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FluidFlow
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Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:12 pm

With the resent orders from Spirit and IndiGo the backlog for the A320neo family grows to over 6000. Even with a (hypothetical) production rate of 70 pr month it takes over 7 years to produce all the ordered aircraft. As we all know Airbus has some production issues and can not deliver their frames on time. Today they just announced that the targeted output for this year will be missed by around 20-30 aircraft (https://www.ft.com/content/679d68ba-fad8-11e9-a354-36acbbb0d9b6).

While the order book looks fantastic, the base frame of the Neo is already 30 years old it lacks in many places and 10 years down the road it probably will lack even more compared to a new design. The thing is, how do you ramp up a new design to the production capacity that is needed to effectively replace the A320 from 2030 onwards. when new engines will be available. Is this even economically possible, or is it necesary for Airbus to have two models in the same market space competing each other during the ramp up of production. This would mean more facilities, more staff, more costs and very little profit on the "old" line with possible losses on the new line till it is up and running.

I think that Airbus should overhaul the A320-family. A "half new" aircraft that combines production volume and efficiency from the A320 with new elements to go to the future. The new aircraft should have a new type certification but should be manufactured efficiently to allow high volume output. Proposed changes

1. A new wing is necessary to improve efficiency and fuel capacity to increase the possible range up to 6000nm for the shorter fuselages and 5000nm for the longer fuselage with enlarged center wing tanks
2. With the new wing the aircraft needs new, higher landing gears to accommodate bigger engines and more importantly a longer fuselage so the tail strike risk is reduced
3. Offer five models with two fuselage lengths: basic model with fuselage length between the A320 and A321, basic and XLR configuration with the a litte increased A321 fuselage lenght and a longer version with double jet bridge boarding capacity (also in classic and LR configuration)
4. A new cockpit

The three basic versions are used for heavy short to medium lifting (220-300 seats one class, 190-240 two class), the two longer range versions offer around 170-220 three class or around 220-240 two class

The fuselage should be produced "old fashioned" and just be a stiffened up and lengthened A321 fuselage so it would still be produced in high numbers with little investment. There should be two wings an expensive light CFRP wing for the XLR models and a classic (but new) metal wing for the basic models to reduce purchase price. This would allow for a faster ramp up of wing production. On top of that Airbus could transform current A320 lines into the new type way more easy, as there is still some commonality in the production given.

While this of course also means it is not the most optimal design (weight, dimensions, etc.) it allows for a quicker ramp up and cheaper production.

In my opinion, this would be a low risk high reward approach that I would take at Airbus. There are 10 years to go but planning should start soon because the A320 is not getting younger and there will be a time to replace it and this point should not be missed, because otherwise Airbus could be stuck with an outdated design for ten more years after 2030.
 
Kikko19
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:22 pm

Agreed with everything. I still would love to see an A300 Neo. of course the engines will be the biggest issue (like for the NMA).
 
CHRISBA35X
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:29 pm

I think the A320 as we know it is on its way out. I don't see them doing much more with it.

What we'll see in my opinion is the expansion (and production ramp up the important aspect of this) of the A220 to cover the 140-160 seat end of the market, probably with some money already being invested into ways in which it can be improved/stretched/lightened. that's the A318/319/320 market basically gone - the A220 is able to do everything they can but radically lower cost (once the reliability issues have been sorted out) then you'll see the shifting of the baseline to the 321 fuselage. So you'll have A221/222/223 and perhaps a 224, then A321/321LR and development upwards thereof.

The 737 is done and Boeing will not be able to replace it with the E2 offerings on the table from Embraer so a clean sheet narrowbody is inevitable. I also think people have started to realise that in light of the MAX struggles the development capital and resources are much better spent on a replacement for that than going after a mid market orderbook already dominated by the A321/321LR etc. Seems obvious to me that the former is a much more pressing development need and the "home run" that Boeing really need right now.

What they come up with will probably look like a mini 787 and run from 140 to about 230 seats with space later to move back to the MOM thinking once the more important smaller end has been taken care of. It will certainly be double digit percentage more efficient than the A320NEO/737MAX and probably a fair bit more efficient than a A220 as well. Its going to be a hell of plane, of that I am certain.

I'm not sure if I see two families ie an all new NB and a separate MOM programme happening.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:11 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
I think that Airbus should overhaul the A320-family. A "half new" aircraft that combines production volume and efficiency from the A320 with new elements to go to the future. The new aircraft should have a new type certification but should be manufactured efficiently to allow high volume output.

It's an interesting idea, given similar ideas such as the “A320neo-plus” and “A321neo-plus" stretches that were shelved in part to shift resources towards optimizing the current production lines ( ref: Reuters: Airbus suspends A320 revamp study amid output problems ).

I hope Airbus is not waiting for a "half new" aircraft to optimize its production lines, and the article above suggests they are not.

There was talk of reusing the A380 assembly hall for a next generation A320 production line.

Hopefully these efforts will produce solid results.
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Blotto
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:20 pm

When Airbus talks to airlines, they talk about continued incremental improvements and not about a clean sheet. Don't hold your breath on a near end of the A320.

