If any singer could sing the metaphor of the 787, it is Christopher Cross. In 1980, he gave the soft sounds of "Sailing". I listened to the sounds of this song everyday, as I cruised the I-5, 405 freeways around San Diego Bay. It was ethereal therapy for the soul in the troubled world. The song burned a place in my pyschic as a life-time salve, where Art transcends Science in a meld of beauty and symmetry. This Blog once featured the song "Sailing" just for the 787. Then there was the song about "Ride Like The Wind", which was inappropriately missed during the blog. So this Blog is to make amends. The NBC Sunday Morning Show featured Christopher Cross on this day's episode for August, 31 2014. Christopher Cross is still alive and singing much to my delight. The assigned effort today is about snagging some ITunes for his artistry, and put it on your music device prior to boarding a 787. Go "Sailing" where Art meets Science on the 787 and then "Ride Like The Wind".
Once again my anxiousness presumes the United 787-9 is delivered in August. With this "guessed delivery" at the months end, how will it will play out? The moving average fashion is out pacing production goals of a set 10, where Boeing is delivering plus numbers greater than the 10 production goal by 2.33. I will recheck my own mental calculation, when a calculator is found under the paper work. Don't expect Boeing to relax the pace as they have 6 in production testing and 15 more in preflight preparation and several more 787-9's cooling its collective heals in Change Incorporation Rework or storage. Storage status for the 787-9 is an "airplane side-bar" for the dash nine as its customer, Air New Zealand, has a stated goals for delivery for each of its dash-niners. Customer pacing is affecting when delivery is made until the end of the year for those types. Boeing has backloged its work flow substantially to meet its year end goals. They should reach 120 787's delivered when considering its WIP line-up of available aircraft entering completion during the next 100 days. The over-all customer count of delivered 787 stands at 183 units. In order for Boeing to achieve its goal of 120 delivered for 2014, it must produce or deliver 50 more units by the end of the year. In doing so, Boeing will have 233 787's in service. They can achieve that if they maintain the Moving Average numbers it just has established, when considering the current 12.33 rate during the next four months. Boeing has a lot of stored capacity (WIP) within the assembly lines at both Everett and Charleston which will be relesed by years end during December deliveries. Goal +/- 06/2014 07/2014 Projecting August (actual) Delta
It sometimes comes to the forefront, a thought of why airlines just don't buy the biggest baddest airplane on every purchase, like the A380. Airbus may wonder that too as they would like selling A380's into infinity. The 747 family lost its top perch of being the biggest and baddest airplane giving over to the A-380. They long have since winced at any A380 sales announcement. In fact all orders for Airbus should be an A-380 in the corporate ego set. However, the A380 is a sledge hammer of the skies, while airlines are building a business model. The 737 family of aircraft are 12 ounce finish hammers with a special head that will tap in finish nails. The 16 oz hammer is a typical framing hammer for dimensional lumber (767). The 24 oz hammer is for macho carpenters that drive 16 pn nails in one swat (777/787).
Builders of airlines don't need a 3lbs or greater mallet or sledge hammer, driving in finish nails or framing nails. Boeing has given airline a tool box of aircraft types that will drive home the point at every airport. Airbus invested billions on the A380, and then the A350 (two types) in an effort of mitigating Boeing's structured approach from the 737 up through the 777X's revolutionary aircraft. Even though Airbus started first with its NEO proposition and then onto the A330 NEO (Farnborough 2014), as a 787 beater, it only will be done over the next three years.
It is not enough time for rolling over Airbus' technology at the level of the 787 example. The A330 NEO is a fleet replacement model for invested A330 operators, as it does not break new ground, since its a metal aircraft stuffed with new systems and new wings. The 777X is going to be far advanced of the A330 NEO and as that NEO will still lag the 787 in over-all performance and upgrades. The A330 NEO is a new class of aircraft called A Fleet Position Holder (FPH). A FPH back-fills voids from aging A330 classics, gaining orders from Airbus Loyal customers. It also fills a role for emerging airlines who do not have the capital ready for obtaining the 787 and it is more expeditious opting to lease this Airbus "787 knock off". Emerging airlines may not have any "FPH" slots for long thin routes, but can acquire this hub to hub types within the Airbus philosophy, by purchasing the A330 NEO. Its all about hub to hub with Airbus snorting about, at the Boeing model of flying anywhere direct and land at any Airport compliant to all what Boeing has to offer with its 787. The 787 has become the common denominator for Boeing. All Future Boeing aircraft owe its roots to the
787 technology and flight deck. Including its new air fuel tanker for the US Air Force.
