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DeltaRules
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When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:53 pm

It seems like it used to be, especially in the US, that an airline purchased/leased EITHER Airbus or Boeing, with few exceptions (PMUA with A319s & 320s, for example). AA, DL, and CO were Boeing airlines, US went exclusively Airbus for several years (save for the E-190s).

Since merger-mania set in, however, there seems to have been a shift to where the mindset of condensing fleet types has gone out the window in favor of what feels almost like an "everybody gets a trophy" approach, even with planes intended to serve somewhat similar purposes. DL has orders for 739s and just announced an A321 order, along with A330s. UA has 787s and A350s on order. AA is still taking 738s, but has A319s, A320s, and A321s on the way.

The result, for example, is DL eventually having the following types in the fleet:
717
737-700
737-800
737-900
747-400
757-200 (and all the configuration incarnations)
757-300
767-300
767-400
777
787(?)
A319
A320
A321
A330
MD-88
MD-90

When and why did the attitude shift? Do the economics of bringing in the 737-900 AND A321 to replace the 757, for example, outweigh bringing in a larger number of aircraft of one type or the other?
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B717/722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:05 pm

It's because airlines have gotten so big, no one manufacturer can be a single-source supplier to these mega-airlines.

In AA's case, they bought both 737 and A32x because neither A nor B could supply them with enough airplanes to replace the MD-80s fast enough as a single source.
B721/722/731/732/733/735/73G/738/739/742/752/753/762/763, A300/319/320, DC-9/10, MD-82/83/88/90, ERJ-140/145, CRJ-200/700, Q200, SF340, AS350
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Quoting DeltaRules (Thread starter):
When and why did the attitude shift?

I think it goes back to when they first partnered with Air France and decided they had to operate at least one of everything. 
 
tjh8402
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Bear in mind that it wasn't just A vs B up until pretty recently...a lot of those "exclusively Boeing" airlines were that way because of Boeing purchase of MD. AA and DL obviously continue to maintain large fleets of DC9 descendants, and AA, CO, UA, DL and NW all operated the DC-10 (as best I can tell, US was the only legacy that didn't), so they weren't 100% Boeing.
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:17 pm

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 3):
AA, CO, UA, DL and NW all operated the DC-10 (as best I can tell, US was the only legacy that didn't), so they weren't 100% Boeing.

TWA chose the L-1011 over the DC-10; unlike DL that also preferred the Lockheed, TWA never operated a DC-10 while DL operated DC-10s twice (once in 1972-73 when the L-1011 had Rolls engine problems, and again following the WA merger).

Other US legacies that operated the DC-10 were EA (for Latin American flights), NA, and PA (one of only three US airlines to operate the DC-10, L-1011, and 747 simultaneously, the others being DL and UA).

[Edited 2013-09-15 12:17:43]

[Edited 2013-09-15 12:18:23]
B721/722/731/732/733/735/73G/738/739/742/752/753/762/763, A300/319/320, DC-9/10, MD-82/83/88/90, ERJ-140/145, CRJ-200/700, Q200, SF340, AS350
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:17 pm

Quoting DeltaRules (Thread starter):
When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Remember that really no manufacturer really wants a true "X vs Y" where the two choices are identical because then it comes down to price and really they don't want that (then lowest price win and you want to maximize your price). You want to have an advantage in something over your competitor and they wan the same, each competitor wants to cover slightly different space that way they can compete on capability instead of only price (yes price matters of course).

A and B very much want to each "own" certain segments of the market and that is why airlines buy each of them.

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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:10 pm

Sometimes a manufacturer ends up with an order because an airline has issues with another manufacturer. Delta's 737-800 order came about due to issues with the MD-90 that led to DL cancelling their sizable order for them (The MD-90 was slated to be their 727 replacement.) and Airbus had supposedly not treated Delta too kindly several years earlier when they operated the A310 (Some came in via the purchase of key Pan Am assets and some DL ordered directly from Airbus.). Boeing got the order by default and it wasn't until DL merged with NW did Airbus even factor into future fleet plans.
 
tjh8402
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:43 pm

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 4):
TWA chose the L-1011 over the DC-10; unlike DL that also preferred the Lockheed, TWA never operated a DC-10 while DL operated DC-10s twice (once in 1972-73 when the L-1011 had Rolls engine problems, and again following the WA merger).

Other US legacies that operated the DC-10 were EA (for Latin American flights), NA, and PA (one of only three US airlines to operate the DC-10, L-1011, and 747 simultaneously, the others being DL and UA).

