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Boeing - Airbus wars..... :: Archived
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JG300-Ascout
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:15 am
Post subject: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

Flying High
How Boeing cut short Airbus's rule as king of the skies.
by James Thayer

12/15/2005 12:00:00 AM
EUROPE WAS CROWING, and it could be heard all the way across the ocean.

Airbus called Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner "dreaming in Seattle," and Airbus's then-CEO Noel Forgard dismissed the 787 as a "Chinese copy of [Airbus's] A330." The BBC said Airbus had stolen the march on its arc-rival Boeing, and the Economist predicted Airbus's A380 super-jumbo would "break the 747's longstanding monopoly on the big-jet market." Airbus's sales chief John J. Leahy said Boeing was ''just flailing around looking for something to compete with us.''

Indeed, 12 months ago Airbus seemed about to permanently replace the Boeing Company as the world's dominant airplane producer. It never happened. Instead, Airbus's ambitions have suddenly skidded off the runway.

Earlier this week Australia's flagship carrier Qantas ordered 45 787 Dreamliners worth $8 billion at list prices, and announced it would eventually take delivery of 100 Boeing airplanes, bringing the total order to $13 billion. Earlier in the month Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airlines also placed a big order: a dozen 777-300ERs with options for an additional 20 more planes, for a total list-price of $9 billion. The Qantas and Cathay Pacific contracts are bitter blows to Airbus and signaled Boeing's return as the industry king. The inevitability of European aircraft supremacy--so obvious a year ago--suddenly seems a laugher. What happened?

Boeing and Airbus have two competing and vastly different visions of the future of air travel. At least for now, it appears Boeing got it right.
TWO COMPANIES--Airbus and Boeing--manufacture the vast majority of the wide-body passenger airplanes in service around the world. Eighty percent of Airbus is owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, formed by a 2000 merger of the German, French, and Spanish aircraft industries. Twenty percent is owned by the British company, BAE Systems PLC. Most Airbus fabrication occurs in Toulouse, Hamburg, Barcelona, and Broughton, in Wales.

Boeing's corporate headquarters are in Chicago, but its main commercial airplane plants are in the Seattle area. Both Airbus and Boeing believe that air-passenger traffic will triple in the next two decades. Half a world apart, the two manufacturers have been desperately dueling to gain a majority of orders for the 40,000 new planes they anticipate the industry will need in that time.

Airbus believes that the hub-and-spoke system will govern air travel in the coming decades, where larger airplanes fly between major cities--the hubs--and then the passengers are shunted to their final destinations on smaller planes. In their vision, travelers going from New York City to Little Rock would first fly the Chicago or Atlanta hubs on a jumbo jet, then on to Arkansas in a smaller plane.

To meet this perceived need, Airbus has developed the A380, which will enter service in a year. With a wingspan of 266 feet, the plane is routinely described in the European press as being as wide as a football pitch. The A380 is 240 feet long, and the top of its tail is 80 feet off the concrete.
How can airports handle such a behemoth, one that when fully loaded weighs 177 tons more than a loaded Boeing 747-400, and has a 50-foot wider wingspan, and will carry as many as 853 passengers, almost twice as many as the Boeing plane?

They can't. No airport older than brand new is wide enough, high enough, or thick enough to handle the A380.

So port authorities are scrambling to get ready. London's Heathrow will spend $821 million to accommodate the plane, and will widen taxiways, build double-decker loading ramps, construct new corridors that will segregate the hordes of arriving and departing passengers, and install longer luggage carousels in an enlarged baggage claim area. Heathrow's director of planning and development, Eryl Smith, says the A380 "will change the face" of the airport.

Los Angeles International will erect a new terminal for the A380. Singapore's Changi airport has widened runway shoulders and taxiway junctions, and lounges and passenger concourses have been increased in size. Some cities--Hong Kong, Seoul, and Bangkok--have built new airports that will handle the A380.

Airbus spent $12 billion developing the A380 super-jumbo, and those triumphant predictions made last year about Airbus's new dominance should have come true. And they would have, too, except for one small irritant: the Boeing Company.

