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Pressure mounts on Airbus

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posted on May, 2 2006 @ 05:58 AM
Pressure continues to mount on Airbus this week. Having been firmly told by the airline industry that it considers the 787 to be the superior of the A350 and more work is needed, emirates is now demanding that Airbus migrates some of its new A350 technology across to the A340-600.

Emirates has 18 of these jets on deferred order and after studying the 777-300ER it is unhappy about the economics of the Airbus model by comparison. They feel however that the Airbus can be improved sufficiently to match the 777 with the use of (unspecified) A350 technology. The inference from Emirates is clear, even though they haven't come out and said it. Namely, 'do this or we will buy the 777 instead'. The customer is always right so Airbus' hands are tied I feel. The model is already being referred to within Airbus as the A340-600E and if the promised benefits do materialise it could prolong the marketability of the A340 for a few years longer.

Emirates is currently in the midst of evaluating both the 787 and the A350 and currently feels that if the A350 design is frozen as it stands then it will be forced to buy the 787 which is the better aircraft. I get a feeling from this that Emirates somehow wants to stay with Airbus, but I also think it is clear that Airbus had better not rely on this loyalty and needs to pull its finger out.

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 07:19 AM
with fuel prices not expected to drop for 3-5 years i can see why they are expecting more from airbus and boeing alike.

i still think they made a bad choice with the double decker plane.

[edit on 2-5-2006 by bigx01]

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 08:42 AM

Originally posted by bigx01
with fuel prices not expected to drop for 3-5 years i can see why they are expecting more from airbus and boeing alike.

i still think they made a bad choice with the double decker plane.

Who expects them to drop? I certainly don't, and most of the other aero engs I talk to feel that all aircraft manufacturers have their head in the sand over it.

The 380 has problems, I know, and Airbus are chucking people and money at it to get them sorted. Meanwhile the A350 is a nightmare they are just avoiding for the moment. Difficult times no doubt about it.

However, are Boeing promising more than they can deliver? Hopefully they are being very cautious in their projections for maintainence schedules and even more so for field repair times and limitations.

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 08:52 AM
Furhter to the A350 issue, I just visited the Airbus website and looked at its A350 information. I don't know when this was last updated but I wonder if it is relevant that it now reads 'the all-new A350' and also mentions it having a 'brighter, wider, more spacious cabin' ands also 'larger windows'.

Does this signify the changes that the airlines wanted or is it just spin that was always up there?

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 09:38 AM

Originally posted by waynos

Does this signify the changes that the airlines wanted or is it just spin that was always up there?

I cannot prove this, but I extensively looked at the airbus page around January and I recall these phrases to be used back then as well. I dont think these are recent changes because the main criticism has been centered on other aspects of the plane.

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 11:11 AM
I hadn't looked at the site before (well, not that part of it anyway,) it didn't sit right with me because the artists impression still looks like the A330 fuselage.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:41 PM
Emirates has the $$$$ clout to force these changes. And the A340 should be suited esp the engines as they do not require the huge amounts of thrust a twin would require so the engines could be easily modified.

My question is this: If they can force the changes and the economics match those of the 777-300ER, can the maintenace cost go down as well? Four engines versus 2 has to cost more even with new genaration engines and will they trend towards retrofiting thier A340 fleets or will they try to buy all new a/c.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:47 PM
That point about four engines is one that occurred to me too Fred. I had the wild thought that we may see an A340 twin, which is otherwise known as an A330, emerge from this? I know its silly, don't worry.

I guess what I mean to say is that couldn't they just basically upgrqade the A330 just as easily as the A340 for these specific orders and then the maintainance costs is cut as well? Unless they are getting the four engined model mainainance done on a bogof deal? (buy one, get one free)

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 06:53 PM
Emirates already bought 777... 42 to be exact. What I have read on specialised forums is that emirates wants to push Airbus into making their planes competitive to Boeing in order to put the two into a price war...
I don't think that Airbus would actually do it, there is no point time or money) into redesigning the A340 and the A350 at the same time...

