If I may, I'd like to comment on some of the issues raised here, before it degrades into pointless name-calling and nation-bashing. I just (as in yesterday) got back home to the States after spending the past 3 months in Europe, mostly the U.K. I say this as I don't want to appear like I'm just talking out of my a**. I agree with a lot of what LH423
said, and I suggest everyone reread his comments and keep them in mind while responding to this thread. That said:
"The earliest you can get a 737 from Boeing is mid-2006 and almost all the other lessors have their 737 inventory placed through 2005.
Availability played a huge part in this order, there can be no doubt about that. And yes, it is absolutely true that the 737 production schedule is more booked than the A320's. However, the last numbers I saw put 2005 production at 95% full. That means a few '05 slots are still available, if VUSA really wanted the aircraft. Unfortunately, those are Boeing slots. I don't have the numbers for leasor's slots, so I can't comment on that. Needless to say, though VUSA could
have gotten some 737NG's in '05, they probably would not have been able to build up the fleet as fast without looking on the second-hand market.
"Curious though if some of these will be lease returns that GECAS will be pulling from other operators or if these will all be new.
According to the press release, all aircraft (including those from GECAS) will be new.
"But in reality, the EU has more of a respect of the free market than Americans.
That may or may not be true - it's tough to make that kind of sweeping argument. However, if it is true, it has only been so for the past 5-10 years. Therefore, for most Americans, the stereotype you formerly presented is hard to get out of mind. For instance, you rightly point out the SABENA fiasco. SABENA was certainly allowed to fail - but for how long was it artificially propped up?
"It seems that the 737 is becoming an outdated design and Boeing had better turn out the 7E7-based replacement if it wants to stay in the aircraft industry.
Since its introduction, the 737NG has split the narrowbody market with the A32X virtually 50/50. From all appearances, it will continue to do so. Not bad for an 'outdated design.' And BTW, Boeing no more needs a 737 replacement to stay in the aircraft industry than Airbus needs an A32X replacement to do likewise. They are perhaps the closest matched aircraft on the market (performance-wise, the 737-700 and A319 are virtually identical).
"Airbus is building A320s faster than Boeing is building 737s. There's hardly an "oversupply", when people are signing up for more new ones every day.
Although I would hesitate to use the word 'oversupply,' the essential argument is correct. Airbus has indeed been producing A32X's faster than Boeing has been producing 737s. That is partly why so many recent orders have gone to Airbus. However, not all the A32X's have been delivered when Airbus produced them. For instance, at the end of last year, Airbus 'delivered' some 5-10 aircraft, which then sat on the tarmac until the customers could actually take them. In this sense, I would use the term 'overproducing.' Another good indicator on whether supply is over-meeting demand is by looking at lease rates and resale values. Both have been sharply declining on A32X's for the past 3 years. Before anyone argues that it has been a bad time for aviation (which it certainly has been), from memory, these rates have only marginally declined, if at all, for the 737NG's. In fact, 737-800 rates have increased. OTOH, this once again puts pressure on airlines looking for the best deal, since low resale rates forces the resepective manufacturer and/or leasor to lower acquisition costs on new-builds.
"We have a very liberalised air system within Europe, IMHO much more than the USA (excluding the archaic Bermuda II). Fair play to a foreign owner giving the USA a go, when he can only receive limited benefit.
[snip] Remember, we have an Irish airline taking over the UK and Europe. Its called free-enterprise. I certainly wouldn't have a problem with "jetBlue Europe."
, this is where I, and I think many Americans, get aggrevated with our friends across the Atlantic - when are you 'nationals' (Brtish, Irish, German, etc.) and when are you 'Europeans'? For instance, in the above statement, you state that Europe as a whole has a more liberalised air system than the U.S. But by saying that, and from the EU trying to act as one body to govern such systems, you are saying that Europe (or at least the EU) is just that - a whole. Therefore, it shouldn't matter whether an 'Irish airline' is taking over the UK or anywhere else in Europe, because Ireland IS
Europe, or a part of it. It would be the same as somebody from New York saying the U.S. has a more liberal system than Europe because a Texas airline is taking over all the other states.
To better illustrate what I'm trying to say, I'll give you a personal example. As I said, I have just spent the past 3 months living in the U.K. (London). While there, I met a lot of people who claimed the Americans never go anywhere, and that Europeans travel twice as much as Americans do (apparently, based on their own respective, personal experience). Finally, I decided to investigate the matter. Therefore, whenever someone stated this, I started asking a basic question: Where have you gone? In 99% of the cases, the answers had a very common link: France, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc. In other words, all over Europe, but no where else (the one case that they had gone outside Europe - the destination had been the U.S.). I admit that as a percentage, it is entirely possible that more Europeans travel than Americans. However, there is definitely a larger variety of where we travel - Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, etc.
Well, I think I've rambled long enough. Regards,
All gave some. Some gave all.