BOEING does not buy into the idea of hub-and-spoke dominance. Rather than 1,500 A380 sales in the next 20 years, as Airbus predicts, Boeing strategists expect the number to be closer 320. The reason: Boeing believes travelers and airlines will demand "point-to-point travel"--direct flights between smaller cities and smaller airports. Business people in a hurry, they reason, will not want to stop in the middle of their journey to change planes.

So Boeing's emphasis has been on smaller aircraft with longer range. The 787 Dreamliner is Boeing's plane of the future, "a radically different airplane," asserts Mike Bair, senior vice president of Boeing's Dreamliner development program.

The 787's new technologies are breathtaking. For example, the plane's fuselage will be made entirely of composites, making the plane lighter than older planes, saving weight and therefore fuel. Composites are also stronger than the traditional aluminum used in plane fuselages, and are more resistant to corrosion, and so the Dreamliner will have greater cabin pressure and humidity levels that will reduce passenger dehydration so that travelers will be more comfortable.

The Dreamliner will also use the bleedless new-generation Rolls Royce engine. In the traditional bleed-air engine, air is diverted to power fuel, pressurization, and oil pumps, hydraulic lines, and other systems. In the 787's bleedless engine, all the air flowing through the engine will be used for propulsion, while electric power for the pumps and hydraulic lines will be produced by a generator linked to the engine. The result will be greater fuel efficiency. The 787 will offer 20 percent to 30 percent greater fuel efficiencies over other aircraft.

THE 787 DREAMLINER is the first all-new Boeing plane in 14 years, but the company has been continually upgrading its product line. It offers the 300-seat wide-body 777-200LR, which last November set a record for the longest non-stop flight by a passenger plane, flying 13,422 miles from Hong Kong to London in 22 hours and 42 minutes. Fuel prices are high, and the 777 is a twin-jet, making it much more efficient than the plane it principally competes against, the four-engine Airbus A340.

The 787 and 777 will be able to do things an A380 cannot: fly along the spokes, between, say, Chicago and Little Rock, and among the spoke ends, from, say, Little Rock to Omaha. The Boeing planes can land at every airport the A380 will be able to, but the reverse is not true. The Boeing products can adapt to both the hub-and-spoke and the point-to-point systems.

And the new model of Boeing's venerable long-hauler, the 747-8, was launched last month, called 8 because it shares much technology with the Dreamliner. The 747-8 is 12-feet longer, and quieter and more economical than its predecessor.

Airbus counters these Boeing products with the promise of the A380 super-jumbo, and the A340-500, a derivative of a plane first introduced in 1988, which analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group calls a "legacy dinosaur." Airbus is also developing its answer to the 787 Dreamliner, the A350, which won't enter service until two years after the 787.

TWO YEARS AGO Airbus overtook Boeing as the world's best-selling commercial aircraft maker. But technical problems (read: weight problems) with the super-jumbo A380 and delays in its delivery "have infuriated airlines," the Australian reports. Weight problems are poison to airlines since overweight planes result in reduced passenger and freight payloads and shorter route lengths. The A380 is selling slowly.
Even before the new Qantas and Cathay Pacific orders, Boeing had won 109 firm new orders for 777s this year, compared with only 14 orders for the A340. Two weeks ago, Emirates, the huge Middle East airline, spurned Airbus, ordering 42 777s with a list price of almost $10 billion, a sale that observers termed "stunning."

Air Canada has decided to replace its entire A330 and A340 fleet with 96 777s and 787s, which the London Observer called "a savage blow" to Airbus. Air India and Northwest Airlines have also recently turned aside Airbus, preferring the Boeing product.

As of November 30, Boeing had logged almost four times more firm orders for its 787 Dreamliner than has Airbus for its A350. That's 185 planes to 49 planes. This week Qantas chairman Margaret Jackson said the 787 was "a very clear commercial winner for Boeing." Boeing this year will likely beat its previous sales record of 878 planes, set in 1998. A Seattle Times front-page headline read, "Boeing increases lead over Airbus."


Airbus's sales leadership lasted only two years.