Then again Emirates its their biggest A380 customer...

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 10:12 PM

Originally posted by waynos
I guess what I mean to say is that couldn't they just basically upgrqade the A330 just as easily as the A340 for these specific orders and then the maintainance costs is cut as well? Unless they are getting the four engined model mainainance done on a bogof deal? (buy one, get one free)

This is the part I do not get about Airbus's production scheme.

As noted in AWST this week even thier chairman said the A340's current economics do not match up well against the comp. aka the 777 series. This cannot be a new development so why have they not released a variant of the A330 to go head to head with the 777
I know they had hopes of using the A350 to go after the 777 but given the development time etc. why not take an exisitng a/c and modify it. Unless the engines are too heavy or thier is some other wing or ground clearance issue with the GE90-115B
Even if you put Genx engines on the A340 you still have the 4 on 2 issue and what if GE scales up thier Genx engine so that its in the same thrust class as the GE90-115B? Its really only a matter of time before they leverage that technology elsewhere.

I see Airbus really beating a dead horse with the A340 in a similar manner that Boeing is with the 767. It simply does not make sence to even waste any more money on either type. I do not have current figures but how many A340-500 and 600 have they sold? Not as many as they would like and the comp. from the 300ER and 200LR is fierce.

posted on May, 6 2006 @ 03:45 PM
As I work on the A380 F.A.L at Toulouse I get to see the 380 in all its glory....warts and all and I also get to see where and what the problems are with the production of the beast!

I can also say that the Emirates A/C have suddenly become more of a priority in recent days......somebody has been stamping their feet and has thrown teddys out of the cot and said they are not happy with the delays but if you cannot get the parts to build the thing what can you do!!!!!!


posted on May, 6 2006 @ 04:06 PM
With the issue of gas now.. makes you wonder what utilizations they'll pick up for alternative ways of propulsion!

posted on May, 7 2006 @ 01:06 PM
I think a lot of the talk about Airbus being under any great pressure (outside of the usual and normal commercial pressures all such huge enterprises are) is often overdone.

It does seem the A350 project is taking a lot more thought though.

Maybe the A350 just got a large shot in the arm (and Boeing a poke in the eye......and Bush/Cheney a lesson in basic diplomacy and manners)?

Russian flagship airline Aeroflot is to buy planes from Europe's Airbus instead of US-based Boeing, in apparent retaliation for US opposition to Moscow joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"This is a clear signal to the United States not to put too much pressure on Russia in WTO talks otherwise many lucrative contracts and privileges could go to the Europeans," Yaroslav Lissovolik -- an analyst from the Deutsche UFG investment house -- told Saturday's edition of the Vedomosti business newspaper.

In December 2005, Vedomosti had said Aeroflot was considering buying 22 Boeing 787s, known as "Dreamliners".

But on Saturday it reported an anonymous official in Russia's presidential administration as saying that Aeroflot's board of directors had last month "decided that Aeroflot should buy the Airbus-350 liners".

- It might be too early to say this is confirmed but it might explain Cheney's latest (more than usual) belligerent tone towards the Russians.

posted on May, 7 2006 @ 08:31 PM
Aeroflot prefers to by planes from Airbus instead of Boeing. It goes back to its first western built aircraft purchase of the A310. IMO any spin that's being put on this latest purchases is just added political fluff. US manufactured planes make up only a small percentage of their fleet inventory.

[edit on 7-5-2006 by WestPoint23]

posted on May, 7 2006 @ 09:08 PM
Look at this Blog, it talks about the A370 a plane that would replace the A350-900 and the A340-600 with one aircraft. It is thought to be a paper plane, but who knows...

posted on May, 8 2006 @ 05:48 AM
Nice find, good read

Sometimes when reading things though you can suddenly see something that makes you think 'hang on?'

this for instance;

There is an all new wing planned which is not based on that of the 330/340/350.

which reads as if it is talking about a common wing on the models mentioned. The thing is the A350 wing is all new, would Airbus really design another all new wing fo a plane in the same size class as the A350? Maybe it was just a typo but it surely cannot be right, except that if Airbus really is having the problems with the A350 wing that have been reported it has been ditched and this new A370 wing would be used on the 350 as well.