Yeah, I was leaving off the fallen flag carriers since they don't traditionally get brought up on here as an A or B loyalist, but for sure the DC-10 was quite prolific among the legacies, both fallen and standing. I find it interesting that DL, commonly cited up until recently for their faithfulness to Boeing, has a larger history with MD than Boeing. Looking at wikipedia (so take it for what it's worth), DL's fleet history page shows no Boeing in 1960, and an order for 5 747s as the only Boeings in 1970. The 727 (and to a lesser degree 767s) bring 146 Boeings to the fleet (in service and orders) in 1980 against 92 Douglas's and Lockheeds, and 1990 is when we finally see a full line of Boeings (307 in service and ordered spanning the 727, 737, 757, and 767) against 137 Lockheeds and Douglas's (ordered and in service).

see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Air_Lines_fleet
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:51 pm

As FWAERJ noted above, AA's delivery requirements precluded either Airbus or Boeing from being able to deliver the necessary planes. And AA's subsequent decision to merge with US makes me believe that the expectation of adding a large Airbus fleet via US supported ordering a mix of Boeing and Airbus planes even if Boeing could have delivered all of the 737NGs and 737 MAX AA wanted when they wanted.

For when you reach a certain number of airframes, the economics become favorable operating a mixed fleet compared to one composed entirely of offerings from a single OEM.

We've seen the same since DL merged with NW, that brought a significant Airbus fleet to a Boeing operator and DL has subsequently ordered from both OEMs.

Prior to their merger, CO was an all-Boeing customer and UA was a mixed Airbus (narrowbody * ) and Boeing (widebody) customer. Post-merger, the new CO-centric management team nevertheless chose to keep UA's A350 order and in fact choose to up-gauge it to the A350-1000, which likely precludes the 747-8 or 777-9.


* - As I recall, pmUA was phasing out the 737-300 and 737-500 fleets.
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:53 pm

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 1):
It's because airlines have gotten so big, no one manufacturer can be a single-source supplier to these mega-airlines.

        

Quoting DeltaRules (Thread starter):
AA, DL, and CO were Boeing airlines, US went exclusively Airbus for several years

If Boeing was the sole supplier of these airlines, in combination with their virtual stranglehold on the Japanese market, it would leave little capacity space for other airlines. If airlines want to update or add to their fleet in a more rapid pace, they opt to source from two suppliers.

In addition, the multi source supplier idea has been a child of the massive growth of the airline industry. These two manufacturers are the main supplier to the vast majority of the world's airlines, and for the most part have every bit of the business they could possibly handle. That and the competition is healthy for the airlines, ensuring they get the best possible product, at the best possible price.

But don't kid yourself A and B both make healthy profits. Aviation is a beautiful field to watch grow and develop.

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tjh8402
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:06 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
Prior to their merger, CO was an all-Boeing customer and UA was a mixed Airbus (narrowbody * ) and Boeing (widebody) customer. Post-merger, the new CO-centric management team nevertheless chose to keep UA's A350 order and in fact choose to up-gauge it to the A350-1000, which likely precludes the 747-8 or 777-9.

PMCO was a mixed fleet between Boeing and Douglas for a long time with the DC-9, and especially the DC-10 having had a role (from what I understand, at one point CO's fleet was only 727s and DC-10s).
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:31 pm

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 10):
PMCO was a mixed fleet between Boeing and Douglas for a long time with the DC-9, and especially the DC-10 having had a role (from what I understand, at one point CO's fleet was only 727s and DC-10s).

Are you forgetting pmCO's Airbus A300 fleet?
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Stitch
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:02 pm

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 10):
PMCO was a mixed fleet between Boeing and Douglas for a long time.../quote]
[quote=kgaiflyer,reply=11]Are you forgetting pmCO's Airbus A300 fleet?

By "pre-merger" I mean right before CO and UA merged, so I was not referring to their historical fleets. Otherwise, we'd need to add a bunch more planes from other manufacturers, including the Lockheed L-1011, the Convair 340, Vickers Viscount and Sud Aviation Caravelle.  
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:02 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 12):

By "pre-merger" I mean right before CO and UA merged, so I was not referring to their historical fleets. Otherwise, we'd need to add a bunch more planes from other manufacturers, including the Lockheed L-1011, the Convair 340, Vickers Viscount and Sud Aviation Caravelle.  

And I would say that's relevant. I looked at Delta's fleet going back to 1960 in an earlier post. My whole point was that the idea that at an airline would be loyal to a single manufacturer is a recent phenomenon. Pretty much all had a mix of Boeings, Douglas's, Convairs, Lockheeds, etc for most of the 20th century.
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:02 pm

Airlines purchase aircraft based on one fact, what will maximize their profits for their investors. Their fleet planning and purchasing departments have all of the information available to them from spares costs, training costs and purchase costs. With the exception of some gentlemen's agreements from the past with Boeing the airlines couldn't care less if the airplane is made by A or B or C or E if it meets their requirements.
Opinions are my own and do not reflect an endorsement or position of my employer.
 