However there is the commercial fact, all airports desire the synergy of being a super hub. It would bring in people, grow industry and provide a huge tax base, giving power to the local government. Then a fool thing like reality interrupts. Our local government is on an Island in the Caribbean (St Martin)and can't land the A380 unless it builds runways in the Carribean sea, Airports bought all the available land for our mini hubs, and extending runways and terminals is not an option. Most of the airports face these problems except for the desert kingdoms. Coincidentally, they order a preponderance of the A380, and while not be buying many of the A330 NEOs, if at all. The main Airbus seller is the A350-900. The A350-1000 are loyal customers ordering because that is what they run with everyday, Airbus. The danger there, lies in-the-fact of: limited flexibly once an airline passes beyond the A320 NEO, when ordering twin aisle aircraft.
Boeing had many meetings long ago on how to capture the market with what they had. Boeing stopped, dropped, and rolled into an over-arching plan to beat every Airbus aircraft taking into account its own customers, and no matter how Airbus challenges. In the mean time, Airbus blinked big. They went all in on the A380's, and then went to the knee Jerk design center, and pushed out three two one A350-900. The family of aircraft became dysfunctional, lacking a true challenge to both the 787 and 777X families. The 787 market targets its true capacity for a carefully researched market. It referred to its 787 for the long thin line. Then appropriately demonstrated in Japan its regional handiness. The 777X is a demonstration on how easily Boeing can master the A350-1000 cause. The rush to the Airbus judgement of "a great family" is fiction. It is patchwork planning in the wake of Boeing accomplishment. Plugging and playing with airplane inserts is not a good plan.
In Boeing's case, an observer can easily see that it has fixed its business model from top to bottom. Airbus doesn't have a true top to bottom flow as it has canceled the A340 and A350-800. It has an oversized A380 and a stand alone A350-900 and a family of single aisle aircraft. Boeing has covered the market with aircraft capable of any commercial program over 120 seats up to 480 seats. Airbus has failed in its effort when shadow boxing with Boeing. Corporate loss off vision is a critical killer for success. Airbus' dysfunctional vision is slowly eroding its own market. Below are Airbus talking points going the way of the dinosaur.
Dysfunctional Airbus Family:
Cancelation of A350-800 (someone recommended this as a Boeing competitor, never-mind)
Slow Sales of A350-1000 (777X game over)
Poly-Unsaturated A380 Airport Fat
Mid Range Metal A330 NEO (Its a Cheaper FPH) (Same person from above bullet recommended this over the A350-800, lease baby lease)
Faux News from Bullet Points added:
Sarcasm Font Below:
December 31, 2014 Airbus Leadership Team from Fance, Germany, and Great Britain, have solved the family crises by announcing the A360 BXXWBNEO. AKA (Big extended extra wide body new engine option). 118 launch MOU's were signed from three unannouced customers from leasing companies. Will be announced at Paris and will be added in the order books for 2014 and later in 2015 at the Paris Air Show. These also go with the 127 A330 NEO's annonced at Farnsbourough.
LiftnDrag: "December 11, 2012: Blog Discussion Seven Months Earlier! " Another look is for Ethiopian Airlines in what the 787 does for its bottom line. They will be a good case study, since they own such a smaller number of aircraft and fly long routes. The 787 will have an immediate impact from its operations, where you will see how it drives the bottom line at the end of next fiscal year. This is a manageable study of its business plan and bottom line. You may gain a distinct appreciation for the 787's financial impact on Ethiopian Airlines." *******************************************************
"Don't look at Air India in this exercise, but rather look at All Nippon Airline's bottom line from its efficient air travel business plan. Since ANA also has a significant number of 787's in a mixed fleet of long haul international, and its national routes of"Japan only" stops, found in ANA's flight route portfolio. Try to understand what the 787 has done for them."
Ethiopian Airlines finishes the fiscal year with record performance
Addis Ababa:Ethiopia – Despite the challenges faced in the aviation industry, Ethiopian Airlines finished its 2013/14 fiscal year with a record performance.
The biggest carrier in Africa saw its operating revenue rise by 21% to 46.5 billion Birr, with its revenue by passenger increasing at 16%. The airline’s passenger carrying capacity also rose by 17% in the fiscal year.
Ethiopian received 13 new aircraft, including Boeing’s ultra-modern 787 Dreamliner, and started flying to nine brand new destinations. Ethiopia’ performance in numbers: • 46.5 Billion Birr operating revenue, + 21% • Available Seat Kilometer + 17% • Revenue seat Kilometer + 16% •13 new aircraft phased-in • Nine new destinations opened
Sources: Fana Broadcasting Corporation & Ethiopian Airlines Facebook Page.
