Boeing’s Board is expected to be asked very soon, perhaps at its meeting in October, to grant Authority to Offer the 787-10 to customers, according to two sources.
A Boeing spokeswoman said that ATO for the 787-10 is expected to occur before the ATO for the 777X, since the -10 is a more straight-forward project than the X, but could not confirm the October timeline.
The straight-forward stretch of the 787-9 will have less range (about 6,900nm) than either the -8 or -9 models, which comfortably top 8,000 nm but it is expected to carry around 323 passengers, putting it squarely in the class of the 777-200ER and the A350-900.
At 6,900nm, the airplane will cover most missions required by airlines. By foregoing a new wing and added fuel tankage, the operating weight of the airplane is expected to be roughly equal to the 787-9. A slightly higher-thrust engine will be required. Rolls-Royce announced a higher thrust version of the Trent 1000 now powering the 787 at the Farnborough Air Show, and insiders said this engine is specifically intended for the 787-10.
The 787-10 is billed by Boeing as the airplane that will “kill” the Airbus A330-300, but the 787 was also billed as the airplane that would kill the A330-200. The delays in the 787 program have given Airbus time to enhance the A330 family and the rival announced gross weight, range and engine Performance Improvement Packages to the 300 (and which are anticipated for the 200) at the Farnborough Air Show.
Airbus is also selling the A330 family at discounts to the 787 family today and this will continue in the future. The lower capital costs, Airbus believes, allows the A330 to remain competitive. Airbus COO-Customers John Leahy told us that Airbus expects to sell the A330 beyond 2020.
The 787-10 would replace the 777-200ER, which has largely been killed by the A350-900.
Odds and Ends: EADS faces unhappiness over BAE merger; EU rejects US WTO compliance claims; SPEEA Update
EADS unhappiness: In the weeks after the merger with BAE Systems was announced, it’s clear that the proposed merger with EADS hasn’t ben well received by shareholders or the EADS governments. This Reuters story details the reluctance from the German government. Even the head of BAE has been quoted saying the union won’t proceed if BAE’s US defense business is jeopardized. Boeing, after initially saying it sees no impact, now wants a full US defense review and plans to undertake its own evaluation. Some suggest Boeing will try and bring the WTO subsidies issue into the case.
Our take is that Boeing’s initial reaction was based on the largely non-competitive defense lines of BAE and EADS but belatedly realized the strength the combined companies would have to be future competitors across from Boeing’s lines.
But the larger issue seems to be the future role of the French and German governments in the new company. Their shares will be diluted and governance influence will eliminated under the proposed merger. The government influence has historically meant Airbus, the dominate EADS subsidiary, has had to carefully split jobs between France and Germany rather than being free to make commercial decisions without political considerations.
As readers know, we have advocated for years that the governments need to get out of Airbus’ hair.
The Washington Post has this story, aptly characterizing the “blood fued” between Airbus and Boeing.
WTO Claims: It’s absolutely no surprise that the European Union rejected claims by the US it is now in compliance with the WTO ruling that Boeing received illegal subsidies. The tit-for-tat continues.
Airbus issued this statement today:
The WTO final verdict had called in March for:
- Withdrawal of “at least $5.3 billion” of federal subsidies already received by Boeing.
- Elimination of an additional $2 billion in illegal state and local subsidies due in the future under existing illegal schemes.
- Termination of all U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA research grants to Boeing, including funding, Boeing use of government facilities and the illegal transfer of IP rights to Boeing
The EU’s requested 12 Bn annual penalty is justified by the WTO panel confirmation that the effect of the subsidies is significantly larger than their face value in light of their “particularly pervasive” nature. For example, according to the WTO, Boeing would not have been able to launch the 787 without illegal subsidies. Today’s request belies Boeing’s argument that the WTO’s findings will have no relevant consequences for Boeing.
SPEEA Update: Seattle Times has this update on the SPEEA-Boeing situation.
The quest to upgrade the Boeing 777 line, with particular focus on the 777-300ER, is heating up.
The Wall Street Journal has this detailed story. We found it on Google News, so it should be available to all readers but it may turn out to be a subscriber-only story.
Jon Ostrower’s WSJ piece indeed details similar information that we have been told. Flight Global has this story in which Steve Udvar-Hazy, CEO of Air Lease Corp., says Boeing is “gun-shy” about the new program because of the problems with the 787.
There’s more to it than that.
Here’s what we can add from a well-placed source familiar with Boeing’s recent thinking and events.
- Recent customer meetings indicated that the proposed 777-8X isn’t particularly well received. The concept as currently envisioned is actually slightly smaller than the current 777-300ER: 350 passengers vs 365 in three class. Customers are much more favorably inclined toward the 777-9X, envisioned at 407 passengers three class, more than 50 passengers larger than the Airbus A350-1000. The extra capacity goes a long way toward the economics, which according to sources, is targeted for the 9X to be 21% better fuel burn and 15% better operating costs, per seat.
