The A350XWB has only one order, 20 Aircraft from Singapore. The rests of the orders were for the old model. Those airlines were happy with that
Actually Carch that is not the case at all. Singapore has agreed
to order 20 A350's but has not actually done so yet, likewise Qatar Airways
with 60 aircraft, which agreement currently looks the shakiest of all, although Qatar has not actually backed out as things stand. The actual
orderbook for the A350-800 and 900, as of last week, stands like so;
Kingfisher Airlines 5
Air Europa 10
TAP Portugal 10
US Airways 20
This gives a firm order total of 67 aircraft. You are correct that these orders were placed with the previous attempt but, for example, the president
of Finnair has said "we are delighted to be getting an even better aircraft". The top man at US Airways has expressed similar sentiments. I believe
that trying to revert to the old model would guarantee that most, if not all, the current orders would be cancelled and switched to the 787. Look at
all the fuss that brewed up over this subject. The market as a whole simply doesn't want the original A350, thats why Airbus threw it away. This of
course takes no account of the fact that the Singapore and Qatar orders, plus all others in the pipeline, completely depend on the XWB version
appearing and performing as advertised.
Besides in any case, pursuing the A350 XWB means a lot of challenges and don't have a guarantee of success. The plane is not a leap over the 787. You
can make the case that is an inferior Aircraft (which I won't be doing).
There is no guarantee of success in anything, even the 787 doesn't enjoy such a luxury. Its huge orderbook is definitely something Airbus will envy
but this does put Boeing under enormous pressure to make sure they get it right as the penalty clauses Airbus now faces could be dwarfed if anything
similar happed with this aircraft (god forbid). Airbus does not claim that the A350 is a leap over the 787, given that both models are using the
latest technology and neither has flown surely nobody expects anything other than comptetitiveness? That incidentally is where the previous A350 fell
down, it simply wasn't competitive.
I'd be interested to know how you could possibly make a case for it being an inferior aircraft? the choice of an Al-Li fuselage may or may not be
proven over time to be the right one but as no airliners have previously been built out of the materials that either plane is being made out of there
is no track record on which to base a judgement. The A350 fuselage may be slightly heavier, but in the long run it may prove simpler and cheaper to
maintain. Boeing has already had an issue with the composite barrel sections for the prototype 787 fuselage so who knows what the future may bring?
As far as overall technology levels go both models are on a par and the economic predictions, which is what the Airlines care about more than flashy
gizmo's, are pretty even.
Also with the A380 problems there is no money to start the project (which hasn't been launched yet),
The cash flow might turn out to be the main issue and, in this instance, I would lean more towards cancelling altogether, rather than substituting an
inferior model that wont sell, there is nothing to be gained from doing this, only a further drain on resources. If it came to this crucial point
point I would just go straight for the A320 replacement and, if possible, go for the mid sized market later on, possibly taking on the Y3 directly.
This is only conjecture though, it is not what I expect Airbus to do, it is only what I might choose to do in the situation you describe.
By the time time it comes out it might be too late. Airlines in need of the smaller models would be on board the 787 and the ones that would use the
bigger models would be looking towards Y3 to replace their 777 and 747's
Sorry Carch but I don't see this at all. Airliner procurement is an ongoing constant, as we have seen in a recent thread, even with the current
models in development Boeing and Airbus are STILL manufacturing brand new 767 and A300 models for customers! While ever Airbus are delayed they are
going to miss orders for sure, but its not as if a point will be reached where all the airlines have bought their planes and there are no more
customers, new orders are reported every week and so whenever Airbus brings a truly competitve aircraft to the market there will be customers for it,
no airline will think 'well, there's this new Airbus we can have in two years or we can have 787's in four years, there are 500 787's in the world
already so we'll wait the extra two years'.
The 737 beat the A320 to the market by 20 years, but the A320 still sells, as does the 737 too because Boeing has twice updated it with the latest
technologyto keep it competitve with the A320, this is the key. This is also an example of why Airbus needs the XWB over the original A350 in order to
take on the 787.
Like I said before, the A320 replacement (and the Boeing Y1) are still fairly distant so there is no crisis, yet. Also its not as if Boeing are going
to launch the Y1 and Y3 to leave Airbus grasping, the 787 and 747-8 are still in the development stage with no aircraft flying and are heavily
resource dependant, Boeing will not be able to launch both aircraft simultaneously (rememebr the 777, which the Y3 will replace was a case of betting
the company - the idea of launching another one of those PLUS a 150 seater is a non starter) and so Boeing faces a choice of its own. Personally I
think the 787-10 will do the Y-3 job for starters and the Y-1 will be the company's next priority. If it is then Airbus response will be crucial.