The heady days of the 787 has started. You may known it in history as the Golden Era. Over a hundred years ago mansions popped up over North America. Mansions as found on Sea Island Georgia, Delaware, and the Chesapeake Bay region. However, the Golden era has reemerged with the 787. These heady days occur when people from ANZ and Ethiopian begin reaping in the coin from the 787 family of aircraft. The first ones, back in 1890, opened General Stores across the country. Later on came the Woolworths, JC Penny and Sears. Then came the Sears Tower in Chicago. Earlier the Woolworth Building in NYC. America's Golden age came and melted into the fabric of Americana.
Here comes the 787, as world airlines are delivered the Boeing 787. Thus the new Golden era with the 787, as it builds more mansions and great buildings in the world's cities. In Singapore, Frankfurt and Gatwick will golden 787 ideas pave its streets. Its by no coincidence that plane loads of nuggets are unloaded by the 787. The 787 is the chief engine of the New Golden Era. It moves profit lines into the expanse of wealth.
Even though the A350 is just getting its chops, think about the year 2011 and now for Boeing. The Airbus company has a large task ahead of itself to reach Boeing's point of of aircraft ascendancy. In three more years Boeing will have delivered an additional 350 787's on top of current 180 delivered 787's. It will mean select airlines will be flying over 500 787's in 2017. Compared with Airbus' late started era of the A-350's as found in the grand scheme of things. The time will be right for Boeing to reach out and touch everyone with the 777X suite of aircraft.
Railroads in America came with a thunderous appeal as the world's new wealthiest built the first railroads across this continent. Then came the late Rail starters who never reached the excellence in travel that the forerunners did, since the best routes were already taken. The great routes were pioneered, not by surveyors but through the hard lessons coming on the old trails as found throughout the Midwest and Western trails. The late industrialist had to take on secondary right-a-ways through the northern mountains, such as the Great Northern Rail Way Company carved its empire. It is now merged with the original transcontinental line holders.
The same applies to the airline company. Those who get on board first, maintains the high ground. Follow the battle that Norwegian Airlines is fighting with North American routing. Its having trouble getting Rights of Routes (RR) into North America.
Many newspaper reports are expressing angst towards Norwegian Air's strategy of capturing the North American continent with its fleet of 787's, even before those Airlines of North America can receive its own quota of 787's, as it would then compete. Read on about Air New Zealand, and its bucket of profit nuggets. Put both stories together with RR on board, and you have a 1880 style railroad/air war in the 21st century. The RR scenario is the tipping point. "Keep Norwegian off our route territory", is the battle cry. Norwegian tried a flanking action from Ireland, as a circumvention of route acceptance from Europe to North America.
"Today, Norwegian Air International filed its reply to the Department of Transportation's ("Department's") notice of August 4, 2014 requesting comments on the meeting between the U.S. Government and the European Commission ("Notice"). Norwegian Air International urges the Department to grant its application for an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit without further delay.
Norwegian Air International is joined by many supporters, who have also filed in support of its application, including the Irish Aviation Authority, U.S. Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, European Low Fares Airline Association, the Oakland, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale airport authorities, Federal Express, and Atlas Air. The American public deserves more choice and lower fare options for flights between the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. economy will benefit from the increased tourism, and Norwegian's fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners—the largest of any European airline—represents thousands of jobs at Boeing and Boeing's suppliers throughout the U.S.
In the Notice, the Department summarized the views of the European Commission that a party to the Open Skies Agreement cannot unilaterally deny an airline's application based on the so-called "social dimension" article of the agreement. "The Commission's position echoes what we have been saying from the beginning, and we trust that the clear views of the Commission answer once and for all our opponent's objections in this regard," said Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of Norwegian Air International. "We look forward to the Department approving our application so that we can enjoy the same rights afforded to every other European airline serving the U.S. market – rights guaranteed to us under the Open Skies Agreement."
The wait for the 787 is putting some airlines on a nervous edge, as they watch the profit margins increase for 787 compliant airlines. Those are the airlines who have RR into North America. The same will repeated into China, and in other expanding, or opportunity markets, as the 787 rolls out.
(Metaphor)Airbus arrives in San Francisco three years late, as in 1852 late. Just as the nuggets play out in California. However, the real rush is going on now. The RR window is only opened for a short while, as if a California Gold rush. The battle has just begun for the lucrative markets in travel.
So the 19th century comparison goes forward leading from the Golden era in 1890-1910. This time the age begins in 2014, and will continue until 2034 for the airlines, the world airlines are the new industrialist of this age. Mansions will be built and tall building go higher from the gold floating out from the air, just for those who claimed it first.
This is just a news item worthy of LiftnDrag. Earlier, Rolls had made ready its 787-9 version engine and was delivered to ANA. Several other airlines who had the 787-9 in production, but with GE versions, were waiting for the FAA sign-off before delivery. Those aircraft in this status received the FAA engine acceptance, and now Boeing can process the 787-9 type with GE engines for its customer's completed airplanes, currently setting in the stand-by mode at Paine Field.
