The mid-size twin-aisle battle
While a plethora of new entrants are nipping at the heels of Airbus and Boeing in the single-aisle market, the battle in the twin-aisle segment is strictly between the two behemoths.
The two OEMs differ on the size of the market by a wide margin. Airbus, in its 2011 20-year Global Market Outlook, the most recent available, forecasts a need for 6,525 twin-aisle airplanes: 4,518 “small” twin aisles and 1,907 “large” twin-aisles. Boeing, which does not publicly distinguish this segment, forecast a need for 7,950 twin-aisles. This is in the 200-400 seat segment (Airbus uses 210-400 for its forecast).
Given their methodology differences in the total market forecast, both nonetheless come to the same market share—24%–of the mid-size, twin-aisle segment.
The line-up is:
We learned about this months ago, but off the record, so we could never use it. This is why we weren’t exercised about the Shenyang connection on Bombardier’s CSeries. Aviation Week has the story and published it here. Having said that, we believe first flight by the end of this year is unlikely, as we reported previously.
Boeing’s airplane strategy has shifted its focus to twin-aisle aircraft with the decision to proceed with the 737 MAX, says Nicole Piasecki, vice president of Business Development & Strategic Integration for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
BCA has some critical tasks and choices ahead:
- Complete the design and get into production the 787-9;
- Launch the 787-10; and
- Decide what to do to enhance the 777 to compete with the Airbus A350-1000.
Although launching the 787-10 is considered by most to be a foregone conclusion, it hasn’t happened yet. And although Boeing has been showing some reasonably detailed concepts around about the 777-8X, a 350-passenger replacement for the 777-300ER, and the 777-9X, a 407 passenger aircraft, neither concept is firm—and, according to one airline fleet planner, it’s not even clear Boeing will do much more than simply re-engine the current 777-300ER.
Nonetheless, Piasecki showed a group of reporters the Boeing product planning in a pre-Farnborough Air Show briefing that clearly demonstrates Boeing has better market segment coverage than Airbus today or potentially in the future. (Click to enlarge.)