From what I hear they will have a major update of the cockpit in the next decade.
 
FluidFlow
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:26 pm

Revelation wrote:
FluidFlow wrote:
I think that Airbus should overhaul the A320-family. A "half new" aircraft that combines production volume and efficiency from the A320 with new elements to go to the future. The new aircraft should have a new type certification but should be manufactured efficiently to allow high volume output.

It's an interesting idea, given similar ideas such as the “A320neo-plus” and “A321neo-plus" stretches that were shelved in part to shift resources towards optimizing the current production lines ( ref: Reuters: Airbus suspends A320 revamp study amid output problems ).

I hope Airbus is not waiting for a "half new" aircraft to optimize its production lines, and the article above suggests they are not.

There was talk of reusing the A380 assembly hall for a next generation A320 production line.

Hopefully these efforts will produce solid results.


Thats exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the opener. Back than the problem was the output but until 2030 the output should be fixed and then it is in Airbus best interest to use this optimized output for an "updated" version of the A320 family, centered around the A321.
A new wing will be necessary in my eyes to keep it up to the task and with a new wing a new landing gear is just around the corner.

Blotto wrote:
When Airbus talks to airlines, they talk about continued incremental improvements and not about a clean sheet. Don't hold your breath on a near end of the A320.

From what I hear they will have a major update of the cockpit in the next decade.


Exactly what I had in mind just combined with a new wing and longer stronger landing gear. Then you can also stretch the fuselage and increase MTOW and fuel capacity (lighter wing bigger center tanks).
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:28 pm

OP proposes a lot of design & build variations. That has design/tooling/certification costs. It also introduces assembly complexity, something with which they're struggling in Hamburg in spite of a basic 30-year old design.

I'm not sure two new wing designs can be justified from a cost perspective. Investment to improve costs of manufacture of a CFRP wing seems more likely to build value for Airbus and carriers, both.
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:35 pm

I don't think there will be a new clean-sheet aircraft before the introduction of several game-changing technologies like 1-pilot flight deck or Ultra-fan-like engines.

Obviously, it depends also of Boeing choices.
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Peterwk146
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:41 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
OP proposes a lot of design & build variations. That has design/tooling/certification costs. It also introduces assembly complexity, something with which they're struggling in Hamburg in spite of a basic 30-year old design.

I'm not sure two new wing designs can be justified from a cost perspective. Investment to improve costs of manufacture of a CFRP wing seems more likely to build value for Airbus and carriers, both.


It all comes down to the business case - do the changes proposed make financial sense in terms of selling the aircraft. That's why, I would think, the flight deck hasn't been significantly refreshed since the aircraft was first designed.

In my opinion, the fact that the aircraft has changed so little over its product lifespan to date is a testimony to the original design team - they did an outstanding job. Alright, it may have new engines, but if you look at the fundamental aircraft and system architectures, they're basically haven't changed.
 
flyby519
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:45 pm

How about the A220 to grow and develop into the traditional 320 role and have the current 32xNeo family move towards the larger 321 variants (what's the next stretch version? 322? 32+? something?).
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:52 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
Thats exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the opener. Back than the problem was the output but until 2030 the output should be fixed and then it is in Airbus best interest to use this optimized output for an "updated" version of the A320 family, centered around the A321.
A new wing will be necessary in my eyes to keep it up to the task and with a new wing a new landing gear is just around the corner.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by "until 2030 the output should be fixed".

"Fixed" can mean "problem(s) are resolved" or it can "not fluctuating or varying; definite", not sure which you mean.
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JonesNL
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:03 pm

If Boeing announces the FSA, than Airbus has no choice but to bring an clean sheet to the table. Same as story as the A350XWB. My guess is they will introduce the following in the various segments
Model Pax
A225 160-180
A420 180-200
A421 210-230
A422 240-260

The new A422 in turn would also cover the MoM with an efficient narrowbody.

My guestimate is in 2025 they announce the programs simultaneously. A225 with an EIS in 2028 and the A42x program with an EIS of 2033.

Ps.: the simultaneous part is wishful thinking.
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:19 pm

Blotto wrote:
When Airbus talks to airlines, they talk about continued incremental improvements and not about a clean sheet. Don't hold your breath on a near end of the A320.

From what I hear they will have a major update of the cockpit in the next decade.

With a 7+ year backlog, going away is the last thing Airbus will think about.

If we look at 'faults' of the A320:
1. Lack of electrical subsystems
a increase maintenance costs about 30% for airframe (LEAP engine/nacelle already half+ electrical)
b. Reduction in fuel burn despite weight increase of about 3%
2. Pacity of CFRP. This saves weight, aft bulkhead, wingbox and wing. There is a side benefit as moving these to CFRP would remove most issues to increasing level of Validity cycles and hours (wing most of the hours limit, but possible also tail section).
3. Limit of Validity to extend maintenance intervals. The materials can go 12 years (A340/A330 pioneered this long interval), but 60,000 FC and 120,000 FH LOV drives the maintenance. I'm not proposing fir the value of longer service as the present value of utilization 20+ years out is negligible.

