|Quoting Keesje (Reply 56):|
Ever changing design.. do you realize how many changes the 7e7/787 "shark" went through ? everyone positive on another improvement. Already 4 radically different versions are offered before first flight: expensive & not shown before IMO.
The 787 has gone through three public phases: the inital 764ER lookalike, the "shark tail" design, and now the final exterior configuration. Boeing said all along that the shark tail was a concept image and was subject to final revision based on CFD and wind tunnel analysis. Calling these "radically different" is ridiculous. Likewise, the three variants currently on offer (-3, -8, -9) have a very high degree of commonality, and Boeing will save in the long run by defining them in parallel instead of separately.
The A350, on the other hand, has gone through actual radical transformation over the last 18 months. First there was no need for an A350 at all; Leahy and company clearly said the A330 was good enough, the 787 was a "rushed and ridiculous" "Chinese copy," etc. Then we got an A330 with 787 engines and system tweaks for about $2 billion, which met with a lackluster reception. Then we got an aircraft with more substantive progress for a few billion more, and now we're presented with a $5-6 billion "all-new" A350 that really isn't all-new; only the empennage and RR
engines are clean-sheet, while the rear fuselage and wing will be modified and the GE
powerplants are borrowed from the 787.
I'm sure Airbus is looking at its logistics in case A350 demand turns out to be very strong. However, the A350 has 150 orders in the bag and 5 years until first delivery. Given that the A340 backlog is dwindling and orders are slow, the A300 and A310 are trickling out, and A330 orders are likely to drop off as customers switch over to the A350 or 787, there should be plenty of room in Toulouse.
In short, this sounds like a little chest-puffing and me-too-ism when compared with the 787, which faces a genuine supply squeeze due to unprecedented demand.
[Edited 2005-10-11 18:15:45]