The question is moot because the A340 is out of production. Next thread.
Mods should investigate this account, similar thread here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1408827.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:21 am

The GE90's aren't like a miracolous cure for every plane.
You know, you cannot simply attach two GE90s to a plane to make it very fuel efficient, profitable, affordable and dependable.
It's nice to read always how someone thinks to know better the matter just by reading about the plane on wikipedia or on the forum... better than the actual engineers, lol
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:26 am

Thats called A350-1000
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:03 am

chunhimlai wrote:
Thats called A350-1000

And even with that the engines aren't anywhere close to the power GE90-115B produces as OP suggested. They simply don't need that.

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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:30 am

Hello,

I wrote a rather lenghtly answer to this very same question in a thread 10 months ago:

Here my 0,02€ about this question:
It is generally accepted as a fact that, overall, the A340-600 is inferior to a B777-300ER, mainly in terms of CASM. Now let's try to look more into detail how this difference can be explained:

Weight (OEW)
B77W: 168t (9% of which are composites)
A346: 174t

This difference of 6t can be attributed to the fact that the A346 is still a derivative of the 1972 Airbus A300-B1, which has received a significant stretch by over 24m. This length increase required a significant stengthening of the fuselage structure, adding significant weight. The B77W has got a wider fuselage (6,20m vs. 5,64m) which helps to deliver a bigger cabin space for a similar length, while requiring less structural reinforcements thanks to a lower length/diameter ratio.
The A346 wings were also extended by 3,15m over the original wing of the A340-300 by adding a piece at the wing root. Knowing that the original A340-300 wing was already an extended version of the first A340 design because of the switch from the initially planned PW Superfans to the less powerful CFM-56 engines, it is understandable that this upgrade was causing a toll in the form of added weight.
The engines weigh 4x4840kg for the A346 and 2x8283kg, resulting in a difference of ~ 2,8t in favor of the B77W. Better load balancing on the A340 wing by the outer engines may take away a part of this advantage, though.

Aerodynamics
The data shows striking similarities between both aircraft in regards to wing span and surface. Airbus has incorporated a thicker wing resulting in a better initial cruise altitude after takeoff at MTOW. The B77W is generally considered as "almost underwinged", resulting also in a rather high Vapp and V1, limiting its hot and high capabilities. On the other hand, this design saves weight and reduces drag at lower loads. All in all, the average drag on typical missions will not be terribly different between both aircraft.

Engines
This is probably the most significant chapter.
The GE90-115B1 used on the B77W is an evolution of the earlier GE90 variants, which have consistently shown better-than-expected fuel burn vs. initial manufacturer promises. It set records for power, pressure ratio (42:1) and SFC.
The RR Trent 556 used on the A346 on the other hand was a downgraded Trent 700 (as used on A330) and the Trent 800 (as used on earlier B777). This engine was generally technically inferior, showing a lower bypass ratio, lower pressure ratio and resulting in a higher SFC and thrust-to-weight ratio.

Conclusions
From the above, it can be concluded that the specific disadvantages of the A346 vs. the B77W could have been only partially adressed by replacing the four RR Trent 556 by two GE90-115B engines. While the aerodynamics would be on par, there would still be a weight disadvantage of at least 3 tons (plus the weight penalty coming from possible wing reinforcement plus gear extension).
Adding the lower passenger capacity of the A346 to the equation, the cost equation further shifts towards the B77W.

All in all, Airbus would have been better of NOT launching the second generation of the 340, but rather start working on a project similar to the A350 back in the late 1990s.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:54 am

LXA340 wrote:
The B777 is loud, flies less smooth than other planes and especially the interior as normal from Boeing at least until now cheap (not talking about seats of course). The luck for Boeing was that at the time the B777 was the most efficient plane, especially the B77W and if you were looking for a comparable model at Airbus the A345-6 was just not efficient enough. Hence a A345/6 with 2 instead of 4 engines being as efficient if not even more fuel efficient than the B77W would have seen many less B777's in the sky


Is it? I flew on an A346 & a B77W back to back, sat like right in front of the engine in both planes, and I can't tell the difference in terms of noise levels.
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:44 pm