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FluidFlow
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
FluidFlow wrote:
Thats exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the opener. Back than the problem was the output but until 2030 the output should be fixed and then it is in Airbus best interest to use this optimized output for an "updated" version of the A320 family, centered around the A321.
A new wing will be necessary in my eyes to keep it up to the task and with a new wing a new landing gear is just around the corner.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by "until 2030 the output should be fixed".

"Fixed" can mean "problem(s) are resolved" or it can "not fluctuating or varying; definite", not sure which you mean.


I mean, that no delays occur and Airbus can deliver the aircraft on the promised time.
 
sibibom
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:26 pm

With 6000 birds yet to be delivered (and growing) I don't think Airbus needs to do anything (other than incremental improvements) until Boeing plays its card. Even if Boeing brings a new narrow-body it will be 8-10 years before mass production. Depending on what Boeing brings (will be just CFRP wings or body as well?), based on A220 and A320 families response will not be difficult.

Now smaller widebody is where Airbus is weaker. They need to see what next after A330neo. A350neo can move up be based around A350-1000 and a stretch. Leaving a big gap between A321 (maybe A322 in a decade) and A350-1000 size. They need to plan and plot in that category more pressingly.
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:34 pm

They should keep the neo going. Low risk big money maker.
Add some bigger versions above the A321neo and make even more money. Those will need a new wing and that's it. They have and are constantly and quietly modernizing a lot of parts. Like the sharklets wing, new engines, Airbus cabin flex-fuselage and such.
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:39 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
1. A new wing is necessary to improve efficiency and fuel capacity to increase the possible range up to 6000nm for the shorter fuselages and 5000nm for the longer fuselage with enlarged center wing tanks.


Since the A321LR can already do 4750nm and the XLR has fuel for another hour of flight Airbus is already beyond 5000nm.
More than that and you need crew rest anyway, so that is pretty much a no-go for a narrow body.

Best regards
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:41 pm

sibibom wrote:
With 6000 birds yet to be delivered (and growing) I don't think Airbus needs to do anything (other than incremental improvements) until Boeing plays its card. Even if Boeing brings a new narrow-body it will be 8-10 years before mass production. Depending on what Boeing brings (will be just CFRP wings or body as well?), based on A220 and A320 families response will not be difficult.

Now smaller widebody is where Airbus is weaker. They need to see what next after A330neo. A350neo can move up be based around A350-1000 and a stretch. Leaving a big gap between A321 (maybe A322 in a decade) and A350-1000 size. They need to plan and plot in that category more pressingly.


I subscribe to this point of view. This is the weak spot for the Airbus line-up. Especially so, if Boeing decides to launch the rumored 767X, that will make the A339 redundant. Don't think that Airbus can afford to leave that market open to Boeing.

The gab between the A321 (210seat) and the A350-1000 (370+ seats, will be the base model ones the A350-1100/2000 is launched) is too big. A new a/c, optimized for mid-haul to shorter long-haul routes (range +/- 6.000nm) with a capacity of around 280-350 will be perfect to fill-up this cap.
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:41 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
FluidFlow wrote:
1. A new wing is necessary to improve efficiency and fuel capacity to increase the possible range up to 6000nm for the shorter fuselages and 5000nm for the longer fuselage with enlarged center wing tanks.


Since the A321LR can already do 4750nm and the XLR has fuel for another hour of flight Airbus is already beyond 5000nm.
More than that and you need crew rest anyway, so that is pretty much a no-go for a narrow body.

Best regards
Thomas


That is true but this is in the best case scenario. With an additional 1000nm "catalogue" range the payload on the 5000nm routes can be increased and even in bad winter there is no problem do do TATL. Thats all that is necessary
 
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keesje
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:42 pm

A decade ago I took a shot. The long haul A321 XR seems to have been realized by the LR/XLR. Still the options to do a A320 Plus or same MTOW A322NEO seem wide open. Sad thing is Airbus is pushed in no way with their huge backlog weakened competitor and options to further optimize A320 production costs. No doubt CFM, Pratt will come up with PIPS / improved versions over the years too, fiercely competing with each other.

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mjoelnir
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:47 pm

I think we will see new A320neo coming of the lines the next 20 years at least. Compared to the 737MAX the A320neo is an ultra modern frame.
There is absolutely no need for Airbus doing a move, before Boeing is doing a new frame.

New frames coming off the lines today are significantly changed from what was produced and delivered in 1988. All through the time there have been small improvements, made easy by the frame having a FBW flight control. All this small changes have been adding up. PIPs to the frame have made the frames lighter, while at the same time increasing MTOW. Drag has been reduced, range extended and the last big change was to the engines. Some changes, like a possible all electric wing, are still in the pipeline.
One of the points in regard to the FBW is, that ist is quite easily upgradeable. The FBW has allowed to move programs from the more advanced newer models, first from the A330 later from the A350, down to the A320 family. The computers running the FBW have been upgraded.
 
mjoelnir
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:00 pm

A new small wide body from Boeing or even maxing the 767, has been all talk and no action. There again is no need for Airbus to make a move. Airbus has been selling 2,794 A321neo, not including frames that could hide in the Indigo order. That compares to 1799 A321 ceo frames ordered.