What this means, is that Boeing will deliver a significant number of 787 by years end with both the Rolls and GE engines in a steady stream. It was mentioned earlier in the summer of 2014 that Boeing will deliver approximately 12 787-9 by years end. Boeing could deliver more than 60 more 787's of both types by end of year reaching its estimated goal of 110 787's in 2014, delivered. That will pave the way for another 120 787's to be delivered in 2015. Thus opening up room in the order book for additional 787 orders, for both types and progress on the 787-10 project. During the next few years Boeing will be re-positioning its factory production for the three MAX types in Renton, Wa. Two 777X types in Everett, WA and the 787-10 in Charleston, SC. The remaining 787 -8 & -9 order book will split between Everett and Charleston.
Once again Air India shatters under pressure. Finally, a Boeing omission is seeping out where given the appropriate humidity and pressure a condition may exist where the pilots cabin wind screen will crack. Is Air India a one off airline with this problem? It seems so as its aircraft seem to lose the front wind screens as often as it loses luggage. I was a Debbie Downer on Air India as it seemed to have a disproportionate amount of mishaps for its 787 that other Airlines don't have during normal operations.
However, the humidity factor with these wind shields appears to center on India's awe full humidity and Boeing's design innovation. India is unique in the world for its climate even though other counties with extremely high humidity have not yet received its first 787's . USA, Japan and Great Briton are examples of varied temperature ranges. Great Britain may expect some cracking under this scenario, but I haven't seen any issues of wind screen cracking coming from BA or TUI aircraft. Perhaps its from a cooler humidity relevancy. Hot air hold more water than cooler temperatures. India has plenty of hot air with lots of water holding in the atmospheric molecules.
Boeing is concerned about this conditions, that Air India is encountering with its wind screens. It is currently re-engineering the wind screens, as high humidity during heat factors will affect those airlines operating continuously in this same type of environment. If indeed that is the causal problem. I tend to believe this to be the case . The 787 is an extreme global aircraft as will the A-350 will be. Therefore, expectations should be aware of global conditions as the manufacturer was when testing out all conditions. However, in this case, Boeing needs to tweak Global weather conditions on engineering and production points it may have not found during its aircraft development. The wind screen issue with Air India is an one off issue, not due to the airline, but India's environment with that many Airplanes in its stable.
Synergy, is defined in nature, as a "symbiotic" relationship, where two unrelated functions feed its selves into a greater strength that otherwise would not have happened with out each other. In science or everyday life, people, or activity, ideas combine into an existence that other wise would of not happened without the presence of two or more elements. The existence of elemental participation can bring negative effects on our life as well. In the Great Lakes near Ohio, an Algae bloom occurred by the synergistic elements of water, heat and nitrates from the farming industry. The Algae bloom poisoned the water supply. Each element was necessary for this synergy to occur.
Boeing has push through aviation's evolution with its synergy driven 787. Having no bleed air by-pass system, since it goes with an all electric systems architecture, Boeing by-passed problems aircraft suffer today with cabin conditions. Bleed Air By-pass contributes to the perfect germ storm. This becomes another one of the synergistic type events. Air by-pass feeds all a contemporary aircraft except the 787. Even the newest A-350 can't claim Boeing's achievement for air purity. By-pass air systems has inherent problems with germs from the negative synergy of that system, and it is nothing to sneeze about where germs can multiple in the by-pass environment. The all electric structure by-passes that problem as it pumps out bad air and pumps in new air. No recycling of germ air, thus nullifying the germa-phobic synergy.
When Boeing people where thinking outside the box, in a wholesale manner with its own lab synergy. It evolved aviation beyond the next Ice Age. When others can't or won't follow Boeing's trail they may be doomed to extinction from inaction. The technical band-aid on cabin air for all bleed-air by-pass systems are attempts of mitigating that cabin air problem through different processes. This will include the models 737 MAX, 777X and the current 747-8i.
Boeing engineering synergy has established new cabin benchmarks. I presume when the 787 completely settles in through its flying passengers every milli-second, it will consider switching to an all electric format for all its airplanes. However, Boeing straddles the aviation ditch, and will not commit towards going "All electric" with its total line until the potential "bad battery" issue is mitigated once and for all.
By starting with one idea in the process, it affects all processes by bumping those other functions to new levels. Where in turn those bumped processes elevate the passenger experience beyond original expectation. Synergy is a strange and unfamiliar word for most people, but it can save the species in an Ice Age.
Its not Tampa Bay's running back, Doug Martin, being NFL's version of the Muscle Hamster, its Boeing's venerable 737. From the onset, engineers strapped a Muscle Hamster on the 737's wing, powering the 737 into "Hall of Fame" status and beyond.