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
LXA340 wrote:
The B777 is loud, flies less smooth than other planes and especially the interior as normal from Boeing at least until now cheap (not talking about seats of course). The luck for Boeing was that at the time the B777 was the most efficient plane, especially the B77W and if you were looking for a comparable model at Airbus the A345-6 was just not efficient enough. Hence a A345/6 with 2 instead of 4 engines being as efficient if not even more fuel efficient than the B77W would have seen many less B777's in the sky


Is it? I flew on an A346 & a B77W back to back, sat like right in front of the engine in both planes, and I can't tell the difference in terms of noise levels.


Sit behind the engines and you will notice a difference.......
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Fiend wrote:
TheFlyingDisk wrote:
LXA340 wrote:
The B777 is loud, flies less smooth than other planes and especially the interior as normal from Boeing at least until now cheap (not talking about seats of course). The luck for Boeing was that at the time the B777 was the most efficient plane, especially the B77W and if you were looking for a comparable model at Airbus the A345-6 was just not efficient enough. Hence a A345/6 with 2 instead of 4 engines being as efficient if not even more fuel efficient than the B77W would have seen many less B777's in the sky


Is it? I flew on an A346 & a B77W back to back, sat like right in front of the engine in both planes, and I can't tell the difference in terms of noise levels.


Sit behind the engines and you will notice a difference.......


I doubt it. I had a chance to roam around the back cabin of the 77W en route and heard no discernible difference between the mid-cabin (what I meant when I said I was sitting in front of the engine, not Business/First) and the rear cabin.
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SeoulIncheon
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:57 pm

I have one question - can A330/340 series wing have enough height clearance to house a GE90 engine? Looking at A346 pics the clearance looks a little tight already.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:13 am

LongHaulFTW wrote:
It is noted that the reason the A346 did not sell well is due to its fuel consumption compared to the 77W, so would having two GE90's made the A346 more competitive?


I always thought that line was utter B/S.

The difference in fuel burn between the A346 and 77W is less than half the difference between the 77W and A350-1000.

That line was a pure marketing spin, airlines take into account many other factors.
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DTVG
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:27 am

zeke wrote:
LongHaulFTW wrote:
It is noted that the reason the A346 did not sell well is due to its fuel consumption compared to the 77W, so would having two GE90's made the A346 more competitive?


I always thought that line was utter B/S.

The difference in fuel burn between the A346 and 77W is less than half the difference between the 77W and A350-1000.

That line was a pure marketing spin, airlines take into account many other factors.


In a period when oil prices where considerably higher?
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:56 am

Could they have done A330-1000? I mean new engines favour the longer fuselage.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:43 am

Vladex wrote:
Could they have done A330-1000? I mean new engines favour the longer fuselage.

There were the 330-400 and -600 concepts. If they were made, the -400 was supposed to be a lengthened version of the -300 and the -600 would use the 340-600 fuselage.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:18 am

hitower3 wrote:
All in all, Airbus would have been better of NOT launching the second generation of the 340, but rather start working on a project similar to the A350 back in the late 1990s.



Your post is overall a good summation.

But I would not go as far as saying that Airbus would have been better off w/out making the 340NGs. In the late 1990s, when this development began, 747-400s were still selling fairly well and it was not known how the 77W would eventually work out. The engineering confidence to do something along the lines of an A350 for a VLA ULH capable aircraft was not what it is today.

As well, a lot of 346 sales did come at the expense of potential 744 orders too. While the 346 never approached the success of the 77W, I would say that it was still development well spent when everything is considered.

SeoulIncheon wrote:
I have one question - can A330/340 series wing have enough height clearance to house a GE90 engine? Looking at A346 pics the clearance looks a little tight already.


No. Modifications to the wing, pylon, or pylon position and a different nacelle would be necessary to maintain minimum ground clearance. This is also before any issues with aerodynamics come into play.


zeke wrote:
LongHaulFTW wrote:
It is noted that the reason the A346 did not sell well is due to its fuel consumption compared to the 77W, so would having two GE90's made the A346 more competitive?


I always thought that line was utter B/S.

