From: email@example.com Date: 11 Aug 1997 15:50:28 -0400 Organization: a2i network References: 1 Followups: 1 2 3 4
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caribb <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > It seems the same tendancy to have more direct flights between > North America and Asia is occuring as it has happened between > North America and Europe. Any comments? It does seem we are seeing the beginning of a fracturing of the Pacific market i.e. nonstop flights between an increasing number of city pairs, avoiding hubs like NRT and SFO. The aircraft which fractured the Atlantic market was the B767, which offerred range, the comfort of a widebody, and few enough seats to operate in markets that could not support a large plane. The B767 did not fracture the Pacific, which is dominated by the B747-400. Part of the reason is that the B767 is slower than a B747. While this makes for US-Europe flight times 15-30 minutes longer, it make for trans-Pacific flight times of nearly an hour longer. Airlines offering a one hour shorter flight have a great advantage of over their slower competitors. Another possible reason is that the B767 doesn't have sufficient range to fly many of the interesting trans-Pacific city pairs. But since the B767 is not used on even those trans-Pacific routes for which it does have range (with the exception of SEL-SEA), I reject this reason. From the US east coast to Asia requires a three or four engined plane because there are no suitable places for an ETOPS aircraft to land in the Arctic. But there are still many routes from SFO and LAX to Asia which are not now operated, either because the A340 and B747 are too big, or because these aircraft don't have enough range. Examples of the former include SHA and CAN. Examples of the latter include BKK and SIN. So what is needed to fracture the Pacific market is several new aircraft: 1) A four engine aircraft with enough range to operate JFK-HKG, JFK-SIN, etc. The A340-500 and B747-400IGW will be capable of operating JFK-HKG, but probably not JFK-SIN. 2) An aircraft with the range to serve BKK, SIN, MEL, etc. from SFO and LAX. The B777-200X and, possibily, the A340-500 B747-400IGW will fill this role. 3) A smaller aircraft with enough speed and range to serve smaller US and Canadian cities from Asian hubs and from smaller Asian cities to US hubs. To serve the northeastern US and Canada would require a four-engine plane, and I don't expect to see any small four engine planes developed any time soon. DEN, DFW and other cities could have trans-Pacific service with a twin, if such had the range and speed. Present 767s have neither. The 777-200IGW and 777-200X have the range and speed, but are to large to serve routes with less traffic than, say, DEN-NRT, DEN-HKG, DFW-NRT. SLC-SEL, for example, needs a smaller plane. There are many other possible routes for a small, fast, long-range widebody. Is there any possibility for such a plane? A rewinged B767 could do the job. There are two problems though. One is that developing a new wing for the B767 would cost about $2billion. The other is that the engines used on B767s don't have a lot of room for growth. This would limit the MGTOW, perhaps unacceptably. A rewinged A330 might also do the job, though it would be larger, too large for some routes. The A330's engines have more room for growth, but the cost of developing a new wing is still severe (and for a possibly smaller market than a smaller rewinged B767 could garner). In sum, it is clear that the A340-500, B747-400IGW, and B777-200X, if launched, will fracture the Pacific market to some significant degree. Indeed, China Southern's new 777-200IGW LAX-CAN service is a beginning. I expect that Airbus and Boeing will wait and see to what extent these planes fracture the market before committing to the development of smaller planes to finish the job. M Carling -- Microsoft Network is prohibited from reproducing this work, in whole or in part. Copyright 1997, M Carling. License is available to Microsoft Network to reproduce this work for $1000. Unauthorized reproduction by Microsoft Network constitutes agreement to these terms. Please report violations to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.