The A321XLR seems to be a smash hit, at least in regards to order numbers.

If Boeing should come out with a NMA, something I find less and less likely, Airbus can look at an answer while churning out A321neo that have already been ordered.

If Boeing brings a maxed 767, Airbus can look at the old A310, add a A330 cockpit and new engines. The old A310 wings are already supercritical and though old, more modern than the 767 wings. With new engines, range, that once was a problem for the A300/310 combo, should be no problem. Weight should be in the same ballpark than a refurbished 767.
Last edited by mjoelnir on Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:01 pm

The thing that both the 737 and the A320 have going for them is the rate at which they are produced and the economies of scale that brings. Whilst outputs remain high (100+ per month combined) they rake in money through the sales being fast and through the efficiencies of scale. The trouble is how do you ween off that and hopefully on to something else especially when the industry is mature and innovation isn't what it is in other industries (time and impact) meaning effectively just marginal gains.

A year ago I would have suggested that the future lies in how aircraft are certificated and how the interaction/relationship between the manufacturers and certificating bodies is managed and changing from certificating the designs themselves and instead to certificating the process of design with less prescription to allow what we know now as hard and fast rules to be interpreted as long as the end results are met unfortunately the MAX scenario will likely not allow that.

What should airbus do to move away from the A320? Carry on with the marginal gain stuff, reduce the system complexities (more electric wing type stuff). Bring the A220 up to speed and I think in time try to manage the cockpit integration with the Airbus family so allow more seamless transition between the two. If there is a question of a rewing then I would say that the whole A32X Family needs to be done and keep the same wing for the family and don't make it bigger. I would personally like to see a single monolithic (apart from the moving surfaces) wing, im not sure however what that would require.

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mjoelnir
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:10 pm

flipdewaf wrote:
The thing that both the 737 and the A320 have going for them is the rate at which they are produced and the economies of scale that brings. Whilst outputs remain high (100+ per month combined) they rake in money through the sales being fast and through the efficiencies of scale. The trouble is how do you ween off that and hopefully on to something else especially when the industry is mature and innovation isn't what it is in other industries (time and impact) meaning effectively just marginal gains.

A year ago I would have suggested that the future lies in how aircraft are certificated and how the interaction/relationship between the manufacturers and certificating bodies is managed and changing from certificating the designs themselves and instead to certificating the process of design with less prescription to allow what we know now as hard and fast rules to be interpreted as long as the end results are met unfortunately the MAX scenario will likely not allow that.

What should airbus do to move away from the A320? Carry on with the marginal gain stuff, reduce the system complexities (more electric wing type stuff). Bring the A220 up to speed and I think in time try to manage the cockpit integration with the Airbus family so allow more seamless transition between the two. If there is a question of a rewing then I would say that the whole A32X Family needs to be done and keep the same wing for the family and don't make it bigger. I would personally like to see a single monolithic (apart from the moving surfaces) wing, im not sure however what that would require.

Fred


I think the biggest advantage in a new wing would be, to adjust the wing to the frame and need. Actually perhaps not a monolithic wing, but a design were different versions could be produced on the same lines.
You want the A321 as short range cattle class carrier, take the smaller wing, lower MTOW, lower cost frame. You want the A321 for longer distances, take a bigger wing, with more fuel volume, more span and perhaps folding wing tips.
If we go down the road to more efficiency, we will have to go to more complexity in design, the task is, to make that easy to produce.
 
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:13 pm

Airbus already have a new single aisle aircraft in the A220.

I think the future of Airbus narrowbodies around 2030 will include an A220-500.

I also think the right path forward is to develop a new single aisle aircraft in the 737-8 - A321/757 size range to complement the A220 series and to compete with a likely Boeing "Future Small Airplane".

This aircraft would likely benefit from having more commonality with the A220 series than the larger A330/A350 series.
 
Vladex
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:22 pm

sibibom wrote:
With 6000 birds yet to be delivered (and growing) I don't think Airbus needs to do anything (other than incremental improvements) until Boeing plays its card. Even if Boeing brings a new narrow-body it will be 8-10 years before mass production. Depending on what Boeing brings (will be just CFRP wings or body as well?), based on A220 and A320 families response will not be difficult.

Now smaller widebody is where Airbus is weaker. They need to see what next after A330neo. A350neo can move up be based around A350-1000 and a stretch. Leaving a big gap between A321 (maybe A322 in a decade) and A350-1000 size. They need to plan and plot in that category more pressingly.


I am expecting a bit of a narrow body push back when passengers and operators realize that they are slower, noisier, more unstable and create way more delays due to taxiing and congestion. Most of those 6 000 orders seem dubious including Indigo
 
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keesje
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:29 pm

Vladex wrote:
sibibom wrote:
With 6000 birds yet to be delivered (and growing) I don't think Airbus needs to do anything (other than incremental improvements) until Boeing plays its card. Even if Boeing brings a new narrow-body it will be 8-10 years before mass production. Depending on what Boeing brings (will be just CFRP wings or body as well?), based on A220 and A320 families response will not be difficult.

