Many, many, moons ago there was only one way an airline could operate a long-haul international route and that was to buy a 747. So, lots of them did and Boeing made a small fortune selling them 747’s. And as there was no alternative, forcing your competitors to operate the same equipment with the same costs it worked well for all involved for quite some time. This obviously lead to many routes being vastly over served in terms of seat capacity, but as it was a “one size fits all” deal there was nothing anyone could really do about it.
Not sure why that myth refuses to die, but unless you are referring to the SP specifically, 100% of the claims that the 747 sold for its "range," or even payload range, are anecdotal nonsense.
For the first ten years of its existence, there was no
route served by 747s that could not also have been done with a 707 or DC-10-30 as it pertains to range. In fact, until the SP —a variant who's capacity is in line with a DC-8-70, or more modernly, an A332— the record for in scheduled distance was Aerolineas Argentinias EZE-MAD at about 6250nm. That was in 1967. With a 707-320B. It was not until almost a decade later that a 747, —an then only
an SP at that— was able to match and beat it with PA's JFK-NRT service.
All through the 1970ties & 80ties, virtually every route the 747 operated had other types as well. The claim that there was "only one plane with that range" is in no way true.
Capacity issues of the time resulted from a combination of route planning being more witchcraft than science and price regulated air travel minimizing the effect of half empty planes. Although even in those days, accounts of capacity issues are greatly exaggerated here.
This I genuinely didn’t know. I stand corrected.
No worries. I agree with your larger point about CASM not being everything. That is a hand that is vastly overplayed here anyway...
I’m not sure I follow you here, the larger point I was trying to make by comparing the A380 to the 77X was not in terms of the actual aircraft or market they serve, but that the market they were intended for will no longer exist by the time they enter service.
There are a lot of externalities that are difficult to see from a purely airline perspective. But they will be made manifest over the next decade. This makes it impossible to say with any clarity what the market will look like specifically, but with less and less patience for corporate travel, and more localities limiting shorter flights, it would be a well educated guess to say that frequency will probably take a back seat. This leads to larger aircraft becoming more desirable.
In regards to a 2025 VLA, well with the A350F development allowing for greater weights, another A350 stretch isn’t out of the question. But I would personally put the 787-9\787-10 and the A350 in the VLA category and assume both will be available post 2025. I would also point out that the 77X was supposed to enter service this year, its 5 years late. You seem to be implying that Boeing planned for the 77X to come to the market in 2025 offering the latest and greatest technology, but that’s simply not the case. With the exception of the GenX it’s systems are from the last century, with and update done around the same time as the A350 was being developed. Sorry if I got you implication wrong, but I couldn’t quite work out what you meant by 2025 VLA.
2025 just means about the time when the need for a future VLA goes from being speculative to predicted. BCA in no way planned the 779 to enter service at that time. But there is likely a good deal of future proofing the base design for upgrades.
I think an eventual A350 stretch is a virtual certainty. Keep in mind, both A & BCA would be looking at these as multi decade long projects. It is unlikely that the 350 would have a shorter production run that the 747 did. Why would A want to go through the hassle of developing a new frame, after all, when this one is pretty well optimized? Most, if not all, future gains from this point will be from powerplant upgrades.
Ditto BCA & the 777.
As for "late" the 779 is only 2 years late. And this is largely owing to BCA's other —huge— problems and C19 making airlines completely fine with a delay.
While I don’t agree that Airbus needed to axe the A380 for space or to sell more A320s, or that Boeing can afford to make just 3-5 77X’s a year I acknowledge your point about Everett. To me that’s the one of the real problems with Boeing, their fixation on cutting costs by moving production to areas where there is cheap, none-union, labour has really hurt the company IMHO. Losing decade of hard won institutional knowledge. A tragedy for sure.
In Airbus' case, probably more want
than need, but they have wasted no time in repurposing TLS.
As for BCA, yep. They have made some really
bad decisions in those areas over the last decade, and almost all of my predications WRT the 779 depend on them somehow fixing that. I am not 100% convinced that will actually happen, if I am being honest, and I do believe that is much more of a threat to the 779 than any external market force. A tragedy indeed, yes.
On this I agree. Both manufactures are trying to design aircraft to suit the needs of the next decade not the one they were created in. Where I think our opinions will differ a little is I don’t think it matters how competent a job Boeing do with the 77X it will still be 5 years late to the party, and all the hot girls (or guys, I don’t know which way the X swings
) will have already hooked up.
I will be happy enough to see it get there. If it does, I think we have a winner. But there is also every possibility that BCA will throw it overboard in some spastic last ditch effort to forestall BK as a result of their other superlative failings.
You know I have heard this argument before, let me think when. Oh I know, on here 15 years ago when discussing the A380 development, how congestion and consolidation will mean airlines have to order it because they will need to operate fewer larger more efficient aircraft. Yeah, that didn’t happen then and I don’t think it will now. Nice touch adding “environment” and being “green” into to the mix though, it gives the old A380 arguments a new lease on life.
Apples to Orangutans. That was an entirely different world. C19 has and will continue to have lasting effects. It would take a resurgence of leisure travel not seen in history to soak up the volume we will lose in this. And that would not be point to point anyway. These things favor more, not less, 779s & 35Xs. I will not say the same things would favor the 388s —there are some size and quad related related costs we just cannot get around— but more, smaller fleets of 779s will likely be a thing among large and mid-sized carriers. Same for the 35X, with the likelihood that sales #s will be dictated by things like price, slotting, & politics as much as capability/capacity.
I am sure Airbus feel the same way. Especially if they are boarding one and it has an X in the name
Sorry I couldn’t help myself
No argument there.
The only planes that have been doing better by getting larger are the single aisle aircraft, everything else is getting smaller.
That claim is pretty hard to substantiate as both sales and deliveries of any
twin aisle have been virtually nil over the last year. And the world has changed greatly in that time.
There are more single aisles flying further, but that is more a product of more entrants being in the market than in previous decades. I do think those players will be alright —for the most part. But for the ones that already
operate 77Ws & 388s, the 779 & 35K —or eventual 1100— offer a significant consolidation advantage. It will get harder, not easier, to fill half a dozen flights between JFK-LHR this decade, as things like connectivity do not matter as much. But the base market still is
very much there and that is the point where three frequencies a day with a 779 make more sense than five with a 789. There will be enough other city pairs in that boat to sell 779s and 35Ks.
Not thousands probably, but at least or four times the amount of 388s & 748s sold.
Those frequencies also exist to give the consumer choice.
Airlines do not care about consumers. They will give you the cheapest product they can for the most you will pay for it. This goes for things like frequency too.
It is similarly hard to imagine that governments will want to tank frequencies for higher gauge equipment. Most of what constitutes majority of frequencies is regional flying, and if you get rid of those frequencies, how are bills paid at the airport? These facilities like it or not operate better at scale.
No doubt. But do you really think airport authorities will run out of things to charge for?
Today, instead of having a 777, an airline can simply take a 787-8/9 or the A350-900 and fly even more efficiently at those ranges, and then some.
If you are not talking about LAX-LHR, JFK-NRT, etc., sure. But there are enough ULH, LH, & mid range routes that are crowded enough to justify a 779 but still ripe for frequency consolidation.
As I mentioned above, these are also designed to be multi decade products. There are not any non-powerplant leaps left and the powerplant ones that are will be largely incremental. This is why whatever VLA is needed in, say 2042, will very likely be a 779, or A35X/1100. There simply will not be a need to reinvent that wheel all over again. In a way, it is actually fortuitous that BCA can take their time waiting for this market to remature...