The link above will lead you to your daily morning coffee spew , as you laugh, chuckle, or just Hamster around at the breakfast nook reading the "Air & Space" Feature. It reminds me of the little engine that could, story. However the CFM engine can do much more for Boeing and its Max engine. The primary engine for its latest airplane. The Hamster's mouth has unique airflow dynamics, an original unintended consequence when first built. The oval shape gained extra inches off the ground first, so the 737 could land land without scrapping engine bottom. With today's modern computer modeling, the CFM Hamster Oval mouth is much more, a highly efficient single aisle engine form. Learn to love the Hamster, it will make your team airline run faster.
By Phil Geib,@ChiTribGraphics "In an effort to curb noise pollution and design quieter jet engines, engineers at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont are working with engine manufacturer General Electric, using high-performance computers to study how engines make noise." Relative noise making is the bane of most piston engine and jet engines. What goes on inside the cabin is relative quiet, and way louder than outside. Even when wind slices by at 550 Nautical Miles Per Hour is, noise approaching, any customer, but is seldom heard inside the cabin. Even when standing a quarter mile away, a jet take-off is a terrifying sound. The Argonne Lab is weighing-in with its super computer as it models a low decibel configuration found for jet engines. It is a lab driven attempt at mitigating energy driven noise, and wind flows through the modern Gen X engines. The importance is shaping the sound signature through the engine. The computer will identify the causal aspects of source noise and seek a dampening course from its noise source, through a dynamic process of noise shaping from its noise source points. Argonne will find how to configure the decibels released from the engines massive power. Above is the the Chicago Tribune graphic of the noise footprint in a typical airport setting. The 4.3 square miles typically projects sound clear out into some suburb or downtown hotel chain strapped along side of an airport.Argonne is testing through its super computer modeling on both the source of noise and the mitigation of noise. Remember seeing these sound canceling optimization examples in everyday life. Noise canceling ear phones, whisper quiet internal combustion luxury cars, and sound canceling berms around neighbor hoods with sound proof fences. The list goes on. Argonne is attacking the noise generation of the new and modern carbon parted jet engine. The culprits are fan blades, compressors, and immense horse power generated. When on construction projects during winter. We ran propane heaters with an open blow torch in an unfinished building to keep warm or when drying drywall or the paint. The sound was ear deafening from just one minuscule burner. Imagine 70,000 pounds of thrust coming from one 787 engine, let alone two engines spooled up for take-off. That's what Argonne is talking about. GE has invested large capital on the chevron design engine cowlings for its GENX family of Jet engines. They have gone internal with quiet composite fan blade design. GE also has done so much more taming the beast down below the 100 decibel "angst" limit. The object of its affection is just a swoosh going over head at full power.
Boeing Aircraft Company has to grasp a view of the big picture and keep itself within its vision. What actually drives the company on a daily basis is the minutia every day and each day. The nuts and bolts stuff, Where can we get more titanium, who is watching engine development this week? What do we do with Charleston's production line this week?
All are valid questions, but do not reach the level of Big Picture Status, even though issues like those just mentioned could deliver a a wallop to the Big Picture, and knock it out of its frame. An unsettling thought is the minutia pulling down the aircraft strategy. The second consideration are your competitors in this Big Picture Strategy.
Big Picture Vision
Big Picture Strategy
Big Picture Execution
Those three bullet points overlap each other in the press reports, stock-holders meetings and from competitor's quips. The vision is very important, since it encapsulates its own belief system as valid. The Boeing belief back in 2004, reflects that Boeing ignored its customers, as Airbus made a line of aircraft consistently modern while Boeing had a Hodge-Page group of aircraft uniquely different from one to another even though modern.
The vision became a realization that Boeing had advance technology and it didn't apply it consistently with its family of aircraft. The 737 had some really good stuff but greatly different than the 777 family of aircraft. The 747-400 was on its own team while the 757 had its own skinny from the design shop. It was hot looking, while the 767 just lumbered around during the next 12 years. No aircraft type was really into the other type, so a relationship could not start.
In 2004 Boeing got the memo which demanded, advised and instructed, it needed "a sea change" from airline types in its DIY groups. That change in vision was it needed desperately, a common denominator which would become the well spring of success. A quantum leap far and above anything flying since the Wright Brothers. If we build this, our vision quests is foundational. Yes the 737 is shaping up, and the 777 is the best thing going, but Boeing needed to incorporate its aircraft with all encompassing technology available from its hallowed research centers. Airbus has a steady hand in this and "we" (Boeing) failed to notice. It is incumbent for Boeing to construct from its central core of excellence both down line, and up line from a high level common denominator. Namely, the denominator is the all plastic techno 787. That is Boeing's starting point. It's finishing is yet to be written or achieved until it pervades all its models.