Now smaller widebody is where Airbus is weaker. They need to see what next after A330neo. A350neo can move up be based around A350-1000 and a stretch. Leaving a big gap between A321 (maybe A322 in a decade) and A350-1000 size. They need to plan and plot in that category more pressingly.


I am expecting a bit of a narrow body push back when passengers and operators realize that they are slower, noisier, more unstable and create way more delays due to taxiing and congestion. Most of those 6 000 orders seem dubious including Indigo



Dubious? Can you elaborate a bit on that?

Indigo has been steadily taken them, 230 so far. Almost all bigger customers have been taken and upgrading orders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A320neo_family_orders_and_deliveries
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mjoelnir
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:36 pm

There will be a limit how far Airbus will be able to stretch the A220. The point is the 5 across fuselage.The A220-300, with 38.7 m, is already longer than the A320, with 37.57 m.

I do not see any reason for Airbus to do anything to it´s line up as it is. Airbus is on top of the world in regards to narrow body sales. The main problem for Airbus is in regards to producing the sold frames fast enough.
An A220-500 makes only sense, when production of the A220 has been ramped up to perhaps at least 20 to 30 frames a month. A320 are as it is produced at a rate of somewhere in the 40+ range.
Two new FAL in Toulouse add to the A320 family FAL capacity 16 to 20 frames. That would bring the current A320 family FAL production capacity to over 80 frames a month. If the market turns again, you close down the two old lines in TLS.
 
sibibom
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:47 pm

Vladex wrote:
sibibom wrote:
With 6000 birds yet to be delivered (and growing) I don't think Airbus needs to do anything (other than incremental improvements) until Boeing plays its card. Even if Boeing brings a new narrow-body it will be 8-10 years before mass production. Depending on what Boeing brings (will be just CFRP wings or body as well?), based on A220 and A320 families response will not be difficult.

Now smaller widebody is where Airbus is weaker. They need to see what next after A330neo. A350neo can move up be based around A350-1000 and a stretch. Leaving a big gap between A321 (maybe A322 in a decade) and A350-1000 size. They need to plan and plot in that category more pressingly.


I am expecting a bit of a narrow body push back when passengers and operators realize that they are slower, noisier, more unstable and create way more delays due to taxiing and congestion. Most of those 6 000 orders seem dubious including Indigo


Most of those 6000 are dubious? What are you smoking! I need some too.

When Indigo ordered 100 planes in 2005, most believed they would never take them, yet they took them within 8 years and then took another 40-50 A320ceo while waiting for neo.

When Indigo ordered 180 neos, the same was said, in 3.5 years they taken more than 100 neos. They will take all 730 on order....I know hard to digest, but they aren't going anywhere yet. By not ordering a widebody and going the Jet Airways route, they are showing discipline. They have only not made profit mainly in the last year, mostly cos of engine issues and a mad rush to squat on Jet Airway's slots. Else they made money for 12 years straight.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:53 pm

Vladex wrote:
noisier,


a) what?
b) Boeing WB are quite a bit more noisy than the Airbus ones, how many people do you know that avoid Boeing WB for that reason? I know none.

operators realize that they are slower,


You think they don't know how fast those aircraft are? How cute....

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
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william
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:04 pm

You do know that the A220 has no cockpit commonality with the rest of the Airbus products. Just read in the latest ATW, interview with EasyJet CEO, the reason they will not order the A220, its not part of the A320 family. From the article, " We do not want the complexity."

So if A220 is the future, Airbus is going to have spend some big bucks and redo the A220 cockpit systems.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:20 pm

Four issues as to a new replacement models of narrowbody Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the next 10 years.

1. Economic conditions around the world affecting passenger demand over the next 10 years. Airlines will adjust pending and current deliveries due to lower or flat needs, financing costs go up or pull back of banks, leasing companies, investors as to capital for new planes, interest rates go up.

2. Fuel costs will likely go up as supplies tighten up in the next decade raising base prices for oil. Fuel is one of the great variables airlines don't have control over and affect fares.

3. China forcing Airbus and Boeing to make more narrow bodies in their country for their own China based airlines and for export to various countries in Asia, Africa.

4. Capital investment will be very expensive for any new model, extensive testing to prevent problems the 737MAX has, for Boeing the losses from the 737MAX will affect their ability of capital investment.
 
jetblueguy22
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:24 pm

william wrote:
You do know that the A220 has no cockpit commonality with the rest of the Airbus products. Just read in the latest ATW, interview with EasyJet CEO, the reason they will not order the A220, its not part of the A320 family. From the article, " We do not want the complexity."

So if A220 is the future, Airbus is going to have spend some big bucks and redo the A220 cockpit systems.

I think it’s fascinating WN is being applauded for looking outside the 737, but nobody seems to have an issue with an all A320 series airline like Easyjet being all Airbus.... PW engine issues anyone?