The difference in fuel burn between the A346 and 77W is less than half the difference between the 77W and A350-1000.

That line was a pure marketing spin, airlines take into account many other factors.


Perhaps. . . The fuel consumption issue is not nothing. After all, there is a reason BCA are not expecting the 77W to compete with the 359/10.

But I do agree that there is much more to the story than the fuel burn CASM differences. Four engines are always more expensive to take care of. IIRC, RR had to agree to offer a certain amount of scheduled MX for the T500 sets to help sell the 34NGs. . .
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:29 am

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
Four engines are always more expensive to take care of.


Not by a long way. You could probably overhaul 4 A320 engines for the cost of the overhaul of a single GE90-115
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:56 am

To answer the OP, I'd say that Airbus had no good reason to consider getting the A346 fuselage fitted as a twin - they already had the A333, which is no slouch in its segment and exemplifies what you can do with engines in the 70 klbs class. One might argue that the A333 range was not great, but perhaps Airbus called it correctly and thought it was better to go for the 5000 nm class and forgo the sales of 6000-7000 nm class to the A332, than to provide that range in the A333 and beef up the airframe even more. Their sales record proves their decision - it's a fine airliner for most users out there.

777 engines in the 1990s were in the 80-90 klbs class, and so that might not quite be enough to lift a A346 fuselage - unless you treat the A346 fuselage and wings like a, well, A350-1000!

There may be a historical perspective as well. Douglas and Lockheed could tell you about the folly of competing head-on in a market segment. It was probably for the best that the 767, A330 and 777 were spread across their respective segments with little overlap. It's also probably been for the best that Airbus waited to let the 777 run its course before coming at it with the A350.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:48 am

DarkSnowyNight wrote:

Ok, yeah? And I am sure you could overhaul a few hundred AMG motors for the same price too. Did I really need to say comparable?

If we were talking about an A343, that might be a point, but even then, it would have been up against a GE90-76B anyway...

Like for like, two engines will be less expensive than four. Especially if the four are triple spooled...


You blanket claim simply is not true, smaller engines are cheaper to purchase and overhaul. RR actually financially guaranteed the Trent 500 would cost less to maintain than GE90-115.

ETOPS maintainability is more expensive as well.

A lot more GE90s get pulled off wings than you would believe. They get pulled for preventative measures when the trend monitoring raises issues.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:11 am

The 767 and 744 had the same engines, but when it came time to do the 748, using the Genx on it required a significant stretch and other alterations. Using the Genx on the 767 was considered as the KC-46 was being developed. It was too much engine for the 767 and didn't match in well. One cannot just bolt a GE90 to a smaller plane, it would be hellish to fly with a single engine.

There were a number of factors why the 345/346 did not sell well, but the A330 did. I think a lot was the "4 engines for the long overhaul" that crimped its style. just as the "two engines for the profit haul" came to pass.
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:22 am

zeke wrote:
You blanket claim simply is not true, smaller engines are cheaper to purchase and overhaul. RR actually financially guaranteed the Trent 500 would cost less to maintain than GE90-115.


I am aware of this, as I have already mentioned. I am now fairly certain we are talking about two different things. RR are very aggressive, compared to the rest of the industry when it comes to pushing service plans. And making blanket guarantees like that is not something they are a stranger to.

And less powerful engines (not necessarily smaller per se) are typically less expensive to maintain, yes. This dose not mean, at all, that an engine developing between 50 and 70 percent the power of GE90, with 50% more shafts and one more stage, will literally cost half to take care of.

RR eating those costs did not make it more efficient. It just made it more palatable for the operators involved. Was that your point?

Zeke wrote:
ETOPS maintainability is more expensive as well.


It was. With airlines that operate quads (and more importantly their respective regulators) moving to EDTO standards, that difference is a lot less visible. Where it exists at all.

I think you knew that.

Zeke wrote:
A lot more GE90s get pulled off wings than you would believe. They get pulled for preventative measures when the trend monitoring raises issues.


I would hope that is not a literal statement as our shop does quiet a lot of that.