The strategy is the second level of the Big Picture points. The competitors were not planning on competing with anything which they deemed, "can't be done", AKA, 787. Boeing was caught calling BS, it turned back to the vision, team and went to work with more earnest for the endeavor. Airbus just dropped its jaw at that point, and then retreated back into its design center with the A-350 for a knock-off, known as the airplane that shouldn't be built, as they referred to it when Boeing's initial 787 announcement. The Airbus first go around on the drafting board ended Dead On Arrival. Airbus needed to rethink its Boeing challenge. Change measurements and amenities. Change battery and electrical systems. Airbus needs to do what they do best from ten years ago, but add plastic.
Amid all the European bluster and prosperous insinuation, Boeing ran stressed, by making announcements three years too early during 2007. They should have had its collective act together and manned up with the announcement that, "we had assemble the first all CRFP large body aircraft in history on July 8, 2007. Now Boeing is going to install the most complex and technically advanced system ever found in any airplane of any kind. "This is our moon shot", and it will fly when everything is ready during the next many months/years." Boeing needed to lower anticipation on an all new technology with normal expectations, instead they announced three years early and built it built it three years late. The Boeing strategy fell out of line, being too eager, and they have never recovered its face on that issue. As today every news reference starts out with the "three years late" opening. The Big Picture Strategy got a black eye on bullet number two. But what is cool is the Big Picture Vision Shift has flummoxed Airbus with making a fractured family of aircraft line. Where Boeing's consolidation of its family of aircraft has sealed off the market with Boeing continuity.
The last critical key is pointed out as execution. Many things can go wrong with a program and has gone wrong with Boeing's plan. One thing to note, is that Boeing was not spending capital unnecessarily. Insuring the over-arching vision of catching, passing and exceeding its competitors. Part of program execution is the ever important implementation bench marks. Boeing could have not have produced or delivered 10 787's a month, without a careful implementation plan, a contingency plan B or a continuous effort of overcoming natural or human limits within the grand scheme of the 787. The main thing is the vision change for Boeing, since 2004 allows for whatever it takes to make it right has enabled the flying aircraft to perform as promised. The back-up systems and contingency programs found on board has made the 787 doable. Boeing's due-diligence with its vision commitment of going beyond the competitor's, has paid a dividend for the 787, as functional problems are mitigated through built-in safety considerations. The plane that is implemented continues to execute its mission as promised. All the nit-picking and annoying glitching is mostly white noise as parts are replaced, systems reprogrammed, and one off incidences are recovered. A new technology and new airplane are actually doing what new airplanes do, they sort out while in service making it whole.
Recently, The Seattle Times has thrown down the gauntlet on the A-380's survival. Adding in on this article are additional observations on the two strategies that both Boeing and Airbus settled in on. This article is a reflection on who was right on those strategies. Boeing went with the smaller any airport in the world 787 plan. Airbus went for a super airplane only for super hubs. LiftnDrag has written often on those two paths taken. The summary comment bent towards Boeing direction of aircraft flexibility when airport traffic increases, take-off from anywhere to go anywhere without changing airplanes through a super hub. Most people seem to be reacting positively towards that money saving and convenient idea. I don't want to fly clear to LAX on a single aisle people mover just to board the A380, then get off in Frankfort to board another wide body jet to fly to Athens Greece. Maybe I could just do a direct on a 787 from Seattle,WA to Athens Greece, in one shot.
Airlines have had time to digest both the A380, A350 and additionally the 787. More importantly, the 777X proposition is a crushing defeat for Airbus. Below are a magazine load of bullets from AR press, shredding the A-380 25 Billion dollar blunder.
The A380 has a list price of $400 million, but Airbus has cut prices as much as 50 percent. So far, Airbus has received 318 orders and delivered 138 planes to just 11 airlines — a disappointing tally given forecasts that the plane would be a flagship aircraft for carriers worldwide.
To get a sense of the Airbus A380’s size and ambition, walk up the grand staircase of an Emirates version of the aircraft, go past the showers and the first-class suites, then pass by endless rows in business class to reach the bar at the back of the upper deck.
This sleek semicircle, alluringly underlit and fully stocked with pricey spirits like Grey Goose vodka, is undoubtedly one of the defining features of this aircraft, which can hold more than 500 passengers. The plane dwarfs every commercial jet in the skies.
Since it started flying commercially seven years ago, the A380 has caught the imagination of travelers. Its two full-length decks total 6,000 square feet, 50 percent more than the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. Its wingspan barely fits inside a football field.
Its four engines take this 560-ton airplane to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, a surprisingly smooth ascent for such a bulky plane. Passengers love it because it’s quiet and more reminiscent of a cruise ship than an airplane.
The A380 was also Airbus’ answer to a problematic trend: More and more passengers meant more flights and increasingly congested tarmacs. Airbus figured the future of air travel belonged to big planes flying between major hubs.