The A220 will never get an A320 style cockpit simply because you are creating a subgroup of pilots within the airframe. Until you transition all of your aircraft to the new cockpit style ($$$$) you have to operate them with two separate pilot groups. Maybe it will happen with the next generation, but not this one.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
VSMUT
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:52 pm

The A320neo must be the last shot of this family. Innovation is hampered by these eternal warmovers. Not saying it is a bad aircraft, but the A220 has shown itself an improvement in many fields that would never happen on the A320 due to requirements for commonality. But hopefully the fallout from the MAX will lay down enough restrictions.

That said, Airbus is not in a hurry to push a new design out of the factory. They can afford to wait until the next major technological advancements. Unlike a certain other OEM.

As for A220 commonality, I believe the next design will ditch the traditional (and honestly ageing) A320 flight deck, and adopt something in between the A220 and A350.
 
ODwyerPW
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:11 pm

This is a tough conversation. Although the A320 basic frame is 30 years old, it was built in a forward thinking fashion that got so many things right; it will be relevant for a long time.
learning never stops.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:38 pm

ltbewr wrote:
Four issues as to a new replacement models of narrowbody Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the next 10 years.

1. Economic conditions around the world affecting passenger demand over the next 10 years. Airlines will adjust pending and current deliveries due to lower or flat needs, financing costs go up or pull back of banks, leasing companies, investors as to capital for new planes, interest rates go up.

2. Fuel costs will likely go up as supplies tighten up in the next decade raising base prices for oil. Fuel is one of the great variables airlines don't have control over and affect fares.

3. China forcing Airbus and Boeing to make more narrow bodies in their country for their own China based airlines and for export to various countries in Asia, Africa.

4. Capital investment will be very expensive for any new model, extensive testing to prevent problems the 737MAX has, for Boeing the losses from the 737MAX will affect their ability of capital investment.


Great points. I would like to add:
#1 Is the long term demand for aircraft to remain at 1,600+ per year. We have had a bang up 2 decades in aviation, but in 2000 Boeing delivered 492 and Airbus was around this number (492 was a record for them in 2010). It is likely that demand may drop to 1,200 per year for over a decade.

#2 Fuel costs have their own cycles, any new model needs to be the best efficiency possible to address this. Changes in what is the largest cost segment are crucial for airline profitability. The worst for an airline is rapid rises in cost. A ticket sold 4 months ago will buy fuel at today's cost.

#3 China is likely to introduce its own competition. Production of either the A320 or the 737 could occur in China, but it would be crazy to have the new tech there for an easy theft.

#4 Yes, capital is quite expensive, it is basically borrowing 5 to B with no return for 5 to 6 years, risk carries an added 5B possible costs.
 
musman9853
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:39 pm

Peterwk146 wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
OP proposes a lot of design & build variations. That has design/tooling/certification costs. It also introduces assembly complexity, something with which they're struggling in Hamburg in spite of a basic 30-year old design.

I'm not sure two new wing designs can be justified from a cost perspective. Investment to improve costs of manufacture of a CFRP wing seems more likely to build value for Airbus and carriers, both.


It all comes down to the business case - do the changes proposed make financial sense in terms of selling the aircraft. That's why, I would think, the flight deck hasn't been significantly refreshed since the aircraft was first designed.

In my opinion, the fact that the aircraft has changed so little over its product lifespan to date is a testimony to the original design team - they did an outstanding job. Alright, it may have new engines, but if you look at the fundamental aircraft and system architectures, they're basically haven't changed.


they did a great job, but everything becomes obsolete at one point or another. the question is do you invest the necessary resources to get another 20 years of production, and can you sell it to airlines? I bet airbus can do both, and we'll see a320 family being produced well into the 2040s.
Welcome to the City Beautiful.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:59 pm

There are things bubbling out there that will make a clean sheet all the more essential within the next 20 years.

a) Additive manufacture - 3D printing is a great example for this, it is changing manufacturing totally. Often it takes a new part design to fit the new process.

b) Aluminum alloys in aviation have advantages and disadvantages. Many parts in airplanes are sculpted out of stock where up to 90% of the aluminum is cut away. Other materials in an additive process can replace many of these parts, reducing cost significantly.

c) Aluminum has corrosion issues, coatings on the metal often kill the ability to recycle as the coating material contaminates the melt. Maintenance intervals are a major item to check for corrosion.

d) Controls moving from cables and pulleys to FBW to digital bus. Today, digital bus provides vital status information minimizing maintenance, also reducing weight. The B787 and A350 are digital, balance of Airbus is at FBW, balance at B is FBW for the 777, earlier is cables and pulleys.

e) Automation is coming. The Max debacle has exposed the issue of a low hour copilot needing to understand a complex system. Better to have automation sufficient to negate the first officer, except if the pilot gets sick on the flight. Within 15 years, single pilot will be here. certainly reducing the pilot staffing on long flights. Once in the air, a single pilot + autopilot should cover all except take off and landing so 3 pilots can replace 4 or even 5 on long flights as two can be off duty for all but the TO & landing.

f) Average aircraft side should increase to reduce congestion. This is interesting as the average aircraft size is in the void between NB and WB.
 
fabian9
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:06 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
The thing is, how do you ramp up a new design to the production capacity that is needed to effectively replace the A320 from 2030 onwards.