And what happened to the A360?

this too;

Of course, losing the BAE-based wing manufacturing knowledge base must hurt more than ever.

When did that happen? Of course, it hasn't. BAE is merelt selling its shares, the wing facility belongs to Airbus and is still in existance and fully functioning as the centre of excellence of Airbus wing design.

Now you start to wonder if this blog really knows what it is talking about?

However assuming that it does, but its just got its wires a bit crossed there's this;

Production could be in Hamburg instead of Toulouse.

I'd be surprised to see that, if the type is replacing toulouse assembled models its makes no sense to move assembly away from there. Airbus has always promised to move final assembly around and it was once promised that the A320 would be assembled in the UK.

It looks like the next generation 737 will trump the next generation 320. These must be very trying days in Toulouse.

Where did that one come from? Given that NOTHING has been seen of either project I would say that was a bit premature, to say the least.

correction: The BAE sale is not likely to have as much impact on new wing development as we first thought. All the wing IP will stay with Airbus.

Why would they think that in the first place? strange that the correction is just as wrong as the mistake, the wings will be designed by the people who have always designed Airbus wings.

They do appear to have stumbled onto something though but I wonder if the 'A370' designation is just as spurious as the 'Boeing 797' we had posted a couple of weeks ago? I have learned of a so called 'A340-600E' and I wonder if this might perhaps be the 'A370'?


[edit on 8-5-2006 by masqua]

posted on May, 8 2006 @ 06:30 AM
I was inspired by that blog to dig a little deeper and thanks to Flight International I have found what may be the root of this 'A370'.

I think I was right in likening the 'A370' designation to the 'Boeing 797' in that they do not exist but have been coined by the writers.

I believe that reference to the A370 refers to nothing more than the fact that Airbus has given in to market demands and designed an 100% new A350 to replace the 95% new model the were marketing previously.

Here are the changes

Airbus' stated aim is to 'leapfrog both the 787 and the 777', which to be fair is what they have to aim for, given the minimum three year lead that the 787 will hold over this new model.

There are three models of this new A350, the 800, 900 and 1000.

New revisions include the much called for wider cross section, a larger all composite wing (as I speculated previously) a cruise speed of mach 0.85 and engines in the 85-90,000lb thrust class.

The rival to the 787-3/8/9 will be the A350-800 and is billed by Airbus as the replacement for the A330-200.

The A350-900 is aimed at taking on the 777-200ER and 787-10 while the newly added A350-1000 will be Airbus' first very large twin, seating around 350, with a similar range and payload peformance as the 777-300ER.

In the usual round of 'manufacturers performance claims' Airbus is claiming 20% less fule burn that the 777-300ER.

The new cross section is the first change in this area for any single decker Airbus widebody since the original A300 was created in the late 1960's and is said to be very close to that of the 777 in diameter while retaining the same materials technology as the previously planned A350.

This design with its larger engines and higher capacity also officially signals the end of Airbus' belief in four engines for long range and the new model will replace the A340 as well as the A330.

Airbus says that it was looking at introducing the new wider cross section on the -1000 model but after recent customer criticism dedcided to make it he common fuselage across the range , the A350-1000 may therefore have been designed as the A370 as mentioned before and then seamlessly merged into the A350 programme to kill two birds with one stone as it were.

The down side for Airbus is that this re-design puts first delivery back from 2010 until 2012, the first model in service is expected to be the -900, followed by the -800 and then the -1000 in late 2013 or early 2014.

The plus side is that it will mean Airbus has the widebody market covered with new models ranging from 250 to 800 seats.

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