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JG300-Dan736
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:36 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

Good read Ascout thanks for posting.I have to agree with Boeings take on things that people won't want to change planes to get to the smaller cities,more flexibility means better customer service,time for airbus to fire it's ceo for leading them down the wrong path.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:47 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

I'm unhappy with Airbus for introducing this behemoth because I actually use those international airports that will attempt to accomodate it. In fact, I expect to be making some different selections in my travel plans to avoid it (like landing at Gatwick, instead of Heathrow...a change worth making anyway given the prehistoric and inefficient nature of Heathrow). Probably unavoidable at Frankfort, but given the efficiency with which that airport functions, they can probably adapt better than most.
I won't be unhappy if the marketing of this aircraft fails.

This will likely complicate some connections, but will beat the crud out of landing behind 800 tourists clearing passport control and baggage claim.

I don't dislike the other Airbus planes, and use them a lot in Europe. I think their model of airline operations goes against reality on the continent and in the U.S., though.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:16 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

Gatwick are probably further ahead with their preparations for it than Heathrow at the moment. They want it to land there.

Any major hub is in the running for it and you'll probably still find airlines running both as both are designed for entirely different roles which (when u think about it) compliment one another perfectly.

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JG300-Ascout
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:12 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

- EURO_Shades
Gatwick are probably further ahead with their preparations for it than Heathrow at the moment. They want it to land there.

Any major hub is in the running for it and you'll probably still find airlines running both as both are designed for entirely different roles which (when u think about it) compliment one another perfectly.


I believe it....Heathrow is still preparing for 1975! Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:48 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

The thing with the new super jumbo by Airbus is its too big. Not many airlines will want to buy it. Boeing cash in on the 747 when big was better. Now with large amounts of small airlines like WestJet and so on... an A-380 wont be needed. A group like WestJet could use a 787 to do Vancouver-Hawaii route or sompthing. Airbus might have a really bad decision in putting the money in the A 380

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:31 am
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

I would agree, if Boeing had decided to compete with them. As it is, these planes can only fly to a few of the world's major hubs which both Boeing and Airbus were considering doing and then using smaller aircraft as shuttles out from each hub.
I think that with Boeing deciding to let Airbus experiment with the super jumbo idea and build a more realistic alternative themselves, the arrangement actually works out well for both companies and both should come out of it well with two complimentary aircraft.
We shall see.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:14 am
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

- {5thRangers}Sutherland
The thing with the new super jumbo by Airbus is its too big. Not many airlines will want to buy it. Boeing cash in on the 747 when big was better. Now with large amounts of small airlines like WestJet and so on... an A-380 wont be needed. A group like WestJet could use a 787 to do Vancouver-Hawaii route or sompthing. Airbus might have a really bad decision in putting the money in the A 380


One might think that, but actually, the A380 is already a success for Airbus. On pre-orders alone, they've already broken even (I can't garuantee that's true, however, we've had a few Airbus speakers at school, and they say it is highly successful). Airlines don't want these things for short hops, obviously, but since they're so economical, they are great for transporting hundreds of people on long cross-ocean flights, and the airlines know this. They can jack up the prices, and people don't complain cause they get a high tech jet with lots of gadgets to mess with on the long flight.

It's also highly useful for freight. I went to a speech by the VP of International Shipping for FedEx, and he said they have preordered like 8 of them. Said they will most likely have at least 3 A380s in the air over the Pacific at any given time. Being an aviation school, though, we did drill him about the weight problems with the A380 Wink

Either way, it may have been a big gamble 5-10 years ago, when Airbus started with it, but they took that risk, and it's turned out great for them.

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JG300-Ascout
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:30 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

I expect it may do very well eventually on the transpacific routes dominated by 747's now. Unfortunately, one of the destination airports is going to be Los Angeles.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:58 pm
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

Well now they seem to be working together!

"A340-600 ONLY"... yeah, look what's it's unloading, lol.


Click here for a larger shot

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:04 am
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

LOL
There's lotsa those kinda things u see everyday at Heathrow and all the guys on the ramps have cameras handy for the more... 'interesting' ones.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:37 am
Post subject: Re: Boeing - Airbus wars.....

well if this gives me more choice of direct flights to the far east i'll be happy, i for one find dificulty in getting seats on decent airlines on direct routes to the far east out of the uk. i recently flew eva air on a 777 300er to bangkok and must say its the ideal plane for the job far superior cabin to most 747s , but as usual it was fully booked and even had no places in upper class, reality is, we need more seat out, do we add more flights to already congested routes or simply add more seats to flights on those routes?

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