Whatever replaces the A320 family will most likely not replace it overnight when it’s ready. There is likely to be a significant cut over where both the A320 family and its replacement will be built at the same time.

The reasons for this are:
- many airlines are quite happy to take “old” technology as it has a solid track record and none of the teething issues that every new aircraft brings with it.
- it’s not possible to ramp up to today’s A320 rate quickly. It takes a lot of time to industrialise and serialise a product.
- the replacement will not be a cash cow from the beginning. Most new aircraft are a money drain for a few years before they start bringing in money. So Airbus will rely on A320 cash flow to keep the newer programs funded.

In summary this means that a replacement will need to be launched well before they run out of A320 family frames to deliver. I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t already looking at it internally.
 
godsbeloved
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:20 pm

Like the Airbus CEO said before. The efficiency gains of a new product vs an updated product have to be above 10 to 15% to justify the costs. I see no need for Airbus to rush into a new product anytime soon

Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-A920F met Tapatalk
 
chiad
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:47 pm

keesje wrote:
A decade ago I took a shot. The long haul A321 XR seems to have been realized by the LR/XLR. Still the options to do a A320 Plus or same MTOW A322NEO seem wide open. Sad thing is Airbus is pushed in no way with their huge backlog weakened competitor and options to further optimize A320 production costs. No doubt CFM, Pratt will come up with PIPS / improved versions over the years too, fiercely competing with each other.

Image


Your crystalball is indeed a good one!
:checkmark:
 
mxaxai
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:50 pm

Airbus' priority right now is to make production faster and more efficient. At the current high production rates, investing money there has better ROI than the airframe itself. Part of that could be:
- 3D printing for certain complex parts
- welding and adhesives replace rivets
- improved workflow processes, remodeled assembly lines
- adaptable, movable tooling
- more automation in general
- VR & AR to help the assembly line worker cope with multiple variants
 
sciing
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:30 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
a) Additive manufacture - 3D printing is a great example for this, it is changing manufacturing totally. Often it takes a new part design to fit the new process.

Is it?
The 1st printers were available in the 90‘s.
I know a company in my hometown which uses 3D Laser printing since that time for rapid prototyping. They direct print casting forms for car engines.
Why are they not direct printing the engine?
Because the production process defines the microstructure and the microstructure defines the mechanical properties.
This is principal issue with 3D printing. You are limited in the material and its properties and it is very expensive and slow compared to casting or forging for a mass production.
So it may have some advantages in some niches, but I doubt it is a game changer.
There is also a great misunderstanding that the „additive“ methods saves material and energy compared to substractive methods like CNC milling.
By my study of material science I learned all about the knobs and the possibilities you can do with casting and forging/cold work to define and enhance material properties in really smart ways. But for laymen this is usually not as cool and fancy like 3D printer.
Last edited by sciing on Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
1989worstyear
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:45 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
I think we will see new A320neo coming of the lines the next 20 years at least. Compared to the 737MAX the A320neo is an ultra modern frame.
There is absolutely no need for Airbus doing a move, before Boeing is doing a new frame.

New frames coming off the lines today are significantly changed from what was produced and delivered in 1988. All through the time there have been small improvements, made easy by the frame having a FBW flight control. All this small changes have been adding up. PIPs to the frame have made the frames lighter, while at the same time increasing MTOW. Drag has been reduced, range extended and the last big change was to the engines. Some changes, like a possible all electric wing, are still in the pipeline.
One of the points in regard to the FBW is, that ist is quite easily upgradeable. The FBW has allowed to move programs from the more advanced newer models, first from the A330 later from the A350, down to the A320 family. The computers running the FBW have been upgraded.


Only the engines have changed since 1988, assuming you're talking about the -200. Wing is identical.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
sibibom
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:23 am

1989worstyear wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
I think we will see new A320neo coming of the lines the next 20 years at least. Compared to the 737MAX the A320neo is an ultra modern frame.
There is absolutely no need for Airbus doing a move, before Boeing is doing a new frame.

New frames coming off the lines today are significantly changed from what was produced and delivered in 1988. All through the time there have been small improvements, made easy by the frame having a FBW flight control. All this small changes have been adding up. PIPs to the frame have made the frames lighter, while at the same time increasing MTOW. Drag has been reduced, range extended and the last big change was to the engines. Some changes, like a possible all electric wing, are still in the pipeline.
One of the points in regard to the FBW is, that ist is quite easily upgradeable. The FBW has allowed to move programs from the more advanced newer models, first from the A330 later from the A350, down to the A320 family. The computers running the FBW have been upgraded.


Only the engines have changed since 1988, assuming you're talking about the -200. Wing is identical.