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Stitch
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:23 pm

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 13):
My whole point was that the idea that at an airline would be loyal to a single manufacturer is a recent phenomenon.

Pretty much.   

Once could say Southwest Airlines was the trendsetter, having operated a fleet of 737s their entire existence, but I would say it was Airbus and US Airways who codified it when they signed an de facto exclusivity agreement on 6 November 1996 for up to 400 A320 aircraft, followed two years later by their A330 order. In response, American Airlines, Delta and Continental signed their own such agreements with Boeing (though these were invalidated by the EU as condition to approving the merger with McD).
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:11 am

I'm quite certain A Vs. B is very alive here on A.net.  

Some of the threads here become very emotional on the purchase decisions. Decisions that will be based on a spreadsheet loaded with a simulation of the purchasing airline's requirements, cash flow, delivery timeline (including sheets with replaced aircraft's required maintenance), and even training details. While there will be factors added for discounting promises (until the "Power by the hour" contracts make more sense) to estimate costs.

As noted:

Quoting apfpilot (Reply 14):
the airlines couldn't care less if the airplane is made by A or B or C or E if it meets their requirements.

   Now C has to prove itself and I'm seeing an incredible fraction of the early A & B early delivery of the next engines are "Power by the hour." But the offers are still being accepted (obviously, with the backlog). I suspect "C" will have to cut their profits to reduce their "Power by the hour" contracts to attract a few more customers until a few years of "C" in service data allows the cells in that spreadsheet that represent risk (e..g, flight delay risk). "E" will have an easier time as by EIS the engines will be proven and while the wingtip extension has shotfield performance risk, it doesn't represent a significant maintenance or other operation risk.

And add to that list M. Many risk discussions on them, but if E makes that list, so does M.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
For when you reach a certain number of airframes, the economics become favorable operating a mixed fleet compared to one composed entirely of offerings from a single OEM.

And that is the root cause of airlines picking A and B. I think certain orders created a feeling in the manufacturers that these 'winner take all' orders were rigid in 'winner takes all.' We've seen the opposite. It could be due to commercial terms ( let's pretent a limit on how many airframes offered with hypothetically say a guaranteed lower down payment or delived frames by certain timelines). So we see split orders.

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 13):
Pretty much all had a mix of Boeings, Douglas's, Convairs, Lockheeds, etc for most of the 20th century.

   But that was before Pan Am proved what a disaster it could be not having fleet commonality at a minimum. These orders are unique in that airlines now have a better understanding of the quantities of aircraft needed for such economy of scale. Thus they do not have to be all 737 or A320 or even all A350 or 787 (etc.).

It is good to have a better understanding of aircraft/fleet economics. For these split orders are exciting.


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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:43 am

This is complete speculation; I don't work in the industry- it seems most Boeing aircraft have an Airbus counterpart that more or less satisfy the same needs capacity-wise and range-wise, and vise-versa for an airline (think Big and Tasty on McDonalds's menu = Burger King's Whopper). Could an airline have routes which, while (said route) can be capably handled by an Airbus, it can be handled even more efficiently by the Boeing counterpart?

[Edited 2013-09-15 17:48:05]
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:11 am

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 17):

Yes take the A32x and 737NG for example. While close in capacity, people here with the knowledge say there is a better choice forman airline depending on the routes they fly. An example between these two:

737NG has better economics on short routes compared to the A320.
A320 has better economics over longer legs, however, the 737NG has a longer overall range.
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tjh8402
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:12 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
But that was before Pan Am proved what a disaster it could be not having fleet commonality at a minimum. These orders are unique in that airlines now have a better understanding of the quantities of aircraft needed for such economy of scale. Thus they do not have to be all 737 or A320 or even all A350 or 787 (etc.).

It is good to have a better understanding of aircraft/fleet economics. For these split orders are exciting.

All the consolidation has helped make it possible to have a mixed fleet while still taking having large enough numbers to maintain fleet commonality. Look at the size of DL's fleet from the link:

1960: 84 planes, 10 orders
1970: 128 planes, 34 orders
1980: 205 planes, 33 orders
1990 389 planes, 75 orders
2000: 623 planes, 139 orders
2010: 728 planes, 49 orders

UA doesn't have a historical breakdown, but wikipedia currently shows them with 705 planes and 289 orders. CO does have the historical breakdown and shows 37 planes with one order in 1960, 62 planes with 10 orders in 1970, 65 planes with 11 orders in 1980, and 348 planes with 92 orders in 2010.