- As a result of such cool reception toward the 777-8X, according to our source familiar with the thinking, Boeing is pondering covering the low end of the 777 class with the 787-10 and proceeding only with the 777-9X.
- The 777-9X would go a long way toward killing the already anemic sales of the 747-8I, even though in three classes Boeing advertises this capacity at 465 passengers. Boeing, however, notes that “Our product strategy focuses on a full array of products with seat count capacity in 15-20 percent increments to provide customers maximum flexibility to adjust capacity. The 747-8 is 15-20% larger than the 777X studies and serves those markets requiring more seating capacity.”
- Plans articulated by Jim Albuagh, former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to seek Board approval for Authority to Offer (ATO) the X for sale by the end of this year has slipped to the end of 2013 or even early 2014, our source tells us. EIS is still contemplated for 2019. BCA’s new CEO, Ray Conner issued a note to employees following a Seattle Times story which said the program has slowed that it has not. Further, we are told by Boeing in response to this post that the anticipated timeline to seek Board ATO remains late this year or early next, but not as late as the end of 2013. Nonetheless, we did hear the later timeline from a well-placed source.
- Boeing still wants to see what the final design of the A350-1000 becomes. With EIS for this delayed to 2017 (if not longer), there is no rush to make immediate decisions for the X.
- The WSJ article suggests Boeing may elect to stick with metal wings instead of the more expensive and challenging composite solution. We understand that the composite wing remain the favorite but studies retaining the metal wing continue.
We need to emphasize that what may be true today may change tomorrow. The point is that the development of the 777X is fluid. With an extended timeline for the A350-1000, Boeing is in no hurry to make an early decision. The factors reported by the Wall Street Journal and FlightGlobal also are important.
Boeing continues to study whether to proceed with a major makeover of the aircraft–the 777X–or a less dramatic 777+ set of enhancements.
“Just like all other airplane development efforts, it’s an iterative process. We let the data from our studies and the input from our customers drive the best airplane design as we continue our work on this airplane that would enter the market later this decade,” Boeing tells us.
“As we’ve said for the last several months, when we are satisfied with the risks, costs and schedule, we intend to present a plan for offering the airplane to customers that would enter the market late this decade. Teams continue to study the many elements of a complex development process, and we continue to work with customers on their requirements. We are committed to this segment of the market and when we are confident in a plan we can deliver to our customers, we would formally launch the program following additional development work.”
Although Tim Clarke, president of Emirates Airlines, has been vocal in pushing Boeing toward the X model with range that will provide unrestricted non-stop service from Dubai to Los Anglese, this capability is needed for only about 5% of the world’s routes. Boeing (and Airbus) have been open in their reticence to build an airplane for only 5% of the market, considering the return on investment not worth the cost, the weight penalties or engine requirements for so few customers. It remains to be seen, however, what the outcome of the process will be.
Our AirInsight affiliate has published a short report in its e-newsletter (subscription only) about a new battle emerging among LCCs in Asia.
A new head-to-head battle appears to be shaping up in Asia.
Indonesia’s LionAir announced plans to create a new LCC, Malindo, which will be based in Malaysia and take on AirAsia.
AirAsia previously announced plans to acquire Indonesia’s Batavia Air—a deal that’s under regulator review and which may or may not consummate—in a bid to further penetrate the Indonesian market against LionAir.
AirAsia and LionAir are the two behemoths in the region, excluding flag carriers. AirAsia operates 100 Airbus A320s and has 272 more on order. It is poised to place an order for up to 100 more any day now. AirAsia was a launch customer for the A320neo and has been urging Airbus to proceed with a re-engining of the A330 to produce an A330neo—a move Airbus has so far resisted.
LionAir operates about 70 Boeing 737NGs and has an astounding 337 on order. It is the launch customer for the 737-9 MAX and was the first customer to sign a firm contract for the airplane. LionAir is poised to order 100 Airbus A320/A321 neos, presumably for the new venture.
20 Year Forecasts: The Blog by Javier (who works for Airbus Military) has this analysis of 20 year forecasts. It’s pretty interesting. He also references an earlier post but didn’t link it; here it is. Here is another link to another comparison posting. This link, a bit older, specifically discusses the VLA category.
These are a good set of analyses.
AirInsight has its own comparisons here.
Roll down the windows: Mitt Romney wonders why the windows don’t open on airplanes. And he wants to “own” Air Force One?
America First? Not so much. Ann Romney flies in a Canadian Bombardier Challenger 600 instead of an American Gulfstream. And we thought Romney was all about American jobs. The right-wing wacko Rush Limbaugh types got on Obama for the Secret Service buying a Canadian-built bus (wasn’t even Obama’s doing). Where are the America-Firsters for not flying an American aircraft?