When looking at the VLA options, BA
was probably given launch pricing on the 748i before LH
ordered and that price is probably still on the table. To make that price look even better, consider that the Dollar is less than half the value of the Pound. Right now the 748i is probably the cheapest it will ever be and a very good buy for BA
On the other side of the coin, the Euro is pretty strong against the Dollar - about $1.36. Add to that the need for Airbus to start selling the 380 at a price that will allow a break even at their 420 (or so) level and Airbus is not in the best bargaining position. It's get a price close to the 748i & increase break even or stick to margins that will keep break even a reasonably stable number.
I believe that the exchange rate and launch pricing will keep the 748i at the top of the list. Buy them now and order 380s later. Airbus will still give them the same price simply because Airbus wants to sell BA
Slots? I would give Boeing the advantage here on the 748i. They seem to have set a moderate production rate that could be increased to meet BA
's needs. Unlike the 787 I believe that Boeing could adjust their production rate 18 - 24 months out without a major problem. Also helpful when working with other potential 748i customers.
has said that they 748i is the plane they had asked Boeing to build. Is that still the case? I'll bet 2 cents it is. All this, for me, adds up to BA
taking care of their 748i needs with this order and re-looking at the 380 down the line a bit. Especially if the 380 gets new engines.
On the 787/350 issue the exchange rate probably won't be as important a factor as Airbus will be putting out launch pricing to BA
. That's going to bring the 787 & 350 closer and could be a real bum fight for A & B.
Slots, at first glance, might also look fairly close - unless BA
put down some refundable deposits and has some attractive slots lined up. Being a conservative irline I bet that is what BA
did, especially since the deposits were refundable. (Actually, I think that AA
have done the same.) If this is the case then the 787 looks like the choice for this round of orders. The 350 can always be considered later as it comes closer to production.
There is also the chance that Boeing played the game Airbus played - telling SQ
not to order the 7E7 with its launch pricing and great delivery slots as Airbus is coming out with the 350 (version 1) that will be better. As Airbus has shown, you really don't need a a plane to play this game. Boeing can talk about future 787s versions or Y3 and might get the 350 order put on hold. Hey, it worked with SQ
I believe that this round of orders will go to Boeing for the reasons noted above. That's not to say that Airbus won't get their foot in the WB door later. Airbus has the ability to break Boeing's hold in BA
's WB fleet, just as Y1 has the potential of getting into BA
fleet down the road.