“More than simply a big airplane,” one industry analyst wrote when the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2007, “the newest industry flagship will change forever the way the industry operates.”
The prediction hasn’t exactly come true.
Airbus has struggled to sell the planes. Orders have been slow, and not a single buyer has been found in the United States, South America, Africa or India. Only one airline in China has ordered it, and its only customer in Japan has canceled. Even existing customers are paring down orders.
The A380 has a list price of $400 million, but the pressure has forced Airbus to cut prices as much as 50 percent, according to industry analysts. So far, Airbus has received 318 orders and delivered 138 planes to just 11 airlines — a disappointing tally given forecasts that the plane would be a flagship aircraft for carriers worldwide.
Only Emirates has made the A380 a central element of its global strategy, ordering 140 as it built a major hub in Dubai. But Emirates is unique. No one else has bet on the plane with quite the same confidence.
The A380 hasn’t done so well for a number of reasons, some merely cyclical. The plane was introduced amid a deep downturn in the airline business. Airline executives were wary of expanding their fleets aggressively, especially for a costly, four-engine fuel hog.
But critics like Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, an aviation-consulting firm in Fairfax, Va., say the main problem is more fundamental: Airbus made the wrong prediction about travel preferences.
He said people would rather take direct flights on smaller airplanes than get on big ones — no matter their feats of engineering — that make connections through huge hubs.
“It’s a commercial disaster,” Aboulafia says. “Every conceivably bad idea that anyone’s ever had about the aviation industry is embodied in this airplane.”
Airbus spent roughly $25 billion to develop the aircraft. The A380 was delayed for years because of manufacturing problems while Airbus struggled to keep the weight down and coordinate its complex design among dozens of suppliers across Europe.
In 2012, Airbus discovered small cracks in supporting ribs inside the wings, an embarrassing and costly design error being corrected.
While the A380 program has been a boon for the European aerospace industry, Airbus is unlikely to recover its research-and-development costs. The best it can expect is to break even on production costs, according to analysts, provided that it can keep orders going.
Steven Udvar-Hazy, chief executive of the Air Lease Corp., which leases aircraft, calls the lack of interest in the planes “a very unusual situation,” especially among U.S. airlines. “I’ve never seen this before in a big program,” he says.
Competing conclusions (Click Reload)
A little more than a decade ago, Boeing and Airbus looked at where their businesses were headed and saw similar facts: air traffic doubling every 15 years and estimates that the number of travelers would hit 4 billion by 2030. They came to radically different conclusions about what those numbers meant for their future.
Boeing figured traffic would move away from big hubs and toward secondary airports. So it started to build a smaller, more fuel-efficient long-range aircraft, which became known as the 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus, on the other hand, saw the rise of international traffic through major hubs and decided to bet on a big plane to connect those big airports.
“The A380 is not made for every route, but it is ideal for high-traffic routes, high-volume routes that are congested or where there are flying constraints,” says Antonio Da Costa, Airbus’ head of A380 marketing.
And there are a fair number of those routes. Around 15 of the 20 largest long-haul routes by passenger volume in the world today are slot-constrained, meaning they face some restrictions on the number of daily takeoff or landings, says John E. Thomas, managing director at LEK Consulting, a transportation advisory firm.
Here is one example of how the Airbus theory works in practice: This summer, British Airways plans to replace three Boeing 747s flying each day between London and Los Angeles with two A380s, freeing one slot at Heathrow Airport for another flight.
Yet despite the congestion at hubs like Heathrow and the growth of megacities like New York, New Delhi and Beijing, the market for large planes remains small.
Airbus predicts that in the next 20 years, airlines will order more than 29,000 planes from Airbus, Boeing and other makers. But the bulk of those, or roughly 20,000, will be smaller, single-aisle planes that fly routes like New York to Chicago, or London to Frankfurt, Germany.
Airbus estimates that the market for the biggest long-range airplanes will be about 1,700.
Boeing, too, is facing lukewarm demand for its latest jumbo-jet upgrade, the 747-8. It has received just 51 orders for this big plane, which can seat about 460 passengers and lists at $357 million.
By contrast, it has sold more than 1,200 twin-engine 777s, which sell for as much as $320 million. (Airlines typically get discounts on the listed prices.)
More worrisome for Airbus is that it has struggled to find new customers for the A380 after a flurry of initial orders. Just three new carriers — Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Asiana Airlines — are getting A380 planes this year.
And last month, Airbus canceled an order for six A380s destined for Skymark Airlines, a low-cost carrier in Japan that has been losing money.
Garuda of Indonesia recently dropped plans to buy the A380, deciding that the plane was too big for its markets.