Just taken from wikipedia, yes nothing other than engines have changed since 1988 :p :

In 2006, Airbus started the A320 Enhanced (A320E) programme as a series of improvements targeting a 4–5% efficiency gain with large winglets (2%), aerodynamic refinements (1%), weight savings and a new aircraft cabin. Engine improvements reducing fuel consumption by 1% were fitted into the A320 in 2007 with the CFM56 Tech Insertion and in 2008 with the V2500Select.

In 2007, Airbus introduced a new enhanced, quieter cabin with better luggage storage and a more modern look and feel, and a new galley reduces weight, increases revenue space and improves ergonomics and design for food hygiene and recycling. It offers a new air purifier with filters and a catalytic converter removing unpleasant smells from the air before it is pumped into the cabin and LEDs for ambience lighting and PSU.

Offering 10% more overhead bin volume, more shoulder room, a weight reduction, a new intercom and in-flight entertainment system, noise reduction and slimmer PSU, the enhanced Cabin can be retrofitted. The flight crew controls the cabin through touchscreen displays.

Airbus launched the sharklet blended wingtip device during the November 2009 Dubai Airshow: installation adds 200 kg (440 lb) but offers a 3.5% fuel burn reduction on flights over 2,800 km (1,500 nmi). They save US$220,000 and 700 t of CO2 per aircraft per year. The 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) tall devices are manufactured by Korean Air Aerospace Division. The winglets increase efficiency by decreasing lift-induced drag.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:27 am

sibibom wrote:
1989worstyear wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
I think we will see new A320neo coming of the lines the next 20 years at least. Compared to the 737MAX the A320neo is an ultra modern frame.
There is absolutely no need for Airbus doing a move, before Boeing is doing a new frame.

New frames coming off the lines today are significantly changed from what was produced and delivered in 1988. All through the time there have been small improvements, made easy by the frame having a FBW flight control. All this small changes have been adding up. PIPs to the frame have made the frames lighter, while at the same time increasing MTOW. Drag has been reduced, range extended and the last big change was to the engines. Some changes, like a possible all electric wing, are still in the pipeline.
One of the points in regard to the FBW is, that ist is quite easily upgradeable. The FBW has allowed to move programs from the more advanced newer models, first from the A330 later from the A350, down to the A320 family. The computers running the FBW have been upgraded.


Only the engines have changed since 1988, assuming you're talking about the -200. Wing is identical.


Just taken from wikipedia, yes nothing other than engines have changed since 1988 :p :


Add manufacturing advances like stirring welding to that.

There is not that much improvement to the fuse to be had and the wing is still excellent and will get improvements for the XLR.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:55 am

I doubt that Airbus has to do anything until a major breakthrough or regulations occur when it comes to fuel burn or other environmental regulations put into place in the late 2030's or 2040's


I cant wait to see the pay rate on a single-pilot jet turns out to be if we head down that path in the coming decades :stirthepot:
 
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seahawk
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:55 am

It is still the original wing, that can change.
 
FluidFlow
Topic Author
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:59 am

keesje wrote:
A decade ago I took a shot. The long haul A321 XR seems to have been realized by the LR/XLR. Still the options to do a A320 Plus or same MTOW A322NEO seem wide open. Sad thing is Airbus is pushed in no way with their huge backlog weakened competitor and options to further optimize A320 production costs. No doubt CFM, Pratt will come up with PIPS / improved versions over the years too, fiercely competing with each other.

Image


I like this line up.

As stated in my opener, the three sizes should be the plus the A321 and the A322. For the A322 a new wing with longer landing gear is in my eyes a necessity to avoid tail strike and enable bigger engines also double jet bridge boarding capabilities have to be a must for an aircraft that long.

A new landing gear needs a new wing but then the A320plus, A321 and A322 will all get a new wing and a new landing gear for commonality. On top of that produce the wing in two sets, one from standard metal materials one from CFRP, but same size, same form, same aerodynamic properties (at least as much as possible due to weight difference and therefore wing loading). This would bring the advantage that you could have a "cheap" version that has a higher empty weight but is cheap to buy for airlines that need a people hauler for short to medium routes and on the other side Airbus can sell a "luxury" high end product with really long range.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Opinion: Airbus and how to move away from the A320 family

Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:07 pm

Airbus can pretty much do nothing and print money with the A320 series for years to come, and that's probably going to weigh heavily on their business analysis for scoping future projects. Especially if one of their more significant business challenges is not the product itself but their margins - that will focus attention elsewhere.

The comfort of knowing they are in a good position with what they have, combined with a backlog that makes me wonder why they don't have more competition*, often combines to create complacency in large organizations. Hopefully Airbus will recognize the moment when they do need to make a move. But usually big organizations dealing with huge capital projects tend to play to the back side of the schedule.

* With nothing new on the horizon either - Russia and China are still unable to challenge the 737 nor A320 value propositions with their latest projects, Embraer and the remains of Bombardier also not looking to enter this segment, and certainly no new airframers are popping up in this segment. The only competition is Boeing, and Airbus has no good reason to spend money now when they can say "your move Boeing - whenever you feel like it."

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