But, yes, '90s do get pulled more frequently than is generally believed. This is also true for GEnX engines, T1000s, LEAPs, and PW GTF series. In fact, most early variants of a given engine type have that in common. The only thing surprising about that is the frequency with which they come off for issues relating to relatively mature components.

For the '90s, this (presuming you are focused on trend monitoring issues) was far more common for the -77, -85 & -90s than it is for the -115s. The -115s are simply not developing the same hot-spot issues as earlier variants. As well, things like oil consumption and chip detection fails have improved dramatically as well.
I will agree that the early days of the GE90 did leave a lot to be desired.


And as well, I think that putting two on the 346 (or 330-1000 or whatever they'd have called it) likely wouldn't have changed things much.
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zeke
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:51 am

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
This dose not mean, at all, that an engine developing between 50 and 70 percent the power of GE90, with 50% more shafts and one more stage, will literally cost half to take care of.


I think the Trent 500 is less than half as the smaller parts are a lot cheaper to manufacture with commonality with other Trents. They are made from less exotic materials and processes. The engines in service are working with greater performance margins. Even out of JNB we could get assumed temperature takeoffs.

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
It was. With airlines that operate quads (and more importantly their respective regulators) moving to EDTO standards, that difference is a lot less visible. Where it exists at all.


We operated the A340 snd still operate the 747 ETDO. ETDO only applies on quads beyond 180 minutes, we never needed beyond 180 minutes on the A340 so they didn’t need ETDO.

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
I would hope that is not a literal statement as our shop does quiet a lot of that.


I think we would average pulling one GE90 a month, the Trent 500s were somewhat overpowered for the A346 and never worked as hard as the GE90-115 has to.
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Carmitage
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:34 am

Lots of points:
1) Trent 500 produces 56-60,000lbs thrust, so 3 of them produce 168,000-180,000lbs thrust in an engine out. GE90 will produce 115,000lbs thrust in an engine out scenario. Don't think that's enough.
2) why is a three spool engine more expensive to maintain than a two spool engine? Its oil system is more complex and taking the thing apart may take a little longer, but its part count is lower and is lighter (the Trents are pretty consistently lighter than their peers). The taking apart and putting back together might be a little more, but the cost of parts will be less, so overall, should be cheaper (all else equal)
3) I'm not convinced about 2 engines being inherently more efficient than 4 - if of the same technology. Spreading the load over the wing will be be better and less excess thrust is required for take-off (point 1), so the engines can be smaller. However, there are some size benefits with boundary layer/clearances in the engine, but I suspect they are de minimis at 50,000lbs or more and faster climb to cruise probably helps a bit too. Talking to a bunch of aero-engineers (Safran, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GE, Boeing) they all said it wasn't as clear cut as "2 good, 4 bad", but the cost of four engines (cost of an engine is not linear with thrust), pylons etc work against it.
4) what killed the A340 was (1) it was way too heavy; (2) it was up against the 77W - the most phenomenal CASM monster; (3) neither of those mattered for very long haul, but when the 77W got more ETOPS, that was the nail in the coffin as it killed the remaining advantage of the A340 of being able to fly more direct across the Pacific

...I think
 
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:50 am

The A340-600 was doomed from the time that 10-abreat YC became widely accepted on the 777. The increased difference in seat count overwhelmed whatever performance advantages the A340 offered. Equally, Boeing were successful in developing the range capability of the 300ER way beyond what Airbus anticipated back when electing to pursue the -600, leaving it with just the hot and high takeoff advantage.
 
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zeke
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:58 am

Wildlander wrote:
Equally, Boeing were successful in developing the range capability of the 300ER way beyond what Airbus anticipated back when electing to pursue the -600, leaving it with just the hot and high takeoff advantage.


The A346 could fly for about an hour longer (around 500 nm), and lift more payload under all conditions.

You are correct about the 10 across changing the dynamics of the market. That resulted in more flexibility. That gave it more appeal as a 744 replacement.
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Re: A340-600 with two GE90's

Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:40 am

Too much of this discussion has turned into Airbus vs Boeing and personal comments. Since this exact topic was discussed not too long ago, the thread will be locked. The question has been asked and answered.

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