And Virgin Atlantic, which has options for six A380s, remains undecided about whether to proceed. The airline was partly acquired by Delta Air Lines in 2012; Delta CEO Richard Anderson has said the A380 is “by definition an uneconomic airplane unless you’re a state-owned enterprise with subsidies.”
Current customers, too, are cutting back their orders, including the major carriers in France and Germany, where the plane is assembled. Air France postponed the last two of 12 planes it had ordered. Lufthansa has scaled back its order to 14 from 17.
Bruno Delile, Air France’s senior vice president for fleet management, says there are a limited number of routes in its network with enough daily traffic to justify the expense of such a big plane.
“The forecasts about traffic growth and market saturation haven’t exactly panned out,” he says.
Airlines also have to gain the cooperation of airports to modify gates and widen taxiways to make room for the plane. Apart from the main global hubs, few airports have made these investments.
No airport in Brazil, for instance, can handle an A380. The plane was only recently allowed in Mumbai.
“Airports haven’t really been rushing to welcome the A380,” Delile says.
The A-380 is on Target For Fewer Airports and Routes
Bad Timing (Click Reload)
Airbus may have mistimed the market in a more fundamental way. While European engineers were developing the plane, their counterparts at Boeing were working on alternative designs. Out of this effort came the Dreamliner, with a carbon-composite fuselage, a host of electronic systems and more efficient engines that could fly longer distances while consuming less fuel.
That 787, which entered service in late 2011, had its share of high-profile problems; the entire fleet was grounded for three months in 2013 because of battery fires. Boeing says the problem has been resolved, and the company has orders for more than 1,000.
With versions that seat 210 to 330 passengers, and with a range of about 9,000 miles, the 787 allows airlines to fly pretty much anywhere in the world and connect smaller airports without going through a hub.
Japanese carriers are flying these planes from Tokyo to Düsseldorf, Germany, and to San Diego and Boston. This reduces the need for bigger planes to feed big hubs. And passengers are willing to pay more to avoid a connection, says Will Horton, an aviation analyst at CAPA — Centre for Aviation.
Recognizing the success of the 787, Airbus started developing its own version, the A350-XWB. The first should be delivered to Qatar Airways before year-end. Airlines have ordered 742 of the A350s since the program was announced in 2006.
“No doubt some airlines, given the opportunity to rewrite history, would not order the A380,” Horton says.
Unlike airlines in the United States, Emirates, which is a product of Dubai’s aviation-friendly policies, operates from a single hub. The airport handled 66 million passengers last year, rivaling Heathrow as the busiest international hub. Emirates serves more than 140 destinations, essentially connecting flows of passengers with a single stop in Dubai.
But for Emirates, the biggest selling point of the A380 is its ability to pack in more business-class seats and create an environment that appeals to big-spending passengers.
“The upper deck of the A380 is an absolute gold mine for us,” Clark says. “We elected to make it all premium. We elected to put in all the gadgets and gizmos. We were laughed at, at first.”
There are more first- and business-class seats on the Emirates A380 than on the 777, and they are usually 75 to 80 percent full, Clark says. On some routes, like those to Heathrow, where Emirates has five daily flights, that figure can reach 90 percent.
Once the whole plane is 85 percent full, its operating costs fall below those of a 777, he says.
Looking for buyers (Click Reload)
It’s a simple-enough recipe. But for the plane to be successful for Airbus, Emirates can’t be the only airline to make it work.
“United would be a great operator from San Francisco to Asia,” says Mark Lapidus, chief executive of Amedeo, an aircraft-leasing company. Last year, Lapidus announced his company would buy 20 new A380s, in a deal valued at $8.3 billion, then lease them to airlines. It was an expensive gamble, and Amedeo doesn’t have any commitments yet
The problem is that U.S. carriers aren’t interested. Wall Street analysts aren’t convinced, either. Shares of United would plunge at least 10 percent if it bought A380s, according to one analyst, because of concerns that they would bring too much capacity into the market.
In recent years, U.S. airlines have found the way back to profitability by cutting capacity and retiring airplanes, effectively taking seats out of the market.
A bigger plane, in the view of some analysts, would undo everything they’ve done.
Some analysts are also worried about the resale value of an A380, once the planes come off their lease and enter the secondary market. With weak sales and limited interest today, aviation experts say, the plane’s resale value could potentially depress new A380 prices even further.
In his aerie in Dubai, Emirates President Tim Clark appears untroubled by these considerations. He has repeatedly said he would buy more planes if Airbus could deliver them fast enough.
“My view is that we’ve all got to tough this out,” he says. “As I say to my friends at Airbus: ‘Don’t bottle this. The day will come again. The global economy will take care of you.’ ”
He has encouraged Airbus to build an even bigger version of the A380. That, even Airbus would concede, seems unlikely.