AA is also lacking the same sort of history, with their fleet page just showing 621 in fleet with 491 orders. Either way, I'm sure it a sizeable difference between that and what it was 40 years ago.

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 17):
This is a complete guess; I don't work in the industry- it seems most Boeing aircraft have an Airbus counterpart that more or less satisfy the same needs capacity-wise and range-wise, and vise-versa (think Big and Tasty on McDonalds's menu = Burger King's Whopper). Could an airline have routes which, while (said route) can be perfectly handled by an Airbus, can be handled even more efficiently by the Boeing couterpart?

In some cases yes, in some cases, no. The 737-700 and 737-800 are pretty close in spec to the A319 and A320. The 739 and A321 are close, although the A321 is slightly larger. Once you get into wide bodies, Airbus and Boeing have almost staggered their offerings, with each having a range/payload sweet spot that they operate in. it's challenging to point out specific instances where the 747, 767, 777 and 787 have a model that closely matches in spec a specific A330, A340, A350, or A380 model.
 
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kanban
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:14 am

I'm waiting for the day that A and B announce a common cockpit.. and I'll be waiting a long time!
 
DeltaRules
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:57 am

Thanks for the responses so far.

I should've clarified in my original post that I was looking at the time period since Airbus and Boeing became the only producers of narrowbody/widebody "mainline" aircraft used by what used to be the Big Six. I know the histories of US airlines operating the DC-9/MD-80/DC-10/L-1011 when they were available alongside Boeing and Airbus products.
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B717/722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:50 am

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 3):
Bear in mind that it wasn't just A vs B up until pretty recently...a lot of those "exclusively Boeing" airlines were that way because of Boeing purchase of MD. AA and DL obviously continue to maintain large fleets of DC9 descendants, and AA, CO, UA, DL and NW all operated the DC-10 (as best I can tell, US was the only legacy that didn't), so they weren't 100% Boeing.
Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 7):
Yeah, I was leaving off the fallen flag carriers since they don't traditionally get brought up on here as an A or B loyalist, but for sure the DC-10 was quite prolific among the legacies, both fallen and standing. I find it interesting that DL, commonly cited up until recently for their faithfulness to Boeing, has a larger history with MD than Boeing. Looking at wikipedia (so take it for what it's worth), DL's fleet history page shows no Boeing in 1960, and an order for 5 747s as the only Boeings in 1970. The 727 (and to a lesser degree 767s) bring 146 Boeings to the fleet (in service and orders) in 1980 against 92 Douglas's and Lockheeds, and 1990 is when we finally see a full line of Boeings (307 in service and ordered spanning the 727, 737, 757, and 767) against 137 Lockheeds and Douglas's (ordered and in service).

DL's first order for any "B" product was for the 747s in 1969, then the 727s in the mid 70s after the merger with NE. At those time periods, DL also had a large fleet of DC-9s, DC-8s. In the mid 70s, the DC-10s came along (temporarily) along with the Tristars, to replace the 747s. Early to mid 80s saw the arrival of 767s and 757s and even the small (33) fleet of 737-200s.

As far as "A" is concerned, I believe that those A310-300s that came along after the PA acquisition, were ones that were already ordered by PA, not DL, but came to DL as part of the acquisition.
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:22 am

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 19):
All the consolidation has helped make it possible to have a mixed fleet while still taking having large enough numbers to maintain fleet commonality.

Agreed. It has taken consolidation to allow the economies of scale of a mixed fleet.

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apfpilot
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:50 pm

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 21):
I should've clarified in my original post that I was looking at the time period since Airbus and Boeing became the only producers of narrowbody/widebody "mainline" aircraft used by what used to be the Big Six. I know the histories of US airlines operating the DC-9/MD-80/DC-10/L-1011 when they were available alongside Boeing and Airbus products.

Thats a whole different question. The answer to that one is simple and clear 8/1/1997.
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RE: When Did A Vs. B Become A And B?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:36 pm

Sometimes, in the case of "smaller" airlines, the product they require simply isn't available fast enough or even at all from their chosen manufacturer. TAM for example was an all Airbus airline, until they needed a larger plane than the A332 and the A333, and the A350 isn't available, and the A340 was too uneconomical. So, there you have it, they now fly a small Boeing fleet of 10 77W's. Of course, now that LAN took over, and they follow an Airbus for narrowbodies and Boeing for widebodies model, the A332's will leave in favour of the 767's. Until TAM recieves its first A350's, that is.

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