Airbus and Boeing don’t confine their comparisons to the A320 v 737. They are equally forthcoming in discussing the wide-body strategies.
The pre-Paris Air Show briefings included contrasts in how Airbus and Boeing see the wide-body strategies.
Boeing views the product line up this week. We added the seat gap counts and arrows, because Boeing appears to use a slightly higher seat gap count for the A380 than does Airbus vis-a-vis the A350. We added the seat gap count between the 777-9X and the 747-8I, based on Boeing’s publicly stated assumed seat counts.
In these examples, we favor the Boeing view (though with the Airbus A380 seat count) as to the market gaps. We do not see the A350-1000 competing with the 777-9X.
Crowded airplanes: USA Today has an article discussing today’s crowded airplanes. It’s going to get worse. Airbus is offering a configuration for the A380 that has 11 abreast in coach. Boeing says most airlines are now selecting 10 abreast for the 777. Most customers are choosing nine abreast for the 787. Gone are the days when the center seat had good odds of being empty. This is why Bombardier designed its CSeries wit a 19 inch center seat, the widest in the industry.
A350 first flight: Thursday at 10am Toulouse time.
Air France and A350: Several reports indicate Air France will at long last firm up its order for the A350 at the Paris Air Show. It has been held up over maintenance contract issues with Rolls-Royce.
Boeing jobs move: We’re not a fan of Loren Thompson, but his commentary in Forbes yesterday is spot on. Boeing is moving jobs out of Washington State to bolster its Charleston (SC) cluster and simply to move to non-union locations.
Washington State needs to come up with some real planning to address the competitiveness in relation to the South. So far, what’s been unveiled is more of the same–there’s no innovation. This isn’t going to work.
JetBlue’s trans-con plan: The US discount carrier said it was contemplating two-class service across the USA. A filing reveals what it was thinking (with a tip to Mary Kirby on this one). What surprises us more than anything is the low density planned in the Airbus A321: just 156 seats. JetBlue’s single-class A320 has 150 seats. Strikes us that JBLU is leaving a lot of potential revenue behind.
Airbus Innovation Days: AirInsight went to the Airbus Innovation Days this week and has a number of postings here.
Here are some more stories coming out of the Airbus days:
Bombardier says CSeries is a “done deal.” Meaning no more delays. This is a pretty bold statement, given the history at Airbus and Boeing. The Reuters story reports the confidence at BBD, but from a pizzazz perspective, it still seems unlikely the CSeries will fly during the show. In the firmest indication yet, it now looks like the first flight will be the last week of June.
11 Abreast on the A380: Not for me.
787-10 Will be marketing “disaster.” So says John Leahy in this article** (all the way at the bottom). That’s not at all what we are hearing from the potential customers we talk to. Lessors and airlines alike look forward to the airplane. Leahy compares the 787-10 with the 767-400, which was a marketing disaster–only two airlines, Delta and Continental–bought the airplane. Both found a workable niche for it, but the 787-10 is no 767-400. With range of 7,000nm, it will have 82% of the mission range of the 8,500nm 787-9, A350 (and A380), it matches the A330-200 HGW, exceeds the 6,000 nm range of the A330-300 HGW and nearly matches the 7,200 nm range of the early 787-8s–with nominally 323 seats, the size of the 777-200ER and the A350-900.
** Readers may have to go to Google News and type in headline “Stretch Version of A380 still far off”
or try this URL directly
We spoke with John Leahy at the end of the AGM, and though tired and off to sell more airplanes before the Paris Air Show begins June 17, he had some pithy comments about Boeing’s 777X and a strong defense of the A380 sales.
Boeing will have a public briefing of the 777X at the air show, but there have been plenty of leaks before now in which the 777-9X is said to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 777-300ER it’s conceived to replace.
“Be careful with the numbers there,” Leahy said, referring to the 20% figure. “We’re not at all worried about the 777X. They are known for their paper airplanes. No one seems to remember that they already not just marketed but sold 777-200s with folding wings, and of course none was produced. No one seems to remember the ‘game-changing’ Sonic Cruiser, which of course was a joke. No one seems to remember the 747-500, the 747-600 or the 787-3. The Japanese remember the 787-3, which [Boeing] sold with legally binding contracts and just never delivered.
“Yeah, they’re worried about the A350-1000, and they’ve come out with one paper airplane after another and declaring victory, declaring that the world is beating a path to their door. Naw. It’s BS. It’s typical Boeing marketing hype.”
As we remarked to Leahy, “tell us what you really think.”
Leahy repeated previous statements that he could sell a lot more A350-1000s if he had the production slots.
“We could substantially increase sales for the A350-1000 if we could substantially increase production. I need a second line, a dedicated line and we’re debating that internally. We’re doing the business case. I’m confident we can make that decision before the end of the year.”
We asked a leading question about the rate he’d like to see, but Leahy didn’t bite.
“I don’t want to tell Boeing exactly what we are up to.”
We also asked where the additional line would be, if approval is granted: France, Germany or Mobile (AL). “It’s not going to be Mobile,” he said. “Let’s start building CEOs and NEOs there first before we start getting into wide bodies.”
Although there have been a number of stories reporting that Japan Air Lines and All Nippon Airways may buy the A350-1000, breaking Boeing’s decades-long monopoly. It won’t be by Paris, apparently.
“I’d be very surprised, but I can say I’m looking for an improvement in our market share in Japan. We have nowhere to go but up. I would be hopeful we will get a breakthrough in Japan, but I don’t want to predict a timeline,” Leahy said.
A380 sales have been poor, but Leahy is sticking to his prediction of 25 sales this year.
Question: The A380 isn’t selling very well.
Leahy: Excuse me, I haven’t modified my forecast. I said I’ll sell 25 this year, and I’ll sell 25 this year. If this were December, maybe we’d have a discussion. I’ll sell 25 this year.
Q. You fell short last year.
Leahy: “Bad things happen to good people.”
Q. The VLA forecast 1200-1300 since 2000. Sales and delivery rates fell short every year to maintain that pace.
Leahy: “The one thing that doesn’t change is that [everybody] all agree[s] that RPKs double every 15 years. We have to have larger aircraft. Larger aircraft are the only solution [for key airports].”
The Airbus forecasts assumed Boeing would capture a 50% share of the VLA passenger market. In fact, Boeing only has a 10% share. Leahy predicts this split will be maintained.
“We will have 90% market share for VLA. The A380 will do very well and I am confident the book-to-bill will be maintained. No, we’re not going to sell 60-70 aircraft a year. But we will sell 25-35 and we will build 25-35 a year,” he said. “A380 do get high yield passengers.
Note: Because readers won’t behave, comments are closed.
Fixing the 787: Avionics magazine has a long article on fixing the Boeing 787 battery issues.
PW GTF: The Hartford Courant has a piece profiling the quiet nature of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engine. While news articles talk about noise, this is pretty abstract for readers. Bombardier has the best, single source we’ve seen for noise illustrations, with several links within this site. Even that is somewhat abstract, so BBD has this link to compare noise with urban sounds.
ANA to retire 747s: They’ll be gone this year. JAL retired them in 2011. Good luck, Airbus, selling them the A380. ANA also returns the 787 to service Saturday.
- We’re at Boeing today and tomorrow for Paris Air Show briefings. Look for 737 MAX and 777 (today’s model) postings. Everything else is embargoed to June 11 (Current Market Outlook) and June 14 (everything else).